Earth

University of California, Berkeley, chemists have found a smoking gun proving that increased fertilizer use over the past 50 years is responsible for a dramatic rise in atmospheric nitrous oxide, which is a major greenhouse gas contributing to global climate change.

Climate scientists have assumed that the cause of the increased nitrous oxide was nitrogen-based fertilizer, which stimulates microbes in the soil to convert nitrogen to nitrous oxide at a faster rate than normal.

The Earth's crust beneath the Mississippi Delta sinks at a much slower rate than what had been assumed.

That's one of the results geoscientists report today in a paper published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

The researchers arrived at their conclusions by comparing detailed sea-level reconstructions from different portions of coastal Louisiana.

Scientists from the University of Liverpool are working with computer modelling specialists in India to predict areas of the country that are at most risk of malaria outbreaks, following changes in monsoon rainfall.

The number of heavy rainfall events in India has increased over the past 50 years, but research has tended to focus on the impact this has on agriculture rather than the vector-borne diseases, such as malaria and Japanese Encephalitis.

How do dogs behave when their ability to exert self-control is compromised? Are they more likely to approach dangerous situations or stay well away? According to a new study by Holly Miller, from the University of Lille Nord de France, and colleagues, dogs that have 'run out' of self-control make more impulsive decisions that put them in harm's way. The work was just published online in Springer's Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

A century on from the sinking of the Titanic, science writer Richard Corfield takes a look at the cascade of events that led to the demise of the 'unsinkable' ship, taking into account the maths and physics that played a significant part.

At 11.40 p.m. on Sunday 14 April 1912 the Titanic, bound from Southampton to New York, struck an iceberg just off the coast of Newfoundland and became fully submerged within three hours, before dropping four kilometres to the bottom of the Atlantic.

A new study contrasting ocean temperature readings of the 1870s with temperatures of the modern seas reveals an upward trend of global ocean warming spanning at least 100 years.

Stir lots of small particles into water, and the resulting thick mixture appears highly viscous. When this dense suspension slips through a nozzle and forms a droplet, however, its behavior momentarily reveals a decidedly non-viscous side. University of Chicago physicists recorded this surprising behavior in laboratory experiments using high-speed photography that can capture action taking place in one hundred-thousandths of a second or less.

It seems that "Lucy" was not the only hominin on the block in northern Africa about 3 million years ago.

A team of researchers that included Johns Hopkins University geologist Naomi Levin has announced the discovery of a partial foot skeleton with characteristics (such as an opposable big toe bone) that don't match those of Lucy, the human ancestor (or hominin) known to inhabit that region and considered by many to be the ancestor of all modern humans.

The decline of Caribbean coral reefs has been linked to the recent effects of human-induced climate change. However, new research led by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego suggests an even earlier cause. The bad news – humans are still to blame. The good news – relatively simple policy changes can hinder further coral reef decline.

Boulder, Colorado, USA – The April/May GSA Today science article is now online at www.geosociety.org/gsatoday/. In this issue, Simon Williams and colleagues from the Earthbyte Group of the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney present GPlates, a powerful new method for analyzing geological and geophysical data sets within the context of tectonic reconstructions.

Two new studies into the "plumbing systems" that lie under volcanoes could bring scientists closer to predicting large eruptions.

International teams of researchers, led by the University of Leeds, studied the location and behaviour of magma chambers on the Earth's mid-ocean ridge system - a vast chain of volcanoes along which the Earth forms new crust.

Some people like company. Others prefer to be alone. The same holds true for the particles that constitute the matter around us: Some, called bosons, like to act in unison with others. Others, called fermions, have a mind of their own.

Different as they are, both species can show "collective" behavior -- an effect similar to the wave at a baseball game, where all spectators carry out the same motion regardless of whether they like each other.

The San Jacinto Fault (SJF) Zone is a seismically active, major component of the overall southern San Andreas Fault system. Researchers from San Diego State University (SDSU) and U.S. Geological Survey have mapped evidence of past ruptures consistent with very large earthquakes along the Clark Fault, an individual strand associated with the SJF.

A new study evaluates the seismic hazards for the entire Central America, including specific assessments for six capital cities, with the greatest hazard expected for Guatemala City and San Salvador, followed by Managua and San José, and notably lower in Tegucigalpa and Panamá City.