News Icon

Institute for Biblical & Scientific Studies

Site Map | Contacts | Links | Newsletter |  

Earth Science

Note: Due to the archiving policies of the various news Websites some links on this page may no longer be valid. All links will take you away from the IBSS Site - use your browser's "back" button to return to this page.

December 2004

December 7

Scientists Discover Air Is Heavier Than We Thought.

Researchers Probe Marine Mysteries Off The Alaskan Coast San Diego CA (SPX) Nov 24, 2004
A summer voyage to investigate the causes of one of the most devastating tsunamis in United States history has uncovered new mysteries about biological and geological processes off Alaska.

Climate Change: Humans Fuss, Animals Adjust Boulder CO (UPI) Nov 15, 2004
Scientists can argue all they want about how many degrees Celsius - or Fahrenheit - the planet is warming and what the trend portends, but meanwhile Earth's plants, insects and animals are not waiting for the outcome. They already are altering their patterns of behavior in response to what is happening.

Vast Water Supplies Hidden Under North China Desert: Study Paris, France (AFP) Nov 24, 2004
A desert in China's Inner Mongolia that has the highest sand dunes in the world holds a vast store of underground water which, if used wisely, could ease the chronic water shortage afflicting the north of the country, a study says.

Fossil Egg Finds Yield Clues to How Pterosaurs Lived
Two new pterosaur eggs have been discovered, and they suggest that the dinosaur-era flying reptiles lived in colonies and raised their young, experts say.

Dinosaurs' 'bulletproof' armour revealed
Some dinosaurs' protective plates had a similar arrangement of fibres as seen in bulletproof fabrics, making them extremely tough.

November 2004

November 21

Notorious Asteroid Didn't Kill Dinosaurs. Nov. 16, 2004
Startling new evidence from boreholes drilled into the Chicxulub crater indicate that the great impact there happened hundreds of millennia too early to have been the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Who Laid The First Egg? Scientists Move A Step Closer To Linking Embryos Of Earth's First Animals To Adult Form. (November 5, 2004)
In 1998, Shuhai Xiao and colleagues reported finding thousands of 600 million year old embryo microfossils in the Neoproterozoic Doushantuo Formation, a fossil site near Weng'an, South China.

Not The End, But The Beginning Of The World As We Know It. University Park PA (SPX) Nov 10, 2004
Widespread volcanic activity, cyanobacteria and global glaciation may sound like the plot of a new, blockbuster disaster movie, but in reality, they are all events in the mystery surrounding the development of our oxygen-rich atmosphere, according to a Penn State geoscientist.

Sea Change: Skeletons Of Ancient Corals Different From Today's
A Johns Hopkins University graduate student may have solved a problem that has been baffling marine biologists and paleontologists for years: Why do coral reefs disappear from the fossil record during the beginning of the Cretaceous period -- 120 million years ago -- only to reappear after its end 35 million years ago?

Variety Couldn't Save The Dinosaurs. Kingston RI (SPX) Nov 19, 2004
When dinosaurs became extinct from the effects of a massive asteroid hitting Earth 65 million years ago, there were more varieties of the reptiles living than ever before, according to a new analysis of global fossil records.

Dinosaurs' 'bulletproof' armour revealed
Some dinosaurs' protective plates had a similar arrangement of fibres as seen in bulletproof fabrics, making them extremely tough.

Triassic reptiles had live young
Report in Nature of sauropterygians is first evidence of viviparity in the group.

Ancient Creature Fossilized By The Bacteria That Ate It. Denver CO (SPX) Nov 11, 2004
High in the mountains of Antarctica, Ohio State University geologists unearthed the fossil remains of a 180-million-year-old clam-like creature that was preserved in a very unusual way: by the ancient bacteria that devoured it.

Arctic Ice Cap Melt: A Boon For Shipping With New Northern Route. Reykjavik, Iceland (AFP) Nov 10, 2004
The melting of the Arctic ice cap could in the future open a new northern waterway, creating a shorter route for ships sailing between Europe and Asia and providing a safe haven from piracy and terrorism, experts say.

Antarctic Forests Reveal Ancient Trees
Geologists have discovered in Antarctica the remains of three ancient deciduous forests complete with fossils of fallen leafs scattered around the tree trunks. The clusters of petrified tree stumps were found upright in the original living positions they held during the Permian period.

New Findings From Arctic Coring Expedition Decipher Arctic Climate Puzzles. Bremen, Germany (SPX) Nov 18, 2004
Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) scientists from ten countries gathered over the last two weeks to analyze sediment cores taken from 430 meters beneath the Arctic Ocean seafloor.

Bees Challenge Dino-Killer Winter Theory. Nov. 10, 2004
Tropical honeybees and other warmth-loving insects are continuing to challenge the idea that a "nuclear winter" enshrouded the Earth for years after the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

Vintage Wine Records Trace Climate Change to 1300s. November 17, 2004
A team of French scientists and historians is toasting centuries-old grape-harvest records for the insights they yield on past climate.

November 8

Arctic Summer Ice To Melt This Century Oslo (AFP) Nov 02, 2004
The Arctic ice cover will completely disappear in summer by the end of this century unless carbon dioxide emissions are significantly reduced, according to a scientific study to be released next week.

Largest ever field of impact craters uncovered.
The discovery of the largest field of impact craters ever uncovered on Earth is the first evidence that the planet suffered simultaneous meteor impacts in the recent past. The field has gone unnoticed until now because it is partially buried beneath the sands of the Sahara desert in south-west Egypt.

'Fool's Gold' Delivers Perfect Fossils. Oct. 26, 2004
New troves of "fool's gold" and phosphate fossils showing soft parts and even embryos of animals are giving scientists the clearest window yet into the first explosion of animal life more than a half billion years ago.

