Scientists Will Drill Directly Into a Fault Overdue For an Earthquake

The Alpine fault is the most dangerous fault in New Zealand—and one of the most dangerous in the world. It ruptures with an 8.0-magnitude earthquake roughly once every 300 years, and with the last one in 1717, it's ripe for another. So what are we going to do about it? Why, drill a hole nearly a mile deep into it. » 10/07/14 10:53am 10/07/14 10:53am

Be Prepared for the Next Big One With This DIY Earthquake Detector

A large-scale early warning system for California earthquakes should be rolling out soon—at least, as soon as the government funding kicks in. Until then, one of the scientists working on the prototype decided to turn his seismic knowledge into an at-home science project, designing this DIY earthquake alarm for about… » 9/10/14 4:30pm 9/10/14 4:30pm

The Mystery of Death Valley's "Sailing Stones" Is Finally Solved

On a dried-up lake bed in Death Valley are dozens of rocks that have puzzled us for decades. The rocks have each left a dusty trail, evidence of some unknown force propelling them forward. Scientists have now finally observed the rocks moving and settled on an explanation: Thin ice and a gentle breeze. » 8/27/14 5:33pm 8/27/14 5:33pm

An Asteroid With Active Volcanoes Once Wandered the Early Universe

Back in 2008, astronomers detected an asteroid heading straight toward Earth. For the first time ever, they tracked the rock as it veered towards our planet and exploded over the Nubian desert. Now, pieces of the recovered meteorite are beginning to reveal its secrets—like how it once harbored an active volcano. » 8/20/14 2:18pm 8/20/14 2:18pm

Ancient Worms May Have Saved Life on Earth 530 Million Years Ago

About 2.5 billion years ago, microbes began making a poison that would cause one of the largest mass extinctions on Earth. The few organisms that could handle this poison flourished, going on to become our ancestors. The poison? It was oxygen. It's a wonder that oxygen levels didn't keep rising until Earth became… » 8/06/14 4:37pm 8/06/14 4:37pm

The Moon Might Be Littered With Fossils From Ancient Earth

Earth is an unforgiving place. Volcanoes erupt, rivers erode, continents break up—it's a small miracle every time a millions-of-years-old creature is found fossilized in rock. By comparison, the moon is dead and lifeless; astronaut footprints will be preserved forever in moon dust. So it's the moon that could hold the… » 7/29/14 4:18pm 7/29/14 4:18pm

Lightning can be heard halfway around the world via radio

Lightning, as we know, is an awesome burst of energy. When lightning strikes, some of that energy can be converted into radio waves that then zip through space along Earth's magnetic field, so that lightning in Alaska can be heard as "whistlers" on a radio receiver all the way in New Zealand. » 7/25/14 5:57pm 7/25/14 5:57pm

Scientists Are Dropping Explosives All Over Mount St. Helens On Purpose

What could go wrong with setting off explosives all around an active volcano? As scary as it might sound, this is a carefully planned experiment to peer inside Mount St. Helens' mysterious underground magma chamber. No, we aren't blasting the volcano open, but the induced seismicity will let geologists finally map… » 7/08/14 5:40pm 7/08/14 5:40pm

There Are Vast Reserves of Ancient Freshwater Hidden Below the Ocean

When you're drilling deep under the seabed, the last thing you might expect is freshwater. Yet Danish scientists on a recent expedition in the Baltic Sea suddenly found freshwater gushing up from their drill. In fact, undersea freshwater reserves are hidden all over the world, and some claim this could quench our… » 7/03/14 5:20pm 7/03/14 5:20pm

Scientists Discover an Entirely New Kind of Meteorite

At a pink limestone quarry in Sweden, finding meteorite is no big deal—workers have found 101 of them in the past 20 years. But a new space rock discovery has scientists scratching their heads. The meteorite is of a class that's never before been seen, and it may hold a key to the explosion of life on Earth nearly 500… » 7/01/14 10:00am 7/01/14 10:00am

How an Ancient Mountain Range Made NYC's Skyscrapers Possible

Way back in the day—like really way back, 400 million years ago—Manhattan was covered in a different kind of towering behemoth: Mountains, as tall as the Alps. And though those peaks are long gone, it turns out that we owe a lot to them. In fact, they're the foundation upon which NYC's skyscrapers are built. » 6/27/14 12:20pm 6/27/14 12:20pm

How WWI Bombs Shattered Bedrock and Changed the Geology of France

Every once in a while, we're reminded of World War I's awful legacy: Trenches that run like gashes through the French countryside, craters in farmland, the iron harvest. These scars are even deeper than we might imagine. Bombs actually shattered bedrock and created the bizarre, dimpled landscape of modern day Verdun. » 6/13/14 4:40pm 6/13/14 4:40pm