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Earth Happenings Archive
March, 1998
Earth Dragging Space And Time As It Rotates (Science Daily 3/30)
"An international team of NASA and university researchers has found the first direct evidence of a phenomenon predicted 80 years ago using Einstein's theory of general relativity -- that the Earth is dragging space and time around itself as it rotates."
Proposed nuclear waste dump area may be more active than expected (CNN/AP 3/27)
Fed study questions nuke depository site (Reuters 3/26)
"The Nevada site proposed for storage of the nation's nuclear waste could have an earthquake or lava flow every 1,000 years or so, about 10 times more frequently than earlier estimated, according to a new study."
El Nino is backing off, NASA pictures reveal (CNN 3/26)
"After dumping feet of water on California and triggering forest fires in Asia, Malaysia, and Indonesia, NASA scientists say the warm-water phenomenon known as El NiĖo is finally beginning to dissipate."
Birds bizarre (Nature Science Updates 3/26)
"A report in the 19 March 1998 issue of Nature describes a creature that looks superficially like a dinosaur, but detailed examination of its skull shows it to have been more closely related to modern birds than is the famous 'first bird', Archaeopteryx. But his new creature, and its close relatives, did not have wings and could not fly."
Early Oceans Touch Civilization Today (Science Daily 3/25)
"It was a chilly Thursday morning in November 1980 when, just before dawn, the drill bit from the oil rig on Lake Peigneur on Jefferson Island, La., punctured the roof of the Diamond Crystal salt dome beneath the lake. Water began pouring into the dome, slowly at first, then more and more rapidly, flooding the tunnels, dissolving the salt and forcing a hasty evacuation of the miners working there."
EU told it must lead by example on climate (CNN/ENN 3/25)
"If the European Union is going to have an influence on the international climate negotiations, EU environment ministers have to go well beyond the EU's Kyoto target for limiting greenhouse gas emissions, the World Wide Fund for Nature said Monday."
Seismic Imaging Unearths Detailed Picture Of Earth's Core (Science Daily 3/24)
"Using seismic wave data gathered from tens of thousands of earthquakes, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have produced the first three-dimensional image of the Earth's entire structure, from the crust to the inner core."
Telescope captures turning point in star's death (CNN/Reuters 3/20)
"The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a turning point in the death of a sun-like star: the instant when the hydrogen and helium at the star's core are flung into interstellar space to create more heavenly bodies."
Car, oil companies at odds over sulfur in gasoline (CNN 3/20)
"The oil industry and major U.S. automakers are at odds over how much to reduce the amount of sulfur in gasoline, which is a source of air pollution."
Earth: In the line of fire (Nature Science Updates 3/19)
"John G. Spray of the University of new Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada and colleagues suggest that the Earth was in the line of fire of at least five bodies - possibly the fragments of a larger body - that hit the Earth within a matter of hours, 214 million years ago, towards the end of the Triassic Period."
The sign of the ancient mariner (Nature Science Updates 3/19)
"Fossil humans belonging to the species Homo erectus could have made boats and gone island-hopping across deep-water straits in what is now Indonesia almost a million years ago, according to a report in the 12 March 1998 edition of Nature."
Research Shows Why Big Quake Accompanied By Many Smaller Ones (Science Daily 3/18)
"Two Columbia University scientists have devised a computer model that shows how during geologic deformation, earthquakes in a specific location and time period will occur in a pyramidal distribution, with one larger quake and a specific number of smaller ones in no particular order."
Crater Chain On Two Continents Points To Impact From Fragmented Comet (Science Daily 3/17)
"A team of scientists working on two continents has discovered that a series of five craters on Europe and North America form a chain, indicating the breakup and subsequent impact of a comet or asteroid that collided with Earth approximately 214 million years ago."
Researchers Invent New Way To See Underground (Science Daily 3/17)
"A new method for making images of the subsurface has been devised by Ki Ha Lee of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Lee and his colleagues in the Earth Sciences Division use data generated with electromagnetic energy (EM) in a novel way that can visualize the subsurface at depths ranging from gas and oil reservoirs thousands of meters deep to plumes of pollutants in shallow soil."
NASA: Asteroid to miss Earth by a wide margin (CNN 3/12)
"NASA scientists said Thursday there is no chance -- 'zero' in the words of one astronomer -- that the asteroid known as 1997 XF11 will come any closer than 600,000 miles from Earth."
Mile-wide asteroid on course for near-miss with Earth (CNN 3/11)
"Astronomers say a mile-wide asteroid described as "the most dangerous one we've found so far" may be on course for a near-miss -- or even a collision -- with Earth in the year 2028. The Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams -- which tracks asteroids -- conducted further observations that determined 1997 XF11 should pass just under 30,000 miles from Earth on October 26, 2028."
