Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
Wind turbines killing more than just local birds
Wind turbines are known to kill large birds, such as golden eagles, that live nearby. Now there is evidence that birds from up to hundreds of miles away make up a significant portion of the raptors that are killed at these wind energy fields.
Game theory research reveals fragility of common resources
People are naturally predisposed to over-use "common-pool resources" such as transportation systems and fisheries even if it risks failure of the system, to the detriment of society as a whole, new research in game theory shows.
New technique for finding weakness in Earth's crust
Scientists have developed a method to estimate weakness in the Earth’s outer layers which will help explain and predict volcanic activity and earthquakes.
Contrary to popular belief, coca not the driving force of deforestation, report reveals
Most of the world’s coca—the plant source of cocaine—grows in the Amazon forests of the Andean countries of Colombia, Peru and Bolivia, where many think this illicit crop causes deforestation. However, a team of researchers shows that most deforestation isn’t caused by coca cultivation. In fact, the study found that deforestation and coca both share a common origin in the implementation of an infrastructure plan from the 1960s to open the Amazon frontier through road construction and development projects.
Are suburban garden ponds spreading lethal frog disease?
Keen gardeners stocking their domestic ponds with exotic or wild aquatic species could be inadvertently fueling the rapid spread of the lethally infectious frog disease ranavirus in England, according to new research.
Food additive key to environmentally friendly, efficient, plastic solar cells
An efficient, semi-printed plastic solar cell has now been created without the use of environmentally hazardous halogen solvents.
Marine snow fuels life on the sea-floor
City-sized maps of terrain and life on the sea-floor have revealed that drifts of 'marine snow' on submarine hillsides act as a source of food to fuel a higher biomass of marine life on the hills than on the flatter plains surrounding hills This finding comes from research that may help improve understanding of how features, like hillside slopes and plateaus, add complexity to seafloor habitats and help drive the distribution of marine life.
News from the primordial world
A new study offers a twist on a popular theory for how life on Earth began about four billion years ago. The study questions the "RNA world" hypothesis, a theory for how RNA molecules evolved to create proteins and DNA. Instead, the new research offers evidence for a world where RNA and DNA evolved simultaneously.
Solution blooming for fracking spills?
Wastewater from oil drilling and hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – is often laden with salts and can spill, contaminating soils. In a recent study, researchers tested a method that extracted a large percentage of the salt present in soils contaminated by brine spills.
Study of North Atlantic Ocean reveals decline of leaded petrol emissions
A new study of lead pollution in the North Atlantic provides strong evidence that leaded petrol emissions have declined over the past few decades. For the first time in around 40 years, scientists have detected lead from natural sources in samples from this ocean. In the intervening period, the proportion of lead in the ocean from humanmade sources, most importantly leaded petrol emissions, had been so high that it was not possible to detect any lead from natural sources.