Earth

Researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) are venturing this month to the North Pole to deploy instruments that will make year-round observations of the water beneath the Arctic ice cap. Scientists will investigate how the waters in the upper layers of the Arctic Ocean—which insulate surface ice from warmer, deeper waters—are changing from season to season and year to year as global climate fluctuates.

This week in Science, Yale researchers present “roadmaps” showing that shared protons, a common loose link between two biological molecules, simply vibrate between the molecules as a local oscillator, rather than intimately entangling with the molecular vibrations of the attached molecules.

Scientists have found one of the largest fields of seafloor vents gushing super-hot, mineral-rich fluids on a mid-ocean ridge that, until now, remained elusive to the ten-year hunt to find them.

In 2008, scientists will, for the very first time, create a continual profile of ice thickness in the Artic, extending from the Canadian coast across the North Pole to Siberia. At the core of the project lies the crossing of the North Pole by zeppelin. The airship will be equipped with an electromagnetic sensor developed at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

Remnants from a cave embedded in a limestone quarry southwest of Chicago have yielded a fossil trove that may influence the known history of north central Illinois some 310 million years ago.

"What's really valuable about the cave is the level of preservation of the material," said Fabien Kenig, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences at UIC. "We see charcoal that preserves biological features at the cellular level. Charcoal is an indication of fire burning ancient trees. The cave also beautifully preserved molecular indicators of these fires."

Researchers from the Boston University Center for Remote Sensing used recently acquired topographic data from satellites to reveal an ancient mega-lake in the Darfur province of northwestern Sudan. Drs. Eman Ghoneim and Farouk El-Baz made the finding while investigating Landsat images and Radarsat data. Radar waves are able to penetrate the fine-grained sand cover in the hot and dry eastern Sahara to reveal buried features.Northern Darfur Mega-Lake. Credit: Boston University Center for Remote Sensing

Coral reefs, like tree rings, are natural archives of climate change. But oceanic corals also provide a faithful account of how people make use of land through history, says Robert B. Dunbar of Stanford University.

Marine scientists recently published a research paper in the science journal, biology letters, that found humpback whales migrate over 5,100 miles from Central America to their feeding grounds off Antarctica; a record distance undertaken by any mammal.

Kristin Rasmussen, a biologist with Cascadia Research Collective, and lead author in the study, finds the record-breaking migration interesting, but is most pleased that the study validates a long held assumption that humpback whales travel to warm water areas during the winter.

Scientists using NASA satellite data have found strong evidence that a major earthquake can lead to a nearly immediate increase in regional volcanic activity.

The intensity of two ongoing volcanic eruptions on Indonesia’s Java Island increased sharply three days following a powerful, 6.4-magnitude earthquake on the island in May 2006. The increased volcanic activity persisted for about nine days.

Planting and protecting trees—which trap and absorb carbon dioxide as they grow—can help to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But a new study suggests that, as a way to fight global warming, the effectiveness of this strategy depends heavily on where these trees are planted. In particular, tropical forests are very efficient at keeping the Earth at a happy, healthy temperature.

Oceanographers have completed an important step in constructing the first deep-sea observatory off the continental United States. Workers in the multi-institution effort laid 32 miles (52 kilometers) of cable along the Monterey Bay sea floor that will provide electrical power to scientific instruments, video cameras, and robots 3,000 feet (900 meters) below the ocean surface.

High-resolution images that reveal unexpected details of the Earth's internal structure are among the results reported by MIT and Purdue scientists in the March 30 issue of Science.

The maximum extent of Arctic sea ice in winter 2007 was the second lowest on satellite record, narrowly missing the 2006 record, according to a team of University of Colorado at Boulder researchers.

As the ancient Greeks were placing the last few stones on the magnificent theater at Epidaurus in the fourth century B.C., they couldn’t have known that they had unwittingly created a sophisticated acoustic filter.

Not from marijuana but from ... ethanol.

Many will be familiar with cravings for sweet food after having overindulged in alcohol the night before. Some may have cravings for salty foods after using marijuana - in Amsterdam, where it is legal, of course.