New Astronomical Results Refine The Geological Time Scale Paris, France (SPX) Oct 26, 2004
A team led by Jacques Laskar from the Institut de Mecanique Celeste et de Calcul des Ephemerides (IMCCE) and the Paris Observatory has released new computational results for the long-term evolution of the orbital and rotational motion of the Earth.

Ecosystem Remodelling Among Vertebrates During Permian-Triassic Extinction Bristol, UK (SPX) Nov 04, 2004
The biggest mass extinction of all time happened 251 million years ago, at the Permian-Triassic boundary. Virtually all of life was wiped out, but the pattern of how life was killed off on land has been mysterious until now.

Is Shiva Another K-T Impact Zone From 65 Million Years Ago Moffett Field CA (SPX) Nov 04, 2004
According to the Earth Impact Database, there are two craters - the 180 kilometer-wide Chicxulub crater in Yucatan, Mexico and the much smaller Boltysh crater in eastern Ukraine - that date back to the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) extinction 65 million years ago.

Studying Slime Moffett Field (SPX) Nov 02, 2004
Penny Boston is one of the leaders of the SLIME team - that's Subsurface Life in Mineral Environments. She studies bizarre microorganisms that live, often under extreme conditions, in subterranean caves.

Tracking Ancient Earth's Oxygen Levels Provides Backdrop for Evolution Columbia MO (SPX) Nov 02, 2004
Geologists have long considered sulfate, a common salt dissolved in seawater, as the key to determining how and when life evolved. On the ancient Earth, acquiring enough ocean sulfate measurements to accurately define the ecological conditions during evolution has been a serious challenge.

Were Volcanoes The Crucible Of Life

Researchers Describe How Natural Nuclear Reactor Worked In Gabon St Louis MO (SPX) Nov 01, 2004
To operate a nuclear power plant like Three Mile Island, hundreds of highly trained employees must work in concert to generate power from safe fission, all the while containing dangerous nuclear wastes.

October 2004

October 24

Sleeping Dino Assumed Birdlike Pose 
Scientists working in China have uncovered yet more secrets of dinosaur life, this time a fossil of a 130-million-year-old creature that was preserved in the act of catching 40 winks. The animal's pose, with its head tucked between its left elbow and its body, resembles that adopted by slumbering birds today and suggests that avian features emerged early in dinosaurian evolution.

Feathered T.Rex Relative Found AFP. Oct. 7, 2004
A team led by the world's most successful fossil hunter says it has found the remains of a feathery, dragon-like forerunner of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex at a dinosaur graveyard in northeastern China.

Did Multiple Impacts Pummel Earth 35 Million Years Ago Moffett Field CA (SPX) Oct 21, 2004
Rather than a single meteorite impact 65 million years ago, could Earth have been hit with a scattershot of several rocks from space? It may have happened before. There is evidence that about 35 million years ago, at least five comets or asteroids collided with Earth. If the effects of a single large meteorite impact seem overwhelming, imagine how life on Earth would reel from a barrage of rocks from space.

Meteorite Crater Drilling Provides Extensive Samples - And A Mystery Vienna, Austria (SPX) Oct 21, 2004
Drillings made in the Bosumtwi crater in Ghana, one of the youngest meteorite craters in the world, led to yet another mysterious finding - the rock formation caused by the heat of the meteoric impact is only half as thick as expected.

Scientists Say Comet Smashed Into Southern Germany In 200 BC Paris (AFP) Oct 15, 2004
A comet or asteroid smashed into modern-day Germany some 2,200 years ago, unleashing energy equivalent to thousands of atomic bombs, scientists reported on Friday.

A Silurian sea spider

October 10

Mt. St. Helens Lets Off More Steam. Oct. 5, 2004
Restive Mount St. Helens let off more steam on Tuesday as hot rock pushing toward the surface melted the peak's glaciers, scientists monitoring the mountain said.

New Structure Found Deep Within West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Bristol, UK (SPX) Sep 24, 2004
Scientists have found a remarkable new structure deep within the West Antarctic Ice Sheet which suggests that the whole ice sheet is more susceptible to future change than previously thought.

Ice Shelf Loss Sped Up Glacier Movement
Two years ago, Antarctica's Larsen B ice shelf collapsed over the course of 35 days; 3,250 square kilometers of shelf area--an area larger than that of Rhode Island--disintegrated. Two new reports have traced the effects of the collapse on the continent's remaining glaciers and found that they are flowing ever faster into the surrounding Weddell Sea.

New Hydrothermal Vents Discovered As "South Pacific Odyssey" Research Begins. University Park PA (SPX) Sep 24, 2004
A team of 27 U.S. marine scientists beginning an intensive program of exploration at the Lau Basin, in the South Pacific, has discovered a new cluster of hydrothermal vents along a volcanically active crack in the seafloor.

Ancient Long-Necked Reptile Was Stealthy Suction Feeder 
Scientists have unearthed the fossil of an ancient aquatic reptile that sported a neck almost twice as long as its meter-long body. The 1.7-meter-long neck appears to have been too rigid to twist around in search of prey, however, so its function was at first uncertain. 

Climate Change Plus Human Pressure Caused Large Mammal Extinctions.

Fallout from fraud
Plagiarism rattles the paleontology world; researcher has suffered a fatal heart attack.

September 2004

September 13

Dinosaurs may have been doting parents.
A fossil of one adult Psittacosaurus dinosaur surrounded by 34 juveniles has provided the most compelling evidence to date that dinosaurs raised their young after hatching.

