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Science News Archive - July 10, 2009

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A spike in mysterious underground rumblings observed on a section of the San Andreas fault near Parkfield, California, could indicate a build-up of stress and an increased likelihood of a major earthquake.

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According to a recent poll, the share of Americans who consider achievements in science to be among the nation’s greatest accomplishments is on the decline.

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Scientists have recently unearthed the fossilized remains of four woolly mammoths in a southern province of Spain, lending support to theories that the last great Ice Age reached much further south than paleontologists had previously thought.

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Southern Elephant seals responded rapidly to climate and habitat change and established a new breeding site thousands of kilometers from existing breeding grounds, according to new research.

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Ask biologists how many species live in a pond, a grassland, a mountain range or on the entire planet, and the answers get increasingly vague. Hence the wide range of estimates for the planet's biodiversity, predicted to be between 2 million and 50 million species.

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Telomeres, the repetitive sequences of DNA at the ends of linear chromosomes, have an important function: They protect vulnerable chromosome ends from molecular attack.

Tremors deep within the San Andreas Fault suggest California should not become complacent about future earthquakes, a leading seismologist said. The San Andreas fault is changing down deep and it's changing down deep in places where large earthquakes have happened in the past, said Robert Nadeau, a research seismologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Seismic activity in the central part of the fault has increased in the years since the magnitude 6.5 San Simeon quake in 2003 and the magnitude 6.0 Parkfield quake in 2004, Nadeau and his team said in a study published Friday in the journal Science. Unusually strong tremors preceded the Parkfield quake three weeks before it struck, leading scientists to believe such tremors could provide an early warning single to a big quake, said Greg Beroza, a seismologist at Stanford University. Earthquakes usually generate clear seismic waves with sharp onsets, while tremors vibrate quietly and can continue for days.

Dr. Craig R. Smith, oceanography professor at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, recently published a paper in Marine Ecology Progress Series titled, "Biogeochemistry of a deep-sea whale fall: sulfate, reduction, sulfide efflux and methanogenesis."

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Microbes contribute to manifold human endeavors ranging from bioenergy to agriculture to medicine. Moreover, they make the Earth’s biogeochemical cycles go round, a prerequisite for all life on the planet.

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Infections of wounds, pneumonia, etc. in hospitals in particular are often caused by bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Word of the Day
bibliopole
  • A bookseller; now, especially, a dealer in rare and curious books.
This word comes from a Greek phrase meaning 'book seller.'
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