Environment

The Catastrophe That Killed Dinosaurs Created 100,000 Years of Global Warming, Study Shows

On a very bad day 66 million years ago, a mountain-sized object from space slammed into Earth, initiating a cascade of calamities that eradicated three-fourths of the species on the planet, including the non-avian dinosaurs.   The buried remnants of the 125-mile-wide (200 km wide) crater have been identified on the Yucatan Peninsula and in the Gulf of Mexico. Scientists …


Environment

Hawaii’s Volcano Is Now Producing Eerie Blue Flames: Here’s What They Are

The Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii is behind a new, potentially deadly phenomenon – eerie blue fire streaming up from below the ground. The flames, which can only be seen well at night, are caused by methane buildups, a by-product of the lava flows which have been enveloping the area around the volcano since it erupted last week on the Big …


An Unbroken, Million-Year-Old Core of Ice Has Been Found Lurking Under Antarctica

The history of Earth isn’t written in ink, but in ancient ice – buried under places so unforgivingly frozen, they’re usually mistaken for wastelands. And if you extract deep, concealed cores of ice from within these extreme latitudes, you can learn almost anything: about metal workers vanquished by the Black Death, or the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, …

A Major Staple Food For Billions of People Is at Risk of Becoming Less Nutritious

Human-caused greenhouse gas emissions threaten to make rice less nutritious, scientists said in a study released Wednesday, raising a worrying possibility about the staple food item for billions of humans.   Rice, the scientists found, contains lower levels of key vitamins when grown amid high concentrations of carbon dioxide, the most common of the greenhouse gases driving climate change. “If …

Hawaii’s Massive Volcano Eruption Is Now Making The Island Larger

There is something special and awe-inspiring about watching new land form. This is what is now happening in Hawai’i as its Kīlauea volcano erupts. Lava is reaching the ocean and building land while producing spectacular plumes of steam.   These eruptions are hugely important for the creation of new land. But they are also dangerous. Where the lava meets the …

A Sinkhole ‘Growing Larger by The Day’ Has Developed on The White House Lawn

The White House North Lawn has developed a sinkhole, which is now blocked off by two traffic cones and yellow tape. On Tuesday, Steve Herman, a reporter from Voice of America, and Breitbart’s Charlie Spiering tweeted images of the sunken turf.   Located outside the entrance to the press briefing room, the hole is “growing larger by the day,” according …

GM potato can help cut pesticide use by up to 90 percent, study shows

A potato variety genetically engineered to resist potato blight can help reduce the use of chemical fungicides by up to 90 percent, according to a new study – drastically reducing the environmental impact of potato farming.   Potato blight, caused by a water mould called Phytophthora infestans, can rapidly obliterate potato crops, and is one of the biggest problems in …

Hawaii’s volcano is now shooting ‘ballistic blocks’ and causing earthquakes

The Kīlauea volcano in Hawaii began causing earthquakes on Wednesday afternoon, after morning explosions of “ballistic blocks” three times larger than bowling balls. Earthquakes up to 4.4 magnitude have been measured after Kilauea’s caldera, one of its large craters, dropped 90cm causing nearby faults to move.   According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), residents and employees at the Hawaiian …

A mystery source is producing banned ozone-destroying chemicals, shocking scientists

If you thought the crisis over the gaping hole in the ozone layer was under control, prepare to be disappointed. Researchers at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have noticed an unexpected and persistent increase in ozone-destroying chemicals, called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).   The Montreal Protocol, which was finalised in 1987, was a revolutionary, international agreement to phase out the …

Hawaii’s volcano is now threatening a geothermal plant full of dangerous chemicals

The dangers of building a home on the skirt of an active volcano have become quite clear in recent days, as residents in Hawaii have needed to evacuate from neighborhoods around Kīlauea to avoid the lava flows and toxic gases that have emerged from numerous fissures.   But the advancing molten rock – and the potential for future eruptions and …

Could resurrecting the mammoth help stop Arctic emissions?

