Geology

The Alps are steadily "growing" by about one to two millimeters per year. Likewise, the formerly glaciated subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia are also undergoing constant upward movement.

This is due to the fact that at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) about 18,000 years ago the glaciers melted and with this the former heavy pressure on the Earth's surface diminished. The ice reacted rapidly to climate change at that time whereas the Earth's crust is still responding today to this relatively sudden melting of ice. During the LGM the Alps were also coated with an ice cap that temporarily reached far into the alpine foreland.

The extent of glaciation was much smaller here than on the subcontinents of North America and Scandinavia.


New research suggests that "flash droughts", like the one that unexpectedly gripped the Southern Rockies and Midwest in the summer of 2012, could be predicted months in advance using soil moisture and snowpack data.

Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) analyzed the conditions leading up to the 2012 drought, which ultimately caused $30 billion in economic losses, looking for any warning signs that a drought was on the way. They find that observations of snowmelt and soil moisture could have predicted the ensuing drought up to four months in advance.

By 1992, environmental activist Jeremy Rifkin claimed, we would achieve Peak Oil. Fossil fuels would begin to decline. Rifkin was just going by an environmental press release but Peak Oil had a long history; almost as long as oil itself.

In 1919, the chief geologist of the United States Geological Survey, said Peak Oil would happen within 3 years, while King Hubbert of Shell Oil predicted in 1956 that Peak Oil would happen by 1971. So by 1992 those claims were only working with a new generation of people who didn't understand science. In reality, math models containing all those variables are unlikely to be right. 


The most comprehensive analysis to date of a series of earthquakes that included a 4.8 magnitude event in East Texas in 2012 didn't find evidence that the earthquakes were caused by wastewater injection - and they the difficulty of trying to claim earthquakes were caused by human activity, at least using currently available subsurface data.


Avalanches are the primary hazard for winter back country recreational trekkers and cause numerous deaths and injuries annually. 

These snowy adventures have grown in popularity, leading people to forget that just because you paid a professional guide does not mean there is no risk. A new study in Wilderness and Environmental Medicine explored the risk of avalanche accidents and found a strong correlation with great risk of avalanches; group size. Traveling in groups of four or more people carried a higher relative avalanche risk than for individuals or groups of two.


Dramatic videos created by environmental activists shows tap water being set on fire. In some cases, they were clear hoaxes, in others it turned out to be methane unrelated to drilling. Yet regardless, the belief is that natural gas fracturing (fracking), or conventional extraction, can reach drinking water. Scientists disagree, though conceding that anything can happen in the right circumstances, without it being indicative of the process.


Traces of volcanic ash originating from islandic volcanoes have been found in the sediments of Laker Tiefer See in the Nossentiner-Schwinzer Heide natural park in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

An international team of geoscientists identified traces of in total eight volcanic eruptions on Island of which six could be precisely identified. The oldest eruption occurred 11,400 years ago and the youngest, from 1875, has been described in historical documents.


Antarctica was once downright balmy, lush with plants and lakes, but not any time recently. Despite all of the climate change and global warming of the last few million years, the continent has been a barren, cold desert of ice.

What might we expect there in the future as Earth's atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide grows? More of the same. Antarctica's ancient lake deposits have remained frozen for at least the last 14 million years, suggesting that the surrounding region, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, or EAIS, has likewise remained intact. 


Pioneering new research has shed new light on the causes behind an 'ice-age' that took place on Earth around 170 million years ago - evidence of a large and abrupt cooling of the Earth's temperature during the Jurassic Period, which lasted millions of years.

The scientists found that the cooling coincided with a large-scale volcanic event - called the North Sea Dome - which restricted the flow of ocean water and the associated heat that it carried from the equator towards the North Pole region.


The intensity of earth's magnetic field has been weakening in the last couple of hundred years, leading some to claim that its polarity might be about to flip.

But the field's intensity is coming down from an abnormal high rather than approaching a reversal. And despite Doomsday prophecies stating otherwise, humans have lived through dips in the field's intensity before. Linking reversals in the more distant past to species extinctions is just speculation that can't be proved or disproved, which makes them ideal fodder for scary stories about nature.