There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences. It is also the study of Earth and its neighbors in space. Some Earth scientists use their knowledge of the planet to locate and develop energy and mineral resources. Others study the impact of human activity on Earth's environment, and design methods to protect the planet. Some use their knowledge about Earth processes such as volcanoes, earthquakes, and hurricanes to plan communities that will not expose people to these dangerous events. (Full article...)
The retreat of glaciers since 1850 affects the availability of fresh water for irrigation and domestic use, mountain recreation, animals and plants that depend on glacier-melt, and, in the longer term, the level of the oceans. Deglaciation occurs naturally at the end of ice ages, but glaciologists find the current glacier retreat is accelerated by the measured increase of atmospheric greenhouse gases—an effect of climate change. Mid-latitude mountain ranges such as the Himalayas, Rockies, Alps, Cascades, Southern Alps, and the southern Andes, as well as isolated tropical summits such as Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, are showing some of the largest proportionate glacial losses. Excluding peripheral glaciers of ice sheets, the total cumulated global glacial losses over the 26 year period from 1993–2018 were likely 5500 gigatons, or 210 gigatons per yr.
Calabozos is a Holocenecaldera in central Chile's Maule Region (7th Region). Part of the Chilean Andes' volcanic segment, it is considered a member of the Southern Volcanic Zone (SVZ), one of the three distinct volcanic belts of South America. This most active section of the Andes runs along central Chile's western edge, and includes more than 70 of Chile's stratovolcanoes and volcanic fields. Calabozos lies in an extremely remote area of poorly glaciated mountains.
Crater Lake (Klamath: Giiwas) is a volcanic crater lake in south-central Oregon in the western United States. It is the main feature of Crater Lake National Park and is famous for its deep blue color and water clarity. The lake partly fills a 2,148-foot-deep (655 m) caldera that was formed around 7,700 (± 150) years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama. There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake; the evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years. With a depth of 1,949 feet (594 m), the lake is the deepest in the United States. In the world, it ranks ninth for maximum depth, and third for mean (average) depth.
According to the International Institute of Earthquake Engineering and Seismology (IIEES), the earthquake was felt as far away as the capital city of Tehran, approximately 290 kilometres (180 mi) east of the epicenter, although no damage was reported there. Most houses in the region were single-story masonry buildings, and virtually all of these collapsed. The public became angry due to the slow official response to victims who needed supplies. Residents of the town of Avaj resorted to throwing stones at the car of a government minister. (Full article...)
Hurricane Isabel was the strongest Atlantic hurricane since Mitch, and the deadliest, costliest, and most intense hurricane in the 2003 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Isabel was also the strongest hurricane in the open waters of the Atlantic, both by wind speed and central pressure, before being surpassed by hurricanes Irma and Dorian in 2017 and 2019, respectively. The ninth named storm, fifth hurricane, and second major hurricane of the season, Isabel formed near the Cape Verde Islands from a tropical wave on September 6, in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It moved northwestward, and within an environment of light wind shear and warm waters, it steadily strengthened to reach peak winds of 165 mph (270 km/h) on September 11. After fluctuating in intensity for four days, during which it displayed annular characteristics, Isabel gradually weakened and made landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with winds of 105 mph (165 km/h) on September 18. Isabel quickly weakened over land and became extratropical over western Pennsylvania on the next day. On September 20, the extratropical remnants of Isabel were absorbed into another system over Eastern Canada.
In North Carolina, the storm surge from Isabel washed out a portion of Hatteras Island to form what was unofficially known as Isabel Inlet. Damage was greatest along the Outer Banks, where thousands of homes were damaged or even destroyed. The worst of the effects of Isabel occurred in Virginia, especially in the Hampton Roads area and along the shores of rivers as far west and north as Richmond and Baltimore. Virginia reported the most deaths and damage from the hurricane. About 64% of the damage and 69% of the deaths occurred in North Carolina and Virginia. Electric service was disrupted in areas of Virginia for several days, some more rural areas were without electricity for weeks, and local flooding caused thousands of dollars in damage. (Full article...)
An ice core is a core sample that is typically removed from an ice sheet or a high mountain glacier. Since the ice forms from the incremental buildup of annual layers of snow, lower layers are older than upper ones, and an ice core contains ice formed over a range of years. Cores are drilled with hand augers (for shallow holes) or powered drills; they can reach depths of over two miles (3.2 km), and contain ice up to 800,000 years old.
The physical properties of the ice and of material trapped in it can be used to reconstruct the climate over the age range of the core. The proportions of different oxygen and hydrogen isotopes provide information about ancient temperatures, and the air trapped in tiny bubbles can be analysed to determine the level of atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide. Since heat flow in a large ice sheet is very slow, the borehole temperature is another indicator of temperature in the past. These data can be combined to find the climate model that best fits all the available data. (Full article...)