If you managed to time travel back to Ice-Age Europe, you might be forgiven for thinking you had instead crash landed in some desolate part of the African savannah. But the chilly temperatures and the presence of six-ton shaggy beasts with extremely long tusks would confirm you really were in the Pleistocene epoch, otherwise known as the Ice Age.   …

A monster wave off New Zealand just set a new southern hemisphere height record

Nature can be by turns both awe-inspiring and terrifying, and we’re going to place this somewhere in the middle of the two. A monster wave reaching a height of 23.8 metres (78.1 feet) just set a new height record for the southern hemisphere.   The huge wave was recorded by a buoy in the Southern Ocean near Campbell Island, around …

Zoologists are rebranding a bunch of animals and we think it should be official

We get it. Sometimes animal names just happen. When it’s late Friday afternoon and you’re the last zoologist at the office, that screaming, hairy armadillo you spotted this morning is now a screaming hairy armadillo. Press send, clock off for the week.   Zoology doesn’t need to be so average, though. Especially if a number of zoos and aquariums had …

North Korea’s last nuclear test changed the height of an entire mountain

An underground test of what was claimed by North Korea to be a hydrogen bomb shook the surrounding landscape so violently, it changed the shape of an entire mountain. Radar analysis of the area has revealed changes in the landscape caused by the blast, and they tell an alarming story.   The test was conducted early September last year, registering …

Hawaii’s volcano might go massively explosive after all, scientists say

The ongoing surge in volcanic activity on Hawaii’s Big Island soon could cause a massive explosion from a volcano’s summit, scientists and Hawaii officials warned Wednesday. Kilauea, the longest-erupting volcano on the planet, has displaced some 1,700 people and destroyed 36 structures since a shifting flow of underground magma last week burst through the surface in a residential neighborhood about …

This interactive tool lets you see with your own eyes how we have changed our planet

Global warming, deforestation, coral bleaching, urbanisation… the list of ways that we’ve managed to damage Earth in our time here isn’t a pretty one, and a new online map called EarthTime brings all those effects into sharp focus.   You can watch the world change before your eyes between 1984 and 2016 – forests and glaciers disappear, coral gets damaged, …

A plastic bag was found at the deepest point on Earth, and we should all be ashamed

Humanity’s toxic addiction to plastic has reached stunning depths, and we only wish we were speaking figuratively. A new study analysing over 30 years’ worth of data on human-made trash found in the deepest parts of the ocean reveals almost 3,500 pieces of plastic and other debris have been discovered littering these remote, fragile ecosystems.   If proof were ever …

Hawaii’s unstoppable volcano eruption could go on for months or even years, scientists say

For the fleeing residents who had to evacuate the cracked, burning streets of Leilani Estates, Hawaii, last week, it would be natural to hope they could return to their homes shortly once the fury of eruption relents.   But that fury may not quit soon. The truth is this eruption didn’t happen last week. It actually began in 1983, and …

This terrifying video shows a car get melted by raging lava in Hawaii

The latest eruptions of Kilauea, the most active volcano on Hawaii’s Big Island, have rendered parts of a once-serene neighborhood on the island unrecognizable. On April 30, the floor of a crater on top of the volcano collapsed, sending its pool of lava back underground and causing small earthquakes.   Scientists predicted the magma would travel elsewhere and push its …

A huge environmental study has bad news for people who love to travel

The carbon footprint of tourism is about four times larger than previously thought, according to a world-first study published today in Nature Climate Change. Researchers from the University of Sydney, University of Queensland and National Cheng Kung University – including ourselves – worked together to assess the entire supply chain of tourism.   This includes transportation, accommodation, food and beverages, …

A mass decimation of forests is happening across the US, and no one’s paying attention

A new study has found that US metropolitan areas are losing about 36 million trees every year across the entire country. That’s equivalent to 175,000 acres of tree cover in central, suburban and exurban fringes.   Just as a growing number of Americans are choosing to live in cities, scientists have begun to discover the importance of living near trees for …

CO2 levels have reached a scary new milestone, but you’re gonna ignore it anyway, aren’t you

Despite efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, the level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere hit a new high in April: an average of more than 410 parts per million (ppm). That’s the highest point yet across the data we have for the last 800,000 years.   The exact figure of CO2 concentration was 410.31 ppm, as measured by the …

‘Biggest ever’ sinkhole has ripped open in New Zealand, and it’s unearthing history

What is thought to be the largest known sinkhole in New Zealand has ripped open across a farm on NZ’s North Island, revealing a gigantic cavernous void estimated to have been decades or even a century in the making.   The sinkhole, situated about 15 kilometres south-east of the city of Rotorua in a region called Earthquake Flat, measures as …

