Tag Archives: surface

Earthquakes, ‘Marsquakes,’ and the possibility of life

A new study shows that rocks formed by the grinding together of other rocks during earthquakes are rich in trapped hydrogen — a finding that suggests similar seismic activity on Mars may produce enough hydrogen to support life. (more…)

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Where does water go when it doesn’t flow?

Study shows how much enters air from plants, soil, surface water

More than a quarter of the rain and snow that falls on continents reaches the oceans as runoff. Now a new study helps show where the rest goes: two-thirds of the remaining water is released by plants, more than a quarter lands on leaves and evaporates and what’s left evaporates from soil and from lakes, rivers and streams. (more…)

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NASA Data Underscore Severity of California Drought

It will take about 11 trillion gallons of water (42 cubic kilometers) — around 1.5 times the maximum volume of the largest U.S. reservoir — to recover from California’s continuing drought, according to a new analysis of NASA satellite data. (more…)

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Legacy Soil Pollution: Higher lead levels may lie just below surface

A study of data from hundreds of soil samples taken around six old water tower sites in southern Rhode Island finds that even when lead levels on the surface are low, concentrations can sometimes be greater at depths down to a foot. The findings inform efforts to assess the effect of lead paint from old water towers on surrounding properties.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — A newly published analysis of data from hundreds of soil samples from 31 properties around southern Rhode Island finds that the lead concentration in soil at the surface is not always a reliable indicator of the contamination a foot deeper. The study, led by Brown University Superfund Research Program researchers at the request of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH), informs ongoing efforts to assess the impact of the state’s legacy of lead-painted water towers. (more…)

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Northern hemisphere losing last dry snow region, says CU study

Last July, something unprecedented in the 34-year satellite record happened: 98 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface melted, compared to roughly 50 percent during an average summer. Snow that usually stays frozen and dry turned wet with melt water. Research led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences now shows last summer’s extreme melt could soon be the new normal.

“Greenland is warming rapidly, and such ice-sheet-wide, surface-melt events will occur more frequently over the next couple of decades,” said Dan McGrath, a University of Colorado Boulder doctoral student who works at CIRES. McGrath is lead author of a paper published online May 20 in Geophysical Research Letters and which reports a significant warming trend on the Greenland Ice Sheet. (more…)

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Moth-Inspired Nanostructures Take the Color Out of Thin Films

Inspired by the structure of moth eyes, researchers at North Carolina State University have developed nanostructures that limit reflection at the interfaces where two thin films meet, suppressing the “thin-film interference” phenomenon commonly observed in nature. This can potentially improve the efficiency of thin-film solar cells and other optoelectronic devices.

Thin-film interference occurs when a thin film of one substance lies on top of a second substance. For example, thin-film interference is what causes the rainbow sheen we see when there is gasoline in a puddle of water. (more…)

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True colors of some fossil feathers now in doubt

Geological processes can affect evidence of the original colors of fossil feathers, according to new research by Yale University scientists, who said some previous reconstructions of fossil bird and dinosaur feather colors may now merit revision.

The discovery reveals how the evidence for the colors of feathers — especially melanin-based colors — can be altered during fossilization, and suggests that past reconstructions of the original colors of feathers in some fossil birds and dinosaurs may be flawed. (more…)

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Dead Forests Release Less Carbon Into Atmosphere Than Expected

Billions of trees killed in the wake of mountain pine beetle infestations, ranging from Mexico to Alaska, have not resulted in a large spike in carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, contrary to predictions, a UA-led study has found.

Massive tree die-offs release less carbon into the atmosphere than previously thought, new research led by the University of Arizona suggests. 

Across the world, trees are dying in increasing numbers, most likely in the wake of a climate changing toward drier and warmer conditions, scientists suspect. In western North America, outbreaks of mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) have killed billions of trees from Mexico to Alaska over the last decade.  (more…)

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