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EARTH Magazine

EARTH Magazine January 2019

Each month, EARTH Magazine brings the latest news and information about the science of the Earth, energy, and the environment in a colorful and approachable format ideal for all. All EARTH stories come straight from the actual published science and tells the real story behind the headlines.

United States
American Geological Institute
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2 мин.
from the editor

It’s often said that we know more about the surface of Mars than we do about the depths of Earth’s oceans. Several scientists are trying to change that, one diminutive robot at a time — or maybe actually dozens to hundreds at a time! At the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Sciences meeting last February, I met oceanographer Jules Jaffe, who developed the optical technology used to discover the Titanic. Jaffe gave a presentation about the miniature robots his lab has recently developed to track and measure all kinds of cool things in the oceans, from plankton movements in the tidal zone to oil spill dispersion to seafloor topography. He foresees a future in which swarms of such robots advance marine science by collecting millions of pictures and data points, thereby increasing…

7 мин.
how to tell a good science story

Everyone has a story to tell. Scientists are no exception, especially given that scientific studies can take researchers to far-flung places around the planet, lead to amazing new discoveries about the world we live in and produce challenges that provide the drama that is so important for a great story. Stories have the power to transport listeners to the places and experiences the storyteller is sharing with them. What better way is there to show that science is relevant, exciting and conducted by people who are passionate about what they do? Thankfully, a growing number of scientists and science communicators are recognizing the value of storytelling for sharing scientific research with audiences beyond their professional peers — something that is becoming more important every day as science helps people understand the…

1 мин.
our top tips for adding storytelling to your repertoire

(from Green et al., Facets, February 2018) • Identify your take-home message first. Start with the end in mind.• Remember the shape of your story. Tracking the main character’s fortune over time moves the story forward.• Consider the scale and timing of your story. Cut irrelevant background, processes and methods if they don’t move the story forward in a compelling way.• Use vivid language. Help the reader feel like he or she is there.• Get feedback. Pause. Reflect. Try again. Find someone you trust to give you constructive, supportive criticism.• Embrace discomfort and transformation. Practice makes perfect.…

3 мин.
ancient collision left a bit of europe behind in britain

Great Britain is famously considered the birthplace of modern geology, and the many layers and terranes of rocks that make up England, Wales and Scotland have been studied and mapped for centuries. But that doesn’t mean scientists fully understand the island’s geologic past. In a new study, researchers looking at unusual volcanic rocks in southern England found previously unrecognized evidence of the island nation’s past connection to mainland Europe. Cornwall, in southwest England, is known for its rich mineral deposits, especially tin and tungsten, which are found in France and elsewhere in mainland Europe, but nowhere else in Great Britain. The region is also studded with unusual volcanic rocks called lamprophyres that form dikes and small intrusions, bringing samples of the deep lithosphere closer to the surface. Arjan Dijkstra and Callum…

3 мин.
arctic warming causes siberian cooling

The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, and fall sea-ice extents have been trending downward for decades. But while the region is heating up, that northerly warming seems to be having the opposite effect on some midlatitude locations: Parts of Siberia near the Ural Mountains, for example, have had anomalously cold winters in recent decades. Understanding why some mid-latitude areas are cooling while the Arctic is warming is a hotly debated topic. Part of the debate centers on whether the retreat of sea ice can be linked to abnormally cold winters — commonly caused by polar vortices dipping into lower latitudes — on nearby landmasses. Now, researchers have discovered how interactions among atmospheric layers over the Barents-Kara Sea might be the driving force behind Siberia’s recent spate of…

4 мин.
columbia river basalts erupted faster than thought

In the Pacific Northwest, oozing volcanic basalts erupted over the landscape during the middle Miocene, layering a sequence of 43 distinct flows up to 2 kilometers thick over a roughly 163,700-square-kilometer area. Scientists have thought the layered rock, known as the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG), took almost 2 million years to pile up. But now, in a new study in Science Advances, researchers show that most of the massive CRBG was deposited in less than half that time. Similar — albeit somewhat larger — flood basalts have been linked to mass extinction events, such as the Deccan Traps, which have been implicated in the end-Cretaceous extinction 66 million years ago. There’s no mass extinction associated with the CRBG, but it’s thought that the CRBG eruptions could have overlapped in time…