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13 September 2016
Fungi are fantastic. They give us beer, bread and cheese. And if those delicious reasons aren’t sufficient, then here’s another: a new study suggests some fungi can help prevent shallow landslides and surface erosion.
30 August 2016
Something really drastic must have happened to the ancient Maya at the end of the Classic Period in the 9th Century. Within a short period of time, this advanced civilization in Central America went from flourishing to collapsing – the population dwindling rapidly and monumental stone structures, like the ones built at Yucatán, were no longer being constructed. The reason for this demise remains the subject of debate even today. Now, researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) may have found the explanation: the irrigation technology that served the Mayans well during periods of drought may have actually made their society more vulnerable to major catastrophes.
29 August 2016
A handful of faults lining the border of California and Nevada may be near the point of rupture, according to a new study assessing earthquakes in the region as far back as 1,400 years ago. Scientists report that earthquakes in a fault network east of the Sierra Nevada Mountains are not random, but are likely triggered from stress bestowed by past earthquakes. This same type of stress has built up in six faults near Death Valley, California, and Reno, Nevada, according to the new research.
20 July 2016
Earth’s carbon cycle is heavily influenced by ecological processes in the ocean. The quantification and understanding of the intricate relationships between carbon dioxide and ocean ecosystems, EXPORTS and what effects these have on the present and future conditions on Earth, is one of the greatest challenges in oceanography. One of the most important aspects that preclude the full understanding of the ocean carbon cycle is the lack of parallel measurements at a global scale; this also hinders our ability to make robust predictions in an uncertain future. The EXport Processes in the Ocean from RemoTe Sensing (EXPORTS) Science Plan was proposed to NASA in order address this knowledge gap. It aims at developing a predictive understanding of the export and fate of global ocean net primary production (NPP) and its implications to the ocean carbon cycle for present and future climates. The goal of this project is to quantify of the mechanisms that control the export of carbon from the euphotic zone as well as its fate in the underlying “twilight zone”.
19 July 2016
More than 130 geoscientists and cyberinfrastructure researchers beat the early June heat wave in Denver by spending their time planning the next stages of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) EarthCube e-infrastructure project. Attendees of the third annual All Hands Meeting (AHM) represented major geoscience data facilities, hardware and software developers and scientists interested in the digital tools being developed. This year’s AHM marked an important milestone in the EarthCube project: as it approaches its fourth year, EarthCube cyberinfrastructure is coalescing around a number of common themes regarding the handling and sharing of data in the geosciences.
12 July 2016
A long-dormant volcano outside Italy’s capital is entering a new eruptive cycle, a recently published study finds. Scientists previously assumed Colli Albani, a 15-kilometer (9-mile) semicircle of hills outside Rome, was an extinct volcano. But in recent years, scientists have observed new steam vents, earthquakes and a rise in ground level in the hills and surrounding area.