Deepsea Minerals Are Coming Soon To A Cell Phone Near You

Rocks mined from the seafloor have been confirmed as a viable source for rare earth metals, and thus a tiny piece of the ocean might soon find its way into a cell phone or computer chipboard near you. The finding, published in the April 2014 issue of Applied Geochemistry, all but guarantees a new round of focus on… » 4/18/14 12:00pm 4/18/14 12:00pm

How Huge Subterranean Grids Could Protect Cities From Earthquakes

French engineers have been experimenting with a technique that could redirect seismic energy away from structures such as cities, dams, and nuclear power plants, sparing them from damage. It involves digging large, cylindrical boreholes into the ground, forming a defensive geometry of lace-like arrays that, researchers … » 4/08/14 6:00pm 4/08/14 6:00pm

The Fossilized Machines Humans Will Leave Behind

In the debut issue of a new journal called The Anthropocene Review, University of Leicester geologist Jan Zalasiewicz leads a team of five writers in discussing the gradual fossilization of human artifacts, including industrial machines, everyday objects, and even whole cities. They refer to these as "technofossils," and … » 3/31/14 12:20pm 3/31/14 12:20pm

How The Corvette Museum Rescued Its Cars From A Giant Sinkhole

In a story that united geologists with rare car enthusiasts last month, a massive sinkhole opened up beneath the National Corvette Museums's Skydome, swallowing eight rare cars into its cavernous depths. Since then, the museum has worked tirelessly to recover the cars and fill in the sinkhole so that the Skydome can… » 3/21/14 4:00pm 3/21/14 4:00pm

Antarctic Ice Is Hiding a Super-Trench Way Deeper Than the Grand Canyon

The ice sheet that covers Antarctica is ancient, hiding a whole landscape of mountains and valleys that once teemed with life. Using radar and satellite footage, scientists are studying this hidden world—and they just found a two-mile-deep canyon down there. » 1/14/14 11:40am 1/14/14 11:40am

The Mississippi River Is A Land-Making Machine: Dredgefest 2014

For the last four years, the Dredge Research Collaborative has been looking at dredging and erosion control as a form of often unacknowledged landscape architecture. Part of their work is a series of festivals they're calling DredgeFest that celebrate and examine the role that dredging plays in landscaping. Their next… » 1/09/14 9:40am 1/09/14 9:40am

Scientists Unearth The Truth Behind Ultra-Creepy Earthquake Lights

Have you ever heard of "earthquake lights"? I've spent a good chunk of my life in shake-happy coastal California and this phenomenon is news to me—but, for centuries, people have reported seeing a wide variety of illuminations just slightly before and during major tremblers. The origin of these glows have consistently… » 1/02/14 5:34pm 1/02/14 5:34pm

5 Crazy Places We Can Go Looking for Diamonds

Hold on to your engagement rings. Diamonds, according to an industry report, are falling off a supply cliff in 2018. As existing diamond mines are depleted even as worldwide demand increases—thanks, especially to a newly rich Asia—three months' salary might soon buy you a much punier rock. » 12/23/13 1:00pm 12/23/13 1:00pm

Canada's About to Claim the North Pole as Its Own

Have you spent the past decade believing that Canada is nothing more than our friendly, innocuous neighbor to the north? Good—that's what they wanted you to think. In reality, Canada has given the past 10 years of its life and $200 million dollars in taxpayer money to file the ultimate claim: over 1 million square… » 12/03/13 1:20pm 12/03/13 1:20pm

Here's What the Tip of the Washington Monument Looks Like Up Close

The 129-year-old Washington Monument is enshrouded in scaffolding this month, as workers repair the structural cracks caused by a a 2011 earthquake. But the scaffolds are giving scientists the chance to carry out other work, too: Like measuring the exact height of the aging monument. » 11/12/13 10:40am 11/12/13 10:40am