Earth in the News

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

  • Forming fogbows: Study finds limit on evaporation to ice sheets, but that may change

    Although the coastal regions of the Greenland Ice Sheet are experiencing rapid melting, a significant portion of the interior of that ice sheet has remained stable -- but a new study suggests that stability may not continue. Researchers found that very little of the snow and ice on the vast interior of the ice sheet is lost to the atmosphere through evaporation because of a strong thermal 'lid' that essentially traps the moisture and returns it to the surface where it refreezes.

  • What lies beneath West Antarctica?

    New research provides the first look into the biogeochemistry, geophysics and geology of Subglacial Lake Whillans, which lies 800 meters (2,600 feet) beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.

  • Origin of Earth's oldest crystals

    New research suggests that the very oldest pieces of rock on Earth -- zircon crystals -- are likely to have formed in the craters left by violent asteroid impacts that peppered our nascent planet, rather than via plate tectonics as was previously believed.

  • Sea-level rise summit coincides with flooding risks in south Florida due to the moon, high tides and inclement weather

    Just as parts of South Florida are bracing for potential risks of flooding in low-lying areas due to the close proximity of the moon, high tides, sea-level rise and inclement weather, researchers are bringing together professionals from the private and public sectors to help identify solutions and develop adaptation pathways.

  • Protecting diversity on coral reefs: DNA may hold the key

    Scientists have discovered that large areas of intact coral reef with extensive live coral cover, not disturbed by humans or climate change, harbor the greatest amount of genetic diversity. With this work, the researchers uncovered a link between species diversity of an ecosystem and the genetic diversity encoded within the DNA of those species.

  • Deep-sea biodiversity impacted by climate change's triple threat

    A new study found that vulnerability of deep-sea biodiversity to climate change's triple threat -- rising water temperatures, and decreased oxygen, and pH levels -- is not uniform across the world's oceans.

  • Widespread loss of ocean oxygen to become noticeable in 2030s

    A reduction in the amount of oxygen dissolved in the oceans due to climate change is already discernible in some parts of the world and should be evident across large regions of the oceans between 2030 and 2040, according to a new study.

  • New tool puts a consistent value on experts' uncertainty on climate change models

    To bridge the gap between projections of future sea-level rise and the need to prepare for it, a research team developed a method that consolidates climate models and the range of opinions that leading scientists have about them into a single, consistent set of probabilities.

  • Landscape ecology must play a role in policymaking

    Landscape ecology considers the influence of time and space on environmental patterns. Because of this focus, it is uniquely positioned to inform crucial policy decisions -- in particular, those concerning climate change, land use-land cover change, and urbanization.

  • Slow worms react quickly to climate change

    Evolution can react surprisingly quickly to climate change -- at least for an important species of earthworms. For seven years, scientists have exposed the natural habitat of Enchytraeidae to a warmer (+0.5 degrees C) and drier climate by ingenious use of curtains. Twelve percent of the genetic changes found in the worms could be directly attributed to the small changes in the soil temperature and moisture.

  • Rainwater may play an important role in process that triggers earthquakes

    Rainwater may play an important role in the process that triggers earthquakes, according to new research. Researchers have identified the sources and fluxes of the geothermal fluids and mineral veins from the Southern Alps of New Zealand where the Pacific and Australian Plates collide along the Alpine Fault.

  • Carbon dioxide fertilization greening Earth, study finds

    From a quarter to half of Earth's vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study.

  • One oil field a key culprit in global ethane gas increase

    A single US shale oil field is responsible for much of the past decade's increase in global atmospheric levels of ethane, a gas that can damage air quality and impact climate, according to new study.

  • Groundwater quality changes alongside expansion of hydraulic fracturing

    New research demonstrates that groundwater quality changes alongside the expansion of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing but also suggests that some potentially hazardous effects may dissipate over time.

  • Rainbow-coloured hydrothermal systems show spectrum of extreme life on Earth

    The Danakil Depression in Ethiopia is one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. Water at near-boiling temperatures bubbles up from underground, high salt concentrations create multi-coloured structures, and chlorine and sulphur vapor fogs the air. Researchers carrying out the first investigation into the site’s geology, mineralogy and biology, have found that the Danakil Depression hosts at least three extreme ecosystems that have the potential to help us understand how life might arise on other planets and moons.

  • Ancient marine sediments provide clues to future climate change

    Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration was the major driver behind the global climatic shifts that occurred between 53 and 34 million years ago, according to new research.

  • Landslide risk remains high a year after magnitude-7.8 Nepal earthquake

    With the monsoon fast approaching, the landslide risk in Nepal remains high a year after a magnitude-7.8 earthquake that killed more than 8,000 people, according to a research team.

  • Tracing the ancestry of dung beetles

    One of the largest and most important groups of dung beetles in the world evolved from a single common ancestor and relationships among the various lineages are now known, according to new research. New research provides important insights into the evolution and diversity of these species, which make up about half of the world's dung beetle fauna.

  • A curious exodus from Europe for Mesozoic dinosaurs

    Researchers have used 'network theory' for the first time to visually depict the movement of dinosaurs around the world during the Mesozoic Era -- including a curious exodus from Europe.

  • Missing links brewed in primordial puddles?

    The crucibles that bore out building blocks of life may have been, in many cases, not fiery cataclysms, but modest puddles. Researchers working with that hypothesis have achieved a significant advancement toward understanding the evolutionary mystery of how components of RNA and DNA formed from chemicals present on early Earth before life existed. In surprisingly simple reactions they have produced good candidates for their precursors that even spontaneously joined up to look like RNA.