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Earth Happenings Archive
December, 1997
Los Alamos Instruments To Prospect For Water On The Moon (Science Daily 12/31)
"Three Los Alamos instruments on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Lunar Prospector, scheduled for a Jan. 5, 1998, launch, will look for water, map the location of valuable elements and gather data on events that release gases from below the surface of Earth's nearest neighbor."
Is wind the energy future for Texas? (CNN 12/30)
"Texas and oil are in many ways synonymous, and pumping stations have been a familiar part of the region's landscape for decades. But there may soon be other structures springing up in the state: there is a push to use wind energy for commercial purposes and to set up the kind of fields of wind turbines already familiar elsewhere. "
Tajik lake could flood parts of four countries, experts say (CNN/AP 12/28)
"A mountain lake held back by an unstable natural dam in the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan is a huge disaster waiting to happen, say scientists and relief agency officials."
Egypt envisions future beyond the Nile (CNN/AP 12/28)
"In one of the most arid, remote corners of Egypt, workers are digging a canal that will do more than make the proverbial desert bloom. If the government's dream is realized, it will overturn six millennia of history, ending forever Egypt's submission to the Nile Valley."
Colorado River Water Plan Announced (Washington Post/AP 12/18)
"Western states that depend on the Colorado River to quench a growing thirst would be allowed to transfer water under new rules proposed Thursday by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt."
New 3-D look at El Nino shows its vast reach (CNN 12/18)
"A new 3-D video of El Nio released Thursday traces the evolution of the disruptive weather pattern throughout 1997. The satellite images, prepared by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, include side-by-side comparisons of the 1982-83 and 1997 El Nios." (El Nino Visualizations - NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center)
Other Planets Influence Earth's Climate, University Of Toronto Scientist Says (Science Daily 12/18)
"Physicist Jerry Mitrovica and Allessandro Forte of the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris use numerical simulations to show the connection between Earth's changing shape and the gravitational effects of other bodies in the Solar System, particularly Jupiter and Saturn. "
New earthquake fault spotted (Reuters 12/17)
"Missouri geologists are studying evidence of a new earthquake fault that appears to be part of a zone stretching across Southern Illinois and Missouri and running parallel to the New Madrid zone."
Earth's Interior May Contain Oceans Of Water (Science Daily 12/17)
"The earth's interior may contain three to five oceans of water locked within billions of crystals that could help regulate the level of water on the surface of the planet, a University of Colorado at Boulder geologist says."
Hubble images of dying stars force cosmic reconsideration (CNN 12/17)
Hubble Witnesses The Final Blaze Of Glory Of Sun-Like Stars (NASA Press Release and Images 12/17)
"New data gathered by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope reveal that sun-like stars are dying in a much more spectacular way than previously assumed, forcing scientists to rethink their theories on the process."
DNA tests show humans not Neanderthals' descendants (CNN 12/17)
"New DNA tests may have finally proven that, while we may be distantly related to the Neanderthals, they were not our direct forebearers."
Galileo Makes Near-Pass of Europa (Washington Post/AP 12/16)
Closest europa flyby marks start of galileo mission 'Part II' (NASA/JPL Press Release 12/16)
Closest Flyby of Jupiter's Moon Europa Marks Start Of Galileo's New Extended Mission (Science Daily 12/17)
"The Galileo spacecraft on Tuesday got its closest look ever at Jupiter's frozen moon Europa, a crackled and blistered body that could have an ocean harboring life. Galileo swooped 124 miles above Europa's surface and recently detected signs of magnesium salts that point to a possible briny ocean beneath an icy crust."
2-Million-Yr-Old Fossils Found (Washington Post/AP 12/16)
Fossilized baby skeletons found in South Africa (CNN 12/16)
"On a sheet of white paper, researchers displayed a few tiny brown teeth and two doll-sized forearm bones Tuesday: fossils of the youngest humans ever found. They came from two children, under 3 years old when they died, who lived in South Africa some 2 million years ago."
