A single shale oil field in the United States is responsible for a significant upsurge in global atmospheric levels of ethane, a dangerous gas that has been linked to climate change and pollution. It’s yet more evidence that fracking is screwing up our planet.
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.
So say you need to get a few hundred pounds of cocaine from Mexico to the US. Underground, preferably, so as not to attract too much attention. Where’s the best place one might, hypothetically, do this? Asking for a friend.
Earth Day isn’t just about planting trees. It’s about appreciating what a complex, living machine our planet is. And we’re better equipped to do that now than ever before, thanks to an army of Earth-orbiting satellites collecting real-time data on everything from the ozone layer to sea level changes to the abundance…
ISS astronaut Tim Peake recently snapped a photo of an erupting volcano on Russia’s far east coast. It’s so clear you can even see how the snow has melted around its peak.
We have a good idea of what those bright spots on Ceres are, but the question of how they got there remains mysterious. Now, an incredibly low-altitude image of the dwarf planet reveals details about their origins.
How the dinosaurs went extinct is a contentious topic of endless scientific debate. Were they killed by a giant asteroid, a rash of volcanic eruptions, or some deadly combination of the two? Or, perhaps, we’ve been thinking about the problem all wrong.
Japan and Ecuador were rocked by major earthquakes over the weekend, prompting speculation that the two seismic events were somehow related. Here’s why that’s extremely unlikely.
History has a way of repeating itself. Humans are currently conducting a grand experiment with Earth’s climate, but the outcome of that experiment may be foretold. According to Penn State climate scientist Richard Alley, the future—or a somewhat diluted version of it—happened 55.9 million years ago.
On April 6th, China’s SJ-10 satellite will launch into orbit from the remote Jiuquan spaceport in the Gobi desert. The event would be unremarkable if not for the satellite’s rather unusual payload: six titanium cylinders of crude oil, compressed to 500 times standard atmospheric pressure.
If we want to know what sorts of creatures will survive the next mass extinction, the best place to look is the fossil record. After examining the bones of Lystrosaurus, a vertebrate that famously thrived during the worst apocalypse in the history of life on Earth, a team of paleontologists think they know how it…
In March 1968, a Soviet Golf II submarine carrying nuclear ballistic missiles exploded and sank 1,500 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii. Five months later, the US government discovered the wreckage—and decided to steal it. So began Project AZORIAN, one of the most absurdly ambitious operations the CIA has ever…
NASA has released a new image of Pluto’s Tartarus Dorsa, the ‘bladed’ region to the east of the heart-shaped formation known as the Tombaugh Region. The 3D image reminds us of how weird the dwarf planet is.
For forty years, astronomers have puzzled over the miles-high mounds rising from of the centers of Martian craters. Scientists have finally pieced together an origin story for the weird geologic pimples—and it reveals a critical moment in the Red Planet’s history.
Carbon hasn’t entered our atmosphere this quickly in at least 66 million years—since an asteroid slammed into our planet and wiped out the dinosaurs, or perhaps even earlier. Our addiction to fossil fuels has pushed the planet into a “no-analog” state that’s “likely to result in widespread future extinctions,” an…
A geophysicist in California says the San Andreas fault could be triggered into rupturing by the smaller San Jacinto fault nearby, causing a single devastating earthquake. Such a “joint rupture” may have happened before—and it could very well happen again.
Last month, the Cheval Roc Nursing and Residential Home opened atop a 100-foot-high coastal cliff. After heavy rains rocked the area last week, a significant portion of the cliff collapsed, prompting the inevitable question: Why the hell did the developers choose to build an old folks home in such a precarious spot?
Uniformly spaced gaps called “fairy circles” often appear in the grasslands of Namibia. The unprecedented discovery of these enigmatic patches in the Australian outback now reaffirms an ongoing theory about their origin. (It’s not aliens.)
A hundred million years ago, ichthyosaurs—massive marine reptiles that look like a dolphin mated with a fish—ruled Earth’s oceans. But nearly 30 million years before the extinction of the dinosaurs, these badass predators vanished. It wasn’t an asteroid that killed the ichthyosaurs, so what did?
Sixty-six million years ago, planet Earth had a shit day when a six-mile-wide asteroid smashed into the Yucatán Peninsula, triggering a series of events that killed off the dinosaurs. Later this month, a scientific expedition will drill into the heart of Chicxulub crater for the very first time, seeking to learn more…