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Geology

Space

Evidence of gargantuan asteroid strike unearthed in Australia

All it takes is a quick look up at the moon to understand what a violent place the early solar system was. All those craters are the results of asteroids smashing into the lunar surface. The Earth was likewise battered all those billions of years ago, but the evidence of many asteroid strikes has long been erased through topography changes. Researchers at Australian National University (ANU) though, have found clues to a massive asteroid that impacted our planet about 3.5 billion years ago, when the Earth was less than a quarter as old as it is now.Read More

Space

To better understand Martian geology, scientists make a cake

When NASA's Viking spacecraft touched down on the surface of Mars in 1976, one of the geologic features it observed was massive mounds inside craters. More recently, the Curiosity Mars rover got up close with one of these mounds called Mount Sharp where it landed in 2012 inside the Gale Crater. It revealed that the base of the three-mile (4.8-km)-high mound was made from sediment carried by water, while the upper layers consisted of regolith deposited by wind. To find out just how such a mixed mound could be developed, researchers created a "crater layer cake" and they popped it in a wind tunnel.Read More

Space

Geological map to shed light on Pluto's evolution

NASA scientists have compiled a geological map of a vast swathe of Pluto's surface from data harvested by the New Horizons spacecraft over the course of its July 14, 2015 flyby. It is hoped that maps like these will aid planetary scientists in unlocking the evolutionary past of the enigmatic dwarf planet.Read More

Science

Detailed seafloor gravity map brings the Earth's surface into sharp focus

Not so long ago the ocean floor was as unknown as the far side of the Moon. Now, an international team of scientists is using satellite data to chart the deep ocean by measuring the Earth's gravitational field. The result is a new, highly-detailed map that covers the three-quarters of the Earth's surface that lies underwater. The map is already providing new insights into global geology.Read More

Space

NASA reveals evidence of cryovolcanos on Pluto

NASA has identified evidence of ice volcanoes present on the surface of the dwarf planet Pluto. The news comes as New Horizon's team discusses new scientific discoveries made by the spacecraft during its July flyby, at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society, in Maryland.Read More

Energy

We may not be running out of helium after all

Helium is the second most abundant element in the Universe, but it's relatively rare on Earth – so much so that some have called for a ban on party balloons to ward off a worldwide shortage. However, a team of scientists led by Diveena Danabalan of Durham University conducted a new study that indicates that there may be vast new sources of the gas in the western mountain regions of North America.Read More

Environment

Study suggests volcanic eruptions behind pause in climate change

Over the last few years, many possible explanations have been bandied about for the so-called pause in climate change, a plateau in global surface air temperatures that is out of step with rising greenhouse gas concentrations. But now an international research effort is laying responsibility at the feet of volcanic eruptions, whose particles it has found reflect twice as much solar radiation as previously believed, serving to temporarily cool the planet in the face of rising CO2 emissions.Read More

Environment

Atomic clocks could be used to monitor volcanoes and predict eruptions

If you've ever been to Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, you may have been aware of two things; its magnificent grandeur, and the fact that it's an active supervolcano that, if it ever erupted again, would be worst event to hit the Earth since the dinosaur-killing asteroid. To help keep an eye out for this and similar events, a team at the University of Zurich have developed a means of monitoring volcanic events using atomic clocks.Read More

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