Earth Science

Earth Science News -- ScienceDaily Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.

  • Water cooling for the Earth's crust
    on November 21, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    How deep can seawater penetrate through cracks and fissures into the seafloor? By applying a new analysis method, an international team of researchers has now discovered that the water can penetrate to depths of more than 10 kilometers below the seafloor. This result suggests a stronger cooling effect on the hot mantle. […]

  • 'Brazil nut effect' helps explain how rivers resist erosion
    on November 21, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    Geophysicists have found that granular segregation helps explain the tendency of riverbeds to be lined by, or 'armored' with, a layer of relatively larger particles. […]

  • Seafloor sediments appear to enhance Earthquake and Tsunami danger in Pacific Northwest
    on November 20, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of the Pacific Northwest has all the ingredients for making powerful earthquakes -- and according to the geological record, the region is due for its next 'big one.' A new study has found that the occurrence of these big, destructive quakes and associated devastating tsunamis may be linked to compact sediments along large portions of the subduction zone. […]

  • One source of potent greenhouse gas pinned down
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    Researchers have discovered the first known methane-producing microbe that is active in an oxygen-rich environment -- a finding that suggests today's global climate models may be misjudging the amount of methane being released into the atmosphere. […]

  • Clay mineral waters Earth's mantle from the inside
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm

    The first observation of a super-hydrated phase of the clay mineral kaolinite could improve our understanding of processes leading to volcanism and affecting earthquakes. In the lab, scientists created conditions similar to those in subduction zones where an oceanic plate dives under the continental crust. Transport of water with subducting plates causes volcanic activity, according to new research. […]

  • Added Arctic data shows global warming didn't pause
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Missing Arctic temperature data, not Mother Nature, created the seeming slowdown of global warming from 1998 to 2012, according to a new study. […]

  • Hydrological implications of rapid global warming
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Researchers studying a rapid global warming event, around 56 million years ago, have shown evidence of major changes in the intensity of rainfall and flood events. The findings indicate some of the likely implications should current trends of rising carbon dioxide and global warming continue. […]

  • What makes soil, soil? Researchers find hidden clues in DNA
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Ever wondered what makes a soil, soil? And could soil from the Amazon rainforest really be the same as soil from your garden? […]

  • Rise in oxygen levels links to ancient explosion of life, researchers find
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Scientists have found that oxygen levels appear to increase by roughly 80 percent at about the same time as a three-fold increase in biodiversity during the Ordovician Period, between 445 and 485 million years ago. […]

  • Space dust may transport life between worlds, research suggests
    on November 20, 2017 at 4:13 pm

    Life on Earth might have originated from tiny organisms brought to our planet in streams of fast-moving space dust, according to a new study. […]

  • A sub-desert savanna spread across Madrid 14 million years ago
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    The current landscape of Madrid city and its vicinity was really different 14 million years ago. A semi-desert savanna has been inferred for the center of the Iberian Peninsula in the middle Miocene. This ecosystem was characterized by a very arid tropical climatic regime with up to ten months of drought per year, according to a recent paper. Scientists reached such conclusions after comparing mammal fauna with Africa and Asia ones. […]

  • Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war
    on November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Researchers have discovered a planetary-scale tug-of-war between life, deep Earth and the upper atmosphere that is expressed in atmospheric nitrogen. […]

  • Plant respiration could become a bigger feedback on climate than expected
    on November 17, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    New research suggests that plant respiration is a larger source of carbon emissions than previously thought, and warns that as the world warms, this may reduce the ability of Earth's land surface to absorb emissions due to fossil fuel burning. […]

  • A popular tool to trace Earth's oxygen history can give false positives
    on November 17, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    If someone cries 'Eureka!' because it looks like oxygen appeared in Earth's ancient atmosphere long before the body of evidence indicated, be careful. If it was a chromium isotope system reading that caused the enthusiasm, it might need to be curbed. […]

  • Groundwater depletion could be significant source of atmospheric carbon dioxide
    on November 16, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    Humans may be adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by using groundwater faster than it is replenished, according to new research. This process, known as groundwater depletion, releases a significant amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that has until now been overlooked by scientists in calculating carbon sources, according to the new study. […]

