news 2017


Earth Sciences

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Astronomy / Space - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2017
Mars: Not as dry as it seems
Image shows modern Mars (left) dry and barren, compared with the same scene over 3.5 billion years ago covered in water (right). The rocks of the surface were slowly reacting with the water, sequestering it into the Martian mantle leading to the dry, inhospitable scene shown on the left. Image credit: Jon Wade When searching for life, scientists first look for an element key to sustaining it: fresh water.

Earth Sciences - Innovation - 20.12.2017
Modeling the Effects of Wastewater Injection
Modeling the Effects of Wastewater Injection
Earth scientists develop a model to estimate the largest possible quake in a given location that could be caused by the disposal of water used in hydraulic fracturing In work that offers insight into the magnitude of the hazards posed by earthquake faults in general, seismologists have developed a model to determine the size of an earthquake that could be triggered by the underground injection of fluids produced as a by-product of hydraulic fracturing.

Earth Sciences - 20.12.2017
Suggests that alcohol consumption contributes to self-blame in rape cases
Ambulance response times in London worsen when air temperatures rise or fall beyond certain limits in summer and winter, according to a new study. Current daily estimates at the London Ambulance Service (LAS) of vehicles likely to be required in the week ahead are based on statistics for the same days of the year over the last three years.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 20.12.2017
Origins of photosynthesis in plants dated to 1.25 billion years ago
The world's oldest algae fossils are a billion years old, according to a new analysis by earth scientists at McGill University. Based on this finding, the researchers also estimate that theábasis for photosynthesis in today's plants was set in place 1.25 billion years ago. The study, published in the journal Geology , could resolve a long-standing mystery over the age of the fossilized algae, Bangiomorpha pubescens , which were first discovered in rocks in Arctic Canada in 1990.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 18.12.2017
Oldest fossils ever found show life on Earth began before 3.5 billion years ago
Geoscience Professor John Valley, left, and research scientist Kouki Kitajima collaborate in the Wisconsin Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometer Lab (WiscSIMS) in Weeks Hall. Photo: Jeff Miller Researchers at UCLA and the University of Wisconsin-Madison have confirmed that microscopic fossils discovered in a nearly 3.5 billion-year-old piece of rock in Western Australia are the oldest fossils ever found and indeed the earliest direct evidence of life on Earth.

Earth Sciences - 12.12.2017
Small earthquakes at fracking sites may indicate bigger tremors to come
Tiny tremors caused by hydraulic fracturing of natural gas near the surface could be early signs of stressful conditions deep underground that could destabilize faults and trigger larger earthquakes. Stanford geoscientists have devised a way of detecting thousands of faint, previously missed earthquakes triggered by hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." A drill rig at the Fayetteville Shale gas play in Arkansas.

Physics - Earth Sciences - 11.12.2017
Shatter-proof mobile phone screens a step closer with ANU research
An international study on glass led by ANU and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in France could lead to the development of shatter-proof mobile phone screens. Lead researcher Dr Charles Le Losq from ANU said the new knowledge, based on experiments and computer modelling, could be used to alter the structure of glass to improve resistance to fractures.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.12.2017
Decades of increased burning deplete soil carbon
Long-term effects of repeated fires on soils found to have significant impacts on carbon storage not previously considered in global greenhouse gas estimates. Frequent burning over decades reduces the amount of carbon and nitrogen stored in soils of savanna grasslands and broadleaf forests, in part because reduced plant growth means less carbon being drawn out of the atmosphere and stored in plant matter.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 05.12.2017
Extreme fieldwork, drones, climate modeling yield new insights about Greenland's melting ice sheet
Extreme fieldwork, drones, climate modeling yield new insights about Greenland’s melting ice sheet
A new UCLA-led study reinforces the importance of collaboration in assessing the effects of climate change. The research and it could ultimately help scientists more accurately predict how the phenomenon could cause sea levels to rise. Greenland is the single largest melting ice sheet in terms of meltwater runoff contributing to rising sea levels — and at least half of sea level rise from Greenland is from melting ice, said Laurence C. Smith, a UCLA professor of geography.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 05.12.2017
Tigers cling to survival in Sumatra’s increasingly fragmented forests
A research expedition tracked endangered tigers through the Sumatran jungles for a year and found tigers are clinging to survival in low density populations. Their findings have renewed fears about the possible extinction of the elusive predators. Tigers on the neighboring islands of Java, Bali, and Singapore went extinct in the 20th century, prompting new anti-poaching efforts to prevent the same fate for the subspecies on Sumatra.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 05.12.2017
Dark Fiber: Using Sensors Beneath Our Feet to Tell Us About Earthquakes, Water, and Other Geophysical Phenomenon
Dark Fiber: Using Sensors Beneath Our Feet to Tell Us About Earthquakes, Water, and Other Geophysical Phenomenon
Scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have shown for the first time that dark fiber - the vast network of unused fiber-optic cables installed throughout the country and the world - can be used as sensors for detecting earthquakes, the presence of groundwater, changes in permafrost conditions, and a variety of other subsurface activity.

