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Earth Happenings Archive
April, 199
Red Algae Revise Early Life History (Science Now 4/30/97)
"Analysis of a fundamental gene in the nucleus places red algae on a separate branch from the one that gave rise to green algae, plants, and the nonphotosynthetic animals and fungi."
Dupont Mine Near Swamp Criticized (Washington Post/AP 4/29/97)
" Critics fear the round-the-clock mining would foul the Okefenokee's waters and destroy wildlife habitat. Also, the dredging machinery and floodlights at night would ruin the back-to-nature experience for the swamp's 400,000 annual visitors, they say."
U.S. Scientists Hail Fossil Find (Washington Post/AP 4/25/97)
Science find fossil of dinosaur with downy fluff (CNN 4/25/97)
U.S. and China Team Up on Dino Fossils (Science Now 4/25/97)
"A trove of fossils recently discovered in China offer a snapshot of prehistoric life, including a chicken-like creature with downy fluff and what may be the first egg ever found inside a dinosaur. Another specimen included the fossil jawbone of a mammal that a dinosaur apparently had just eaten."
Lifeless Evolution (Science Now 4/25/97)
"If there is one theme uniting life-forms from the lowliest virus to the loftiest primate, it's that they all evolve. Now some lifeless strands of RNA are doing the same thing in a California laboratory."
Earth: The inside story (Nature Science Updates 4/24/97)
"Earth scientists have been arguing for 30 years about what the inside of the Earth looks like. At long last, an answer seems to be emerging from the depths, thanks to painstaking analysis of seismic shock-wave data from around the world."
Astronomers discover planet orbiting nearby star (CNN/AP 4/24/97)
"Astronomers announced on Thursday the discovery of a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a nearby star, boosting confidence that there are many more planets to be found. The object orbiting Rho Coronae Borealis is hardly the first to be discovered circling another star -- depending on how you count, it's somewhere in the ninth to 13th range."
Warming trend blamed for a greener green belt (Nando Times 4/22/97)
"The earth's northern latitudes have become about 10 percent greener since 1980, thanks to more vigorous plant growth associated with warmer temperatures and higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientists report after analyzing data gathered by sensors aboard weather satellites."
First fossilized egg found in Oregon (Nando Times 4/22/97)
"It's a fossilized egg, the first ever found in Oregon. 'The fact that it's even preserved is astonishing,' says William Orr, a paleontologist at the University of Oregon. 'An egg has to be thick enough to protect the embryo but thin enough to break at the right time; an egg is really not a good risk for a fossil.'"
Life on the Brink (Earth Magazine - April)
"The number of shrinking species seems to be growing. Humans might be causing a mass extinction. Or this might be the planet's normal routine."
When Primates Went Ape (Science Now 4/17/97)
Researchers find fossils of earliest tree-swinging ape (CNN/AP 4/17/97)
"Thanks to new fossil finds, two African primates are claiming prime ancestral spots on the ape family tree. These discoveries, reported at a recent scientific meeting and in tomorrow's Science, may push the emergence of a modern ape-like body plan back by 5 million years."
Leaping Lizards! A Leggy Snake (Science Now 4/17/97)
Paleontologists: Snakes descended from lizard with legs (CNN/AP 4/17/97)
"Scientists have unearthed a fossil of a primitive snake with stubby legs. The 95-million-year-old specimen, described in today's issue of Nature, may be the long-sought missing link between snakes and their lizard ancestors."
Comet shower triggered life on Earth (CNN 4/17/97)
"What was the trigger that led to the formation of those primitive life forms that crawled out of the primordial soup many eons ago? Two NASA researchers now say we may have some distant comet cousins of Hale-Bopp to thank for life itself."
Rock Smasher Wins Inventors' Prize (Washington Post/AP 4/17/97)
"A South African machine which smashes rocks in mines and quarries with only limited debris has won top honors at an international inventions fair."
Jurassic Park couldn't happen here (Nature Science Updates 4/17/97)
"'It can't be done', say researchers looking into the scientific reality of hit dinosaur movie Jurassic Park and its sequel The Lost World, based on the novels by Michael Crichton."
More Plants in Greenhouse Earth (Science Now 4/16/97)
"Earth is not only getting warmer; it's getting greener as well, says a group of U.S. researchers in tomorrow's issue of Nature. Their analysis of satellite data shows that there has been a huge increase in vegetation around the world during the 1980s, and they pin this luxuriance on global warming."
Villagers Battle Turkish Gold Mine (Washington Post/AP 4/16/97)
"Turkish villagers are banding together with environmentalists and European politicians to try to block the opening of the country's first gold mine on the site where an ancient civilization once flourished."
"Earth is not only getting warmer; it's getting greener as well, says a group of U.S. researchers in tomorrow's issue of Nature. Their analysis of satellite data shows that there has been a huge increase in vegetation around the world during the 1980s, and they pin this luxuriance on global warming."
Next big California quake is just a matter of time (Nando Times 4/15/97)
"Ninety-one years after the great earthquake of April 18, 1906, left San Francisco a flattened, smoking ruin, experts ask: When will it happen again?"
The Coming Climate (Scientific American May Issue)
"Climatologists have concluded that because of the greenhouse effect and other influences, the world will grow a few degrees warmer in the next century. Yet simplistic predictions that scorching summers, more cyclones and heavier rainfall will therefore follow can be far off the mark. These experts offer a more realistic view."