The geology of the Yosemite area is characterized by granite rocks and remnants of older rock. About 10 million years ago, the Sierra Nevada was uplifted and tilted to form its unique slopes, which increased the steepness of stream and river beds, resulting in the formation of deep, narrow canyons. About one million years ago glaciers formed at higher elevations which eventually melted and moved downslope, cutting and sculpting the U-shaped valley that attracts so many visitors to its scenic vistas today. (Full article...)
Simplified map of Earth's principal tectonic plates, which were mapped in the second half of the 20th century (red arrows indicate direction of movement at plate boundaries)
The Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850s and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon was originally designated as a national monument by President Warren G. Harding in 1923 and was redesignated as a national park by Congress in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (55.992 sq mi; 14,502 ha; 145.02 km2) and receives substantially fewer visitors than Zion National Park (nearly 4.3 million in 2016) or Grand Canyon National Park (nearly 6 million in 2016), largely due to Bryce's more remote location. In 2018, Bryce Canyon received 2,679,478 recreational visitors, which was an increase of 107,794 visitors from the prior year. (Full article...)
Map showing location of epicenter of earthquake relative to Ambato; the bullseye is the epicenter; small blue lines are rivers
Earthquakes in Ecuador stem from two major interrelated tectonic areas: the subduction of the Nazca Plate under the South American Plate and the Andean Volcanic Belt. The 1949 Ambato earthquake initially followed an intersection of several northwest-southeast-trending faults in the Inter-Andean Valley which were created by the subduction of the Carnegie Ridge. Strata of rock cracked as the earthquake ruptured the faults, sending out powerful shock waves. Today threats exist throughout the country from both interplate and intraplate seismicity. (Full article...)
The climate of India consists of a wide range of weather conditions across a vast geographic scale and varied topography. Based on the Köppen system, India hosts six major climatic sub types, ranging from arid deserts in the west, alpine tundra and glaciers in the north, and humid tropical regions supporting rain forests in the southwest and the island territories. Many regions have starkly different microclimates, making it one of the most climatically diverse countries in the world. The country's meteorological department follows the international standard of four seasons with some local adjustments: winter (December to February), summer (March to May), monsoon (rainy) season (June to September), and a post-monsoon period (October and November).
Between 3 and 4 million years ago, volcanic-derived mud flows called lahars streamed down several major mountains that included nearby but now extinct Mount Yana and Mount Maidu to become the Tuscan Formation. Basaltic and later andesitic to dacitic flows of lava covered increasingly larger areas of this formation to eventually form the lava plateau upon which the park is situated. About 600,000 years ago, Mount Tehama started to rise as a stratovolcano in the southwestern corner of the park, eventually reaching an estimated 11,000 ft (3,400 m) in height. (Full article...)
A map of the world as it appeared during the mid-Ediacaran. (600 ma)
A geyser (/ˈɡaɪzər/, UK: /ˈɡiːzə/) is a spring characterized by an intermittent discharge of water ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam. As a fairly rare phenomenon, the formation of geysers is due to particular hydrogeological conditions that exist only in a few places on Earth. Generally all geyser field sites are located near active volcanic areas, and the geyser effect is due to the proximity of magma. Generally, surface water works its way down to an average depth of around 2,000 metres (6,600 ft) where it contacts hot rocks. The resultant boiling of the pressurized water results in the geyser effect of hot water and steam spraying out of the geyser's surface vent (a hydrothermal explosion).
A geyser's eruptive activity may change or cease due to ongoing mineraldeposition within the geyser plumbing, exchange of functions with nearby hot springs, earthquake influences, and human intervention. Like many other natural phenomena, geysers are not unique to Earth. Jet-like eruptions, often referred to as cryogeysers, have been observed on several of the moons of the outer solar system. Due to the low ambient pressures, these eruptions consist of vapor without liquid; they are made more easily visible by particles of dust and ice carried aloft by the gas. Water vapor jets have been observed near the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus, while nitrogen eruptions have been observed on Neptune's moon Triton. There are also signs of carbon dioxide eruptions from the southern polar ice cap of Mars. In the case of Enceladus, the plumes are believed to be driven by internal energy. In the cases of the venting on Mars and Triton, the activity may be a result of solar heating via a solid-state greenhouse effect. In all three cases, there is no evidence of the subsurface hydrological system which differentiates terrestrial geysers from other sorts of venting, such as fumaroles. (Full article...)
Before Gloria made landfall, the National Hurricane Center issued hurricane warnings at some point for the East Coast of the United States from South Carolina to Maine. Hundreds of thousands of people evacuated, and the hurricane was described as the "storm of the century." In general, Gloria's strongest winds remained east of the center, which largely spared locations from North Carolina to New Jersey, and the passage at low tide reduced storm surge. Hurricane-force winds and gusts affected much of the path, which knocked down trees and power lines. This left over 4 million people without power, causing the worst power outage in Connecticut history related to a natural disaster. The extended power outage on Long Island, affecting 1.5 million people at some point, caused the Long Island Lighting Company to be shut down and be replaced with a public company. Fallen trees caused six of the storm's fourteen deaths. (Full article...)
