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Latest John Eiler Stories

2012-01-11 14:02:12

What is the lifespan of a natural gas deposit? How quickly is our planet's permafrost melting? And does life exist on other planets? Although seemingly unrelated issues, the answers to these questions are linked. And in this month's issue of EARTH Magazine, scientists show that we may be closer to answering them than we think. Ten years ago, John Eiler, a geochemist at Caltech, couldn't convince anyone to build him his dream machine. He wanted a mass spectrometer that could measure the...

Image 1 - Researchers Take Temperature Of Mars's Past
2011-10-13 04:19:02

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have directly determined the surface temperature of early Mars for the first time, providing evidence that's consistent with a warmer and wetter Martian past. By analyzing carbonate minerals in a four-billion-year-old meteorite that originated near the surface of Mars, the scientists determined that the minerals formed at about 18 degrees Celsius (64 degrees Fahrenheit). "The thing that's really cool is that 18 degrees is not...

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2011-06-24 11:40:00

Scientists have found a way to take the temperature of dinosaurs that have been extinct for millions of years. But since you cannot take their temperature like you do with humans, the researchers did the next best thing -- study dinosaur teeth, which can reflect body temperature. What they found is surprising. Studying the teeth of the long-necked Brachiosaurus, they discovered it had a temperature of about 100.8 degrees F and the smaller Camarasaurus had a temp of 98.3 degrees. Humans...

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2011-05-26 14:08:53

Finds that rocks used as key geologic evidence were formed deep within Earth millions of years after the ice age ended There's a theory about how the Marinoan ice age"”also known as the "Snowball Earth" ice age because of its extreme low temperatures"”came to an abrupt end some 600 million years ago. It has to do with large amounts of methane, a strong greenhouse gas, bubbling up through ocean sediments and from beneath the permafrost and heating the atmosphere. The main physical...

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2011-02-18 10:45:00

Researchers use a ground-breaking technique that reveals a relationship between cooler temperatures and Earth's second largest mass extinction, which occurred about 450 million years ago In the Late Ordovician Period of Earth's geologic history, about 450 million years ago, more than 75 percent of marine species perished and Earth scientists have been seeking to discover what caused the extinction. It was the second largest in Earth's history. Now, using a new research method, investigators...

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2010-07-21 12:25:00

That dry, dusty moon overhead? Seems it isn't quite as dry as it's long been thought to be. Although you won't find oceans, lakes, or even a shallow puddle on its surface, a team of geologists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), working with colleagues at the University of Tennessee, has found structurally bound hydroxyl groups (i.e., water) in a mineral in a lunar rock returned to Earth by the Apollo program. Their findings are detailed in this week's issue of the journal...

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2010-06-08 09:37:14

Geochemical findings could help explain facets of early human evolution, including the development of bipedalism East Africa's Turkana Basin has been a hot savanna region for at least the past 4 million years"”including the period of time during which early hominids evolved in this area"”says a team of researchers led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). These findings may shed light on the evolutionary pressures that led humans to walk upright, lose...

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2010-05-24 15:03:55

Could help scientists track paleoclimate, determine whether dinosaurs and other species were warm- or cold-blooded Was Tyrannosaurus rex cold-blooded? Did birds regulate their body temperatures before or after they began to grow feathers? Why would evolution favor warm-bloodedness when it has such a high energy cost? Questions like these"”about when, why, and how vertebrates stopped relying on external factors to regulate their body temperatures and began heating themselves...


Word of the Day
mundungus
  • A stinking tobacco.
  • Offal; waste animal product; organic matter unfit for consumption.
This word comes from the Spanish 'mondongo,' tripe, entrails.