Underwater Volcanoes: The Cradle of Life? (Science Now 4/10/97)
"Now it seems that life could have emerged in a harsher cradle: the scalding, dark world of deep-sea volcanoes. Scientists have created a molecule that may have been an important biological ingredient for life from the metal-rich black 'smoke' spewed from undersea vents."
Extremophiles (Scientific American April Issue)
"Biologists have uncovered a zoo's worth of microorganisms that thrive in places that are hellishly hot, cold, acidic, basic or salty. These "extremophiles" are armed with enzymes that protect them from damage--and that are proving useful in a variety of industrial settings."
Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places (Discover Magazine May Issue)
"They are Earth's pariahs: microbes that just barely survive, in the least hospitable places on the planet. And yet they, or something much like them, could seed the universe with life."
Asteroid 'didn't cause mass-extinction' (Nature Science Updates 4/10/97)
A team of 22 London-based researchers claim that, "many organisms were in decline well before the impact, many others were unaffected, and the data for many more -- the dinosaurs included -- are insufficient to make a rock-solid case either for or against an impact-driven mass extinction. "
Warnings From The Ice(NOVA web site) (Originally,link was from Time Magazine 4/10/97)
"The conventional wisdom is that climate change will be gradual and moderate. But what if it is sudden and extreme? A frozen wilderness may hold the answer"
Conoco drills for oil in Utah's Canyonlands (CNN 4/5/97)
"America's newest national monument was designed in part to protect Utah's Canyonlands from a planned coal mine. Now, Conoco has received a permit to drill for oil."
NASA Releases Images from Europa (4/9/97)
New Images Hint At Wet And Wild History For Europa and Images (NASA Press Release)
Is ice on Jupiter's moon a sign of life? and Quicktime Movie (CNN)
Europa Ocean Theory Gets Boost (Washington Post/AP)
An Ocean--and a Possible Home for Life--on Europa (Science Now)
"Chunky ice rafts and relatively smooth, crater-free patches on the surface of Jupiter's frozen moon Europa suggest a younger, thinner icy surface than previously believed, according to new images from Galileo's spacecraft released today. The images were captured during Galileo's closest flyby of Europa on February 20, when the spacecraft came within 586 kilometers (363 miles) of the Jovian moon. These features, which lend credence to the idea of hidden, subsurface oceans, are also stirring up controversy among scientists who disagree about the age of Europa's surface. (NASA)"
Global Warming Detected (Washington Post/AP 4/9/97)
"Rising temperatures in the ocean depths off Antarctica provide new evidence that pollution and gas emissions from the Industrial Age are causing global warming, researchers said Thursday."
Digital dinosaur: CAT scan unlocks fossil secrets (CNN 4/9/97)
"The dinosaurs that ruled the earth millions of years ago have long since disappeared, but we still know what they looked like, based on fossil records interpreted by scientists and artists. Now, computers are helping to create an even more accurate image."
Arctic Ozone Depletion Worsens (Washington Post/AP 4/8/97)
"The lowest levels of spring time ozone ever detected over the North Pole have been mapped by instruments on a series of satellites, scientists announced Tuesday. Ozone levels in late March and early April over the Arctic were 40 percent lower than the average March measurements made from 1979 to 1982."
No Go for Reconstituted Dino (Science Now 4/8/97)
"Scientists have failed to find any trace of DNA in insects trapped in amber some 30 million years ago."
Solar flare heading toward Earth (CNN 4/8/97)
"The sun has produced a storm the likes of which scientists have not seen before, according to a NASA researcher. The large flare of magnetic energy is expected to hit Earth's upper atmosphere Wednesday afternoon."
Geologists Develop Concrete Test (Washington Post/AP 4/6/97)
"A stain test developed by the geologists from Los Alamos National Laboratory's geology and geochemical group detects flaws in concrete more quickly and cheaply than tests now in use."
Antarctic Warming Stirs Worries (Washington Post/AP 4/6/97)
"Huge masses of floating ice and small pieces of plastic are among the top concerns for scientists from around the world doing research in Antarctica. The ice, for example, is one of several signs that global warming has reached the frozen continent."
Arctic Ozone Layer Thinning (Washington Post/AP 4/5/97)
"The ozone layer was 15 percent to 25 percent thinner over the Arctic this March than it was in March 1996, the World Meteorological Organization reported Friday. "
Babbitt Opposes Okefenokee Mining(Washington Post/AP 4/4/97)
"Standing on the bank of an ink-black canal in the Okefenokee Swamp, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt said he would fight to protect the wildlife refuge from titanium strip mining."
Dinosaurs reigned but were no match for long-living beetles (Nando TImes 4/2/97)
"How long did it take for a dead dinosaur to dry into "dinosaur jerky" and be devoured by immature beetles and other critters in Jurassic Utah? About four to nine months, according to a study of boreholes ancient beetles drilled into dinosaur bones at Dinosaur National Monument."
Crystal-Ball Center for Climate Change (Science Now 4/1/97)
"The Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, announced today the establishment of a center, the International Research Institute (IRI), that will use cutting-edge climate models to forecast long-term weather changes."
NASA ends Pioneer 10 mission after 25 years (CNN/Reuters 4/1/97)
"On the edge of the solar system, 6.2 billion miles from home, mankind's most distant interplanetary explorer transmitted its last breath of science data on Monday as NASA pulled the plug on its 25-year mission."

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