At Least 10 Volcanic Fissures Have Opened Up Near Hawaii’s Mt. Kilauea

Less than a week ago, Leilani Estates was the picture of serenity on Hawaii’s Big Island, a subdivision in the island’s eastern Puna district filled with wooden homes nestled in tropical plant-filled lots.   The eruption of the island’s most active volcano changed everything. Shortly after Kilauea erupted Thursday, the ground split open on the east side of Leilani Estates, exposing an …

This scientist says he’s invented a water bottle that fully decomposes in just 3 weeks

A British scientist claims to have invented a plastic-free, single-use water bottle that can decompose within three weeks. The Choose Water bottle, developed by James Longcroft, aims to replace plastic bottles and help save the world’s oceans from plastic waste.   The outer lining of the bottle is made out of recycled paper donated by businesses, while the waterproof inner …

Cape Town’s so desperate for water they’re considering hijacking an iceberg

Marine experts have staked out a plan to solve one of the world’s worst droughts by dragging enormous icebergs from the Antarctic to the tip of Africa. Nick Sloane, a salvage professional who helped drag the stranded Costa Concordia cruise ship out of the Mediterranean, says his scheme could rescue Cape Town from its longstanding drought.   The South African …

This is the longest ocean voyage you could ever sail in a straight line

Staring out over the vastness of the ocean, it feels like the distant blue horizon goes on forever and ever. But it doesn’t, and you can’t. If you were to set sail in a straight line from the shore – never turning once to steer your way around islands or continents – what’s the furthest you could you go before …

The Arabian Sea’s “dead zone” is bigger than Florida, and it’s still growing

The Gulf of Oman plays host to the largest and thickest “dead zone” in the world, but scientists have struggled to study it intensively due to piracy and geopolitical tensions in the region.   Now, thanks to an alleviation in regional conflict, scientists have finally been able to use remote-controlled submarines to reveal the full extent of the area’s dead …

Russia has launched a floating nuclear power plant critics are calling “nuclear Titanic”

If the world is going to end, why not have it be for a ridiculous, insane reason? Like, say, building nuclear power plants on top of a barge and sending it floating up to the Arctic?   Well, that one’s real. If you wanted to panic now, we wouldn’t blame you. On Saturday, Russia launched Akademik Lomonosov, the world’s first …

Boaty McBoatface is about to investigate the ‘most dangerous glacier in the world’

At the southwestern corner of Antarctic continent, there’s a river of ice dubbed the “most dangerous glacier in the world”. On Monday, American and British scientists officially launched a venture to investigate Thwaites Glacier. Their goal: to figure out whether it’s headed for a catastrophic collapse in the near future.   We already know Thwaites Glacier is melting at a …

Australia just promised the single largest investment the great barrier reef has ever seen

On Sunday, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced that Australia would be putting aside more than $500 million Australian dollars (or $379 million USD) to protect the Great Barrier Reef.   The amount is unprecedented, and is the biggest single investment that the imperilled ecosystem, or any other coral reef ecosystem, has ever seen. As part of the initiative, the Australian …

Scientists say Earth’s magnetic field isn’t about to flip, but it’s definitely doing something weird

Every few hundred thousand years, Earth’s magnetic field flips, and considering the huge impact that would have on everything from satellite systems to electrical grids, scientists are very keen to work out when the next one might be.   Hopefully it won’t be for a while yet, according to the latest study – by analysing recent near-reversals of the our …

The EU just made a dramatic move to protect bees

The European Union has announced it will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides within 6 months, due to the damage they’re doing to vulnerable bee populations. Neonicotinoids will be banned from use in all fields by the end of 2018, and will only be allowed to be used in closed greenhouses.   The ban was voted in by the …

China’s ‘Sky River’ will be the biggest artificial rain experiment ever

China is building the foundations of what will become the largest artificial rain experiment in history, in an attempt to induce extra rainfall over the Tibetan Plateau. The project will see tens of thousands of fuel-burning chambers installed across the Tibetan mountains, with a view to boosting rainfall in the region by up to 10 billion cubic metres annually, according …

The US military funded a study on climate change, and got unnerving results

More than a thousand low-lying tropical islands risk becoming “uninhabitable” by the middle of the century – or possibly sooner – because of rising sea levels, upending the populations of some island nations and endangering key US military assets, according to startling new research published Wednesday.   The threats to the islands are twofold. In the long term, the rising …

The first audio recordings from the bottom of the Mariana Trench are creepy as hell

