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earth science

Earth from space.
Abstractions blog

Global Wave Discovery Ends 220-Year Search

August 13, 2020

An 18th-century physicist first predicted the existence of a chorus of atmospheric waves that swoop around Earth. Scientists have finally found them.

An ice sheet stretching into the distance.
Abstractions blog

How Earth’s Climate Changes Naturally (and Why Things Are Different Now)

July 21, 2020

Earth’s climate has fluctuated through deep time, pushed by these 10 different causes. Here’s how each compares with modern climate change.

John Priscu holds an ice core sample in a sterile laboratory.
Q&A

He Found ‘Islands of Fertility’ Beneath Antarctica’s Ice

July 20, 2020

John Priscu’s search for life that thrives under ice took him to subglacial lakes at the South Pole. Now he has his eye on Mars and Europa.

Destruction from 1999 Taiwan earthquake.
Abstractions blog

New Earthquake Math Predicts How Destructive They’ll Be

April 21, 2020

The “pinball” model of a slipping fault line borrows from the mathematics of avalanches.

A man standing in the Arctic tundra holds up a large photo of a swamp.
geology

Sudden Ancient Global Warming Event Traced to Magma Flood

March 19, 2020

A study has cemented the link between an intense global warming episode 56 million years ago and volcanism in the North Atlantic, with implications for modern climate change.

Scanning electron micrograph of a cluster of coccolithophores.
ecology

How Jurassic Plankton Stole Control of the Ocean’s Chemistry

October 1, 2019

Only 170 million years ago, new plankton evolved. Their demand for carbon and calcium permanently transformed the seas as homes for life.

geophysics

A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’

November 28, 2018

Simple physical principles can be used to describe how rivers grow everywhere from Florida to Mars.

520px for Heavy Late Bombardment
geophysics

Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start

January 22, 2018

A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system’s beginnings.

Earth scientists hope that their growing knowledge of the planet’s early history will shed light on poorly understood features seen today, from continents to geysers.
geophysics

Explorers Find Passage to Earth’s Dark Age

December 22, 2016

Geochemical signals from deep inside Earth are beginning to shed light on the planet’s first 50 million years, a formative period long viewed as inaccessible to science.