Greenland the Site of Meteor Search (Washington Post/AP 12/16)
"Danish Air Force planes searched the vast white expanse of southern Greenland on Tuesday for traces of a meteor believed to have struck the ice-capped island."
Computer Simulations Show That Certain Gasses Could Stimulate Global Cooling (Science Daily 12/16)
"Contrary to the conventional wisdom, new computer modeling from the University of Michigan suggests that global warming might not be a product of human activity. Ironically, argues Joyce Penner, professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences, carbon and sulfur emissions can have the reverse effect, serving to cool down the planet."
Oceans of water inside Earth (Reuters 12/12)
"Scientists say that buried inside billions of crystals in Earth's broiling interior lie the ingredients for three to five oceans that could help regulate water level on the planet's surface."
Ancient burning tied to Australia desert (Reuters 12/12)
"The possibility that aborigines' land-use practices some 50,000 years ago shifted climate patterns down under and triggered the transformation of a once lush region into a vast wasteland was presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco."
The Case for Relic Life on Mars (Scientific American - December '97)
"A meteorite found in Antarctica offers strong evidence that Mars has had-- and may still have--microbial life."
For slag, the future is bright (CNN/AP 12/12)
"For generations, steelmaking, mining and smelting created great gobs of slag all around the world. But the challenge is what to do with the stuff left behind."
Mapping the White Continent (Scientific American Exhibit - November '97)
"The last terra incognita is being mapped. From September 26 to October 14, RADARSAT, an earth-sensing satellite operated by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), pointed its instruments at Antarctica as it made hundreds of passes over the South Pole from various angles."
Recent Abrupt Cold Event Could Shed Light On Future (Science Daily 12/11)
"About 8,200 years ago, the world climate suddenly got colder and stayed that way for a few hundred years before temperatures returned to normal, according to a team of paleoclimatologists."
Oxygen Discovered At Callisto's Surface, Sulfur Dioxide Sources At Io (Science Daily 12/11)
(NASA/JPL Press Release 12/11)
"New data from a University of Colorado at Boulder instrument on board the Galileo spacecraft now at Jupiter indicates one of its four large moons, Callisto, has oxygen on its surface and another, Io, continues to emit hot volcanic gases."
Global warming pact approved (CNN 12/11)
"After 11 days of intense wrangling over the details, delegates to an international conference on global warming gave final approval Thursday to a landmark agreement that limits emissions of so-called 'greenhouse" gases.'" (Global warming agreement at a glance (CNN/AP))
Leaf Diversity Discovery Important For Global Climate Change Studies (Science Daily 12/10)
"A new study of leaves from 280 diverse plant species from all over North America shows striking similarities in structure and function, despite different evolutionary origins. Far from just a curiosity, the finding could make it easier to use computers to model the Earth's vegetation and the effects of climate."
'Cosmic snowball' fight erupts at science meeting (CNN/Reuters 12/9)
"A 'cosmic snowball' fight erupted at a scientific meeting Tuesday as debate raged over a theory that the Earth is bombarded every day by thousands of comets made of interstellar snow."
Mishap gives Mars Surveyor ringside seats to giant dust storm (CNN 12/9)
"A mechanical mishap that forced the Mars Global Surveyor to make emergency flight changes is reaping some unexpected benefits, including up-close pictures of a dust storm blanketing 20 percent of the planet's surface."
Will solar energy come into the mainstream? (CNN 12/8)
"Now that the world is talking seriously about cutting greenhouse gas emissions, solar may have its day in the sun."
Black Sea Oil Giants Fought (Washington Post/AP 12/6)
"It is a messy environmental dispute unfolding near some of the cleanest waters of the Black Sea. At stake is an estimated $4 billion conduit from oil fields in Khazakstan to Russia's main southern port -- part of a great rush to tap into oil reserves around the Caspian Sea."
Martian meteorite contains no biological life, research team says (Science Daily 12/5)
"The famous Martian meteorite, ALH84001, contains no biological life forms, according to a Case Western Reserve University researcher and colleagues. The team issues this report in the December 4 issue of Nature, duplicating the methods of a team of scientists from the Johnson Space Center and Stanford University."