North Greenland Reveals Gradual, Abrupt Climate Swings. Copenhagen (SPX) Sep 09, 2004
A new, undisturbed Greenland ice deep-core record going back 123,000 years shows the Eemian period prior to the last glacial period was slightly warmer than the present day before it gradually cooled and sent Earth into an extended deep freeze. See also North Greenland Ice core Project.

Fossils Reveal Direct Link Between Global Warming And Genetic Diversity. Stanford CA (SPX) Sep 08, 2004
For the first time, scientists have found a direct relationship between global warming and the evolution of contemporary wildlife. A research team led by Stanford University biologist Elizabeth A. Hadly published its findings in the Sept. 7 online edition of the journal PloS Biology.

Geobiologists Create Novel Method For Studying Ancient Life Forms.

Ignition Threshold For Impact-Generated Fires. San Antonio CA (SPX) Sep 01, 2004
Scientists conclude that, 65 million years ago, a 10-kilometer-wide asteroid or comet slammed into what is now the Yucatan peninsula, excavating the Chicxulub impact crater and setting into motion a chain of catastrophic events thought to precipitate the extinction of the dinosaurs and 75 percent of animal and plant life that existed in the late Cretaceous period.

August 2004

August 31

Layer Of Material Ejected From Chesapeake Bay Meteor-Strike Discovered Athens GA (SPX) Aug 24, 2004
People in Georgia's Dodge and Bleckley counties have for years picked up small pieces of natural glass called "Georgiaites," which were produced by an unknown asteroid or comet impact millions of years ago. Just where these small, translucent green objects came from, however, was unclear.

China's Glaciers Being Flushed Down The Yellow River Beijing (AFP) Aug 23, 2004
Global warming is causing China's highland glaciers, including those covering Mount Everest, to shrink by an amount equivalent to all the water in the Yellow River every year, state media said Monday. 

August 17

Greenland Ice Core Project Yields Probable Ancient Plant Remains. Greenland (SPX) Aug 16, 2004
A team of international researchers working on the North Greenland Ice Core Project recently recovered what appear to be plant remnants nearly two miles below the surface between the bottom of the glacial ice and the bedrock.

Skull scan confirms Archaeopteryx had the mind for flight. See also Early Bird Had the Brains to Fly.

Bone analysis sheds light on dinosaur development.

Alvin's successor will be able to reach 99% of the ocean floor.

August 8

Geologists Discover Water Cuts Through Rock At Surprising Speed.

Old Rivers More Active in Youth
Even a lazy river can have its productive moments. Recent data on two relatively flat rivers, the Susquehanna and the Potomac of the Mid-Atlantic states, provide evidence for rapid erosion over a relatively short 20,000-year span. A stormy climate is thought to be the cause.

Researchers Unearth Ancient Continental Rift Activity. Edmonton AB (SPX) Jul 29, 2004
Researchers at the University of Alberta have found evidence that a 2,000-kilometre corridor stretching diagonally across northern Canada was under tremendous pressure to split in two about 2.7 billion years ago. It is the first evidence suggesting enormous continental landforms and plate tectonics existed that long ago.

Research Traces Origins, Uplift Of California's Highest Mountains Boulder CO (SPX) Jul 30, 2004
A new study of California's southern Sierra Nevada range by a University of Colorado at Boulder research team has located a massive body of rock that sank into Earth's mantle some 3.5 million years ago, allowing the mountains to pop up.

The abyss reacts to El Niqo as quickly as surface ecosystems do.

Scripps Researchers Document Significant Changes In The Deep Sea. San Diego CA (SPX) Jul 23, 2004
Although it covers more than two-thirds of Earth's surface, much of the deep sea remains unknown and unexplored, and many questions remain about how its environment changes over time.

July 2004

July 25

Moonglow Sheds Light On Earth's Climate. Newark NJ (SPX) Jul 23, 2004
According to a new NASA-funded study, insights into Earth's climate may come from an unlikely place: the moon.

July 18

Ninety Million Year Old Dino Tracks Found On Resort Island. Hvar Croatia (SPX) Jul 16, 2004
During fieldwork conducted throughout the month of June, an international team of Canadian and Croatian paleontologists and geologists, led by Dr. Michael Caldwell of the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, and Mr. Jakov Radovcic of the Croatian Museum of Natural History in Zagreb, found 90 million year old dinosaur tracks and trackways on the island of Hvar, Croatia.

New Dino May Be Europe's Largest. July 8, 2004
The bones of a vast animal that may have munched on trees in what is now a semi-desert region of eastern Spain have turned up in a paleontological dig there. Researchers have unearthed a humerus bone from the upper foreleg measuring 1.85 meters (six feet) and weighing 150 kilograms (330 pounds), indicating that it came from an animal more than 30 meters (100 feet) in length and weighing 50 tons — the equivalent of up to seven male elephants.

When Sun's Too Strong, Plankton Make Clouds Greenbelt (SPX) July 05, 2004
People say size doesn't matter, and that may be true for tiny plankton, those free-floating ocean plants that make up the bottom of the marine food-chain. Little plankton may be able to change the weather, and longer term climate, in ways that serve them better.

Lake Vostok map forces exploration rethink 
Untouched Antarctic lake has two basins - and maybe two ecosystems.

Revolutionary New Paradigm For Fishery Management. Miami FL (SPX) Jul 16, 2004
Seventeen of the world's top marine scientists today unveiled a plan that seeks to avert the collapse of fish populations by focusing on managing the entire ecosystem rather than one species at a time.

