news 2014


Earth Sciences

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Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.12.2014
Climate change threat to mussels’ shells
The world's mussel population could be under threat as climate change causes oceans to become increasingly acidic, scientists have discovered. In a new paper published today (Wednesday 24 December) in the Royal Society's journal Interface , researchers from the University of Glasgow describe how mussels' shells become more brittle when they are formed in more acidic water.

Earth Sciences - 15.12.2014
New understanding of how magma moves underground
An international team of geoscientists have demonstrated how magma-filled cracks form and spread underneath volcanic systems, such as the one extending from Iceland's Bįršarbunga volcano to an eruptive site which has now been active for more than 100 days. This is probably the best-documented eruption ever Bob White Using the most extensive dataset ever gathered from a volcanic eruption, an international team of researchers have developed a model of how huge magma-filled cracks form underneath volcanic systems and how they spread.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.12.2014
Birds conform to local 'traditions'
New findings debunk theories that over hunting by early humans led to the disappearance of mastodons from the Arctic and Subarctic. New dates show they were wiped out locally before human colonisation. The paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the Arctic and Subarctic were just temporary "holiday homes" for mastodons when the local climate was warm around 125,000 years ago.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.12.2014
New research highlights the key role of ozone in climate change
The models which are used to predict how climate change will occur could be much improved by including the key role of ozone, which is often overlooked in current models. These models are the only tools we have in terms of predicting the future impacts of climate change Peer Nowack Many of the complex computer models which are used to predict climate change could be missing an important ozone 'feedback' factor in their calculations of future global warming, according to new research led by the University of Cambridge and published today (1 December) .

Earth Sciences - 20.11.2014
Geologists discover ancient buried canyon in South Tibet
The discovery of an ancient buried canyon in Tibet rules out a popular model used to explain how the massive and picturesque gorges of the Himalaya became so steep, so fast. It was amazing to see that the river once cut quite deeply into the Tibetan Plateau Jean-Philippe Avouac A team of researchers from the UK, USA, Germany and China have discovered an ancient, deep canyon buried along the Yarlung Tsangpo River in south Tibet, north of the eastern end of the Himalaya.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 18.11.2014
Mountain range is being created and destroyed by earthquakes
Mountain range is being created and destroyed by earthquakes
Scientists have shown that earthquakes, not an ancient wetter climate as previously thought, are eroding the mountains in Peru. A team of geologists including an Imperial researcher have for the past several years been studying cobbles, which are stones that have been rounded as they bounce downstream, in the tributary system that feeds into the Pisco River in the Western Andes Mountains of Peru.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 06.11.2014
Ancient DNA shows earliest European genomes weathered the ice age, and shines new light on Neanderthal interbreeding and a mystery human lineage
Ancient DNA shows earliest European genomes weathered the ice age, and shines new light on Neanderthal interbreeding and a mystery human lineage A genome taken from a 36,000 year old skeleton reveals an early divergence of Eurasians once they had left Africa, and allows scientists to better assess the point at which 'admixture' - or interbreeding - between Eurasians and Neanderthals occurred.

Earth Sciences - Chemistry - 05.11.2014
Increase in ozone destroying substances - but Montreal Protocol on track
Research from the University of Leeds and an international team of scientists has shown a recent increase in atmospheric hydrogen chloride (HCl), a substance linked to destruction of the ozone layer. It was anticipated that there would be a decline in HCl under the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 01.11.2014
Study of Chile earthquake identifies rock structure that affects rupture
Researchers have found an unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile Researchers from the University of Liverpool have found an unusual mass of rock deep in the active fault line beneath Chile which influenced the rupture size of a massive earthquake that struck the region in 2010.

History / Archeology - Earth Sciences - 10.10.2014
Greek Bronze Age ended 100 years earlier than thought, new evidence suggests
Conventional estimates for the collapse of the Aegean civilization may be incorrect by up to a century, according to new radiocarbon analyses. While historical chronologies traditionally place the end of the Greek Bronze Age at around 1025 BCE, this latest research suggests a date 70 to 100 years earlier.

