news 2013


Earth Sciences

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Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 09.12.2013
Ancient fresh water lake on Mars could have sustained life
Ancient fresh water lake on Mars could have sustained life
Scientists have found evidence that there was once an ancient lake on Mars that may have been able to support life. It is exciting to think that billions of years ago, ancient microbial life may have existed in the lake's calm waters, converting a rich array of elements into energy.

Earth Sciences - 02.12.2013
New light on the functional importance of dinosaur beaks
Why beaks evolved in some theropod dinosaurs and what their function might have been is the subject of new research by an international team of palaeontologists published this week in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences). Beaks are a typical hallmark of modern birds and can be found in a huge variety of forms and shapes.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 31.10.2013
Pinpointing the timing of sudden climate change
Pinpointing the timing of sudden climate change
A team of scientists has shown that during a 1000-year cold period at the end of the Ice Age, known as the Younger Dryas, the climate started to recover in Germany 120 years before Norway. The researchers looked at changes in the sediment of a lake in Germany and compared it to lake sediment records of a Norwegian lake.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 30.10.2013
Scientists digitally reconstruct giant steps taken by dinosaurs
Scientists digitally reconstruct giant steps taken by dinosaurs
30 Oct 2013 One of the world's largest dinosaurs has been digitally reconstructed by experts from The University of Manchester allowing it to take its first steps in over 94 million years. The Manchester team, working with scientists in Argentina, were able to laser scan a 40 metre-long skeleton of the vast Cretaceous Argentinosaurus dinosaur.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.10.2013
Reading ancient climate from plankton shells
Climate changes from millions of years ago are recorded at daily rate in ancient sea shells, new research shows. For slow-growing plankton it opens the way to seeing seasonal variations in ocean temperatures Simon Redfern A huge X-ray microscope has revealed growth bands in plankton shells that show how shell chemistry records the sea temperature.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 17.10.2013
Archaeologists rediscover the lost home of the last Neanderthals
Archaeologists rediscover the lost home of the last Neanderthals
A record of Neanderthal archaeology, thought to be long lost, has been re-discovered by UCL scientists working in the Channel island of Jersey. The study, published in the Journal of Quaternary Science, reveals that a key archaeological site has preserved geological deposits which were thought to have been lost through excavation 100 years ago.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 11.10.2013
Iron in the Earth's core weakens before melting
Iron in the Earth’s core weakens before melting
The iron in the Earth's inner core weakens dramatically before it melts, explaining the unusual properties that exist in the moon-sized solid centre of our planet that have, up until now, been difficult to understand. Scientists use seismic waves - pulses of energy generated during earthquakes - to measure what is happening in the Earth's inner core, which at 6000 km beneath our feet is completely inaccessible.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 10.10.2013
Royal Research Ship Discovery to be named by HRH The Princess Royal
Head of the University of Liverpool's School of Environmental Sciences , Professor George Wolff, will join British scientists at a ceremony attended by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, for the naming of a new Royal Research Ship – RRS Discovery. The vessel, based at NERC'S National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, is a state-of-the art platform for world-leading oceanographic research and represents a 75m investment in frontier science by the Department for Business Innovation & Skills.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 16.09.2013
Ash charges up volcanic lightning
Ash charges up volcanic lightning
The science of how rubbing a balloon on a woolly jumper creates an electric charge may help to explain how volcanoes generate lightning. Volcanic plumes play host to some of the most spectacular displays of lightning on the planet but, whilst there are many theories, the exact mechanisms behind these natural light shows, and why some volcanoes see more lightning than others, are a mystery.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 05.09.2013
Who do you fin you are? Tuna's odd family tree
Some of the strangest fish in the sea are closely related to dinner table favourites the tunas and mackerels, an international team including Oxford University scientists has found. Deep sea fish such as the black swallower, with an extendable stomach that enables it to eat fish larger than itself, and manefishes, some sporting spiky fins like a Mohican haircut, are close cousins to mackerels and tuna despite having completely different body shapes and lifestyles.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 29.08.2013
Mega-canyon discovered beneath Greenland ice sheet
Mega-canyon discovered beneath Greenland ice sheet
A previously unknown canyon hidden beneath two kilometres of ice covering Greenland has been discovered by a group of scientists, led by a team from the University of Bristol. The canyon is at least 750km long and in places as much as 800m deep and is on the same scale as parts of the Grand Canyon in Arizona, USA.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.08.2013
East Antarctic Ice Sheet could be more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought
East Antarctic Ice Sheet could be more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue. East Antarctic Ice Sheet could be more vulnerable to climate change than previously thought The world's largest ice sheet could be more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than previously thought, according to new research from Durham University.

