This is an archive of AGU's GeoSpace blog through 1 July 2020. New content about AGU research can be found on Eos and the AGU newsroom.

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4 December 2015

Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have caused global algal bloom, marine extinction

The asteroid impact suspected of killing the dinosaurs may also have triggered a global algal bloom that contributed to a massive marine extinction more than 60 million years ago, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid 10 kilometers (six miles) in diameter slammed into the Yucatan peninsula, creating a crater 180 kilometers (110 miles) across and 20 kilometers (12 miles) deep. The Chicxulub impact sent tiny spheres of material up into the atmosphere where they became super-heated. Approximately 1023 of these microscopic spherules were ejected and re-entered the atmosphere to create a global carpet of silica glass 3-millimeters (0.19-inches) thick, known geologically as the Cretaceous-Paleogene layer.


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10 December 2013

Airborne viruses implicated in algal die-offs

Researchers think they might know one of the reasons why microscopic ocean-dwelling creatures get sick and die: they sneeze, spraying droplets containing a virus into the air. Algal blooms cover massive swathes of the ocean, converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, and playing an important role in nutrient regulation. Scientists know that a virus is often responsible for the die-off of a common algal species, a single-celled coccolithophore known as Emiliania …


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27 April 2011

Pond scum a viable alternative to imported oil

Instability in many of the world’s largest oil producing nations has gas prices on the rise and policy makers again considering alternatives. But biofuels, which were once heralded as a way to wean the country off of imported foreign oil, also come with their own disadvantages. Recently, fuels made from algae have gotten increased attention, but they can require enormous supplies of water to produce and it’s remained a mystery …


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