July 10

Antarctica's Lake Vostok Has Two Distinct Parts Washington (SPX) Jul 08, 2004
Deep in the Antarctic interior, buried under thousands of meters [more than two miles] of ice, lies Lake Vostok, the world's largest subglacial lake. Scientists believe that the waters of Lake Vostok have not been disturbed for hundreds of thousands of years, and there are tantalizing clues that microbes may exist there that have been isolated for at least as long.

Fossils Confirm Cold Spell Doomed Dinos. June 25, 2004
Plankton fossils dating from 65 million years ago help confirm the theory that a long, dark winter doomed the dinosaurs, according to international research.

Pterosaur Part of Dino's Diet July 1, 2004
Fish-loving dinosaurs known as spinosaurs also had a taste for pterosaurs, an unusual fossil found in Brazil has shown. The fossil comprises vertebrae of the flying reptile with the tooth of a spinosaur imbedded in one of them.

June 2004

June 20

Two Billion People Vulnerable To Floods By 2050 New York - Jun 14, 2004
The number of people worldwide vulnerable to a devastating flood is expected to mushroom to 2 billion by 2050 due to climate change, deforestation, rising sea levels and population growth in flood-prone lands, warn experts at the United Nations University.

Marine Sediments Shed Light On 50,000 Years Of Climate Changes New York NY (SPX) Jun 11, 2004
For years, researchers have examined climate records indicating that millennial-scale climate cycles have linked the high latitudes of the Northern hemisphere and the subtropics of the North Pacific Ocean.

Clues To Ancient Earth Chemistry From Cretaceous Sediments. San Diego CA (SPX) Jun 11, 2004
It's not a scene from the latest Hollywood disaster film, The Day After Tomorrow, but the Earth as it appeared during the mid- to late-Cretaceous geological period, 135 million to 65 million years ago, when the largest dinosaurs ruled the planet.

Perfect pterosaur found in fossil egg
Find sheds light on prehistoric flying reptiles.

Sea change for first shells
Calcium glut may have hardened marine life. Sea-shells might be the product of a geological accident that flooded the oceans with calcium, say US researchers. And this could have helped to drive the extraordinary diversification of species and body shapes known as the Cambrian explosion.

Radiocarbon evidence of mid-Holocene mammoths stranded on an Alaskan Bering Sea island 

T.Rex's Killer Bite Recreated. June 15, 2004
Tyrannosaurus rex's head served as a giant shock absorber to withstand the dinosaur's bone-crushing, flesh-tearing eating habits, according to a new study that suggests the dino might have had the world's most deadly bite. "In the Denver Museum of Natural History there is a hadrosaur (vegetarian dino) called Edmontosaurus that appears to have survived a T.rex attack," Rayfield said. "It has a chunk of bone missing from its tail — the shape of the missing chunk matching the jaws of T.rex. We know the animal survived to live another day as the ends of the bitten bones have begun to heal.

June 13

Next Ice Age 15,000 Years Away. June 9, 2004
The next Ice Age lies more than 15,000 years in the future, according to evidence garnered from the deepest, oldest ice core, extracted from the depths of East Antarctica.

Palaeoclimate: Frozen time
Researchers have pulled the oldest-yet core of ice from the Antarctic - giving us a 740,000-year record of the planet's climate.

Chemists Retrieve Clues To Ancient Ocean Chemistry And Global Greenhouse From Cretaceous Sediments
Chemists at the University of California, San Diego and Stanford University report in the June 11 issue of Science that they have extended their glimpse of Earth's oceanic and atmospheric past to 130 million years, during one of its greatest upheavals of climatic change.

Earliest Bilateral Fossil Discovered. Moffet Field (SPX) Jun 07, 2004
Scientists have reported that bilateral animals appeared 600 million years ago, about 50 million years before the Cambrian Explosion.

Baby Pterosaur Reveals Egg-Laying Species. June 9, 2004
The world's first discovery of a fossilized embryonic pterosaur has confirmed suspicions that these strange flying cousins of the dinosaurs were egg layers, a study published on Thursday in the British weekly journal Nature says. The embryo, dated to 121 million years ago, was found snuggled inside fragments of eggshell, its leathery wing membranes and skin imprints "exquisitely preserved," Chinese fossil hunters say.

Two Dinosaurs From Africa Give Clues To Continents' Split.

Primordial Pains: How Earth Got Hot? Stanford CA (SPX) Jun 07, 2004
If a time machine could take us back 4.6 billion years to the Earth's birth, we'd see our sun shining 20 to 25 percent less brightly than today.  Without an earthly greenhouse to trap the sun's energy and warm the atmosphere, our world would be a spinning ball of ice.  Life may never have evolved.

May 2004

May 30

Dinosaurs Died Within Hours After Asteroid Hit Earth. Boulder CO (SPX) May 26, 2004
According to new research led by a University of Colorado at Boulder geophysicist, a giant asteroid that hit the coast of Mexico 65 million years ago probably incinerated all the large dinosaurs that were alive at the time in only a few hours, and only those organisms already sheltered in burrows or in water were left alive.

Ancient continents sent flying
Shifting core may have accelerated land movements. Seven hundred million years ago our planet experienced sudden contortions that sent whole continents flying across the equator in just a few million years. This idea has been controversial, but is now on a much firmer footing after a new analysis of magnetic signatures in ancient rocks. 21 May 2004.

Thick Siderite Marine Beds Suggest High CO2 Levels In Early Atmosphere. University Park PA - May 27, 2004
Carbon dioxide and oxygen, not methane, were prevalent in the Earth's atmosphere more than 1.8 billion years ago as shown by the absence of siderite in ancient soils but the abundance of the mineral in ocean sediments from that time, according to a Penn State geochemist.

