Earth in the News

The latest reports of natural disasters and scientific discoveries about the Earth.

  • Herpes outbreak, other marine viruses linked to coral bleaching event

    Significant outbreaks of viruses may be associated with coral bleaching events, especially as a result of multiple environmental stresses, a study has concluded. One such event was documented even as it happened in a three-day period. It showed how an explosion of three viral groups, including a herpes-like virus, occurred just as corals were bleaching in one part of the Great Barrier Reef off the east coast of Australia.

  • New cause of strong earthquakes found

    A geologic event known as diking can cause strong earthquakes -- with a magnitude between 6 and 7, according to an international research team. Diking can occur all over the world but most often occurs in areas where Earth's tectonic plates are moving apart, such as Iceland, Hawaii and parts of Africa in the East African Rift System.

  • Study challenges widely accepted theory of Yellowstone formation

    Understanding the complex geological processes that form supervolcanoes could ultimately help geologists determine what triggers their eruptions. A new study using an advanced computer model casts doubt on previously held theories about the Yellowstone supervolcano's origins, adding to the mystery of Yellowstone's formation.

  • Radical carbon dioxide removal projects could be a risky business

    Radical ways of removing CO2 from the atmosphere could prove to be a risky business -- according to an environmental scientist. Techniques put forward include growing crops to be burned in power stations, large-scale tree plantations, adding biochar to soil and using chemicals to extract CO2 from the atmosphere. But most, if not all, of these methods pose environmental risks.

  • Clams help date duration of ancient methane seeps in the Arctic

    A bed of fossilized, methane dependent clams has for the first time been observed in the high Arctic. It tells the story of a thousand year long methane release event.

  • Mysterious Menominee crack is unusual geological pop-up feature

    Seismologists studying a massive crack in the ground that appeared north of Menominee, Michigan in 2010 now think they know what the unusual feature might be.

  • Study accurately dates coral loss at Great Barrier Reef

    The timing of significant Great Barrier Reef coral loss captured by a series of historical photos has been accurately determined for the first time. Researchers said the photos were a powerful visual tool often used to highlight the recent decline of the Great Barrier Reef.

  • How stable is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet?

    A future warming of the Southern Ocean caused by rising greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere may severely disrupt the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The result would be a rise in the global sea level by several meters.

  • The Nullarbor Plain's ancient forests revealed

    Australia's Nullarbor Plain is one of the driest landscapes in the country, but new research suggests it was once forest that received up to four times as much rain as it gets now.

  • Inland fisheries determined to surface as food powerhouse

    No longer satisfied to be washed out by epic seas and vast oceans, the world's lakes, rivers, streams, canals, reservoirs and other land-locked waters continue a push to be recognized -- and properly managed -- as a global food security powerhouse, say authors of a new report.

  • Why not recycled concrete?

    From paper towels to cups to plastic bottles, products made from recycled materials permeate our lives. One notable exception is building materials. Why can’t we recycle concrete from our deteriorating infrastructure for use as material in new buildings and bridges? It’s a question that a team of researchers is examining.

  • Asian monsoon season weakens as the Indian Ocean warms

    The variable nature of the summer monsoon season makes Southern Asia one of the most vulnerable regions to natural disasters associated with climate change, such as droughts and floods. A recent study has revealed that the warming of the Indian Ocean is reducing the intensity of the summer monsoon season and drying up the subcontinent. In a region that is home to a large part of the world's population, dynamic climate modelling represents a major challenge in the prevention of the human and economic consequences of climatic hazards.

  • Long jumping earthquakes: Double dose of bad earthquake news

    A team of researchers has discovered that earthquake ruptures can jump much further than previously thought, a finding that could have severe implications on the Los Angeles area and other regions in the world.

  • New cause of strong earthquakes discovered

    A geologic event known as diking can cause strong earthquakes -- with a magnitude between 6 and 7, according to an international research team.

  • Ocean acidification makes coralline algae less robust

    Ocean acidification (the ongoing decrease in the pH of Earth's oceans, caused by the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere), is affecting the formation of the skeleton of coralline algae which play an important part in marine biodiversity, new research has found.

  • Record Missouri flooding was humanmade calamity, scientist says

    Why was the New Year's flood in Missouri so bad? Most news reports blamed it on the heavy rain, but a professor of earth and planetary sciences says analysis of the flood data shows much of the damage was due to recent modifications to the river.

  • Central Appalachia flatter due to mountaintop mining

    Forty years of mountaintop coal mining have made parts of Central Appalachia 60 percent flatter than they were before excavation, researchers say. This study, which compares pre- and post-mining topographic data in southern West Virginia, is the first to examine the large-scale impact of mountaintop mining on landscape topography and how the changes influence water quality.

  • How forest management and deforestation are impacting climate

    Two new studies reveal how altering the composition of trees in forests is influencing not only the carbon cycle, but air surface temperatures to a significant degree as well.

  • Safeguarding sturgeon

    Researchers are one step closer to developing an online map that would help Mid-Atlantic fishermen avoid catching Atlantic sturgeon. The team found they could make useful predictions about sturgeon locations using satellite measurements of ocean color and temperature.

  • The seawater temperature distribution in tropics affects the rainfall in East Asia

    A wide swatch of Asia, from the tropics to the mid-latitudes, which has wet and dry seasons, is significantly affected by 'Asian monsoons.' The amount of rainfall in particular has a close relationship to agriculture and damage from flooding.