Earth Sciences

The extinction of one carnivore species can trigger the demise of fellow predators - a phenomenon called horizontal extinction cascades, where extinctions of carnivore species can have a ripple effect across species triggering further unexpected extinctions of other carnivores.

Using insects, the research team Frank van Veen, Dirk Sanders and Rachel Kehoe from the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University's Penryn campus in Cornwall, set up experimental communities with complex food webs in 40 four-square metre outdoor field-cages which they observed over a spring and summer season. These communities consisted of several species of aphids and their natural enemies, parasitoid wasps.


The rainwater that fell in some of the villages of Zamora, Spain last autumn brought along a green microalgae that turns a reddish color when in a state of stress.  Blood rain. It is not an isolated phenomenon.  Kerala, India got a blood rain in the summer of 2001 and since then so has the southern part of the country and Sri Lanka. Scientific studies have confirmed that the algae Trentepohlia was responsible for those events. 


Zachariæ Isstrøm, a glacier in northeast Greenland, began a rapid retreat in recent years, a new study reports. The glacier helps to drain 12 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and has the potential to raise sea level significantly if it were to melt, according to a study based on 40 years of glacier data including satellite observations.


Oklahoma is in the news a lot for earthquakes because of activist claims about hydraulic fracturing, the modern process of natural gas extraction.

In reality, the earthquakes may be linked to conventional drilling but the numbers are nothing out of the ordinary - and those are nothing compared to just southern California, which has 30 every day. That's due to the San Andreas Fault system.

Cities that line the fault, like Los Angeles and San Francisco, have been fortunate for the last 100 years - there hasn't been a major destructive earthquake of magnitude 7.5 or more -- but it's coming. Large earthquakes occur at about 150-year intervals on the San Andreas, so the next 'big one' is near.


The long history of severe droughts across Europe and the Mediterranean has largely been told through historical documents and ancient journals but an atlas based on scientific evidence uses tree rings to map the reach and severity of dry and wet periods across Europe, parts of North Africa and the Middle East, year to year over the past 2,000 years.

The Old World Drought Atlas significantly adds to the historical picture of long-term climate variability over the Northern Hemisphere. In so doing, it should help climate scientists pinpoint causes of drought and extreme rainfall in the past, and identify patterns that could lead to better climate model projections for the future. 


Mexico City has the best hotel shower ever. I am not one to spend a long time in the shower, but since I have long thick hair, efficient showers are of great importance to me when on travel. So-called eco-friendly showers are doing the exact opposite of their intentions in my case.

An international research team has a hypothesis regarding the mystery of why the Mediterranean Sea dried up around 5.6 million years ago. The event, known as the Messinian Salinity Crisis (MSC), saw the Mediterranean become a 1.5 kilometer deep basin for around 270,000 years, and left a kilometers-deep layer of salt due to seawater evaporation.

The cause of the MSC has been the subject of speculation and debate, but now an international team of researchers


Could a solar eclipse over Europe during the day affect the power generated by Germany's photovoltaic systems or solar panels, thereby challenging the reliability of the electrical supply across the country?

A new analysis based on simulations and data from the partial solar eclipse that occurred over Europe on the morning of March 20th indicates that such shadowing causes a sudden drop in the power gradient, followed by a steep rise. However, during the shadowing on March 20th, the amount of imported power rose and the amount of exported power fell accordingly.


Scientists have nearly completed the first map of the mantle under the tectonic plate that is colliding with the Pacific Northwest and putting Seattle, Portland and Vancouver at risk of the largest earthquakes and tsunamis in the world.

The new report describes how the movement of the ocean-bottom Juan de Fuca plate is connected to the flow of the mantle 150 kilometers (100 miles) underground, which could help seismologists understand the forces generating quakes as large as the destructive Tohoku quake that struck Japan in 2011 and led to the tsunami that caused the issues at the Fukushima nuclear plant.


Mars doesn't have much in the way of Earth-like weather, it does evidently share one kind of weird meteorology: acid fog. 

Astronomer Shoshanna Cole of Ithaca College gathered data from instruments on the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and suggests acidic vapors may have eaten at the rocks in a 100-acre area on Husband Hill in the Columbia Hills of Gusev Crater on Mars. 

The work focused on the 'Watchtower Class' outcrops on Cumberland Ridge and the Husband Hill summit.