Ancient Pebbles Contain Evidence Of A Hotter World. Stanford CA (SPX) May 26, 2004
Analysis of 3.2-billion-year-old pebbles has yielded perhaps the oldest geological evidence of Earth's ancient atmosphere and climate. The findings, published in the April 15 issue of the journal Nature, indicate that carbon dioxide levels in the early atmosphere were substantially above those that exist today and above those predicted by other models of the early Earth.

Mountain Scars Proof Of Conflict Between Tectonic Plates And Climate. Blacksburg (SPX) May 26, 2004
Across the world, rivers wash mountains into the sea. In the beautiful and rugged mountains of southeast Alaska, glaciers grind mountains down as fast as the earth's colliding tectonic plates shove them up.

Scientists Look At Moon To Shed Light On Earth's Climate. Greenbelt MD (SPX) May 27, 2004
According to a new NASA-funded study, insights into Earth's climate may come from an unlikely place: the moon. Scientists looked at the ghostly glow of light reflected from Earth onto the moon's dark side. During the 1980s and 1990s, Earth bounced less sunlight out to space. The trend reversed during the past three years, as the Earth appears to reflect more light toward space.

May 23

Geophysicist Discovers Why Earth 'Wobbles'
The earth wobbles in space. This has been known for over a century by astronomers, and thanks to global positioning system (GPS) technologies, this wobble has been tracked with a precision of a few millimeters over the last decade. Until now, there were good theories as to why this happens, but no one could really prove it. Now, however, Geoff Blewitt, University of Nevada research geophysicist, has an explanation for this mysterious geo-wobble. “The theory, which my colleagues and I have proven using GPS observations of the Earth, is that it’s likely to be caused by the surface matter being redistributed.”

Four-winged birds may have been first fliers
A new study of Archaeopteryx supports the idea that the first birds were four-winged gliders, not two winged flappers.

New Geologic Period Officially Named. May 19, 2004
A crucial and mysterious 58-million-year period in Earth's history is finally getting a name — the first new official geologic time period designated in over a century. The Ediacaran Period, which ran from 542 million to 600 million years ago, started with the thawing of a super ice age, the Cryogenian Period, and gave rise to soft-bodied jellyfish-like animals and sea-sluggish beasts. Then the period ended suddenly and the Cambrian Period began, when a dizzying array of new and diverse animals evolved, an event called the Cambrian explosion.

A Bird's Eye View Of Magnetic Earth. Blacksburg (SPX) May 17, 2004
Migratory birds, as well as many other animals, are able to sense the magnetic field of the earth, but how do they do it? "A fascinating possibility is that they may actually see the earth's magnetic lines as patterns of color or light intensity superimposed on their visual surroundings," said John B. Phillips of Blacksburg, associate professor of biology at Virginia Tech. The results of more than two decades of research allow him to let such an image cross his mind.

Signs of Crater Linked to Mass Extinction Said Found
The world was not a great place to be 250 million years ago. That's because some 90 percent of the planet's marine life and 80 percent of life on land had gone extinct at the end of the Permian period. Exactly what caused the mass extinction is a matter of debate, with the two leading theories positing massive volcanism in Siberia or a collision with a meteor much like the one that killed the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. New findings bolster the impact hypothesis and argue that the resulting crater lies buried off the coast of northwest Australia.

May 16

Solar wind to shield Earth during pole flip
A stream of solar wind will come to the planet's rescue during the next reversal of its magnetic poles, reveals a new study.

Oldest Hummingbird Found in Germany. May 7, 2004
Fossils of the world's oldest known modern hummingbird were unearthed in Germany, the first discovery of ancient skeletons of the tiny nectar-sucking bird outside the American continent, the journal Science said Thursday.

Early Arthropod Caught Shedding Skin. May 6, 2004
For the first time ever, paleontologists have caught one of the earliest animals in the act of doing something totally expected — shedding its skin. The molting animal was captured in a 505-million-year-old fossil of a bug-like arthropod sea creature call Marrella splendens, found in the Burgess Shale of the Canadian Rockies.

Penn Researchers Describe Newly Found Dinosaur Of The Montana Coastline. PHILADELPHIA
Through the cycads and gingkoes of the floodplains, not far from the Sundance Sea, strode the 50-foot-long Suuwassea, a plant-eating dinosaur with a whip-like tail and an anomalous second hole in its skull destined to puzzle paleontologists in 150 million years. According to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, Suuwassea emilieae (pronounced SOO-oo-WAH-see-uh eh-MEE-LEE-aye) is a smaller relative of Diplodocus and Apatosaurus and is the first named sauropod dinosaur from the Jurassic of southern Montana.

Bugs go spelunking
Microbes carve huge caverns out of solid rock. Some of the world's largest and most spectacular caves were created by the tiniest builders imaginable, according to a team of US geologists. It is the microbes that are responsible for converting the carbonate rock into gypsum. Little by little, the bacterial waste has turned tiny fissures into caves big enough to walk through.

Evidence Of Meteor Impact Found Off Australian Coast. Arlington VA (SPX) May 14, 2004
An impact crater believed to be associated with the "Great Dying," the largest extinction event in the history of life on Earth, appears to be buried off the coast of Australia. NASA and the National Science Foundation funded the major research project headed by Luann Becker, a scientist at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Satellites See Shadows Of Ancient Glaciers
People in the central and eastern United States and Canada are used to the idea that the land they live on -- its variety of hills, lakes and rivers -- are left over from the great mile-thick ice sheets that covered the area 18,000 years ago. They may, however, be surprised to learn that today, long after the glaciers melted, an international research team led by Northwestern University geologists using the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites can "see" the land moving -- up to half an inch per year in some places -- as the earth rebounds in response to the ice that once pushed the land down.