After 75 million years, dinosaur 'speaks' (CNN 12/5)
Scientists Re-Create Dinosaur Call (Washington Post/AP 12/5)
"Scientists in New Mexico have created a sound that hasn't been heard in 75 million years: the low-pitched roar of the parasaurolophus dinosaur. They did so using a four-and-a-half foot fossil of a dinosaur skull, a hospital CT scan, and a supercomputer." (CNN Quicktime movie/recording of 'dinosaurs')
Global warming could sink coastal areas (CNN 12/5)
"An old lighthouse that once marked the edge of a bayou village now stands half-submerged in the Gulf of Mexico. At a rate of 25 square miles each year, Louisiana is losing out to the sea."
Scientists predict 1997 will be warmest on record (CNN 12/5)
"As negotiators labored on a compromise for lowering the world's "greenhouse" gas emissions, delegates at the U.N.'s Climate Change Summit learned Friday that 1997 is expected to be Earth's hottest year on record."
Mars more like Earth than we thought, NASA says (Reuters 12/5)
"Astronomers published their first data from the Mars Pathfinder mission Thursday and said it showed the red planet was at one time more like Earth than anyone had imagined. Water once flowed on its surface, creating boulders, pebbles and sand, it has a molten core similar to but not exactly like Earth's, and it has clouds."
Ocean splashdown (Nature Science Updates 12/4)
"An asteroid between one and four kilometres in diameter that splashed into the Southern Ocean, 1,500 kilometres southwest of Chile, just over two million years ago, may have worsened a period of global cooling that saw the emergence of modern humans."
NASA readies for moon mission (CNN 12/4)
"For the first time in 25 years, NASA is heading to the moon. On January 5, Lunar Prospector will be launched from Cape Canaveral." (NASA Quicktime Animation (CNN))
Strange South American Fossil Mammals Found In Madagascar And India (Science Daily 12/4)
"A strange group of [Late Cretaceous] fossil mammals, heretofore only known in South America, has been discovered on the island of Madagascar and in India. The unexpected discoveries were announced in this week's issue of the journal Nature."
Global Climate Change Recorded In Antarctic Marine Fossils (Science Daily 12/2)
"An ancient type of marine community typical of 450 million years ago has resurfaced in Antarctic fossils of near-modern age. A National Science Foundation-sponsored expedition to Seymour Island off the Antarctic Peninsula unearthed an ecological anomaly: fossil communities only 40-million-years-old dominated by brittle stars and sea lilies (marine invertebrates like starfish)."
Global Warming Worries Islanders (Washington Post/AP 12/3)
"For some around the world, the meaning of global warming remains unpredictable, even inconsequential. But for low-lying island states, it represents something both fateful and sure: If the sea rises as predicted, it will wipe out homes, and maybe even homelands."
Black hole explodes right in our neighborhood (CNN/Reuters 12/2)
"Astronomers said Tuesday they had captured the image of an exploding black hole, right in Earth's own Milky Way galaxy."
Global warming debate: Dueling views of the future (CNN 12/2)
"Negotiators working on a global warming agreement in Kyoto, Japan, this week must reconcile two opposing images: that of a world where reduced fossil fuel use will cause economic chaos and that of a post-industrial utopia created by the same reductions."
World officials focus on global warming (CNN 12/1)
"Delegates from 160 countries and several international organizations opened the United Nations conference on global warming Monday, with the United States, European Union and Japan addressing the problem with various proposals that may not yield tangible results for another century."
10,000-year-old clues suggest future forest changes (Science Daily 12/1)
"By studying the past in the form of pollen and other plant remains, Dr. Rolf Mathewes has gained valuable insights into what the future might hold. 'We know that the climate was warmer in the past and how it affected forest cover, and we can use this information as an analog to predict the future."
Our Changing Climate (CNN Special Report December 1997)
CNN's special report on global warming including continuing coverage of the Kyoto Conference.

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