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15 August 2018

Amazon pirating water from neighboring Rio Orinoco

The Amazon River is slowly stealing a 40,000-square-kilometer (25,000-square-mile) drainage basin from the upper Orinoco River, according to new research suggesting this may not be the first time the world’s largest river has expanded its territory by poaching from a neighbor. The rare conjunction could help researchers understand how river systems evolve and how the Amazon Basin grew to dominate the South American continent.

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14 August 2018

Diving robots find Antarctic winter seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide

More than 100 oceanic floats are now diving and drifting in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica during the peak of winter. These instruments are gathering data from a place and season that remains very poorly studied, despite its important role in regulating the global climate.

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1 August 2018

New study reveals details of icy Greenland’s heated geologic past

By mapping the heat escaping from below the Greenland Ice Sheet, scientists have sharpened our understanding of the dynamics that dominate and shape terrestrial planets. Tracking these geodynamics of planets helps scientists understand their evolution. But more immediately, the heat information feeds sea-level-change models on Earth by helping scientists predict the behavior of ice. This is particularly important for the surface of land that, in the case of Greenland, is buried below kilometers of ice and so is hard to get to.

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17 July 2018

New magnetic anomaly map helps unveil Antarctica

The most comprehensive magnetic map of Antarctica ever produced was published online this week in a new study in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

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9 July 2018

Listen: The sound of electromagnetic energy moving between Saturn, Enceladus

New research from Cassini’s up-close Grand Finale orbits shows a surprisingly powerful and dynamic interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its moon Enceladus and its rings.

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26 June 2018

New study offers new evidence for how the Adirondack Mountains formed

The formation mechanism of the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York has long posed a geologic mystery. A few mechanisms have been proposed, but until recently tools for evaluating them were not in place. Now, using an advanced seismic imaging method and data available only in the past five years, researchers have constructed a detailed model of the tectonic plate – the crust and the uppermost rigid mantle of the lithosphere under the northeast United States – down to about 62 miles (100 kilometers), in which they discovered a “pillow” of low-density, relatively light rock material. They say a column of this lighter material appears to have squeezed up under the Adirondacks, possibly expanded by heat, to form the dome-shaped mountains.

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5 June 2018

Ocean warming, ‘junk-food’ prey cause of massive seabird die-off, study finds

In the fall of 2014, West Coast residents witnessed a strange, unprecedented ecological event. Tens of thousands of small seabird carcasses washed ashore on beaches from California to British Columbia, in what would become one of the largest bird die-offs ever recorded. A recent study provides the first definitive answer to what killed the seabirds: starvation brought on by shifts in ocean conditions linked to a changing climate.

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30 May 2018

Seismometer readings could offer debris flow early warning

Instruments designed to record earthquakes revealed information about debris-flow speed, the width of the flow and the size of boulders carried by the January 2017 mudslide in Montecito, California, and the location of the event, suggesting that the current generation of seismometers in the field could be used to provide an early warning of an incoming debris flow to residents in mudslide-prone areas.

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Increasing heat drives off clouds that dampen California wildfires

Increasing summer temperatures brought on by a combination of intensifying urbanization and warming climate are driving off once common low-lying morning clouds that shade many southern coastal areas of California, leading to increased risk of wildfires.

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29 May 2018

The case of the relativistic particles solved

Encircling Earth are two enormous rings — called the Van Allen radiation belts — of highly energized ions and electrons. Various processes can accelerate these particles to relativistic speeds, which endanger spacecraft unlucky enough to enter these giant bands of damaging radiation. Scientists had previously identified certain factors that might cause particles in the belts to become highly energized, but they had not known which cause dominates. Now, with new research from NASA’s Van Allen Probes and Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms — THEMIS — missions, published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, the verdict is in.

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