Satellite data confirms climate change
Global warming anomaly may succumb to microwave study.

Study Results May Resolve Long-Standing Global Warming Debate
Theoretically, if global warming is indeed happening, the troposphere should be heating up at least as fast as the earth's surface is. Yet temperature data obtained with devices called microwave sounding units over the past 25 years have consistently suggested little if any tropospheric warming. Some climate scientists have therefore argued that global warming models are flawed. New research indicates that the error lies not in the models, but rather in the temperature readings themselves.

Volcano near DR Congo-Rwanda border erupting since Saturday.

May 9

Snakehead Fish Reveal Ancient Climate Shifts. May 5, 2004
The infamous, crawling, air-breathing, predatory snakehead fishes that are making headlines by invading U.S. lakes may be indicators of ancient climate shifts elsewhere in the world.

May 2

Did dinosaurs lack daughters?
See-sawing climate may have fatally unbalanced ratio. 23 April 2004.

Supercontinent's Breakup Plunged Ancient Earth Into Big Chill. Gainesville FL (SPX) Apr 29, 2004
The breakup of the world's original supercontinent, coupled with the breakdown of massive amounts of volcanic rock, plunged Earth into the deepest freeze it has ever experienced, new research shows.

NASA Arctic Sea Ice Study May Stir Up Climate Models. Pasadena - Apr 26, 2004
Contrary to historical observations, sea ice in the high Arctic undergoes very small, back and forth movements twice a day, even in the dead of winter.  It was once believed ice deformation at such a scale was almost non-existent.

Fertilising the sea could combat global warming
Iron soaks up carbon in Southern Ocean trial. Dumping iron sulphate in the ocean to cause plankton blooms might not seem an eco-friendly way to tackle global warming. But, according to the most extended trial of the technique so far, it could prove an effective one. 22 April 2004.

April 2004

April 25

Moss Landing Researchers Reveal Iron As Key To Climate Change. Moss Landing - Apr 20, 2004
A remarkable expedition to the waters of Antarctica reveals that iron supply to the Southern Ocean may have controlled Earth's climate during past ice ages. A multi-institutional group of scientists, led by Dr. Kenneth Coale of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories (MLML) and Dr. Ken Johnson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI), fertilized two key areas of the Southern Ocean with trace amounts of iron.

April 11

Possible Answer To Earth's Magnetic Field Reversal Arlington VA - Apr 08, 2004
Earth's magnetic field reverses every few thousand years at low latitudes and every 10,000 years at high latitudes, a geologist funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has concluded. Brad Clement of Florida International University published his findings in this week's issue of the journal Nature. The results are a major step forward in scientists' understanding of how Earth's magnetic field works.

Dependence of the duration of geomagnetic polarity reversals on site latitude

Ice Melt May Dry Out US West Coast. London - Apr 08, 2004
By mid century cities and towns along the American west coast could be suffering serious water shortages in response to climate change. As Arctic sea-ice melts, annual rainfall is forecast to drop by as much as 30 per cent from Seattle to Los Angeles, and inland as far as the Rocky Mountains reports New Scientist.

In Solving An Ancient Whodunit, Geologists Conclude That Even In The Miocene, The Rhino Reigned Supreme. BUFFALO, N.Y.
Lions may get all the good press about being "king of the jungle," but the modern animal that has no predators in the wild, except for man, is the rhinoceros and that probably was the case as long as nine million years ago, recent University at Buffalo research demonstrates.

Barren Siberia, Of All Places, May Be Original Home To Animal Life GAINESVILLE, Fla.
Trilobites, the primitive shelled creatures considered by many to be among the first animals to appear in the fossil record, may have originated in a place known today largely for its barren lifelessness: Siberia.

April 4

Dino Prints:
Along the shores of a lake in southern Utah a 20 foot dinosaur sat down got back up and staggered away.

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Miles. Blacksburg - Mar 29, 2004
The body size of ancient creatures, bivalves and brachiopods, could tell geoscientists a lot about the creatures' life history and about the ecology of the times in which they lived. However, traveling the world to measure these creatures' fossils would take several life-times and more travel funds than scientists usually have.

March 2004

March 28

Patagonian Ice Dam Studied From Space Cracks Open. Paris - Mar 22, 2004
A spectacle unseen for 16 years occurred in Patagonia this week: a natural dam of blue ice gave way to crushing lake waters trapped behind it, finally breaking apart.

A World Ruled By Fungi.
The catastrophe that extinguished the dinosaurs and other animal species, 65 million years ago also brought dramatic changes to the vegetation. In a study presented in latest issue of the journal Science, the paleontologists Vivi Vajda from the University of Lund, Sweden and Stephen McLoughlin from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia have described what happened to the vegetation month by month. They depict a world in darkness where the fungi had taken over.

March 21

Stunning amber butterflies hint at ancient origins
The insects may even have fluttered alongside the dinosaurs, suggest the perfectly preserved fossil specimens.

Dragons Of The Air: Pterosaurs Flew With Smart Wings Boulder - Mar 16, 2004
These are the images of which nightmares are made: ancient pterosaurs darkening Earth's skies above the heads of dinosaurs during the Mesozoic era 225 million to 65 million years ago.

A 'snowball Earth' climate triggered by continental break-up through changes in runoff

NASA Explains 'Dust Bowl' Drought.
The study found cooler than normal tropical Pacific Ocean surface temperatures combined with warmer tropical Atlantic Ocean temperatures to create conditions in the atmosphere that turned America's breadbasket into a dust bowl from 1931 to 1939.

