Earth news stories

Queensland Museum’s New $100,000 Meteorite Proves Priceless to Scientists
15th October 2017 | abc.net.au | Earth, Space

The meteorite weighs more than 15 kilograms and is so valuable that it is being held under lock-and-key in a secret location on the northside of Brisbane, Australia. The meteorite likely came from the asteroid belt, but it was not apparent just how special it was until the end was sawed off to reveal a stunning cross-section of metal.

10 National Monuments Currently at Risk in America
15th October 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth

The current US interior secretary has identified a total of 10 National Monuments to reshape or repurpose in order to allow for logging, mining, and grazing within their borders.  Environmental groups have vowed legal action to stymie any alterations to these irreplaceable federally protected areas.

Cadaver Dogs Join Grim Search for Bodies as California Wildfires Rage
15th October 2017 | yahoo.com | Animal Life, Earth

Body recovery teams with cadaver dogs are now searching for victims of California’s wildfires as reinforcements arrived to help exhausted firefighters battle some of the worst infernos the state has ever seen. The death toll rose to 40 meanwhile from the wildfires, which have left thousands of people homeless and hundreds more missing. Gusty winds were hampering the efforts of the 8,000 firefighters battling 21 blazes which have burned 191,437 acres so far.

Magic Mushrooms “Reboot” Brain in Depressed People
14th October 2017 | theguardian.com | Earth, Humans

Patients unresponsive to conventional treatments benefit when treated with natural psychoactive compound, but researchers warn against self medication.  Magic mushrooms may effectively reset the activity of key brain circuits known to play a role in depression, the latest study to highlight the therapeutic benefits of psychedelics suggests.

Centuries of Volcano Death Statistics, Newly Analysed
13th October 2017 science.howstuffworks.com | Earth

New research digs into historic volcano fatalities to explore how, where and whom a volcano is most likely to kill. Living near an active volcano is something of a hazard. According to the study, around 278,000 people have died since the year 1500 as a result of volcanic activity, which averages about 540 people a year for the past 517 years.

How Animals and Plants Weather Hurricanes
13th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Animal Life, Earth

Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico. With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, much of the US territory has been without power for weeks. Many residents lack running water, hospitals have been limping along on backup generators, and the island’s agriculture has been essentially flattened. The toll on local wildlife remains far from appreciated, but it’s clear from Maria and other hurricanes that some animal populations suffer from big storms—while others thrive.

Japanese Coastal Critters Make Epic Voyages After Tsunami
13th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Animal Life, Earth

Marine species survived rafting thousands of kilometers on debris swept into the water by the giant wave off Japan in 2011, scientists say.  Having traversed roughly 7,000 kilometers across the Pacific, the material carried with it living animals from 289 Japanese coastal marine species.

Dutch Company Training Crows to Trade Littered Cigarette Butts for Treats
13th October 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

Worldwide, about 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered on streets each year.  A Dutch company is training crows to drop cigarette butts in a ‘Crowbar,’ which scans the item to confirm it’s a cigarette butt, and then gives the crow a food reward to reinforce the behavior.

Proposed Green Eco-Resort in Philippines Merges Science with Beauty
13th October 2017 | greenmatters.com | Earth, Tech

A Paris architect has unveiled a plan for a new eco-resort preserving ecology in the Philippines while respecting the area’s unique ecosystems and indigenous cultures. Perched on the edge of a gorgeous cove, the imaginative Nautilus Eco-Resort takes inspiration from the seashell, and is built in a pleasing series of spirals that spin out into the water. Even the hotels and apartment towers themselves are seashell shaped, all of which adheres to the Fibonacci sequence, a symbol of balance and harmony.

Volcanic Eruptions that Shaped Oregon May Have Had Chilling Effect
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Earth

A series of volcanic eruptions starting 17.5 million years ago formed the Columbia River Basalt Group, a complex of rock formations that was created over a few million years as lava erupted from fissures in the ground and seeped over the landscape. The eruptions deposited about 10,000 cubic miles of rock and likely released enough sulfur gas to cool the whole planet down.

Hole the Size of Maine Opens in Antarctic Ice
12th October 2017 news.nationalgeographic.com | Earth

Known as a polynya, this year’s hole was about 30,000 square miles at its largest, making it the biggest polynya observed in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea since the 1970s.

Earliest Evidence of Domesticated Sorghum Discovered in Sudan
12th October 2017 | sci-news.com | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Sorghum was domesticated from its wild ancestor more than 5,000 years ago, according to archaeological evidence uncovered by University College London archaeologists in Sudan.

California’s Methuselah Tree
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Earth

An ancient 4,800 year old Great Basin Bristlecone Pine known as the Methuselah Tree grows high in the White Mountains of eastern California. Named for the Biblical figure that lived for 969 years, the Methuselah Tree grows in Inyo National Forest’s “Forest of Ancients.”  The exact location of Methuselah is kept secret to protect it against vandalism.  Once thought to be the oldest living tree in the world, it was germinated before the Egyptian Pyramids were built.

The Iconic Palm Trees of Los Angeles Are Dying and Will Soon Be Replaced
12th October 2017 | greenmatters.com | Earth

What most people picture  when they think of Los Angeles are its iconic palm trees.  The non-native trees once flourished, but they’re now facing new challenges: climate change, fungus, and bugs.  Officials plan to replace them with native trees that provide more shade and require less special care.

Tasmania’s Climate and Fire History Held in Ancient King Billy Pine Trees
11th October 2017 | abc.net.au | Ancient, Earth

Athrotaxis selaginoides, known as King Billy or King William pines, are endemic to Tasmania.  The trees, which are actually conifers but not pines, have been used in an eight year study by an international research team to understand the environmental history of Australia. Core sample tree ring chronology shows the growth rate of the ancient trees, which can be used to interpret the climate and other environmental influences in Tasmania.

Australia Gives Its Newest Icebreaker Aboriginal Name for Southern Aurora
11th October 2017 | abc.net.au | Earth, Tech

Meaning southern lights in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aboriginal people, the name Nuyina was suggested for the newest icebreaker ship still under construction by students near Perth in Western Australia.  The name continues a tradition of naming Australia’s Antarctic ships after the evocative atmospheric phenomenon that produces curtains of colourful weaving lights over the frozen continent.

News stories covering the environment, plant life, and the Earth itself.