Earth news stories
Deep beneath the surface off the coast of Alabama, lies a hidden treasure not known to Man for thousands of years: an ancient underwater forest. Long concealed and preserved under a thick layer of sediment are clusters of cypress trees, which scientists believe was uncovered by Hurricane Ivan in 2004. The forest showed up on the sonar of a fisherman, who called scientists in to investigate.
The hypothesis that a series of cosmic impact events was responsible for the Younger Dryas has stood up to a large statistical test, using Bayesian analysis. Article provides a link to open-access published paper on ResearchGate.
A team led by an archaeologist from Aiken, SC, has found widespread evidence that a comet or an asteroid hit the Earth about 12,800 years ago. That collision might explain abrupt climate changes during a period known as the Younger Dryas. It also may explain why mastodons and other big beasts known as megafauna disappeared from South Carolina and other areas. In addition, it could provide support for some scientists’ claims that a large number of Paleo-Indians from the Clovis culture also died off around that time because of a comet strike.
A British-led expedition has discovered sizeable chunks of polystyrene lying on remote frozen ice floes in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. The depressing find, only 1,000 miles from the north pole, is the first made in an area that was previously inaccessible to scientists because of sea ice. It is one of the most northerly sightings of such detritus in the world’s oceans, which are increasingly polluted by plastics.
To interpret what we see today both on land and at the seabed, we need to understand how the landscape was different in the past. When we say “past,” we mean on a geologic timeframe — specifically about 10,000 to 20,000 years ago when the climate was much colder and glaciers covered much of Canada.
Each summer, people who live at high latitudes north and south of the equator are treated to a fantastically beautiful phenomenon called noctilucent clouds. Noctilucent clouds are generally made of ice crystals that formed around tiny dust particles in fairly cold temperatures and are generally only visible when the Sun is no more than 16 degrees below the horizon.
Induced resistance is a defense system within plants which allows them to resist attacks from pests such as fungal or bacterial pathogens or insects. The defense system reacts to the external attack with physiological changes, triggered by the generation of proteins and chemicals that lead to activation of the plant’s immune system.
Natural Trap Cave begins as a 15-foot-wide black maw in tan limestone at the base of the Bighorn Mountains. The hole opens like a funnel into a spacious cavern more than eight breathtaking stories below and is only accessible to researchers by rappelling. For thousands of years, animals plunged to their deaths into the abyss — from stilt-legged horses to Beringian wolves to 900-pound American lions three times the size of those now living in Africa. The bones of those now-extinct animals have been preserved in the refrigerator-like climate of the cave just waiting for someone to come along and tease out their story.
New explorations in the desert of northeastern Zacatecas, Mexico, revealed dozens of archaeological and geoarchaeological sites. One of them, Ojo de Agua, contains the remains of a Pleistocene springfed hydrographic system located at the southeastern end of a large elongated endorheic basin. The locality yielded a particularly dark, highly organic stratigraphic layer commonly known in the Americas as Black Mat, exposed on the natural proﬁles of a creek. Several radiocarbon assessments conﬁrmed the formation of the Ojo de Agua Black Mat during the Younger Dryas chronozone with ten calibrated results clustering between 12,700 and 12,100 cal BP. Article contains link for full publication download.
Known as the “Moon Tree”, the sycamore spent nearly two weeks of 1971 tucked away as a seed in the personal kit of Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa and completed 34 orbits of Earth’s closest neighbor. Back home, the young tree was planted at Kennedy Space Center in 1976 to celebrate the US bicentennial. But the tree was no match for Irma’s hurricane winds, which NASA clocked at up to 94 mph as the storm barreled through Florida.
The onset of the last ice age may have forced some bird species to abandon their northerly migrations for thousands of years, says new research led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln ornithologist. Published in the journal Science Advances, the study challenges a long-held presumption that birds merely shortened their migratory flights when glaciers advanced south to cover much of North America and northern Europe about 21,000 years ago.
Researchers have found that stalagmites can help determine if and when a region was struck by an earthquake.
The first attempt at climate classification was made by the ancient Greeks. Aristotle believed that each of the Earth’s hemispheres (Northern and Southern) could be divided into 3 zones: the torrid, temperate, and frigid. Because these climate zones are classified based on latitude — a geographic coordinate — they’re also known as the geographic zones.
Abu Hureyra is the name of the ruins of an ancient settlement located on the south side of the Euphrates valley of northern Syria. Nearly continuously occupied from ~13,000 to 6,000 years ago, before, during and after the introduction of agriculture in the region, Abu Hureyra is remarkable for its excellent faunal and floral preservation, providing crucial evidence for the economic shifts in diet and food production.
Just outside New York City, along New Jersey’s Hackensack River, local industry had turned much of the wetland area into an unsightly landfill and polluted wasteland. Sky Mound, a huge work of public art, was one of the first projects in the 1980’s aimed at conservation of the Meadowlands, and most people don’t even notice it.
Studies of craters in the Baltics (Estonia) are giving insights into the many impacts that have peppered the Earth over its long history. In southeastern Estonia, scientists have dated charcoal from trees destroyed in an impact to prove a common origin for two small craters, named Illumetsa. A third submarine crater located on the seabed in the Gulf of Finland has been measured and dated with precision.