Earth in the News

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

  • Diamonds reveal how continents are stabilized, key to Earth's habitability

    The longevity of Earth's continents in the face of destructive tectonic activity is an essential geologic backdrop for the emergence of life on our planet. This stability depends on the underlying mantle attached to the landmasses. New research demonstrates that diamonds can be used to reveal how a buoyant section of mantle beneath some of the continents became thick enough to provide long-term stability.

  • Human-caused climate change played limited role in Beijing's 2013 'airpocalypse'

    Although the particulate matter that filled the winter skies resulted from both human and natural emissions, a new study concludes that human-caused climate change played only a minor role in the air's stagnation.

  • Pole-to-pole study of ocean life identifies nearly 200,000 marine viruses

    An international team has conducted the first-ever global survey of the ecological diversity of viruses in the oceans during expeditions aboard a single sailboat. They identified nearly 200,000 marine viral species, which vastly exceeds the 15,000 known from prior ocean surveys of these waters and the approximately 2,000 genomes available from cultured viruses of microbes. Their findings have implications for understanding issues ranging from evolution to climate change.

  • Scientists discover what powers celestial phenomenon STEVE

    The celestial phenomenon known as STEVE is likely caused by a combination of heating of charged particles in the atmosphere and energetic electrons like those that power the aurora, according to new research. In a new study, scientists found STEVE's source region in space and identified two mechanisms that cause it.

  • Holy Pleistocene Batman, the answer's in the cave

    Examining a 3-meter stack of bat feces has shed light on the landscape of the ancient continent of Sundaland. The research could help explain the biodiversity of present-day Borneo, Sumatra, and Java. It could also add to our understanding of how people moved through the region.

  • NASA, FEMA, international partners plan asteroid impact exercise

    NASA and other U.S. agencies and space science institutions, along with international partners, will participate in a 'tabletop exercise' that will play out a realistic -- but fictional -- scenario for an asteroid on an impact trajectory with Earth.

  • Human settlements in Amazonia much older than previously thought

    Humans settled in southwestern Amazonia and even experimented with agriculture much earlier than previously thought, according to an international team of researchers.

  • Major deep carbon sink linked to microbes found near volcano chains

    Up to about 19% more carbon dioxide than previously believed is removed naturally and stored underground between coastal trenches and inland chains of volcanoes, keeping the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere, according to a new study.

  • Eclogitic diamonds formed from oceanic crust

    Eclogitic diamonds formed in Earth's mantle originate from oceanic crust, rather than marine sediments as commonly thought, according to a new study.

  • Reinforced concrete wall damage may be larger than expected in major Seattle earthquake

    Using ground motions generated for a range of simulated magnitude 9 earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, researchers are testing how well reinforced concrete walls might stand up under such seismic events.

  • Vast diversity of ocean microbes revealed

    Advanced molecular techniques have revealed the diversity of a little-understood group of ocean microbes called protists, according to a new publication. The project analyzed samples collected by the global Tara Oceans expedition, documenting genomes that will help researchers identify protists throughout the ocean.

  • Antarctica: The final frontier for marine biological invasions?

    A new study looking at the implications of increased shipping activity and the impact on Antarctic marine biodiversity. The research is an important step in the quest to understand whether invasive species, introduced by shipping, will find the Antarctic marine environment more hospitable as Antarctica's climate changes.

  • Largest collection of coral reef maps ever made

    Scientists offer a new way to accurately map coral reefs using a combination of Earth-orbiting satellites and field observations. This first-ever global coral reef atlas contains maps of over 65,000 square kilometers (25,097 square miles) of coral reefs and surrounding habitats.

  • Soft tissue makes coral tougher in the face of climate change

    A new study has revealed soft tissues that cover the rocky coral skeleton promote the recovery of corals following a bleaching event.

  • Auroral 'speed bumps' are more complicated, scientists find

    Researchers find that 'speed bumps' in space, which can slow down satellites orbiting closer to Earth, are more complex than originally thought.

  • New studies highlight challenge of meeting Paris Agreement climate goals

    New research highlights the 'incredible challenge' of reaching the Paris Agreement without intense action and details the extreme temperatures parts of the planet will suffer if countries fail to reduce emissions.

  • Arctic warming will accelerate climate change and impact global economy

    Carbon released into the atmosphere by the increasing loss of Arctic permafrost, combined with higher solar absorption by the Earth's surface due to the melting of sea ice and land snow, will accelerate climate change -- and have a multi-trillion dollar impact on the world economy.

  • Engineers demonstrate 'bubbles' of sand

    A new study shows how two types of sand can behave like light and heavy liquids, shedding light on geological processes from mudslides to volcanoes and potentially enabling new technologies from pharmaceutical production to carbon capture.

  • Climate change has worsened global economic inequality

    The gap between the economic output of the world's richest and poorest countries is 25 percent larger today than it would have been without global warming, according to new research.

  • Geomagnetic jerks finally reproduced and explained

    The Earth's magnetic field experiences unpredictable, rapid, and intense anomalies that are known as geomagnetic jerks. The mechanisms behind this phenomenon had remained a mystery until the recent research. Scientists have now created a computer model for these geomagnetic jerks, and provided an explanation for their appearance.