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EurekAlert! - Earth Science



The premier online source for science news since 1996. A service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.



Last Build Date: Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:24:01 EST

Copyright: Copyright 2018 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); All rights reserved.
 



Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Duke University) More than seven years after Pennsylvania officials requested that the disposal of radium-laden fracking wastewater into surface waters be restricted, a new Duke study finds that high levels of radioactivity persist in stream sediments at three disposal sites. Radioactivity at these sites is 650 times higher than at unaffected sites upstream. The contamination comes from conventional, or non-fracked, oil and gas wastewater, which, under current state regulations, can still be treated and discharged into streams.



Avangrid, UMass Lowell to collaborate on clean energy

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Massachusetts Lowell) A new research partnership between Avangrid, its subsidiary Central Maine Power and UMass Lowell will expand the use of clean-energy technology -- in hydropower, wind energy, power grids, energy storage, data science and more -- benefiting consumers, students and the environment.



Conserving our biodiversity: Priorities for well-connected protected areas

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(European Commission Joint Research Centre) The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service, has measured progress and shortfalls in the connectivity of protected areas in countries across the world, identifying the main priorities to sustain or improve connectivity in each country.



Climate change linked to more flowery forests, FSU study shows

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Florida State University) New research from a Florida State University scientist has revealed a surprising relationship between surging atmospheric carbon dioxide and flower blooms in a remote tropical forest.



Teaming up to prepare for emergencies: JRC data helps international community

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(European Commission Joint Research Centre) The Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service, joins forces with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to assess similarities in emergency preparedness and response across sectors, identify lessons learned and set out good practices for the nuclear sector.



Thorium reactors may dispose of enormous amounts of weapons-grade plutonium

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Tomsk Polytechnic University) Scientists from Tomsk Polytechnic University are developing a new technology for multipurpose application of large amounts of weapons-grade plutonium accumulated in Russia and across the world. Instead of expensive storage of this nuclear material, TPU physicists propose to burn weapons-grade plutonium in reactors with thorium fuel, converting it into power and thermal energy. The units are capable of operating at low capacity (from 60 MW) at least 10-20 years.



Climate change affects fish reproductive phenology in plateau area: Study

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Chinese Academy of Sciences Headquarters) The Research Group of Biological Invasion and Adaptive Evolution (BIAE; PI: CHEN Yifeng) at Institute of Hydrobiology (IHB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences recently answered how reproductive phenology of Gymnocypris selincuoensis, an endemic fish in Lake Selicuo in Tibetan Plateau, associated with climate changes.



Bio-renewable process could help 'green' plastic

Fri, 19 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Wisconsin-Madison) Plastics are often derived from petroleum, contributing to reliance on fossil fuels and driving harmful greenhouse gas emissions. To change that, Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center (GLBRC) scientists are trying to take the pliable nature of plastic in another direction, developing new and renewable ways of creating plastics from biomass.



The Pentagon built with mineralized microbes predating dinosaurs

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Australian National University) A new study led by The Australian National University (ANU) has found that some of the building blocks of the Pentagon and Empire State Building were made by microbes that lived up to 340 million years ago, predating the dinosaurs.



A Russian scientist improved nanofluids for solar power plants

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Siberian Federal University) An associate of Siberian Federal University (SFU) teamed up with his foreign colleagues to increase the efficiency of the heat transfer medium used in solar power plants. The results of the study were published in Renewable Energy journal.



Temporary 'bathtub drains' in the ocean concentrate flotsam

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Washington) An experiment using hundreds of plastic drifters in the Gulf of Mexico shows that rather than simply spread out, as current calculations would predict, many of them clumped together in a tight cluster.



Novel hypothesis on why animals diversified on Earth

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Lund University) Can tumors teach us about animal evolution on Earth? Researchers believe so and now present a novel hypothesis of why animal diversity increased dramatically on Earth about half a billion years ago. A biological innovation may have been key.



