Earth science research and news. Read science articles on air quality, geology, meteorology, oceanography, paleontology and science and the environment.
Record Missouri flooding was humanmade calamity, scientist says
Why was the New Year's flood in Missouri so bad? Most news reports blamed it on the heavy rain, but a professor of earth and planetary sciences says analysis of the flood data shows much of the damage was due to recent modifications to the river.
Central Appalachia flatter due to mountaintop mining
Forty years of mountaintop coal mining have made parts of Central Appalachia 60 percent flatter than they were before excavation, researchers say. This study, which compares pre- and post-mining topographic data in southern West Virginia, is the first to examine the large-scale impact of mountaintop mining on landscape topography and how the changes influence water quality.
Climate change's frost harms early plant reproduction
Climate change may harm early-flowering plants not through plant-pollinator mismatch but through frost damage, a new study shows.
Battery technology could charge up water desalination
The technology that charges batteries for electronic devices could provide fresh water from salty seas, says a new study. Electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.
Southwest sliding into a new normal: Drier conditions
The weather patterns that typically bring moisture to the Southwest are becoming more rare, an indication that the region is sliding into the drier climate state predicted by global models, according to a new study.
Can slow creep along thrust faults help forecast megaquakes?
In Japan and areas like the Pacific Northwest where megathrust earthquakes are common, scientists may be able to better forecast large quakes based on periodic increases and decreases in the rate of slow, quiet slipping along the fault.
Plastic debris crossing the Pacific can transport more species with the help of barnacles
The smooth surfaces of much of the plastic waste rapidly increasing in the ocean appear to provide poor habitat for animals -- that is, until barnacles step in.
Lithium battery catalyst found to harm key soil microorganism
The material at the heart of the lithium ion batteries that power electric vehicles, laptop computers and smartphones has been shown to impair a key soil bacterium. The study is an early signal that the growing use of the new nanoscale materials used in the rechargeable batteries that power portable electronics and electric and hybrid vehicles may have untold environmental consequences.
Scientists map movement of Greenland Ice during past 9,000 years
Scientists have created the first map that shows how the Greenland Ice Sheet has moved over time, revealing that ice in the interior is moving more slowly toward the edges than it has, on average, during the past 9,000 years.
How forest management and deforestation are impacting climate
Two new studies reveal how altering the composition of trees in forests is influencing not only the carbon cycle, but air surface temperatures to a significant degree as well.