Earth science

amphibious ichthyosaur fossil

Newly found fossil fills evolutionary gap

A fossilized amphibious ichthyosaur — bearing both flippers and flexible wrists, descended from terrestrial creatures — has been discovered in China.

Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime

Earth's last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years.
marine gravity model of the North Atlantic

New map exposes details of seafloor

Mysteries of the deep come alive as satellite data bring thousands of uncharted sea mountains and new clues about deep ocean structures into focus.
trees in Sierra Nevada

Warmer climate means greener mountains, less water for Californians

Sierra Nevada freshwater runoff could drop 26 percent by 2100, caused by increased plant growth at higher elevations.
GPS station, Inyo Mountains

Surprising byproduct of West's severe drought

The western U.S. is rising — literally — as water dwindles away. Scientists are using GPS technology to track the uplift from massive loss of water, estimated at 62 trillion gallons.

Old evidence leads to new ideas about quake hazards in Pacific Northwest

Sediment cores collected in 1960s for doctoral thesis have attracted renewed scrutiny for clues to Cascadia earthquakes.
Lisa White

Paleontologist entices diverse students to dig her field

We love to see giant dinosaur fossils in museums, but microfossils are everywhere, geoscientist Lisa White tells school kids. An African-American woman in one of the least diverse scientific fields, White directs education and public programs at the Museum of Paleontology.

Has Antarctic Sea ice expansion been overestimated?

Measurements wrong due to an error in the way satellite data was processed, research from Scripps Institution of Oceanography suggests.

Ocean Health Index assesses U.S West Coast states

Loss of salt marshes and sand dunes — two key habitat areas — have negatively impacted carbon storage and coastal protection.
John Southon and Benjamin Fuller

Down to the bones

Researchers sort out the sticky situation at the La Brea Tar Pits by refining methods for measuring the age of fossils.