Earth Sciences - 13.08.2013
Shortening tails gave early birds a leg up
Shortening tails gave early birds a leg up
A radical shortening of their bony tails over 100 million years ago enabled the earliest birds to develop versatile legs that gave them an evolutionary edge, a new study shows. A team led by Oxford University scientists examined fossils of the earliest birds from the Cretaceous Period, 145 - 66 million years ago, when early birds such as Confuciusornis, Eoenantiornis and Hongshanornis lived alongside their dinosaur kin.

Earth Sciences - 11.07.2013
Earth's core affects length of day
Earth’s core affects length of day
Research at the University of Liverpool has found that variations in the length of day over periods of between one and 10 years are caused by processes in the Earth's core. The Earth rotates once per day, but the length of this day varies. A year, 300million years ago, lasted about 450 days and a day would last about 21 hours.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.06.2013
We really do like to be beside the seaside, app confirms
We really do like to be beside the seaside, app confirms
We really do like to be beside the seaside, app confirms Spending time by the sea is one of the keys to happiness, according to a study that uses mobile technology to track people's wellbeing in different environments. The study was led by Dr George MacKerron , of the University of Sussex Department of Economics and LSE, and Professor Susana Mourato of LSE's Department of Geography and Environment.

Earth Sciences - Astronomy / Space - 20.06.2013
Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000m years ago
Mars had oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000m years ago
Differences between Martian meteorites and rocks examined by a NASA rover can be explained if Mars had an oxygen-rich atmosphere 4000 million years ago - well before the rise of atmospheric oxygen on Earth 2500m years ago. Scientists from Oxford University investigated the compositions of Martian meteorites found on Earth and data from NASA's 'Spirit' rover that examined surface rocks in the Gusev crater on Mars.

Earth Sciences - Administration - 19.06.2013
New research casts light on adults who choose to go missing
Researchers from a project which aims to deepen understanding of adults who choose to go missing are presenting their results for the first time today (Wednesday 19 June). Around 327,000 incidences of people reported as missing are reported to authorities each year in the UK, but little research exists which could provide practical insights to benefit those with responsibility for and to missing adults.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.06.2013
Jet stream changes cause climatically exceptional Greenland Ice Sheet melt
Research from the University of Sheffield has shown that unusual changes in atmospheric jet stream circulation caused the exceptional surface melt of the Greenland Ice Sheet (GrIS) in summer 2012. An international team led by Professor Edward Hanna from the University of Sheffield's Department of Geography used a computer model simulation (called SnowModel) and satellite data to confirm a record surface melting of the GrIS for at least the last 50 years - when on 11 July 2012, more than 90 percent of the ice-sheet surface melted.

Chemistry - Earth Sciences - 12.06.2013
X-rays reveal new picture of 'dinobird' plumage patterns
X-rays reveal new picture of ’dinobird’ plumage patterns
12 Jun 2013 The first complete chemical analysis of feathers from Archaeopteryx, a famous fossil linking dinosaurs and birds, reveals that the feathers of this early bird were patterned – light in colour, with a dark edge and tip to the feather – rather than all black, as previously thought.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 06.06.2013
Ancient trapped water explains Earth's first ice age
Ancient trapped water explains Earth’s first ice age
06 Jun 2013 Tiny bubbles of water found in quartz grains in Australia may hold the key to understanding what caused the Earth's first ice age, say scientists. The Anglo-French study analysed the amount of ancient atmospheric argon gas (Ar) isotopes dissolved in the bubbles and found levels were very different to those in the air we breathe today.
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