Earth

WALNUT CREEK, Calif.— Scientists from two-dozen research organizations led by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have decoded genomes of two algal strains, highlighting the genes enabling them to capture carbon and maintain its delicate balance in the oceans. These findings, from a team led by Alexandra Z. Worden of MBARI and published in the April 10 edition of the journal Science, will illuminate cellular processes related to algae-derived biofuels being pursued by DOE scientists.

The 2007 Solomon Island earthquake may point to previously unknown increased earthquake and tsunami risks because of the unusual tectonic plate geography and the sudden change in direction of the earthquake, according to geoscientists.

On April 1, 2007, a tsunami-generating earthquake of magnitude 8.1 occurred East of Papua New Guinea off the coast of the Solomon Islands. The subsequent tsunami killed about 52 people, destroyed much property and was larger than expected.

The Seismological Society of America (SSA) is an international scientific society devoted to the advancement of seismology and its applications in understanding and mitigating earthquake hazards and in imaging the structure of the earth.

Session: Deterministic Simulated Ground Motion Records Under ASCE/SEI (7-05: Guidance for the Geotechnical IndustryLocation: DeAnza Ballroom 3, Thursday 9 April 2009, 8:30 a.m.

Seismologists are re-evaluating the earthquake potential of the Central Coast, a very complex tectonic region located west of the San Andreas Fault, between Monterey Bay and the Western Transverse Ranges. This area of increasing population growth ranks as one of the top 40 U.S. metropolitan areas with significant earthquake risk.

Speakers from the US Geological Survey, PG&E and academia will compare fresh data to illuminate the complexity of faulting in the central California coastal region.

Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.

Emitted by natural and human sources, aerosols can directly influence climate by reflecting or absorbing the sun's radiation. The small particles also affect climate indirectly by seeding clouds and changing cloud properties, such as reflectivity.

New research on infrasound from volcanic eruptions shows an unexpected connection with jet engines. Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego speeded up the recorded sounds from two volcanoes and uncovered a noise very similar to typical jet engines. These new research findings provide scientists with a more useful probe of the inner workings of volcanic eruptions. Infrasound is sound that is lower in frequency than 20 cycles per second, below the limit of human hearing.

Washington, D.C.— The Earth's original atmosphere held very little oxygen. This began to change around 2.4 billion years ago when oxygen levels increased dramatically during what scientists call the "Great Oxidation Event." The cause of this event has puzzled scientists, but researchers writing in Nature have found indications in ancient sedimentary rocks that it may have been linked to a drop in the level of dissolved nickel in seawater.

Edmonton—A University of Alberta researcher is lead author on a paper that reaches back billions of years to establish a new link between nickel, methane gas and the evolution of complex life forms on Earth.

Kurt Konhauser, professor of geomicrobiology at the U of A, and an international team of researchers came together for the paper that will be published in Nature on April 9.

MADISON, WI, APRIL 7, 2009 -- A recent study conducted in the Midwestern United States examined the effects of harsh wet conditions on both cultivated and uncultivated soils, vastly advancing the knowledge of water's effects on aggregation. Soil aggregation is an important soil attribute that is related to the physical-chemical state of the soil, and is one of the essential processes that determine soil quality. During the wet season in the U.S.

DURHAM, NC – Rainforest reserves – even those disturbed by roads – provide an important buffer against fires that are devastating parts of the Brazilian Amazon, according to a new study by a trio of researchers at Duke University published April 8 in the open-access, peer-reviewed journal PLoS ONE.

Berkeley — Climate change will bring about major shifts in worldwide fire patterns, and those changes are coming fast, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, in collaboration with scientists at Texas Tech University.

The findings are reported in the April 8 issue of PLoS ONE, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal of the Public Library of Science.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has developed the first sensor capable of measuring localized ultrasonic cavitation – the implosion of bubbles in a liquid when a high frequency sound wave is applied. The sensor will help hospitals ensure that their instruments are properly disinfected before they are used on patients. The device recently won the annual Outstanding Ultrasonics Product award from the Ultrasonic Industry Association.

LIVERPOOL, UK – 7 April 2009: Scientists at the University of Liverpool have discovered a five-sided ice chain structure that could be used to modify future weather patterns.