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Preview: EurekAlert! - Earth Science

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: Sat, 17 Feb 2018 15:24:01 EST

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

Asteroid 'time capsules' may help explain how life started on Earth

Sat, 17 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Georgia Institute of Technology) In popular culture, asteroids play the role of apocalyptic threat, get blamed for wiping out the dinosaurs -- and offer an extraterrestrial source for mineral mining. But for Georgia Tech researcher Nicholas Hud, asteroids play an entirely different role: that of time capsules showing what molecules originally existed in our solar system. Having that information gives scientists the starting point they need to reconstruct the complex pathway that got life started on Earth.

NASA sees Tropical Storm 10S form along Western Australia Coast

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) After days of lingering off the west Kimberley coast of Western Australia as a slowly organizing low pressure area, Tropical Storm 10S has formed about 50 miles west of Broome, Australia.

Walls, toxicity and explosions: How plant cells protect themselves from salinity in soil

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Carnegie Institution for Science) Roots face many challenges in the soil in order to supply the plant with the necessary water and nutrients. New work shows that one of these challenges, salinity, can cause root cells to explode if the risk is not properly sensed. Salinity has deleterious effects on plant health and limits crop yields, because salt inhibits water uptake and can be toxic for plants. But plant biologists discovered a never-before-described effect that salt has on the plant cell wall.

NASA sees Tropical Cyclone Gita weakening

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite and the GPM core satellite passed over Tropical Cyclone Gita is it began weakening from vertical wind shear.

A mineral blueprint for finding Burgess Shale-type fossils

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Yale University) Scientists have identified a mineral signature for sites that are more likely to contain rare fossils that preserve evidence of soft tissue -- essential information to understanding ancient life.

Stanford scientists eavesdrop on volcanic rumblings to forecast eruptions

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Stanford's School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences ) Sound waves generated by burbling lakes of lava atop some volcanoes point to greater odds of magmatic outbursts. This finding could provide advance warning to people who live near active volcanoes.

CCNY and international partners explore sustainable reuse of wind turbine blades

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(City College of New York) With the rapid development of wind energy technology in the past 15 years comes a new conundrum: how to dispose of the non-biodegradable blades in current wind turbines in a sustainable way. The City College of New York and its international partners are on it.

Even without the clean power plan, US can achieve Paris Agreement emissions reductions

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Carnegie Mellon University) Carnegie Mellon University researchers have calculated that the US can meet -- or even beat -- the near-term carbon dioxide emission reductions required by the United Nations Paris Agreement, despite the Trump Administration's withdrawal of the Clean Power Plan (CPP).

Dallas researchers study Texas' first federally endangered mussel species

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Texas A&M AgriLife Communications) A team of Texas A&M AgriLife scientists led by Dr. Charles Randklev in Dallas works alongside collaborators to understand the ecology and taxonomy of Texas' first federally endangered mussel species.

Hidden talents: Converting heat into electricity with pencil and paper

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie) Thermoelectric materials can use thermal differences to generate electricity. Now there is an inexpensive and environmentally friendly way of producing them with the simplest of components: a normal pencil, photocopy paper, and conductive paint are sufficient to convert a temperature difference into electricity via the thermoelectric effect. This has now been demonstrated by a team at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin.

Fungal enzymes could hold secret to making renewable energy from wood

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of York) An international team of researchers, including scientists from the University of York, has discovered a set of enzymes found in fungi that are capable of breaking down one of the main components of wood. The enzymes could now potentially be used to sustainably convert wood biomass into valuable chemical commodities such as biofuels.

Study: Rural ranchers face less access to water during drought than urban counterparts

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Portland State University) The findings highlight a rural-urban divide and show that ranchers' access to water was neither equal nor valued during the drought in Mexico's Baja California Sur state from 2006 to 2012.

Evolutionary origin of termite gut microbiome revealed

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University) Researchers have shown that the bacterial communities in termite guts came about through both inheritance and transfer between colonies.

Advanced computing and water management at the AAAS Meeting 2018

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center) Artificial intelligence is helping people make better decisions about managing water resources. Scientists are taking the best tools of advanced computing to help make decisions about complex and pressing problems in managing Earth's resources, including water.A science panel on AI and water management headed by Suzanne Pierce of the Texas Advanced Computing Center meets in Austin, Texas on February 17th at the 2018 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

At last, butterflies get a bigger, better evolutionary tree

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Florida Museum of Natural History) Butterflies offer key insights into community ecology, how species originate and evolve, climate change and interactions between plants and insects. But a comprehensive map of how butterflies are related to each other has been lacking -- until now.

Comes naturally? Using stick insects, scientists explore natural selection, predictability

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Utah State University) Predicting evolution remains difficult. Scientists from Utah State University, University of Sheffield, University of Connecticut, University of Notre Dame and Simon Frasier University studied evolution of cryptic body coloration and pattern in stick insects for insights.

Geophysicists and atmospheric scientists partner to track typhoons' seismic footprints

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Princeton University) A remarkable collaboration between atmospheric science and geophysics could change the way we think about storms and seismicity, and could lead to an answer to the often-asked 'Are hurricanes getting stronger?' Princeton University's Lucia Gualtieri and Salvatore Pascale led an international team that has identified the seismic footprint of typhoons and hurricanes, which allows climate scientists to add decades to their dataset of powerful storms.

World's most venomous spiders are actually cousins

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(San Diego State University) Two lineages of dangerous arachnids found in Australia--long classified as distantly related in the official taxonomy--are, in fact, relatively close evolutionary cousins. The lineages include the most venomous spiders in the world. The findings could help in the development of novel antivenoms, as well as point to new forms of insecticides.

System draws power from daily temperature swings

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Massachusetts Institute of Technology) A new device from MIT can draw power out of the daily cycle of temperature swings to power remote sensors or communications systems.

Soft tissue fossil clues could help search for ancient life on Earth and other planets

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of Oxford) Fossils that preserve entire organisms (including both hard and soft body parts) are critical to our understanding of evolution and ancient life on Earth. However, these exceptional deposits are extremely rare. New Oxford University research suggests that the mineralogy of the surrounding earth is key to conserving soft parts of organisms, and finding more exceptional fossils. Part-funded by NASA, the work could potentially support the Mars Rover Curiosity in its sample analysis, and speed up the search for traces of life on other planets.

NASA's Aqua satellite finds a wispy Tropical Depression Sanba

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the Sulu Sea as Tropical Depression Sanba continued to weaken.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite tracking Tropical Cyclone Gita

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center) Tropical Cyclone Gita remained a powerful hurricane in the Southern Pacific Ocean when NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite passed overhead and captured a visible image of the storm.

Hurricanes Irma and Maria temporarily altered choruses of land and sea animals

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(American Geophysical Union) Audio recordings of Hurricanes Irma and Maria's passage over Puerto Rico document how the calls of coastal critters changed in response to the deadly storms. The hurricanes caused a major disruption in the acoustic activity of snapping shrimp, a reduction in insect and bird sounds, and potentially an intensification of fish choruses, according to new research presented at the Ocean Sciences Meeting Friday.

UK fracking industry would need strict controls to minimise spill risk

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(Durham University) Strict controls would be 'a necessity' to minimise the risk of spills and leaks from any future UK shale gas industry, according to new research.

Top oil spill expert available to discuss new oil spill dispersant research

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 EST

(University of New Hampshire) Internationally recognized oil spill expert, Nancy Kinner, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of New Hampshire is available to discuss new post-Deepwater Horizon (DWH) dispersant research and its use in future oil spill responses.