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geophysics

Q&A

The New Historian of the Smash That Made the Himalayas

April 14, 2021

About 60 million years ago, India plowed into Eurasia and pushed up the Himalayas. But when Lucía Pérez-Díaz reconstructed the event in detail, she found that its central mystery depended on a broken geological clock.

planetary science

Iceland’s Eruptions Reveal the Hot History of Mars

April 6, 2021

The new volcanic fissures are more otherworldly than they first appear.

A mosaic of five microscope images of igneous rocks. The rocks are dappled with blue, pink, orange and multicolor inclusions.
geology

Scientists Pin Down When Earth’s Crust Cracked, Then Came to Life

March 25, 2021

New data indicating that Earth’s surface broke up about 3.2 billion years ago helps clarify how plate tectonics drove the evolution of complex life.

Blue faults of Cerberus Fossae
planetary science

Rumbles on Mars Raise Hopes of Underground Magma Flows

February 1, 2021

Small and cold, Mars has long been considered a dead planet. But a series of recent discoveries has forced scientists to rethink how recently its insides stopped churning — if they ever stopped at all.

Graphical model of a cubic earth.
geophysics

Scientists Uncover the Universal Geometry of Geology

November 19, 2020

An exercise in pure mathematics has led to a wide-ranging theory of how the world comes together.

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.

Paleontologist Pincelli Hull
Q&A

A Rapid End Strikes the Dinosaur Extinction Debate

March 25, 2020

The paleontologist Pincelli Hull has nailed down the timing and speed of the extinction that killed off the dinosaurs — details that carry ominous warnings for today.

Spinning globe highlighting LLVSPs.
geophysics

Continents of the Underworld Come Into Focus

January 7, 2020

Giant blobs nestled deep in the Earth may influence everything from the structure of island chains to mass-extinction events.

A sandy beach at low tide dotted with ancient tree stumps.
geophysics

Artificial Intelligence Takes On Earthquake Prediction

September 19, 2019

After successfully predicting laboratory earthquakes, a team of geophysicists has applied a machine learning algorithm to quakes in the Pacific Northwest.