Earth Sciences - History / Archeology - 01.12.2017
Bronze Age artifacts used meteoric iron
You may already be surprised to hear there are iron objects dating back to the Bronze Age, but their meteorite origin is even more astonishing. Though meteorites had already been recognized as one source of this metal, the scientific community couldn't determine whether they accounted for most or simply a few Bronze Age iron artifacts.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 30.11.2017
New early signals to quantify the magnitude of strong earthquakes
After an earthquake, there is a disturbance in the field of gravity almost instantaneously. This could be recorded before the seismic waves that seismologists usually analyze. In a study published in Science on December 1, 2017, a team formed of researchers from CNRS, IPGP, the UniversitÚ Paris Diderot 1 and Caltech has managed to observe these weak signals related to gravity and to understand where they come from.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 30.11.2017
U-M researchers recover more mammoth bones from Chelsea-area farm
CHELSEA, Mich.-University of Michigan paleontologists conducted a second excavation this week at the Chelsea-area farm where the skull, tusks and dozens of intact bones of an ice age mammoth were pulled from the ground in late 2015. A U-M news video of the skull and two attached tusks being hoisted from the muddy excavation pit with a backhoe on Oct.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 29.11.2017
Feathered dinosaurs were even fluffier than we thought
Feathered dinosaurs were even fluffier than we thought
A University of Bristol-led study has revealed new details about dinosaur feathers and enabled scientists to further refine what is potentially the most accurate depiction of any dinosaur species to date. Birds are the direct descendants of a group of feathered, carnivorous dinosaurs that, along with true birds, are referred to as paravians - examples of which include the infamous Velociraptor.

Civil Engineering - Earth Sciences - 28.11.2017
Himalayan river system influenced ancient Indus Civilisation
Himalayan river system influenced ancient Indus Civilisation
Scientists have found that much of the Indus thrived around an extinct river, challenging ideas about how urbanisation in ancient cultures evolved. The Indus or Harappan Civilisation was a Bronze Age society that developed mainly in the northwestern regions of South Asia from 5300 to 3300 years ago, at about the same time as urban civilisations developed in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.11.2017
Are our lakes on the brink of suffocation?
Are our lakes on the brink of suffocation?
In order to gain insight into how lakes breathe, EPFL scientists have studied oxygen depletion in the depths of Lake Geneva - the first time such research has been carried out. By collecting key data, they were able to enhance their understanding of the lake's ecosystem and how it is likely to evolve over time.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 24.11.2017
Going underground: Cambridge digs into the history of geology with landmark exhibition
Going underground: Cambridge digs into the history of geology with landmark exhibition
A box full of diamonds, volcanic rock from Mount Vesuvius, and the geology guide that Darwin packed for his epic voyage on the Beagle will go on display in Cambridge this week as part of the first major exhibition to celebrate geological map-making. We show how for the first time people were encouraged to think about the secretive world beneath their feet.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.11.2017
Ocean floor mud reveals secrets of past European climate
Samples of sediment taken from the ocean floor of the North Atlantic Ocean have given researchers an unprecedented insight into the reasons why Europe's climate has changed over the past 3000 years. From the warmer climates of Roman times when vineyards flourished in England and Wales to the colder conditions that led to crop failure, famine and pandemics in early medieval times, Europe's climate has varied over the past three millennia.

Earth Sciences - 22.11.2017
Puzzling patches in Earth’s interior billions of years in the making
Mysterious patches on the planet's core that dampen seismic waves could be the result of ancient seawater chemically reacting with iron under extreme conditions. A chemical reaction between ancient seawater and iron in Earth's mantle over eons could explain the formation of mysterious blobs in the planet's interior that dampen passing seismic waves, Stanford researchers say.
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