EARTH: Corn syrup model splits Yellowstone's mantle plume in two

One of the greatest controversies in science is what's underneath the Yellowstone supervolcano. The controversy surrounds a unique relationship between a mantle plume (like the one that powers Hawaiian volcanoes) and the subduction zone off the Washington-Oregon coast. Cutting-edge research using a common kitchen ingredient is explored in the latest issue of EARTH Magazine.

EARTH: Iowa Impact Crater Confirmed

Scientists have recently confirmed the existence of an impact crater buried below the town of Decorah, Iowa. Scientists first discovered what they thought resembled a crater in 2008, but now it has been corroborated by an airborne geophysical survey and hydrology surveys. Scientists estimate the diameter of the crater at 5.5 kilometers wide, nearly five times the size of the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona.

EARTH: The energy-water nexus: Managing water in an energy-constrained world

Of all the water on Earth, less than 3 percent is available for human use, and as climates change and populations boom, the strategies used to extract it will become increasingly complex. With increasing demand, policymakers, scientists and leaders must recognize the energy-water nexus. The energy-water nexus describes an interdependent relationship that exists between availability of water resources and the energy required to obtain, distribute and utilize them. The way we manage the delicate relationship between energy and water will have major implications for the future of both critical resources, as EARTH explores in the July issue.

EARTH: Lofted by Hurricanes, Bacteria Live the High Life

With cold temperatures, low humidity and high levels of ultraviolet radiation, conditions 10 kilometers above Earth's surface may seem inhospitable. But, next time you're flying consider this: The air outside your airplane window may be filled with microscopic life that affects everything from weather and climate to the distribution of pathogens around the planet.

EARTH: Widely Used Index May Have Overestimated Drought

For decades, scientists have used sophisticated instruments and computer models to predict the nature of droughts. With the threat of climate change looming large, the majority of these models have steadily predicted an increasingly frequent and severe global drought cycle. But a recent study from a team of researchers at Princeton University and the Australian National University suggests that one of these widely used tools - the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) - may be incorrect.

EARTH: Community College at Sea - Research Experiences for Community College Students Build the STEM Pipeline

It's 3 a.m., and students from two Oregon community colleges are struggling to keep their sea legs as they work on the deck of a research vessel that is pitching and rolling in rough seas. Their objective is to recover an ocean-bottom seismometer that has been lying 160 meters underwater off the west coast of Vancouver Island, where it has been steadily recording seismic signals and long-period pressure trends for the past year. These students are experiencing what earth scientists do for a living, as a part of the Cascadia Initiative's CC@Sea program.

EARTH: Scientists Reopen a Lunar Cold Case

When Apollo 17 splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 19, 1972, it ended an era of manned spaceflight to the moon. The science, however, continues. Armed with analytical techniques not available in the 1970s, researchers around the country have been re-examining the more than 380 kilograms of lunar rocks collected four decades ago during the Apollo missions.

EARTH: Well-healed Faults Produce High-Frequency Earthquake Waves

Much like our voices create sound waves with a variety of low and high pitches, or frequencies, earthquakes produce seismic waves over a broad spectrum. The seismic waves' frequencies determine, in part, how far they travel and how damaging they are to human-made structures. However, the inaccessibility of fault zones means that very little is known about why and how earthquakes produce different frequencies. With the help of a new tabletop model, scientists have now identified how a process known as fault healing can shape seismic waves and potentially alter their frequencies.

EARTH: Releasing a Flood of Controversy on the Colorado River

As the Colorado River winds through the Colorado Plateau's soft sedimentary strata, it picks up a tremendous amount of sediment. This sediment - which once left the river's waters so muddy that Spanish explorers christened it El Rio Colorado "the reddish river" - is a vital component to the unique ecosystems of the river. However, with the construction of the Hoover and Glen Canyon dams, which trap the sediment, the once-turbid waters have become a dazzling blue-green, signaling major changes with serious implications for the health of the river's native ecosystems.


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