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Earth Happenings Archive
April, 1999
Scientists eat up crust data from Mars (Seattle Times 4/30)
"An orbiting spacecraft has found magnetic clues on the ruddy surface of Mars suggesting that the planet once had the sort of crustal spreading that accounts for many of Earth's features. "
Dinosaurs more like cows than giraffes, scientists contend (CNN 4/29)
"Forget the images of graceful dinosaurs browsing like giraffes among tall trees, two scientists said Thursday. It is more likely that they ate off the ground."
Small spherical object of desire (Nature Science Update 4/29)
"The announcement of signs of life elsewhere in the Universe -- such as in meteorites from the planet Mars -- may rest on the identification of tiny blobs seen in certain minerals as the remains of things that once lived."
'Terror crocodile' was ancient giant (Seattle Times 4/27)
"A giant dinosaur-munching crocodile that grew to 30 feet in length and tipped the scales at 10,000 pounds achieved its generous size by sheer longevity, new research suggests."
Midwest's Earthquake Hazard Lower Than Thought, Satellite Data Show (Science Daily 4/23)
"The risk posed by large earthquakes in the Midwest's New Madrid seismic zone to cities such as Memphis and St. Louis is much lower than previously thought, according to a new study that used the Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites to track the motions of the ground in the seismic zone."
Scientists: Eruptions opened Atlantic, may have caused extinctions (CNN 4/23)
"Scientists comparing newly found rock formations in Brazil with similar volcanic rocks on three other continents have discovered the most widespread lava flows in Earth's history."
Earliest Modern Tree Lived 360-345 Million Years Ago (Science Daily 4/22)
"Consider the architecture of modern trees -- the woody strength that builds in rings to support greater and greater height and weight, the protective bark that shields the cells that conduct water and nutrients from the earth to the farthest leaves, and the collars of extra wood that surround the bases of each branch and the way internal layers of wood dovetail at branch junctions to prevent breakage. It must have taken millions of years to evolve such a successful structure. "
Earth Day: Food, transportation, home choices key to clean environment (CNN 4/22)
"Thursday was Earth Day. So what should people do to help the environment? Not necessarily what they have been told, according to a new guide to a greener world."
Meat-Eating Missing Link Fossil Found In Africa (Yahoo! News 4/22)
"A new species of human ancestor, which looked like something halfway between the famed ``Lucy'' and true pre-humans, has been found in Ethiopia, scientists said Thursday. More surprisingly, they found nearby evidence that the creature, named Australopithecus garhi, butchered and ate meat 2.5 million years ago."
Ice Rinks in Hell (Nature Science Update 4/22)
"The temperature on Mercury, the closest of the planets to the Sun, can get as high as 700 K (427 degrees C): yet there are persistent reports of ice at its poles. But where did this ice come from? This difficult question is tackled by Julianne I. Moses of the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas and colleagues in a report in the journal Icarus. "
Researcher Finds Sea Of Sand Along Coastal Zone With Potential To Replenish Beaches (Science Daily 4/21)
"A University of Arkansas professor has found a trove off the coast of Cape Hatteras that could allow millions of people to continue enjoying a rapidly diminishing treasure -- sandy beaches."
NCAR Climate Model Projections For 21st Century: Earth Warms By 3 Degrees F; Winter Rain/Snow Increases 40% In Southwest And Great Plains (Science Daily 4/20)
"Carbon dioxide emissions over the next century could increase wintertime precipitation in the U.S. Southwest and Great Plains by 40% as global average temperature rises 3 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), according to latest results from a new climate system model developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research by NCAR, university, and other laboratory scientists."
Is Mount Everest Growing? (National Geographic 4/20)
"The current figure 29,028 feet (8,848 meters) was determined by the Survey of India in 1954 and verified by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC magazine for its November 1988 issue. But that measurement may not survive the most painstaking scrutiny yet."
