Earth in the News

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

  • Volcanic rocks hold clues to Earth's interior

    Earth's deep interior transport system explains volcanic island lava complexities, report scientists. Studies of rocks found on certain volcanic islands, known as ocean island basalts, have revealed that although these erupted rocks originate from Earth's interior, they are not the same chemically.

  • Big data reveals glorious animation of bottom water

    A remarkably detailed animation of the movement of the densest and coldest water in the world around Antarctica has been produced using data generated on Australia's most powerful supercomputer, Raijin.

  • How Earth's Pacific plates collapsed

    Scientists drilling into the ocean floor have, for the first time, found out what happens when one tectonic plate first gets pushed under another. The international expedition drilled into the Pacific ocean floor and found distinctive rocks formed when the Pacific tectonic plate changed direction and began to plunge under the Philippine Sea Plate about 50 million years ago.

  • Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

    Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fueled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research. Scientists say that a major step change, or 'regime shift,' in Earth's biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from the Arctic to Antarctica, was centered around 1987, and was sparked by the El Chichón volcanic eruption in Mexico five years earlier.

  • Liquid acoustics half way to the earth's core

    Scientists have succeeded in measuring the speed of sound in mixtures of liquid iron and carbon in extreme conditions, allowing limits to be set on the composition of the Earth's core.

  • Dinosaur extinction theory: New research may draw 'curtain of fire' on theories

    The role volcanic activity played in mass extinction events in Earth's early history is likely to have been much less severe than previously thought, according to a study.

  • Stretchy slabs found in the deep Earth

    A new study suggests that the common belief that the Earth's rigid tectonic plates stay strong when they slide under another plate, known as subduction, may not be universal.

  • Earth not due for a geomagnetic flip in the near future

    According to a new study, the Earth's geomagnetic field is not in danger of flipping anytime soon: The researchers calculated Earth's average, stable field intensity over the last 5 million years, and found that today's intensity is about twice that of the historical average. This indicates that the current field intensity has a long way to fall before reaching an unstable level that would lead to a reversal.

  • Mountain ranges evolve, respond to Earth's climate, study shows

    Erosion caused by glaciation during ice ages can, in the right circumstances, wear down mountains faster than plate tectonics can build them, groundbreaking new research has shown.

  • Whiffs from cyanobacteria likely responsible for Earth's oxygen

    Earth's oxygen-rich atmosphere emerged in whiffs from a kind of cyanobacteria in shallow oceans around 2.5 billion years ago, according to new research.

  • Half of all Amazonian tree species may face extinction

    Scientists report that more than half the tree species in the Amazonian rainforest may be globally threatened. However, the study also suggests that Amazonian parks, reserves, and indigenous territories, if properly managed, will protect most of the threatened species.

  • Climate change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

    The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by data from long-term observations in the Fram Strait.

  • Stormy space weather puts equatorial regions' power at risk

    Stormy space weather sweeping across the equator is threatening vital power grids in regions long considered safe from such events, ground-breaking new research reveals.

  • Ancient fossil forest unearthed in Arctic Norway

    Ancient fossil forests have beenunearthed in Arctic Norway, thought to be partly responsible for one of the most dramatic shifts in the Earth's climate in the past 400 million years.

  • Low-oxygen 'dead zones' in North Pacific linked to past ocean-warming events

    A new study has found a link between abrupt ocean warming at the end of the last ice age and the sudden onset of low-oxygen, or hypoxic conditions that led to vast marine dead zones.

  • When did the Andes mountains form?

    The Andes were formed by tectonic activity whereby Earth is uplifted as one plate (oceanic crust) subducts under another plate (continental crust). To get such a high mountain chain in a subduction zone setting is unusual, which adds to the importance of trying to figure out when and how it happened. However, the timing of when the Andean mountain chain uplift occurred has been a topic of some controversy over the past ten years. Now, new research shows that the Andes have been a mountain chain for much longer than previously thought.

  • Fat makes coral fit to cope with climate change

    A year ago, researchers discovered that fat helps coral survive heat stress over the short term -- and now it seems that fat helps coral survive over the long term, too. The study offers important clues as to which coral species are most likely to withstand repeated bouts of heat stress, called 'bleaching,' as climate change warms world oceans.

  • Study links deep-time dust with major impacts on carbon cycling

    A new study links vast amounts of iron-rich dust deposits from the late Paleozoic period of 300 million years ago with implications for major ecosystem fertilization and a massive drawdown of atmospheric carbon. Understanding iron fertilization and other deep-time events may explain present and future climate change and aid scientists and policymakers when making decisions related to geoengineering Earth.

  • Discovery of hidden earthquake presents challenge to earthquake early-warning systems

    Seismologists studying the 2011 Chile earthquake have discovered a previously undetected earthquake that took place seconds after the initial rupture. This newly discovered phenomena, which they called a `closely-spaced doublet,' presents a challenge to earthquake and tsunami early warning systems as it increases the risk of larger-than-expected tsunamis in the aftermath of a typical subduction earthquake.

  • Earth's hidden groundwater mapped: Less than six per cent renewable within a human lifetime

    The first data-driven estimate of the Earth's total supply of groundwater shows that less than six per cent of groundwater in the upper two kilometers of the Earth's landmass is renewable within a human lifetime.