The La Brea tar pits in downtown Los Angeles are a famous predator trap. For every herbivore, a dozen or more carnivores — saber-toothed cats and dire wolves chief among them — are pulled from the prolific Pleistocene fossil site. In fact, the remains of more than 4,000 dire wolves have been excavated, along with more than 2,000 saber-toothed cats. The sheer number of fossils allows researchers to ask population-level questions about the climate and environment as well as how these animals evolved. Now, two new studies focusing dire wolves and saber-toothed cats are characterizing how the tar pits’ two top predators coped with the warming climate toward the end of the last ice age, and the results are surprisingly dissimilar: While the wolves got smaller, the cats got bigger.
Thursday, August 14, 2014 - 09:45
Citizen science initiatives invite ordinary citizens to participate in scientific research by making observations and contributing to large data sets. Such projects offer great ways for young people, amateur enthusiasts, and other nonprofessional scientists to become actively involved in the scientific process.
Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - 10:59
New research examining plate movements under Tokyo has found that since the massive magnitude-9 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, recurrence intervals for nondamaging slow-slip quakes beneath Japan’s capital have shortened. That has left seismologists wondering if this aseismic creep could be signaling a countdown to Tokyo’s next “big one.” Read more about scientists’ estimations of Tokyo’s seismic risk in the August issue of EARTH Magazine.
Friday, August 8, 2014 - 09:40
EARTH Magazine: Unlocking the Cascadia Subduction Zone's Secrets: Peering into Recent Research and Findings
The Cascadia Subduction Zone is a 1,000-kilometer-long subduction zone stretching from Mendocino, Calif., to north of Vancouver Island off the coast of British Columbia, Canada. A real threat is a potentially devastating magnitude-9 earthquake and the potentially ensuing tsunami — which has happened before and will happen again. But when? And what will happen when this massive fault does start shaking? Scientists have been working diligently over the last couple of decades to answer those questions. A series of recent oceanic research cruises and datasets has steadily advanced our understanding of Cascadia, but there is still much to learn.
Monday, July 21, 2014 - 11:28
The summer 2014 issue of GeoSpectrum will make you feel good. Stories in this issue highlight how geoscience gives back, and encourages early career and student geoscientists to never fear a non-traditional career! Most importantly GeoSpectrum highlights geoscience that inspires wonder. AGI congratulates all scientists recognized in this issue, and hopes you find your place in the spectrum of geoscience.
Friday, July 18, 2014 - 15:32
The last several decades have seen Arctic sea-ice minimums drop by more than half in area and more than three-quarters in volume. With current models predicting further reductions, scientists are calling it the “new normal” and are trying to grasp its implications — one of which is the occurrence of pathogens never before seen in the Arctic.
Monday, July 14, 2014 - 14:12
Tucked high in the Andes Mountains of northern Peru is a remarkable fossil locality: a 39-million-year-old petrified forest preserved in nearly pristine condition: stumps, full trees, leaves and all. With its existence unknown to scientists until the early 1990s — and its significance unbeknownst to villagers — this ancient forest hosts the remains of more than 40 types of trees, some still rooted, that flourished in a lowland tropical forest until they were suddenly buried by a volcanic eruption during the Eocene.
Monday, July 7, 2014 - 16:36
County fairs are opportunities to bring in those handsome Holsteins competing for Best Bessie, to sample foods that don’t normally belong on sticks and definitely shouldn’t be deep-fried, and to enjoy carnival rides and games with unfavorable odds. They’re also opportunities to get the attention of a lot of people. Just ask the exhibitors who rent space to hawk their wares — everything from kitchen knives to leaf-free gutters. And in some locations, those exhibitors include creationists asking, “Why do thousands of scientists believe Darwin was wrong?”
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 14:03
Go online today to view a new webcast detailing three new contests that are being conducted as part of Earth Science Week, the annual worldwide celebration of the geosciences! Find the “Contests of Earth Science Week 2014” webcast online now for viewing at your convenience.
Tuesday, July 1, 2014 - 09:47
“Hello World.” Upon hearing that brief message, scientists at the European Space Agency (ESA) and followers around the world sent up a collective cheer. Rosetta — the ESA spacecraft currently on a 10-year mission to orbit and land on a comet — awoke in January after a three-year hibernation, and was ready to get to work.
Friday, June 27, 2014 - 11:23