  • Could we predict La Niña drought years in advance?
    on November 16, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    Scientists' ability to predict the strength and duration of droughts caused by La Niña -- a recurrent cooling pattern in the tropical Pacific Ocean -- has been significantly improved thanks to new research. Their findings, which predict that the current La Niña is likely to stretch into a second year, could help scientists know years in advance how a particular La Niña event is expected to evolve. […]

  • Salt pond in Antarctica, among the saltiest waters on Earth, is fed from beneath
    on November 15, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    One of the saltiest bodies on Earth, an analog for what water might look like on Mars, is just one piece of a larger aquifer. […]

  • Pacific Island countries could lose 50 -- 80% of fish in local waters under climate change
    on November 15, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Many Pacific Island nations will lose 50 to 80 percent of marine species in their waters by the end of the 21st century if climate change continues unchecked, finds a new study. This area of the ocean is projected to be the most severely impacted by aspects of climate change. […]

  • Off track: How storms will veer in a warmer world
    on November 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    The dry, semi-arid regions are expanding into higher latitudes, and temperate, rainy regions are migrating poleward. In a new paper, researchers provide new insight into this phenomenon by discovering that mid-latitude storms are steered further toward the poles in a warmer climate. […]

  • Amazon's recovery from forest losses limited by climate change
    on November 15, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Deforested areas of the Amazon Basin have a limited ability to grow new trees because of changes in climate, according to a study. […]

  • Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
    on November 15, 2017 at 5:46 pm

    The Colorado River's initial trip to the ocean didn't come easy, but its story has emerged from layers of sediment preserved within tectonically active stretches of the waterway's lower reaches. Researchers theorize that the river's route off the Colorado Plateau was influenced by tectonic deformation and changing sea levels that produced a series of stops and starts between roughly 6.3 and 4.8 million years ago. […]

  • Artificially cooling planet 'risky strategy'
    on November 14, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    Proposals to reduce the effects of global warming by imitating volcanic eruptions could have a devastating effect on global regions prone to either tumultuous storms or prolonged drought, new research has shown. […]

  • Study settles prehistoric puzzle, confirms modern link of carbon dioxide and global warming
    on November 14, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    Fossil leaves from Africa resolve a prehistoric climate puzzle and confirm the link between carbon dioxide and global warming. Research previously found conflicting data on high carbon levels and its link to climate change about 22 million years ago. But a new study found the link existed then as now. The finding sheds light on recent and future increases in atmospheric carbon and its impact on our planet. […]

  • Expanded networks, faculty mentorship bolster female undergrads' pursuit of geoscience
    on November 14, 2017 at 3:42 pm

    To retain more undergraduate women in geoscience majors, a supportive network that includes faculty mentorship seems to be a key driver, according to a new study. […]

  • When water met iron deep inside the Earth, did it create conditions for life?
    on November 14, 2017 at 12:49 am

    Reservoirs of oxygen-rich iron between the Earth's core and mantle could have played a major role in Earth's history, including the breakup of supercontinents, drastic changes in Earth's atmospheric makeup, and the creation of life, according to recent research. […]

  • Geologists uncover Antarctica’s fossil forests
    on November 13, 2017 at 9:28 pm

    Prehistoric polar forests were built for survival, but were not hardy enough to live in ultra-high concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. A geologist is studying the tree fossil record in Antarctica from a mass extinction 250 million years ago, looking for clues to how greenhouse gases affected plants -- then and now. […]

  • When continents break it gets warm on Earth
    on November 13, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    The concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere determines whether the Earth is in greenhouse or ice age state. Before humans began to have an impact on the amount of CO2 in the air, it depended solely on the interplay of geological and biological processes, the global carbon cycle. This study shows that the break-up of continents - also known as rifting -- contributed significantly to higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. […]

  • 15,000 scientists in 184 countries warn about negative global environmental trends
    on November 13, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Human well-being will be severely jeopardized by negative trends in some types of environmental harm, such as a changing climate, deforestation, loss of access to fresh water, species extinctions and human population growth, scientists warn. […]

  • Largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation created to date
    on November 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    A multi-disciplinary team has simulated the largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date. […]

  • Bad news: Global emissions rising again
    on November 13, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    Global carbon emissions are on the rise again in 2017 after three years of little to no growth. Global emissions from all human activities will reach 41 billion tons in 2017, following a projected 2 percent rise in burning fossil fuels. It was hoped that emissions might soon reach their peak after three stable years, so this is unwelcome news. […]