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geophysics

planetary science

Asteroid Rate Jumped in Solar System’s Past

An analysis of lunar craters has found that we’ve been living in a relatively violent period in cosmic history.

Art for "How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals"
Abstractions blog

How Nearby Stellar Explosions Could Have Killed Off Large Animals

Subatomic particles called muons are thought to have streamed through the atmosphere and irradiated megafauna like the monster shark megalodon.

Art for "Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock"
dark matter

Why the Best Place to Find Dark Matter May Be in a Rock

Dark matter may occasionally interact with minerals in the earth, leaving telltale tracks that physicists hope to decipher.

Q&A

The Woman Who Gets Called When a Piece of Mars Falls From the Sky

Planetary geologist Meenakshi Wadhwa uses Martian meteorites to trace the history of our solar system.

geophysics

A Universal Law for the ‘Blood of the Earth’

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

geophysics

The Hunt for Earth’s Deep Hidden Oceans

Water-bearing minerals reveal that Earth’s mantle could hold more water than all its oceans. Researchers now ask: Where did it all come from?

Photo of a diver between two tectonic plates in Silfra. reykjavik. Iceland
geophysics

Why Earth’s Cracked Crust May Be Essential for Life

Life needs more than water alone. Recent discoveries suggest that plate tectonics has played a critical role in nourishing life on Earth. The findings carry major consequences for the search for life elsewhere in the universe.

520px for Heavy Late Bombardment
geophysics

Fossil Discoveries Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start

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.

Thinking Places

Jason Morgan Recalls Discovering Earth’s Tectonic Plates

Jason Morgan developed the theory of plate tectonics in 1967 while working among a critical mass of talented geophysicists at Princeton University.