Back in March 2016, scientists released the first audio recordings taken from the deepest point on Earth’s surface, Challenger Deep, at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Filled with strange moans, low rumbles, and the occasional high-pitched screech, the soundbites below shed rare light on the dark world that lies 10.9 km (6.7 miles) below the crushing weight of the Pacific …

An explosion of never-before-seen minerals could mark the dawn of our new geological epoch

Scientists have identified a sudden explosion of mineral diversity on the surface of our planet that would not exist if it weren’t for humans, adding weight to the argument that we’re living in a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene.   A 2017 study found that the incredible upsurge of new minerals around the time of the industrial revolution led …

A unique plastic collecting device is about to take on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

After years in development, the world’s first passive plastic collection device is going to be deployed in the Pacific Ocean in an attempt to do something about plastic pollution.   Dedicated to removing debris from the oceans, the device will be set up between California and Hawaii in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a region with a high concentration of …

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks it’s ‘odd’ to say we need to save Earth

Every year, on April 22, many citizens of planet Earth band together to call for action on global warming, climate change, and a clean environment. Known as Earth Day, this campaign has been going strong for nearly 50 years, and people use it to organise marches, raise public awareness of environmental issues, and stage various activities – even if it’s …

One of the most frightening climate change predictions seems to be already happening

Two years ago, former NASA climate scientist James Hansen and a number of colleagues laid out a dire scenario in which gigantic pulses of fresh water from melting glaciers could upend the circulation of the oceans, leading to a world of fast-rising seas and even superstorms.   Hansen’s scenario was based on a computer simulation, not hard data from the …

Even NASA isn’t sure what’s making these bizarre circles in the Arctic

NASA has been running aerial surveys over the Arctic for 10 years now, but the vast icy wilderness is still throwing up inexplicable surprises nobody’s ever seen before. Case in point: just what are these weird circular formations spotted from a P–3 research plane flying over the Beaufort Sea last week?   The image above and below was captured by …

The World’s Rivers Are All Backed Up, Leaving Fish With No Place To Go

Imagine you’re heading out for a dinner date. You’re hungry and left enough time to get there and not be late, but when you step outside you find that conditions aren’t quite what you expected – you run into a 30-foot wall every few steps.   What would you do? If you’re anything like me, you would probably just give …

This is the best type of water bottle you should be using, according to science

We have many options when it comes to how we drink water, given the large range of consumer products available. But which option is the smartest choice from an environmental perspective?   According to the waste management hierarchy, the best option is one that avoids waste altogether. Recyclable options are less preferable, and landfill disposal the worst of all. For …

The amount of food Americans waste every day is more shocking than thought, study shows

The mass quantities of food Americans waste every year has staggering environmental consequences, according to a study published Wednesday. “Our data suggest that the average person in the United States wastes about a pound of food per day,” said the University of Vermont’s Meredith Niles, one of the study’s authors along with researchers at the Department of Agriculture and the …

Intense ocean currents could be created by ridiculously tiny marine ‘insects’

In chaos theory, they say the infinitesimal flapping of a butterfly’s wings can hypothetically cascade into a fierce tornado. Now, scientists have demonstrated how some of the smallest creatures in the ocean could have the same outsized impact under the waves – with swarms of marine organisms inadvertently producing powerful currents that mix and churn a turbulent undersea environment.   …

The Great Barrier Reef has been forever damaged due to massive coral deaths, study shows

In 2016 the Great Barrier Reef suffered unprecedented mass coral bleaching – part of a global bleaching event that dwarfed its predecessors in 1998 and 2002. This was followed by another mass bleaching the following year.   This was the first case of back-to-back mass bleaching events on the reef. The result was a 30 percent loss of corals in …

A shockingly small number of Earth’s population still have access to unpolluted air

How’s the air in your neighbourhood today? A new State of Global Air report suggests more than 95 percent of the planet’s population currently have to breathe polluted air – air containing fine particle levels that exceed the global air quality guidelines.   What’s more, the burden of bad air quality is affecting the poorest communities the most. According to …

Scientists have identified the secret that fuels Yellowstone’s explosive hellfire

It’s the prettiest powder keg on the planet – the Yellowstone supervolcano, simmering under the mystique and grandeur of the national park that adorns the fearsome caldera. And scientists just got one step closer to understanding the hidden geology of this epic blowhole.   Using supercomputers to model the behaviour of two known magma chambers concealed below the surface of Yellowstone, …