Earth Sciences - Social Sciences - 06.10.2014
Lancaster University engineers help discover the world’s biggest cave
Engineers from Lancaster University have helped explorers discover the world's biggest cave. The exciting discovery of the giant Miao Room cavern, in China, was featured by National Geographic News and in the July issue of National Geographic magazine The cavern was scanned as part of a 2013 expedition into the cave, which was co-led by Richard Walters from Penrith-based company Commendium Ltd. The scan data was provided to engineers at Lancaster University, who used this raw data to make calculations on the area, volume and other values of the underground spaces.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 06.10.2014
Lizards in the Caribbean - how geography affects animal evolution
A new and potentially more revealing way of studying how animal evolution is affected by the geography of climate has been designed by researchers at The University of Nottingham and Harvard University. The research, published in the prestigious journal, ' The American Naturalist ', uses a new approach to investigate how animals across (inter-specific) and within (intra-specific) species change in size along temperature gradients, shedding light on a 150-year-old evolutionary puzzle.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 02.10.2014
Salt marsh plants key to reducing coastal erosion and flooding
Study finds that natural flood defences such as salt marshes can reduce the height of damaging waves in storm surge conditions by close to 20%. Even in extreme conditions, salt marshes are a vital defence for our coastlines Iris Möller The effectiveness of salt marshes - wetlands which are flooded and drained by tides - in protecting coastal areas in times of severe weather has been quantified in a study by researchers from the University of Cambridge.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 01.10.2014
Grouse moor burning causes widespread environmental changes
Evidence of the environmental impact of heather burning is published today in the first authoritative study on the subject, to help relieve tensions on both sides of the grouse moor management debate. The EMBER (Effects of Moorland Burning on the Ecohydrology of River basins) project has shown that heather burning on moorland, which is practised predominantly to support red grouse populations for gun sports, has significant negative impacts on peat hydrology, peat chemistry and physical properties, river water chemistry and river ecology.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 15.09.2014
‘Jaws’ lived in Doncaster
15 Sep 2014 Sharks, swamps and a tropical rainforest teeming with life – it's not what comes to mind when you think of Yorkshire, England. But for the first time evidence of Doncaster's 310-million-year-old past, including a fossilised shark egg case, has been discovered in a derelict mining tip.

Earth Sciences - 11.09.2014
Scientists report first semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus
Press release issued: 11 September 2014 Scientists today unveiled what appears to be the first truly semiaquatic dinosaur, Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. New fossils of the massive Cretaceous period predator reveal it adapted to life in the water some 95 million years ago, providing the most compelling evidence to date of a dinosaur able to live and hunt in an aquatic environment.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.09.2014
Winter is coming: British weather set to become more unsettled
Winter is coming: British weather set to become more unsettled
Britain hit by extremely unsettled winter weather Three all-time high and two all-time low NAO values recorded in the last decade showing huge contrast in conditions Month of December shows biggest variation in weather. British winters are becoming increasingly volatile due to extreme variations in pressure over the North Atlantic according to scientists from the University of Sheffield.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 17.08.2014
Misunderstood worm-like fossil finds its place in the Tree of Life
One of the most bizarre-looking fossils ever found - a worm-like creature with legs, spikes and a head difficult to distinguish from its tail - has found its place in the evolutionary Tree of Life, definitively linking it with a group of modern animals for the first time. The spines along its back were thought to be legs, its legs thought to be tentacles along its back, and its head was mistaken for its tail.

Earth Sciences - Life Sciences - 06.08.2014
First Venezuelan dinosaur discovered
A new dinosaur species from South America has been identified, according to new research by an international team of scientists. The 200 million year old fossils are from the La Quinta Formation in Venezuela, making this the first dinosaur find in the north of South America. The species is named Laquintasaura venezuelae, after its location, in a paper published today in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Bones from at least four Laquintasaura were found together, with individuals ranging in age from three approximately 12 years old.

Earth Sciences - Chemistry - 30.07.2014
Time to reappraise how we interpret minerals
Professor John Wheeler: "These calculations show that we need to reappraise how we interpret minerals which grew within the Earth” A study by the University of Liverpool has provided new insight into how minerals grow under the Earth's surface. Using new calculations, a researcher in the School of Environmental Sciences was able to predict that the difference in stress acting on a rock in various directions has played a more significant role in influencing the growth of minerals in the Earth's crust and mantle than was previously supposed.
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