Earth news stories

Humans threaten crucial ‘fossil’ groundwater: study
3rd May 2017 phys.org | Earth

Human activity risks contaminating pristine water stockpiled deep underground since the age of the mammoths, said a study Tuesday that warns of a looming threat to a critical life source.

That Crazy Plan to Refreeze The Arctic Is Actually Getting a Trial Run in Switzerland
3rd May 2017 | sciencealert.com | Earth

Back in February, physicists announced an outlandish plan to ‘re-freeze’ the Arctic, by installing 10 million wind-powered pumps over the ice cap to replenish the dwindling sea ice.

Antarctic Peninsula ice more stable than thought
3rd May 2017 phys.org | Earth

Glacier flow at the southern Antarctic Peninsula has increased since the 1990s, but a new study has found the change to be only a third of what was recently reported.

Earth Just Passed 410 ppm CO2 Levels for the First Time in Human History
3rd May 2017 | sciencealert.com | Earth

On April 18, Earth breached its latest climate change milestone. For the first time in human history, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were measured at 410 parts per million (ppm).

Long-term fate of tropical forests may not be as dire as believed, study says
3rd May 2017 phys.org | Earth

Conventional wisdom has held that forest growth will dramatically slow with high levels of rainfall. But University of Colorado Boulder researchers this month turned that assumption on its head with an unprecedented review of data from 150 forests that concluded just the opposite.

Brazil’s indigenous tribes protest against land theft
3rd May 2017 | france24.com | Earth

Fed up with endless encroachment on their ancestral lands, leaders of Brazil’s many indigenous tribes went to the capital Brasilia to speak out this week. But they had trouble finding anyone to listen.


Related: Planned Mega-Hotel on Iconic Surfing Beach Sparks Controversy

El Salvador bans metal mining in world first
3rd May 2017 phys.org | Earth

El Salvador on Thursday became the first country in the world to ban the mining of metals in what campaigners called a landmark move for environmental protection.

Trump moves to lift bans on Arctic drilling
3rd May 2017 phys.org | Earth

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at lifting bans on drilling for oil and gas in offshore Arctic and Atlantic areas, saying it would pull in “billions of dollars” for America and create jobs.


Related: How a Border Wall Could Wreak Ecological Havoc

The Mystery of Antarctica’s Blood Falls Has Been Solved
1st May 2017 mysteriousuniverse.org | Earth

Blood Falls is one of the most famous and ominously-named landmarks in Antarctica. Discovered in 1911 by Griffith Taylor, the red waterfall occasionally pours its stunning blood-like water down a wall of pristine white ice that attracts both photographers and scientists trying to determine its cause and its source. The color is no longer a mystery


Related: Mystery of the missing mercury at the Great Salt Lake

Venus’ hair found growing on the surface of underwater volcano after eruption
1st May 2017 phys.org | Animal Life, Earth

A team of researchers affiliated with several institutions in Spain and Italy studying the aftermath of the eruption of the Tagoro underwater volcano in 2011 and 2012 has found that colonies of bacteria living in filaments attached to the volcano surface (named Thiolava veneris which is Lation for Venus’ hair) were the first organisms to colonize the volcano after the eruption


Related: Japan volcanic island may hold key to coral survival

Mysterious shapes and patterns discovered in Arctic and Antarctic sea floor
30th April 2017 | yahoo.com | Ancient, Earth

Thousands of kilometres of the Arctic and Antarctic sea floors have been charted in an ambitious and highly detailed atlas of the polar seabed. Several strange shapes gouged out of the sea floor reveal some of the more dramatic periods of the poles’ past.

It’s often said that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the Earth’s ocean floors. What we do know about the seabed here on Earth is perhaps at its scantiest in the remote polar regions.

Researchers invent process to make sustainable rubber, plastics
30th April 2017 phys.org | Earth, Tech

Synthetic rubber and plastics – used for manufacturing tires, toys and myriad other products – are produced from butadiene, a molecule traditionally made from petroleum or natural gas. But those manmade materials could get a lot greener soon, thanks to the ingenuity of a team of scientists from three U.S. research universities.

UK tests cheaper, longer-lasting roads made with recycled plastic
30th April 2017 inhabitat.com | Earth, Tech

Around 24.8 million miles of roads crisscross the surface of Earth. And hundreds of millions of barrels of oil have been used for that development. Engineer Toby McCartney came up with a solution to that waste of natural resources and the growing plastic pollution problem. His company, Scotland-based MacRebur, lays roads that are as much as 60 percent stronger than regular asphalt roads and last around 10 times longer – and they’re made with recycled plastic.

This plastic-eating caterpillar can help us get rid of our trash
29th April 2017 | researchgate.net | Animal Life, Earth

Plastic bags need hundreds of years to biodegrade, but wax worms break them down in no time.

The researchers confirmed that the worms’ digestion process was breaking down the plastic, breaking polyethylene’s chemical bond and converting it to ethylene glycol, an organic compound used in the production of polyethylene that itself biodegrades in a few weeks.


Alt: This Bug Can Eat Plastic. But Can It Clean Up Our Mess?

Talk of a ‘localised nuclear conflict’ is ignorant and dangerous
28th April 2017 | newscientist.com | Earth, Misc.

An unwelcome development is the return of cold war chatter about “local” nuclear wars – the idea that a few warheads tossed around east Asia might be locally unpleasant but manageable on a planetary scale. This idea needs to be quashed. Quite apart from the difficulty in preventing a local conflict from growing into a large-scale multinational war, those who study nuclear war scenarios say millions of tonnes of smoke would gush into the stratosphere, resulting in a nuclear winter that would lower global temperatures for years. The ensuing global crisis in agriculture – dubbed a “nuclear famine” – would be devastating.

Somali pirates ‘motivated by drought:’ US commander
28th April 2017 | rawstory.com | Earth, Misc.

Pirates in Somalia are being driven to the seas by a devastating drought, says the top U.S. military commander in Africa.

A spate of pirate attacks have occurred off the coast of Somalia in recent months after a five-year hiatus in the region

Research shows global warming making oceans more toxic
28th April 2017 phys.org | Earth

Climate change is predicted to cause a series of maladies for world oceans including heating up, acidification, and the loss of oxygen.


Related: As Rising Seas Erode Shorelines, Tasmania Shows What Can Be Lost

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