Articles on Earth science

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The scientific drilling ship JOIDES Resolution arrives in Honolulu after successful sea trials and testing of scientific and drilling equipment. IODP

Scientists have been drilling into the ocean floor for 50 years – here’s what they’ve found so far

The ocean floor holds unique information about Earth's history. Scientific ocean drilling, which started 50 years ago, has yielded insights into climate change, geohazards and the key conditions for life.
Long’s Peak framed by rock outcrop, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. Roy Luck

Nitrogen from rock could fuel more plant growth around the world – but not enough to prevent climate change

Scientists have long thought most nitrogen in Earth's ecosystems comes from the air, but new research shows it also is released as rocks weather. This could boost plant growth and help sequester carbon – but not fast enough to avert climate change, as some pundits have claimed.
Seismic shockwaves after a meteorite’s collision could affect systems all over the planet. solarseven/Shutterstock.com

More bad news for dinosaurs: Chicxulub meteorite impact triggered global volcanic eruptions on the ocean floor

Research suggests a new threat to life on Earth from the meteorite's crash: Via seismic waves, the impact triggered massive undersea eruptions, as big as any ever seen in our planet's history.
Fires break out across San Francisco after the April 18, 1906 earthquake. USGS

California’s other drought: A major earthquake is overdue

According to current forecasts, California has a 93 percent chance of an earthquake with magnitude 7 or greater occurring by 2045. Early warning systems, now in development, could limit casualties and damage.
Searching for victims after a rain-triggered mudslide that blanketed a village and killed at least 178 people in north China’s Shanxi province, Sept. 13, 2008. AP Photo/Andy Wong

Global toll from landslides is heaviest in developing countries

While the Montecito, California mudslides took 20 lives, landslides kill far more people in developing countries. Tighter construction standards and early warning systems could help reduce their toll.
NASA Earth Science Division operating missions, including systems managed by NOAA and USGS. NASA Earth Observing System

Eyes in the sky: Cutting NASA Earth observations would be a costly mistake

President Trump's 2018 budget request cuts funding for NASA Earth observation research and cancels four missions. Weather forecasters, businesses, scientists and the armed forces rely on this data.

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