In the Mediterranean climate of California, with its warm, wet winters and hot, dry summers, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains plays a critical role. It serves as a natural water storage system that feeds waterways and reservoirs during the dry summer months.

That’s why it was very fitting that when Governor Jerry Brown announced the first-ever mandatory statewide water restrictions, he did it from the snow-barren Phillips snow course station in the Sierra Nevada. The April 1 snowpack’s water content has been measured at this station since 1941 and has averaged at 66.5 inches over this period.

We can be concerned about erosion due to man-made causes but it is nothing like what nature will randomly do in a single year, without ever once consulting Natural Resources Defense Council or other industry-funded groups.

The historic September 2013 storm that triggered widespread flooding across Colorado's Front Range eroded the equivalent of hundreds, or even as much as 1,000 years worth of accumulated sediment from the foothills west of Boulder, researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered. The findings in Geology suggest that erosion may not always be a slow and steady process, like due to housing or shifts in vegetation, but rather can occur in sudden, rapid bursts due to extreme weather events such as hundred- and thousand-year storms.

In 1884, a delegation of international representatives convened in Washington, D.C. to recommend that Earth's prime meridian (the north-south line marking zero degrees longitude) should pass through the Airy Transit Circle at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England.

(A transit circle is an instrument for measuring star positions, and could be used for determining local time; this one was named for its designer, British Astronomer Royal George Airy.)

Since 2010, the best estimate of the age of Earth’s magnetic field has been 3.45 billion years but new research says the magnetic field is far older. John Tarduno, a geophysicist at the University of Rochester and a leading expert on Earth’s magnetic field, and his team of researchers say they believe the Earth’s magnetic field is at least four billion years old.

Antonio Aledo, Professor of Sociology at the University of Alicante, warns that "because of real estate speculation and the management of public budgets based on income from the real estate business, seismic risk has been forgotten."

As an example, he used the town of Torrevieja, where one of the biggest earthquakes in the province of Alicante took place in 1829 with more than 389 dead and 209 wounded. And things would not be much better now.

The December 26th 2004 Mw ~9.2 Indian Ocean earthquake, also known as the Sumatra-Andaman or Aceh-Andaman earthquake and generated massive, destructive tsunamis, clearly demonstrated the need for a better understanding of how frequently subduction zone earthquakes and tsunamis occur. 

Using subsidence stratigraphy, a team traced the different modes of coastal sedimentation over the course of time in the eastern Indian Ocean where relative sea-level change evolved from rapidly rising to static from 8,000 years ago to the present day.

Two new studies led by UC Irvine using data from NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment satellites show that civilization is rapidly draining some of its largest groundwater basins, yet there is little to no accurate data about how much water remains in them.

The result is that significant segments of Earth's population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out, the researchers conclude. The findings appear today in Water Resources Research.

Researchers have found chemical evidence for the presence of sulfur in the Earth's core. They determined the composition of the core, which is inaccessible to direct sampling, by analyzing isotopes - atoms of the same element that have different masses - of copper in various crust and mantle rocks and then comparing them with the chemical composition of meteorites, representative of the materials that formed the Earth. 

A new study shows that, from 1500 until 2000, about a third of floods in southwestern Netherlands were deliberately caused by humans during wartimes. Some of these inundations resulted in significant changes to the landscape, being as damaging as floods caused by heavy rainfall or storm surges.