Earth in the News

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

  • East Antarctic Ice Sheet has history of instability

    The East Antarctic Ice Sheet locks away enough water to raise sea level an estimated 53 meters (174 feet). It's also thought to be among the most stable, not gaining or losing mass even as ice sheets in West Antarctica and Greenland shrink. New research has found that the East Antarctic Ice Sheet may not be as stable as it seems.

  • Chemical tipping point of magma determines explosive potential of volcanoes

    Scientists provide evidence, for the first time, that a subtle tipping point of the chemistry of magmas clearly separates effusive from explosive eruptions worldwide.

  • Tiny globetrotters: Bacteria which live in the Arctic and the Antarctic

    Geoscientists have compared micro-organisms in the polar regions, noting that some bacteria can be found in both regions of Earth.

  • Oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions

    The oldest ice core ever drilled outside the polar regions may contain ice that formed during the Stone Age -- more than 600,000 years ago, long before modern humans appeared.

  • North Sea water and recycled metal combined to help reduce global warming

    Scientists have used sea water collected from Whitby in North Yorkshire, and scrap metal to develop a technology that could help capture more than 850 million tons of unwanted carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

  • A better understanding of ancient landscapes

    Geologists use zircon mineral grains to reconstruct what the Earth and its landscapes looked like in ancient times. A new study suggests that scientists may be able to better leverage zircon data to understand how landscapes have evolved over time by considering a suite of factors that can skew zircon geochronologic data and interpretation of the origin of sediments.

  • Shrinking wilderness ignored at our peril

    Maps of the world's most important wilderness areas are now freely available online.

  • Native fish species at risk following water removal from the Colorado River

    Agriculture and domestic activities consume much of the Colorado River water that once flowed to the Colorado Delta and Northern Gulf of California. The nature and extent of impact of this fresh-water loss on the ecology and fisheries of the Colorado Delta and Gulf of California is controversial. A recent publication reveals a previously unseen risk to the unique local biodiversity of the tidal portion of the Delta.

  • New satellite-based global drought severity index unveiled by researchers

    Just in time for the holidays, researchers are rolling out a new satellite-based drought severity index for climate watchers worldwide.

  • Too many nutrients make microbes less responsive

    Bacteria in lakes play a key role in maintaining water quality by absorbing excess nitrogen and phosphorus. They also help store carbon, which has implications for our climate. But, as it turns out, their ability to do these tasks varies depending on the makeup of the lake in which they live. In short, location matters most.

  • Tiny ice losses at Antarctica's fringes can accelerate ice loss far away

    It is known that the ice shelves surrounding the continent regulate the ice flow from the land into the ocean. Now scientists found that also melting near the fringes and in the midst of the ice shelves can have direct effects reaching very far inland. This could increase ice loss and hence sea-level rise.

  • African deforestation not as great as feared

    The loss of forests in Africa in the past century is substantially less than previously estimated, an analysis of historical records and paleontology evidence shows.

  • World-first uses satellites, ocean models to explain Antarctic seafloor biodiversity

    In a world-first, a research team has used data collected by satellites and an ocean model to explain and predict biodiversity on the Antarctic seafloor.

  • The origin of the Andes unravelled

    Why do the Andes exist? Why is it not a place of lowlands or narrow seas? A geophysicist has been pondering these questions for more than a decade. Now, he has found the answers using an advanced computer model.

  • Marine mammal beachings not likely due to space weather

    After a collaboration between NASA scientists and marine biologists, new research rules out space weather as a primary cause of animal beachings.

  • Life under the surface in live broadcast

    Researchers have invented new systems to study the life of microorganisms in the ground. Without any digging, the researchers are able use microchips to see and analyze an invisible world that is filled with more species than any other ecosystem.

  • Forests are the key to fresh water

    Freshwater resources are critical to both human civilization and natural ecosystems, but researchers have discovered that changes to ground vegetation can have as much of an impact on global water resources as climate change.

  • Dust play significant role fertilizing mountain plants

    Researchers found foreign dust likely fertilizes plants in many locations worldwide.

  • Living on thin air -- microbe mystery solved

    Scientists have discovered that microbes in Antarctica have a previously unknown ability to scavenge hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the air to stay alive in the extreme conditions. The find has implications for the search for life on other planets, suggesting extraterrestrial microbes could also rely on trace atmospheric gases for survival.

  • Unearthing the underground effects of earthquakes and volcanoes

    Researchers analyzed high-resolution seismic velocity data from 36 seismograph stations across the island of Kyushu to identify variations before, during, and after the MW 7.0 2016 Kumamoto earthquake. Velocity decreased in the region of the rupture fault when the earthquake struck, and then gradually recovered, although this recovery showed spatial variability. This variability corresponded to aftershock concentration and volcanic activity. The findings may be useful for disaster prediction and preparedness.