Mothers and young struggle as Arctic warms

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Wildlife Conservation Society) A new study from WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society) and partners reveals for the first time the ways in which wild weather swings and extreme icing events are negatively impacting the largest land mammal of the Earth's polar realms -- the muskoxen. The paper demonstrates that while this denizen of the Arctic and other cold-adapted species have spectacular adaptations, the previously unknown effects of rain-on-snow events, winter precipitation, and ice tidal surges are costly for the animals, if not deadly.



Researchers find first evidence of sub-Saharan Africa glassmaking

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Rice University) Scholars from Rice University, University College London and the Field Museum have found the first direct evidence that glass was produced in sub-Saharan Africa centuries before the arrival of Europeans, a finding that the researchers said represents a 'new chapter in the history of glass technology.'



Crop failure in the Andes

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Miami) As co-author of a study published in Global Change Biology, Kenneth Feeley, along with fellow biologist, Richard Tito, a native Quechua Indian from the region and the study's first author, discovered that tough times lie ahead for rural farmers growing the Andes' staple crops -- corn and potatoes.



Using data mining to make sense of climate change

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Georgia Institute of Technology) Georgia Techhas developed a new way of mining data from climate data sets that is more self-contained than traditional tools. The methodology brings out commonalities of data sets without as much expertise from the user, allowing scientists to trust the data and get more robust -- and transparent -- results.



Viruses are everywhere, maybe even in space

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Portland State University) Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility. Portland State University biology professor Ken Stedman and colleagues are trying to change this through their article "Astrovirology: Viruses at Large in the Universe," published in the February 2018 issue of the journal Astrobiology.



NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Berguitta soaking Mauritius and Reunion Island

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA found heavy rainfall in Tropical Cyclone Berguitta as it closed in on Mauritius and Reunion Islands. On Jan. 18, NASA's Terra satellite captured an early morning visible image that showed the center of the storm just south of Mauritius and the storm blanketing both islands. Warnings were in effect for both islands. A tropical cyclone alert class 3 is in effect for Mauritius and La Reunion is on Orange Alert.



Recent advances in understanding coral resilience are essential to safeguard coral reefs

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Bangor University) The most urgent course of action to safeguard coral reefs is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, but concurrently there is also a need to consider novel management techniques and previously over-looked reef areas for protective actions under predicted climate change impacts. The conclusions were reached following a comprehensive review of the literature on the mechanisms of potential coral resistance and recovery across scales from global reef areas to the microbial level within individual corals.



Study finds convergent evolution of gene regulation in humans and mice

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of California - Santa Cruz) Organisms that aren't closely related may evolve similar traits as they adapt to similar challenges. It's called convergent evolution, and familiar examples include the wings of birds, bats, and insects, and echolocation in bats and dolphins. Now, molecular biologists have found evidence of convergent evolution in an important mechanism of gene regulation in humans and mice.



UNH researchers find human impact on forest still evident after 500 years

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of New Hampshire) Researchers at the University of New Hampshire used high-tech tools to more precisely view where these cleared sites were and how much lasting impact they had on the rainforest in the Amazon Basin in South America.



Perovskite solar cells: Mesoporous interface mitigates the impact of defects

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie) The nominal cell operating life of perovskite solar cells is strongly influenced by their inner architecture.This was shown by two scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin and the Technical University of Munich. They combined experiments with numerical simulations in order to explain this observation.



How did we evolve to live longer?

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Newcastle University) Researchers at Newcastle University, UK show that a collection of small adaptations in proteins that respond to stress, accumulated over millennia of human history, could help to explain our increased natural defences and longer lifespan.



Bacteria under your feet

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(European Research Council) In cooperation with Universidad Rey Juan Carlos - URJCAn international team of researchers, including ERC grantee Fernando T. Maestre from Universidad Rey Juan Carlos (URJC), pieced together a global atlas of soil bacteria. The study, published today in Science, identifies some five hundred species of dominant bacteria living in soils worldwide. The findings, based on EU-funded research, could open new paths to improve soil fertility and increase agricultural production.



Coupling experiments to theory to build a better battery

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 EST

(DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) A Berkeley Lab-led team of researchers has reported that a new lithium-sulfur battery component allows a doubling in capacity compared to a conventional lithium-sulfur battery, even after more than 100 charge cycles.