With 2.5 million drones sold in the U.S. in 2016 and annual drone sales expected to reach 7 million by 2020, the laws and rules that govern unmanned aerial systems (UASs) could one day be as important to know as your local tax code. In the July issue of EARTH, University of Kansas Professor William C. Johnson and graduate student Dakota J. Burt write an introduction to drone regulations, highlighting the ever-shifting legal landscape, which has implications for hobbyists, commercial drone pilots, and geoscientists.
Earth is the only planet known to sustain life. It is also the only planet with active plate tectonics. Coincidence? Most geoscientists think not. In part two of EARTH Magazine's feature on plate tectonics, EARTH correspondent Mary Caperton Morton examines the links between two phenomena that are unique to our planet.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) has been an energy industry practice for decades, originating as a mechanism to enhance oil and gas recovery. But carbon dioxide gas is tricky to capture, and even trickier to store: Without airtight sealants and careful monitoring, the gas seeps up through cracks in the subsurface and quickly reenters the atmosphere. But what if the carbon dioxide could be instead stored as rock?
In 1883, the Grecian, a merchant ship bound from Philadelphia to Portugal, was caught in a raging storm. When hope was almost lost, a rescue vessel, the Martha Cobb, spotted them and rushed to their aid. But with the storm still overhead, how did they succeed? Find out in EARTH Magazine.
Plate tectonics has been a centerpiece of earth science for decades, but Earth didn't always have tectonic plates. As the planet coalesced from cosmic dust approximately 4.6 billion years ago, it had a single, unbroken lithosphere. So how and when did the plates break apart and begin their seemingly never-ending round of musical chairs?
On May 9, EARTH News Editor Timothy Oleson went to check out the National Hurricane Awareness Tour's stop in Washington, D.C., at Ronald Reagan National Airport, where he sat down with National Hurricane Center (NHC) director Rick Knabb to learn more about the tour and efforts to track and forecast tropical storms.
A silent spring and a summer without honey? Current events have renewed interest in science that informs us about the health of our environment. In EARTH Magazine's May cover story, read about efforts to track where and how certain pesticides are making their way offsite, staying in the environment for longer than previously thought, and potentially endangering beneficial species like honey bees and aquatic invertebrates.
It makes for a dramatic narrative: Roughly 252 million years ago, a mass extinction event killed up to 96 percent of marine life, earning an infamous name in the geologic record, "the Great Dying." However, a new study suggests that this cataclysmic event has been overestimated. In the February issue of EARTH Magazine, read how a University of Hawaii paleontologist is improving our understanding of mass extinction events by exploring the effects of natural variability on background extinction levels, revealing a clearer signal in the noise.