Earth

A team funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) is returning to Haiti this week to investigate the cause of the January 12, magnitude 7 earthquake there.

The geologists will collect crucial data to assess whether the quake could trigger another major event to the east or west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

Global warming may impair the ability of ecosystems to perform vital services—such as providing food, clean water and carbon sequestration—says the nation's largest organization of ecological scientists. In a statement released today, the Ecological Society of America (ESA) outlines strategies that focus on restoring and maintaining natural ecosystem functions to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

A study published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) provides new information about the rates at which three of the most powerful greenhouse gases are destroyed by a chemical reaction that takes place in the upper atmosphere.

"Rising and falling sea levels over relatively short periods do not indicate long-term trends. An assessment of hundreds and thousands of years shows that what seems an irregular phenomenon today is in fact nothing new," explains Dr. Dorit Sivan, who supervised the research.*

Washington, D.C.—Physicists have long wondered whether hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, could be transformed into a metal and possibly even a superconductor—the elusive state in which electrons can flow without resistance. They have speculated that under certain pressure and temperature conditions hydrogen could be squeezed into a metal and possibly even a superconductor, but proving it experimentally has been difficult.

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A major increase in maximum ocean wave heights off the Pacific Northwest in recent decades has forced scientists to re-evaluate how high a "100-year event" might be, and the new findings raise special concerns for flooding, coastal erosion and structural damage.

The new assessment concludes that the highest waves may be as much as 46 feet, up from estimates of only 33 feet that were made as recently as 1996, and a 40 percent increase. December and January are the months such waves are most likely to occur, although summer waves are also significantly higher.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- A new experiment that reproduces the magnetic fields of the Earth and other planets has yielded its first significant results. The findings confirm that its unique approach has some potential to be developed as a new way of creating a power-producing plant based on nuclear fusion — the process that generates the sun's prodigious output of energy.

On 2 January, Mount Nyamulagira in the Democratic Republic of Congo erupted, spewing lava from its southern flank and raising concerns that the 100 000 people in the town of Sake could be under threat.

The quest for faster electronic devices recently got something more than a little bump up in technological knowhow. Scientists at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y. discovered that the thin, smooth, crystalline sheets needed to make semiconductors, which are the foundation of modern computers, might be grown into smoother sheets by managing the random darting motions of the atomic particles that affect how the crystals grow.

Recent studies of stream channel offsets along the San Andreas Fault reveal new information about fault behavior--changing our understanding of the potential for damaging earthquakes.

The studies were conducted at the Carrizo Plain, 100 miles north of Los Angeles and site of the original "Big One"--the Fort Tejon quake of 1857--by scientists at Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of California at Irvine (UCI).

To make thin films for semiconductors in electronic devices, layers of atoms must be grown in neat, crystalline sheets. But while some materials grow smooth crystals, others tend to develop bumps and defects – a serious problem for thin-film manufacturing.

TEMPE, Ariz. and IRVINE, Calif. – Recent collaborative studies of stream channel offsets along the San Andreas Fault by researchers at Arizona State University and UC Irvine reveal new information about fault behavior – affecting how we understand the potential for damaging earthquakes.

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. – January 21, 2010 – The bubbles in your champagne that appear to jump out of your glass and tickle your nose are exhibiting a behavior quite similar to the tiny bubbles found throughout the world's oceans, according to bubble physicist Helen Czerski.

But while the champagne bubbles are likely to raise your spirits, those in the ocean can cause clouds to form and affect the climate.

WHAT:A new study in human cells has singled out a molecule that specifically directs immune cells to develop the capability to produce an allergic response. The signaling molecule, called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), is key to the development of allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema) and food allergy.

For the first time, the widely used molecular synthesis technique known as click chemistry has been safely applied to a living organism. Researchers with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have crafted a unique copper-free version of click chemistry to create biomolecular probes for in vivo studies of live mice. Conventional click chemistry reactions require a copper catalyst that is toxic to cells and organisms.