Experts have been warning of a looming shortage of helium for years, as the known reserves are being depleted. Now British researchers have discovered a large reserve of helium gas in Tanzania, using a new exploration method that offers hope for the future.
The most popular artificial material on Earth isn’t steel, plastic, or aluminum — it’s concrete. Thousands of years ago, we used it to build civilizations, but then our knowledge of how to make it was lost. Here’s how we discovered concrete, forgot it, and then finally cracked the mystery of what makes it so strong.
The ancient Earth was a pretty miserable place. But from this eruptive, radiation-blasted, asteroid-pummeled wasteland, life did arise. Now, scientists have uncovered a tantalizing clue that Earth’s first hardy colonizers appeared much earlier than we thought.
If you hopped in the Tardis and traveled back four billion years, you’d find yourself on a hot, miserable wasteland of a planet with nary an oxygen molecule to breathe. Earth used to be an asphyxiating hellscape, but over the eons, tiny green microbes filled the air with oxygen. New research finds they’ve been at it…
Curious about how life got started on Earth 3.8 billion years ago? Here’s a thought: Why not recreate ancient hydrothermal vents in the lab, and see if they produce enough juice to power a lightbulb? That, at least, is what a bunch of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab decided to do—and the electrifying results are…
A major mystery surrounding the Moon's origin and early composition may have finally been solved by a team of Israeli astrophysicists.
Around 3.26 billion years ago — long before the dinosaurs — a massive asteroid measuring nearly 36 miles (58 km) across smashed into the Earth. Geologists have now reconstructed this cataclysmic event, and it was far, far bigger than we thought. Here's how things went down on that fateful day.
Australian researchers have found trace amounts of gold in the leaves of Eucalyptus trees. Now, we’re not talking about a lot of gold — but these amounts are strong indication of larger deposits lying beneath.
Fifty years ago today, a coal seam caught fire in Centralia, Pennsylvania, causing the mines beneath the town to catch fire. While the decades-old fire has caused most residents to abandon the town, a few holdouts remain.
Hydrothermal vents are epicenters to some of the most extreme geochemical processes on the planet. The hot spots of geological activity make their home on the ocean floor, where jets of scalding hot, mineral-rich water spew forth into the depths of the near-freezing ocean.
Don't worry—if we do find evidence of Martians, it will still be on Mars, we'll probably just have to dig a little deeper to find it. A new NASA study has concluded that if life ever thrived on the Red Planet, it probably did so underground, just below the planet's surface.
The Earth was a very different place 3.5 billion years ago. In the absence of oxygen, many scientists believe Earth's earliest ecosystems survived on sulphur, but researchers have long been unable to find any proof of this hypothesis, in the form of fossilized microbial life.
The common mangrove, a tree that grows along most of the world's coastlines, could help us battle climate change. These trees usually live in tidal zones, and their tenticular networks of roots are revealed at low tide.
Using new infrared light techniques, scientists have at last been able to analyze the chemical composition of a piece of lizard skin, preserved for millions of years in dry rock. So what did these reptiles look like in pre-human times?
The Gulf oil spill was an ecological disaster of unmitigated proportions — but some scientific good may come from it. As a side effect of this horrific incident, for the first time scientists have been able to observe how the oil becomes an aerosol, transferring from the sea to the air in an unspoiled environment.
Here's an aerial view of Hungary's toxic spill, which threatens to become an international environmental disaster, from NASA's Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellite. Click through for a close-up that shows the devastation more clearly.
The horrifying, heartbreaking pictures of Ajka, Hungary, look like a natural disaster, like Hurricane Katrina. But they're not. This flooding is the result of a deadly spill from an alumina plant whose reservoir burst open. Warning: dreadfully upsetting photos below.
Research published in Science shows that the BP oil leak pumped out approximately of 4.4 million barrels of oil before being completely capped. That's around 185 million gallons, or 700 million liters. Scientists from Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory studied high resolution footage of the plume,…
250 million years ago, roughly 95% of the species on Earth went extinct in what's often called "the great dying." Megavolcanoes in Siberia were partly to blame. But what caused those volcanoes to erupt so powerfully, for centuries on end?