If all goes according to plan, NASA’s Mars InSight mission will launch this weekend from California. Onboard the Atlas V-401 rocket is the InSight lander, a nearly 800-pound machine loaded up with cameras, a robotic arm, a heat probe, and a seismometer that, for the first time, will allow us to examine the inner…
Admit it, you don’t really understand why the Earth has a magnetic field. Sure, movement inside the Earth’s outer core is creating a electric current, generating a magnetic field through it. But what’s causing this movement?
It wasn’t scientists who discovered the thin, purple, east-to-west traveling glow in the northern night sky. It was people with cameras and a nerdy passion for auroras.
Three decades ago, scientists began to study the possibility that there was a plume of hot rock coming up from the mantle, heating parts of Western Antarctica. Back in September, researchers published results of a model showing how such a plume might affect the Antarctic ice sheet. Today, these headlines started to…
Lasciate ogni speranza, voi ch’entrate, reads the gates to the Inferno. “Abandon all hope, you who enter,” which is a pretty nice way of saying “welcome to Hell.” But there’s a real underworld, albeit one with fewer dogs and less being blown around by the wind or wading through shit. Scientists are working on a…
The largest mud volcano eruption has been raging in Indonesia since May 29, 2006. At its peak, 180,000 cubic meters of mud flowed daily from a site near a heavily populated region of Java—enough mud to completely fill the Empire State Building every six days. Almost 60,000 villagers have fled since then, and it’s…
Do not lose sleep tonight, the world will not end as the result of some enormous supervolcano eruption in Yellowstone National Park any time soon. But there is a whole lot of other interesting stuff going on there—so maybe it’s worth losing sleep by getting excited about science. Nerd.
This month has been marked with a staggering number of geological and meteorological catastrophes. Powerful hurricanes have pummeled the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, and a spate of earthquake events rocked Mexico. Now, geologists worry that seismic activity in Indonesia will lead to a powerful volcanic eruption.
When you think about what makes a planet special, maybe you think about its size, its composition, how far it is from the Sun, and maybe how large its collection of apples is. You are probably not thinking about its density. But maybe you should be.
Earth’s magnetic field does way more than guide our compasses and cause occasional worry. It’s part of the reason there’s life at all on this planet—it protects us from harmful solar radiation that might otherwise blow our ozone layer away.
Last night, planet Earth rumbled in a place where it usually doesn’t rumble: Montana. But it also rumbled in the Philippines. Come to think of it, it rumbled in Vanuatu and Japan too. The Earth rumbles a lot.
England’s famed White Cliffs of Dover were formed almost 100 million years ago out of the crushed shells of tiny single-celled algae. Now a team of scientists has identified the specific ocean conditions necessary for these sea creatures to thrive.
For the first time, researchers have peered thousands of meters beneath Greenland’s glistening surface to map the bottom of the ice sheet. They were surprised to learn that it’s thawing all over the place.
NASA has spotted something strange and beautiful in the sands of Mars—a remarkable dune field that looks eerily similar to Morse code. And it has a message for us.
British geophysicists have discovered evidence of an ancient drainage network buried beneath Greenland’s ice sheet that once extended across nearly a fifth of its total surface. Some of the channels within this system were about a mile deep and over seven miles wide.
We know about our North and South poles, but what about an East, West, or slightly-to-the-left pole? According to new research published in Geophysical Research Letters, around 1 billion years ago, that might have been a possibility.
Beneath the hum of ship traffic and the chatter of marine life, another sound is emanating from the Caribbean Sea. It’s far too low pitched for humans to hear, but its signature can be detected from space. Scientists have never seen—or heard—anything like it.
For the first time, geologists have compiled a global map of the wave-like motions called “convective currents” inside Earth’s mantle. They found that those convective currents are moving roughly ten times faster than previously thought. The discovery can help explain everything from how Earth’s surface changes over…
If you’ve had your fill of depressing predictions for the future, here’s one that is both fascinating and as innocuous as they come: as ice caps melt, Earth’s rotation is slowing down, and that’s making our days ever so slightly longer.
It took 2,500 seismometers, 23 explosive blasts, and countless earthquakes, but researchers now have a much better idea of what the magma chambers look like deep below Mount Saint Helens. The weird bit? It looks like it shares a magma chamber with a whole field of local volcanoes.