March 14

Will The World Just Chill Out. Huntsville - Mar 08, 2004
Global warming could plunge North America and Western Europe into a deep freeze, possibly within only a few decades. That's the paradoxical scenario gaining credibility among many climate scientists.

Climate Has History Of Fast Changes. Boulder (UPI) Mar 09, 2004
Those who think global climate change requires many years to unfold might want to take note of other worldwide temperature alterations in the past 15,000 years, which occurred, in geological terms, quick as a flash.

A World Ruled By Fungi. Stockholm - Mar 08, 2004
The catastrophe that extinguished the dinosaurs and other animal species, 65 million years ago also brought dramatic changes to the vegetation. In a study presented in latest issue of the journal Science, the paleontologists Vivi Vajda from the University of Lund, Sweden and Stephen McLoughlin from the Queensland University of Technology, Australia have described what happened to the vegetation month by month. They depict a world in darkness where the fungi had taken over.

New Evidence Suggests Early Oceans Bereft Of Oxygen For Eons Arlington - Mar 10, 2004
As two rovers scour Mars for signs of water and the precursors of life, geochemists have uncovered evidence that Earth's ancient oceans were much different from today's.

New Web Site For Biogeoscience Community Announced. Washington - Mar 08, 2004
The emerging field of biogeoscience will soon have a new home on the World Wide Web. In January 2004 the Geological Society of America was awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to develop and maintain a Web site dedicated to furthering this rapidly evolving scientific discipline.

March 7

New Evidence Suggests Early Oceans Bereft Of Oxygen For Eons; Early Life May Have Lived Very Differently Than Life Today
As two rovers scour Mars for signs of water and the precursors of life, geochemists have uncovered evidence that Earth's ancient oceans were much different from today's.

Saharan Groundwater At Least A Million Years Old. Illinois - Mar 04, 2004
New technique dates Saharan groundwater as million years old The Mediterranean Sea was a desert, millions of years ago. In contrast, the Sahara Desert was once a lush, green landscape dotted with lakes and ponds. Evidence of this past verdancy lies hidden beneath the sands of Egypt and Libya, in the form of a huge aquifer of fresh groundwater.

Warming Oceans Could Mean More Rainy Days in Paradise. Pasadena - Mar 04, 2004
Don't look for more sunny days while vacationing in paradise! A recent study of tropical oceans that used satellites including NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM), found that rain in the tropics will become more frequent as ocean temperatures rise.

February 2004

February 29

Evidence Of A "Lost World": Antarctica Yields Two Unknown Dinosaur Species
Against incredible odds, researchers working in separate sites, thousands of miles apart in Antarctica have found what they believe are the fossilized remains of two species of dinosaurs previously unknown to science.

Astonishing Discovery Over The Amazonian Rain Forest
Isoprene, an organic compound generated in large quantities by natural vegetation, was originally thought not to be involved in producing atmospheric aerosols. It has now been found to be a potentially major player in this process.

Biosphere's lessons.
By Faye Flam / Inquirer Staff Writer Living inside the glass enclosure known as Biosphere 2 for two years wasn't easy. If its eight pioneering residents wanted pizza, they had to grow their own wheat and milk a goat for cheese. They contended with thinning air, insufficient food, constant work and, worst of all, each other. Monday, February 23, 2004 (Philadelphia Inquirer).

Mining Satellite Imagery For Gold. Las Vegas - Feb 24, 2004
United Development International has reviewed radar imagery of their recently acquired Cuyuni River Project. Interpretation indicates the presence of a huge paleochannel extending over 16 kilometers and widths of up to 2.5 kilometers which has not been previously mined.

February 22

Dinosaur Fossil Record Points To 500 Plus Undiscovered Species. St. Louis - Feb 11, 2004
A graduate student in earth and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis has combed the dinosaur fossil record from T. Rex to songbirds and has compiled the first quantitative analysis of the quality and congruence of that record.

Fossil Find Is World's Oldest Insect
Researchers have identified the oldest known insect from its fossilized jaw remains. The discovery pushes back the earliest appearance of winged insects by nearly 80 million years and suggests that these creatures were among the first animals to arrive on land.

Pacific Nation Of Tuvalu Preparing To Disappear Beneath Tides This Week. AUCKLAND (AFP) Feb 16, 2004
Weather authorities in Tuvalu warned Monday their small South Pacific nation is likely to be inundated by unusual tides later this week. Tuvalu, home to 11,500 people living on nine scattered atolls all less than 4.5 metres (15 feet) above sea level, will be hit Thursday and Friday by "king tides" associated with the new moon, Hilia Vavae of the Tuvalu Meteorological Office told AFP.

Geology Goes Virtual. Los Angeles - Feb 16, 2004
This image uses visible and infra-red imaging to generate a three-dimensional terrain map of an area north of Mosul, Iraq where two tectonic plates are colliding. Using virtual reality, geologists can study parts of the world that are inaccessible or dangerous to visit in person. Data supplied by Eric Cowgill, Department of Geology, from NASA's TERRA satellite. (3-D visualization by Oliver Kreylos, CIPIC).

February 15

Oldest insect hints at dawn of flight
The specimen, found lurking in a fossil-filled museum vault, pushes back the origins of winged insects by 80 million years.

