Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

The Toba super-eruption was one of the largest volcanic events over the last two million years, about 5,000 times larger than Mount St. Helen’s eruption in the 1980s. The eruption occurred 74,000 years ago on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, and was argued to have ushered in a “volcanic winter” lasting six to ten years, … Read more Human Populations survived the Toba volcanic super-eruption 74,000 years ago

Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

A natural experiment created by an active volcano gives new insight into the long-term negative impacts of human colonisation of tropical forest islands. The findings are published in the British Ecological Society journal, Journal of Ecology. Researchers from the University of Réunion island surveyed vegetation on more than 600 years of lava flows on the slopes … Read more Lava flows tell 600-year story of biodiversity loss on tropical island

Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth’s history

The world is waking up to the fact that human-driven carbon emissions are responsible for warming our climate, driving unprecedented changes to ecosystems, and placing us on course for the sixth mass extinction event in Earth’s history. However, new research publishing this week in leading international journal PNAS, sheds fresh light on the complicated interplay of … Read more Scientists show solar system processes control the carbon cycle throughout Earth’s history

Climate (not humans) shaped early forests of New England

A new study in the journal Nature Sustainability overturns long-held interpretations of the role humans played in shaping the American landscape before European colonization. The findings give new insight into the rationale and approaches for managing some of the most biodiverse landscapes in the eastern U.S. The study, led by archaeologists, ecologists, and paleoclimatologists at Harvard, Emerson … Read more Climate (not humans) shaped early forests of New England

A better estimate of water-level rise in the Ganges delta

For the first time, scientists have provided reliable regional estimates of land subsidence and water-level rise in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna delta. Depending on the region of the delta, water-level rise could reach 85 to 140 cm by 2100. The work, published in PNAS on 6 January 2020 by researchers from the CNRS, IRD, BRGM, La Rochelle … Read more A better estimate of water-level rise in the Ganges delta

How do silt and sand differ when going with the flow?

The river may rage or gently roll, but in the end the sand and silt will have their way. Rice University Earth scientists and their colleagues have defined a surprising breakpoint at which the grain size of riverbed sediment exercises extraordinary control over how much material will be transported downstream, nourishing deltas and coastlines. New … Read more How do silt and sand differ when going with the flow?

Fossil shells reveal both global mercury contamination and warming when dinosaurs perished

The impact of an asteroid or comet is acknowledged as the principal cause of the mass extinction that killed off most dinosaurs and about three-quarters of the planet’s plant and animal species 66 million years ago. But massive volcanic eruptions in India may also have contributed to the extinctions. Scientists have long debated the significance … Read more Fossil shells reveal both global mercury contamination and warming when dinosaurs perished

Uranium chemistry and geological disposal of radioactive waste

A new paper to be published on 16 December provides a significant new insight into our understanding of uranium biogeochemistry and could help with the UK’s nuclear legacy. Conducted by a team of researchers from the University of Manchester, Diamond Light Source and Radioactive Waste Management, their work shows for the first time how uranium … Read more Uranium chemistry and geological disposal of radioactive waste

Fiber-optic cables capture thunderquake rumbles

Underground fiber-optic cables, like those that connect the world through phone and internet service, hold untapped potential for monitoring severe weather, according to scientists at Penn State. Researchers turned miles of cables under the University Park campus into thousands of virtual sensors capable of detecting tiny seismic events caused by thunder echoing down from the … Read more Fiber-optic cables capture thunderquake rumbles

Move over Jules Verne — scientists deploy ocean floats to peer into Earth’s interior

The release of more than 50 floating sensors, called Mobile Earthquake Recording in Marine Areas by Independent Divers (MERMAIDs), is increasing the number of seismic stations around the planet. Scientists will use the floating array to clarify the picture of the massive mantel plume in the lower mantel lying below the South Pacific Ocean. This … Read more Move over Jules Verne — scientists deploy ocean floats to peer into Earth’s interior