Earth news stories

How the Ancient Antarctic Explains Today’s Warming World
4th November 2017 | ecowatch.com | Ancient, Earth

The researchers reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that they have identified the geophysical equivalent of a smoking gun: tiny traces of once-massive discharges in ice cores that tell a story of dramatic climate change long before humans had begun to smelt metal, or plough fields.

Humans to Blame for Climate Change, Government Report Says
4th November 2017 | livescience.com | Earth, Humans

Humans are to blame. That’s the verdict of an executive-branch government report concluding that Homo sapiens are the dominant cause of planetary warming since the mid-20th century.

Anthropologist group suggests first humans to the Americas arrived via the kelp highway
3rd November 2017 phys.org | Ancient, Earth, Humans

In their paper, they scrap the conventional view that Clovis people making their way across a Bering land bridge were the first to arrive in the Americas—more recent evidence suggests others arrived far earlier, likely using boats to travel just offshore.

Australia: Rainmakers of the Outback (film)
3rd November 2017 | aljazeera.com | Ancient, Earth, Humans

A process of cultural awakening begins when Putuparri returns to his homeland in the desert with Spider and is shocked to learn that the Dreamtime myths are not just stories. Spurred into action by what he experiences, Putuparri dedicates himself to reclaiming the land taken from his ancestors and battling bureaucracy and political apathy. He is also under immense pressure to preserve an age-old culture while coming to terms with his own turbulent past.

Some Aborigines say to disturb Uluru is a curse. Australia says climbing it will soon be a crime.
2nd November 2017 | washingtonpost.com | Ancient, Earth, Humans

Aboriginal theories about the creation of the Uluru rock formation vary and are rarely shared with outsiders, but the Anangu people are clear about its hallowed place in their heritage. It’s where the spirits of their ancestors reside. Setting foot on the sandstone formation is forbidden. Pocketing rocks from Uluru could lead to a lifelong curse. But for some Australian tourists, the orange-slice-resembling rock formation is something different: a neat place for a day hike. Well, at least, it was.

14,000 Year Migration Genetics Study Reshapes Theories of How Humans Populated the Earth
1st November 2017 | inverse.com | Ancient, Earth, Humans

A team of UK-based geneticists and anthropologists reported in a Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences study that they’ve come up with a new method of mapping these routes that takes into account genetic data. Their new analysis suggests the migration of humans over the last 14,000 years is more complicated than scientists previously realized.

Chicxulub Asteroid Impact Released More Gas Than Thought
1st November 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Ancient, Earth

The ancient Chicxulub asteroid impact 66 million years ago released 325 gigatons of sulfur and 425 gigatons of carbon dioxide – lending support to the theory it triggered a mass extinction on Earth that eradicated 75 percent of the Earth’s plant and animal species.

A Displaced Spirit: the Uncertain Future of Africa’s Greatest River
1st November 2017 voices.nationalgeographic.org | Earth, Humans

This entry National Geographic’s Water Currents column, written by Grand Canyon river guide Chandra Brown, explores the many impacts felt in a land where a natural river course becomes unnatural.  When the Bujagali dam was erected on Uganda’s White Nile, the World Bank hired local witch doctors to relocate the river’s spirit gods. The deities that dwell in the Nile’s massive rapids were moved to cataracts on different unaffected stretches of the river. This struck me as remarkable: the entity responsible for funding construction of the colossal Bujagali dam was also responsible for appeasing and relocating displaced river spirits.

Are Red Skies at Night Really a Shepherd’s Delight? An Astronomer’s View
1st November 2017 phys.org | Earth, Space

There is a rich heritage of interpreting dusk and dawn sky colours, with different cultural groups and peoples having different traditions and sayings. For example, “shepherd’s delight” is typically replaced with “sailor’s delight” in the US version of the rhyme. But is there any truth behind such forecasting?  It seems there is indeed some truth to the old saying about red skies at night.

The Mysterious Giant Boulders of Eleuthera Island
1st November 2017 | mnn.com | Earth

Boulders are a strange thing to see on such a small, narrow Bahamian island. What’s clear is that they could not have formed where they sit, and that some immense force would have had to place them there. Now an international team of researchers think they may have finally solved the mystery, but their explanation foreshadows an ominous climate future, reports Phys.org. Sea levels would have had to have been 20 to 30 feet higher than they currently are to submerge the boulders adequately to move them, but that means that as sea levels continue to rise due to global warming, this is the kind of thing we might see again.

Director: We Need People Like Jane Goodall More Now Than Ever Before
1st November 2017 | inverse.com | Animal Life, Earth, Humans

In an interview with Inverse, director Brett Morgen explains that the release of the film Jane during a time of action against women and scientists was more of a welcomed coincidence than anything.

Indigenous Cultures and High Tech Drones Reveal Secrets of Yamal Siberia
1st November 2017 voices.nationalgeographic.org | Earth, Humans, Tech

Yamal is home to the Nenets people, indigenous reindeer herders that migrate with their animals across the tundra. This same tundra has, in recent decades, formed the lifeblood of the Russian natural gas economy. The history of the Nenets and their current challenges are complex, but they play an important part in the way this larger social-ecological system works.  This field entry from Nat Geo’s Explorer’s Journal by guest blogger Jeff Kerby also contains a short video.

The Sonorous Stones of Ringing Rocks Park, Pennsylvania
31st October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Earth

In 1890, JJ Ott gave a remarkable concert for the Buckwampum historical society. What made the concert remarkable wasn’t the music being played, but the instrument Ott was playing. The instrument per se was made of stones that mysteriously made clear, bell-like tones when struck by a hammer. You might say it was the first rock concert.

Columcille Megalith Park in Bangor, Pennsylvania
31st October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Earth

Based on the Irish isle of Iona and its ancient Celtic stones, the park has been littered with rings, rows, and structures made of huge standing stones meant to heal and inspire since 1978.  Park founder Bill Cohea, visited the Irish isle and was transformed by the gorgeous, ancient setting, feeling that it held a peaceful and possibly healing quality.

How 16th Century European Mapmakers Described the World’s Oceans
31st October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Earth

According to medieval mapmakers, the world was made up of three continents ringed by narrow bodies of water. When the voyages of Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, and Ferdinand Magellan uncovered continents previously unknown to Europeans, this posed a major problem for those cartographers. But these explorers did not just stumble upon uncharted land—they also became aware of expansive stretches of ocean around the world.

Portraits of the Protectors of Yellowstone
31st October 2017 | hcn.org | Earth, Humans

A new book entitled People of Yellowstone features a collection of 87 park rangers, scientists, and artists posing in the landscape they dearly love, America’s very first National Park.

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