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

There's a Whole New Type of Stone And It's Made From Our Plastic

Congratulations, humanity: After millennia of building cathedrals and toiling over great works of art and science, we've finally created something that will far outlast us. It's called Plastiglomerate, a stone made out of molten plastic, and yes, we should probably be ashamed of ourselves. » 6/10/14 10:20am 6/10/14 10:20am

China Is Literally Moving Mountains to Build New Cities

China is on a giant building spree and nothing is going to stop it—not even mountains. Entire mountaintops are being razed to fill in valleys, paving the way for future cities. The problem is that no one really knows what they're doing. "[E]arth-moving on this scale without scientific support is folly," warn three… » 6/05/14 2:00pm 6/05/14 2:00pm

How Forty Acres of Desert Appeared in the Middle of Maine

Maine has miles and miles of coastline, but its most spectacular sand dunes are nowhere near water. For that, you'd have to head inland, toward the vast, sandy expanse known as the "Desert of Maine." There, thanks to hapless farmers and some unusual geology, you'll find rolling dunes in the land of lobster and pine… » 5/28/14 3:00pm 5/28/14 3:00pm

Oh Great, Now the Drought Could Be Causing Earthquakes in California

As if the drought couldn't get any worse, geologists now think that changes in groundwater could be destabilizing the infamous San Andreas Fault. The new research presents what one may call, as the SF Public Press put it, "a grand unified theory of California problems: drought, water use, and earthquake risk."… » 5/15/14 2:40pm 5/15/14 2:40pm

No One Knows Why Deep, Dangerous Holes Are Appearing In This Sand Dune

One summer day last July, a six-year-old boy was walking across a dune when he disappeared, falling into a deep, narrow hole in the sand. This and two other holes that have since appeared at Indiana's Mount Baldy are unlike anything scientists have seen before—it could be an entirely new geological phenomenon. » 4/28/14 6:30pm 4/28/14 6:30pm

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,… » 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,"… » 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