The ACFEL ice auger showing an ice core pushed up into the core remover barrel.
Ice drilling allows scientists studying glaciers and ice sheets to gain access to what is beneath the ice, to take measurements along the interior of the ice, and to retrieve samples. Instruments can be placed in the drilled holes to record temperature, pressure, speed, direction of movement, and for other scientific research, such as neutrino detection.
Many different methods have been used since 1840, when the first scientific ice drilling expedition attempted to drill through the Unteraargletscher in the Alps. Two early methods were percussion, in which the ice is fractured and pulverized, and rotary drilling, a method often used in mineral exploration for rock drilling. In the 1940s, thermal drills began to be used; these drills melt the ice by heating the drill. Drills that use jets of hot water or steam to bore through ice soon followed. A growing interest in ice cores, used for palaeoclimatological research, led to ice coring drills being developed in the 1950s and 1960s, and there are now many different coring drills in use. For obtaining ice cores from deep holes, most investigators use cable-suspended electromechanical drills, which use an armoured cable to carry electrical power to a mechanical drill at the bottom of the borehole. (Full article...)
The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby. It is based on the fact that radiocarbon (14 C) is constantly being created in the Earth's atmosphere by the interaction of cosmic rays with atmospheric nitrogen. The resulting 14 C combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, which is incorporated into plants by photosynthesis; animals then acquire 14 C by eating the plants. When the animal or plant dies, it stops exchanging carbon with its environment, and thereafter the amount of 14 C it contains begins to decrease as the 14 C undergoes radioactive decay. Measuring the amount of 14 C in a sample from a dead plant or animal, such as a piece of wood or a fragment of bone, provides information that can be used to calculate when the animal or plant died. The older a sample is, the less 14 C there is to be detected, and because the half-life of 14 C (the period of time after which half of a given sample will have decayed) is about 5,730 years, the oldest dates that can be reliably measured by this process date to approximately 50,000 years ago, although special preparation methods occasionally make accurate analysis of older samples possible. Libby received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his work in 1960. (Full article...)
There were 73 tornadoes confirmed across 13 states, with the bulk of them coming on the afternoon and evening of April 7 across the South, particularly in Tennessee. In total, 10 deaths were reported as a result of the tornadoes, and over $650 million in damage was reported, of which over $630 million was in Middle Tennessee. It was the third major outbreak of 2006, occurring just days after another major outbreak on April 2. It was also considered to be the worst disaster event in Middle Tennessee since the Nashville Tornadoes of 1998 on April 16, 1998. (Full article...)
In 1257, a catastrophic eruption occurred at the Samalas volcano on the Indonesian island of Lombok. The event had a probable Volcanic Explosivity Index of 7, making it one of the largest volcanic eruptions during the current Holocene epoch. It left behind a large caldera that contains Lake Segara Anak. Later volcanic activity created more volcanic centres in the caldera, including the Barujari cone, which remains active.
The event created eruption columns reaching tens of kilometres into the atmosphere and pyroclastic flows that buried much of Lombok and crossed the sea to reach the neighbouring island of Sumbawa. The flows destroyed human habitations, including the city of Pamatan, which was the capital of a kingdom on Lombok. Ash from the eruption fell as far as 340 kilometres (210 mi) away in Java; the volcano deposited more than 10 cubic kilometres (2.4 cu mi) of rocks and ash. (Full article...)
Image 9Cirrus clouds are composed of ice crystals and shaped like hairlike filaments. They are formed at an altitudes above 5000 metres (16,500 feet). The streaks are made of snowflakes that are falling from the cloud and being caught by the high level winds. The streaks point in the direction of the wind and may appear straight giving the clouds the appearance of a comma (cirrus uncinus), or may by seem tangled, an indication of high level turbulence. (Credit: Piccolo Namek.) (from Portal:Earth sciences/Selected pictures)
Image 15Astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery recorded this rarely seen phenomenon of the full Moon partially obscured by the atmosphere of Earth. The image was recorded with an electronic still camera at 15:15:15 GMT, Dec. 21, 1999. (Credit: NASA.) (from Portal:Earth sciences/Selected pictures)
Image 49Atmospheric gases scatter blue wavelengths of visible light more than other wavelengths, giving the Earth’s visible edge a blue halo. At higher and higher altitudes, the atmosphere becomes so thin that it essentially ceases to exist. Gradually, the atmospheric halo fades into the blackness of space. (Credit: NASA's Earth Observatory.) (from Portal:Earth sciences/Selected pictures)