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Latest Earth science Stories

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2010-03-23 08:52:02

Study yields precise estimates of tectonic plate movements When it comes to three-dimensional puzzles, Rubik's Cube pales in comparison with the latest creation of Rice University geoscientist Richard Gordon. Gordon and collaborators Chuck DeMets of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Donald Argus of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have just put the finishing touches on a 20-year labor of love, a precise description of the relative movements of the interlocking...

2010-02-17 12:52:00

Clues point to 'density trap' in early mantle When Earth was young, it exhaled the atmosphere. During a period of intense volcanic activity, lava carried light elements from the planet's molten interior and released them into the sky. However, some light elements got trapped inside the planet. In this week's issue of Nature, a Rice University-based team of scientists is offering a new answer to a longstanding mystery: What caused Earth to hold its last breath? For some time, scientists have...

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2010-02-05 13:56:54

The chemical composition of our oceans is not constant but has varied significantly over geological time. In a study published this week in Science, researchers describe a novel method for reconstructing past ocean chemistry using calcium carbonate veins that precipitate from seawater-derived fluids in rocks beneath the seafloor. The research was led by scientists from the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science (SOES) hosted at the National Oceanography Centre,...

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2009-11-25 15:24:05

Earth scientists at Brown University have found strong evidence that the geological processes that lead to the formation of oceanic crust are not as uniformly passive as believed. The team found centers of dynamic upwelling in the shallow mantle beneath spreading centers on the seafloor. Findings are published in this week's Nature. Imagine the Earth's crust as the planet's skin: Some areas are old and wrinkled while others have a fresher, more youthful sheen, as if they had been regularly...

2009-10-18 12:37:34

According to a new study by geologists at the University of Toronto and the University of Maryland, the wealth of some minerals that lie in the rock beneath the Earth's surface may be extraterrestrial in origin. "The extreme temperature at which the Earth's core formed more than four billion years ago would have completely stripped any precious metals from the rocky crust and deposited them in the core," says James Brenan of the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto and co-author...

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2009-09-02 10:30:00

Back in 2002, NASA created a film using satellite data that took viewers on a tour of Earth's frozen regions. This year, NASA visualizers are taking viewers on a return trip to see how things have changed over the years. "The Tour of the Cryosphere 2009" combines satellite imagery and state-of-the-art computer animation software to create a fact-filled and visually stunning tour that shows viewers the icy reaches of Antarctica, the glacier-pocked regions along the Andes Mountains, the winter...

2009-08-05 14:13:34

Water deep underground helps subduction zones of tectonic plates mature, making the zone capable of generating powerful earthquakes, U.S. researchers said. The study expands geophysicists' understanding about earthquakes, the University of Utah said Wednesday in a news release. It hasn't been on people's minds that fluid-generating processes way out of sight reach up and cause damage right under our feet, said Phil Wannamaker, the study's chief author and a geophysicist at the university's...

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2009-06-05 08:40:00

Earth's rocks and other materials provide a record of its history. Our solar system formed from a vast cloud of gas and dust 4.6 billion years ago. Earth's crust has two distinct types: continental and oceanic.These and other concepts are the major ideas of Earth science that all citizens should know, according to a newly released report--Earth Science Literacy Principles: The Big Ideas and Supporting Concepts of Earth Science--funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)-supported Earth...

2009-05-28 11:07:43

 A new analysis of the processes that constantly stir the Earth's deep mantle is helping to explain how the mantle holds onto a portion of ancient noble gases that were trapped during the Earth's formation.The research, which appears this week in the journal Nature, takes aim at a question that has vexed geoscientists for years: how to reconcile leading theories about the convection of Earth's mantle with observations of ancient noble gases in volcanic rocks. Researchers at Rice...

2009-05-27 15:56:08

Arizona State University researchers say they have discovered a large cylindrical blob of cold material far below the surface of central Nevada. Led by geologist John West, the scientists determined the blob was formed when portions of the lithosphere -- the Earth's crust and uppermost mantle -- had sunk into the more fluid upper mantle beneath the U.S. Western Great Basin. West said it was an extremely unexpected finding in a location that showed no corresponding changes in surface...


Word of the Day
drawcansir
  • A blustering, bullying fellow; a pot-valiant braggart; a bully.
This word is named for Draw-Can-Sir, a character in George Villiers' 17th century play The Rehearsal.
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