Antarctic Rocks Yield Clues About Global Change (Science Daily 3/12)
"In the Journal of Geology, (1997, vol. 105, p. 285-294), a UMaine team has published new evidence consistent with the view that the East Antarctic ice sheet remained stable during that period [the last 3-4 million years] and did not melt as other researchers have suggested."
Bolivia climate change project finalized (CNN/ENN 3/11)
"The Bolivian government Monday signed an agreement with The Nature Conservancy, three major U.S. corporations and a Bolivian conservation organization to begin a forest conservation project designed to help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions."
Requiem for a spacecraft: Pathfinder is dead (CNN 3/10)
"Scientists failed in a final effort to contact the Pathfinder on Tuesday, and declared the craft officially "dead" four months after the end of a mission that produced the closest-ever look at the red planet's surface."
Recent El Ninos 'Unlikely To Be Caused By Past Warming Trend' (Science Daily 3/10)
"The global temperature increases this century are unlikely to be the cause of the spate of El Nino events during the 1990s, according to CSIRO scientist Dr Rob Allan. 'These climatic fluctuations have probably occurred for thousands of years,' says Dr Allan."
Lunar Prospector Finds Evidence Of Ice At Moon's Poles (Science Daily 3/6)
Scientists: There is ice on the moon (CNN 3/5)
"Just two months after the launch of the cylindrical spacecraft, mission scientists have solid evidence of the existence of lunar water ice, including estimates of its volume, location and distribution. " (NASA Press Release 3/5)
New Dating Technique May Revise Geologic Time Scale (Science Daily 3/6)
"A team of researchers at the University of Toronto and the Université P. et M. Curie in Paris has developed a method to directly date individual grains of a group of clay minerals, called glaucony, that commonly form within sediments while they are being deposited in water."
Tsunami Hunters Probe Lake Bottoms For Clues (Science Daily 3/6)
" Exactly how big the tsunamis will be and how far inland they will reach depends on the intensity of the earthquake. Still, the best way to predict what might happen is to look back and see what's already happened. That's why a group of scientists, including SFU geographer Ian Hutchinson and plant paleontologist Rolf Mathewes, have spent the last three years probing the gooey depths of several tiny lakes on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Preliminary results of their study suggest that tsunamis on Canada's exposed west coast may be smaller than previously thought."
Study Of Microbes May Hone Predictions Of Mining Impact (Science Daily 3/6)
"By tracing the abundance and distribution of bacteria in an abandoned California mine, scientists may have found a better way to predict the potential environmental consequences of mining metal ores."
Clues to possible life on Europa may lie buried in Antarctic ice (Galileo Homepage 3/5)
"This week, American and Russian scientists are examining deep ice from the Antarctic and hoping to find clues that fungi, bacteria, and even diatoms could survive conditions in icy solar system bodies. This would help make the South Pole one of the first destinations for the growing field of astrobiology."
SFU Geologist Finds Evidence Of Australia/North America Link (Science Daily 3/5)
"hinking of going to Australia but dreading the long flight over the Pacific Ocean? Ponder this: if you'd been around 1.6 billion years ago, you could have walked from British Columbia. That's because mounting evidence suggests that the land mass we know as Australia may once have been joined to North America at the Yukon before drifting apart about one billion years ago."
Walk this way (Nature Science Updates 3/5)
"Pterosaurs ability to fly is not in doubt – flying pterosaurs are known that range in size from sparrows to small aircraft – but how did they move when they were on the ground? Were they fleet-footed runners, sprinting along on their toes? Or were they waddling, four-footed sprawlers, like bats? "
Deal to prevent Yellowstone mine close to being sealed (CNN/Environmental News Network 3/4)
"A proposed land exchange to prevent a Canadian mining company from digging for gold a few miles north of Yellowstone National Park is close to becoming a sealed deal. The deal is expected to be closed on May 14." (New World Mine Agreement)
What global warming pact could cost you? (CNN/AP 3/4)
"A White House economist on Wednesday predicted household energy costs would increase a "modest" $70 to $100 a year if the nation implements the global warming agreement crafted in Kyoto, Japan."
Detailed Images From Jupiter Moon Europa Point To Slush Below Surface (Science Daily 3/3)
Detailed images from Jupiter moon Europa point to slushbelow surface (Galileo Homepage 3/2)
"The most detailed images ever taken of the Jupiter moon Europa show more evidence for slush beneath the bright moon's icy surface, say planetary scientists from Brown University and NASA who have analyzed data recently transmitted from the Galileo spacecraft." (Also see JPL's Europa Clickable Map)
U.S. Geological Survey to keep California office (CNN/Reuters 3/3)
"Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt announced Monday the U.S. Geological Survey would be allowed to keep its western regional headquarters in the San Francisco area despite skyrocketing costs."
El Nino accelerates California coastline retreat (CNN/AP 3/2)
" Slowly bu surely, rain and waves are eating away at the California coast, and this winter's El Nino storms are speeding up the shoreline's eastward retreat."


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