Team Excavating Mammoth On Gulf Coast. COLLEGE STATION, Feb. 10, 2004
Excavation of what is believed to be remains of the first-dated mammoth discovered on the Texas Gulf Coast is in its initial phases but living up to the expectations of its researchers, a team of students and archaeologists from Texas A&M University's Center for the Study of the First Americans. The mammoth was found buried in a sand pit just outside Lake Jackson, Texas in the town of Clute by a backhoe operator for Vernor Material & Equipment Co. who uncovered a pair of tusks. Further examination revealed skull remains and miscellaneous bones. The mammoth, which could be about 38,000 years old, judging from the age of logs recovered near the site, is believed to be a Columbian mammoth. These mammoths were slightly larger and less hairy than their famous cousin, the wooly. In addition, fossil logs and remains of bison, horse, deer and turtle are present, providing a glimpse of a unique Ice Age environment buried 35' below the surface, said Robson Bonnichsen, director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans.

Astronomers Unravel A Mystery From The Dark Ages. Cardiff - Feb 11, 2004
Scientists at Cardiff University, UK, believe they have discovered the cause of crop failures and summer frosts some 1,500 years ago – a comet colliding with Earth. The team has been studying evidence from tree rings, which suggests that the Earth underwent a series of very cold summers around 536-540 AD, indicating an effect rather like a nuclear winter.

February 8

Mountains Buried Beneath Mississippi. Feb. 2, 2004
There are tremendous mountains to be found in Mississippi, if you dig deep enough. Despite its modern mean elevation of just 300 feet, the state of Mississippi has hidden underground "pristine" 300-million year-old mountains that once towered thousands of feet and ranged all the way to Mexico, say geologists who are getting a clearer picture of the buried Ouachita Mountain range and the ancient collision that created it.

Biological 'Gold Rush' Threatens Antarctica, Experts Warn.

February 1

New NASA Data Release Invites You To Explore Two Vast Continents. Bethesda - Jan 27, 2004
Marco Polo. Alexander the Great. They were some of history's most prolific explorers, each trekking across sweeping stretches of Europe and Asia in their lifetimes. But these greats of world history have nothing on you, thanks to a new topographic data set from NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. One interesting picture is of Mount Ararat (Noah's Ark landing site??) at

How to Put the rex into Tyrannosaurus
Indeed, before T. rex hit the scene, tyrannosaurs were relatively petite. Weighing one to two metric tons and standing several meters tall, these were not animals to be met in a dark alley or kept as pets. But in fact, T. rex broke the tyrannosaur mold, nearly tripling in body mass over its predecessors. A new model aims to explain how.

Earliest Land Animal Fossil Found. Jan. 26, 2004
A millipede whose fossilized remains were discovered last year in eastern Scotland is the earth's oldest known land-dwelling creature, according to scientists quoted in the Scottish press on Sunday. Paleontologists from the Scottish National Museums and Yale University in the United States have concluded that the creature is more than 420 million years old, the weekly Sunday Herald reported.

Why do snowflakes crystallize into such intricate structures?

January 2004

January 25

Volcanic impact not so chilling
Super-eruptions might not be as environmentally devastating as we thought. 19 January 2004.

Unearthing the past
French peat bog reveals thousands of years of mining pollution. 13 January 2004.

Scooting on a Wet Bottom: Some undersea landslides ride a nearly frictionless slick of water.
New computer simulations suggest that hydroplaning may be responsible for the unexpectedly large distances traversed by some undersea avalanches.

L.A.'s Oldest Tourist Trap: At Rancho La Brea, death has been the pits for millennia.
Modern excavations at the La Brea tar pits are revealing a wealth of information about local food chains during recent ice ages, as well as details about what happened to trapped animals in their final hours.

January 18

Extreme heat on the rise
Climate model predicts more stifling summers. Nature, 12 January 2004

Quakes Along Central San Andreas Fault Peak Every Three-Years. Berkeley - Jan 12, 2004
Medium to large earthquakes occurring along the central San Andreas Fault appear to cluster at regular three-year intervals - a previously unnoticed cycle that provides some hope for forecasting larger quakes along this and other California faults.

January 11

Endurance Of Plants Under Quartz Rocks Possible Model For Life On Early Earth. Durham - Jan 06, 2004
Microscopic Mojave Desert plants growing on the underside of translucent quartz pebbles can endure both chilly and near-boiling temperatures, scavenge nitrogen from the air, and utilize the equivalent of nighttime moonlight levels for photosynthesis, a new study reports. The plants, which receive enough light through the pebbles to support photosynthesis, could offer a model for how plants first colonized land, as well as how they might have evolved on Mars, said the scientists who performed the study.

January 4

Earth's Inconstant Magnetic Field. Huntsville - Dec 30, 2003
Every few years, scientist Larry Newitt of the Geological Survey of Canada goes hunting. He grabs his gloves, parka, a fancy compass, hops on a plane and flies out over the Canadian arctic. Not much stirs among the scattered islands and sea ice, but Newitt's prey is there--always moving, shifting, elusive.

Palaeontology: Prime primate
A fossil skull from China, dating to 55 million years ago, provides much-needed substantial evidence of early primates in Asia. Interpretation of the creatures eye size and activity pattern will spark debate.

Bacteria Discovered In 4,000 Feet Of Rock Fuels Mars Comparison. Corvallis - Jan 01, 2004
A team of scientists has discovered bacteria in a hole drilled more than 4,000 feet deep in volcanic rock on the island of Hawaii near Hilo, in an environment they say could be analogous to conditions on Mars and other planets.

Working On The 'Porsche Of Its Time': New Model For Species Determination Offered.
Using the fact that the skeleton of a dinosaur generally contains approximately 338 different bones, she catalogued the number of differences as well as where the differences were found on the skeleton. Calculations indicated that, on average, two species of dinosaur that are members of the same genera varied from each other by just 2.2 percent. Translation of the percentage into an actual number results in an average of just three skeletal differences out of the total 338 bones in the body. Amazingly, 58 percent of these differences occurred in the skull alone.