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10 December 2011
Our Earth is a Goldilocks planet. It’s neither too cold nor too hot but right in the habitable zone. Add another parameter that’s needed to be just right to incubate life on our world: plate tectonics. A team of geophysicists is modeling conditions that favor cruising plates on planets outside of our solar system, known as exoplanets, which might clue scientists into which of those worlds harbor complex life. “We …
9 December 2011
The threat of ballooning carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere puts us between a rock and a hard place, which is exactly where some people propose the gas should go.
Warmer temperatures have caused some flowers to bloom earlier — but the response isn’t universal. Several species have confounded scientists by showing their colors later in warmer spring weather. One possible explanation: Flowers that bloom later than expected are remembering warm winter weather, according to research presented Thursday afternoon at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting.
Disaster didn’t strike overnight in the town Motta Montecorvino, Italy. Rather, a slow-moving landslide is tearing the hilltop community apart a few painful centimeters a year. Leaning telephone poles and ominous cracks in walls tell the tale of a town sliding away.
The Arctic permafrost is a landscape of geometric wonder. Honeycombs of polygonal depressions are common in these far northern regions of Earth, echoing some observed on Mars. Scientists want to know what clues these depressions could provide about our own planet and how similar features could have formed on Mars.
The goddess Venus radiates beauty; the planet Venus radiates electromagnetic waves. These waves were picked up the Venus Express, a European satellite orbiting Earth’s nearby twin, and provide evidence of lightning in its atmosphere.
Some volcanoes erupt in violent explosions – think Mount St. Helens or Vesuvius – while others ooze more gradually, spewing out lava for weeks or months at a time. The lava has the potential to engulf homes and farm fields in its path, so scientists are interested in measuring the direction, speed and distance of flows.
Researchers are using technology a tad more sophisticated and scientific than dowsing rods to detect underground water from afar: sensors that measure minuscule changes in gravity.
Francisco Chavez has been studying a single bay in northern California for over half his scientific career. But his work isn’t isolated; his measurements are helping tell the story of Pacific Ocean acidification.