Great Rivers of Ice! (New Scientist 4/17 (Antarctica Speical Issue))
"From the ground, all you see is empty flat whiteness stretching to the horizon. Even from the air, the most you can spot is an occasional jumble of crevasses scoring the snow. Only from space does the whole picture finally spring into view: mighty rivers of ice flooding down from the Antarctic heights to spill into the Southern Ocean."
Skeleton Shows Early Man, Neanderthals Interbred (Yahoo News 4/20)
"A 24,500-year-old skeleton found in Portugal with characteristics of both early modern humans and Neanderthals shows the two groups interbred and may be ancestors of modern man, a U.S. scientist said Monday."
Biggest Bacteria Ever Found -- May Play Underrated Role In The Environment (Science Daily 4/16)
"A group of German, Spanish, and American researchers sampling sediment off the coast of Namibia have stumbled across the biggest bacteria ever known. The largest of these single-celled microbes is visible to the naked eye, about as big as the period at the end of this sentence and nearly 100 times larger than the previous bacterial record-holder."
Seabed Silt In Indian Ocean Consists Of Remains Of Summer Plankton (Science Daily 4/16)
"Almost 90% of the silt on the floor of the Indian Ocean consists of the remains of plankton that bloomed in the course of the summer monsoon. This has been discovered by earth scientists at the NWO's Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)."
Astronomers Discover New Three-Planet Solar System (Yahoo! News 4/15)
"Astronomers said Thursday they had discovered the first solar system outside our own, with three massive planets orbiting a Sun-like star."
Scientists: El Nino may slow global warming (CNN 4/15)
"Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found that from 1991 to 1994 -- years when El NiŅo warmed the Pacific -- the ocean released 30 percent to 80 percent less carbon dioxide, a gas that is believed to trap heat in the atmosphere."
Great Lakes Falling To Levels Not Seen In 30 Years (Yahoo! News 4/15)
"Water levels in the Great Lakes are falling to levels not seen in 30 years, opening miles of newly exposed beaches but spelling trouble for commercial shipping and pleasure boats, an expert said Thursday."
Ancient bones may rewrite American history (CNN 4/12)
"The ancient bones of a woman found on a California island appear to be the oldest discovered in North America and could change the theory of how humans first arrived on the continent, the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday."
Link Between Solar Cycle And Climate Is Blowin' In The Wind (Science Daily 4/12)
"Researchers have found that the variations in the energy given off from the sun effect the Earth's wind patterns and thus the climate of the planet, according to results of a new study published in the April 9 issue of Science."
New Website Lets You Calculate Water Quality Consequences (Science Daily 4/9)
"A new Penn State website that enables you, with just a point and click, to calculate the consequences when one or more environmental or policy factors are changed or disturbed in Pennsylvania's Spring Creek watershed is available now on the Internet."
Ah, spring! The copepods are in bloom! (Seattle Times 4/11)
"The copepods are coming. By now, they've already taken over Hood Canal: Trillions of tiny, buglike creatures bristling with spindly antennae, rising from the depths to devour any food within reach... Or, at least, we'd better hope so. If copepods were to disappear, just about every creature out there, from crabs to whales - and ultimately people - would be in trouble."
Antarctic Ice Shelves Said Breaking Up Fast (Yahoo! News 4/8)
"Two Antarctic ice shelves have broken up more quickly than anyone predicted, indicating that the effects of global warming may be accelerating, scientists said Wednesday. They published satellite images showing the Larsen B and Wilkins ice shelves in ``full retreat'', having lost nearly 1,100 square miles of their total area in the last year."
Damage To Brazilian Forests Underestimated (Yahoo! News 4/8)
"More than twice as much land in Brazil's Amazonian forests is being destroyed each year than current estimates suggest, scientists said Wednesday. Researchers at the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts claim up to 15,000 square kilometers (5,792 sq miles) of the world's largest remaining tropical forests are damaged through logging each year."
Poles Apart (New Scientist 4/10 issue)
"The baffling way Earth's magnetic poles wander and occasionally flip may be caused by a battle for supremacy between the inner and outer core, a geophysicist suggests."
'Perfect' mummies found high in Andes (BBC News 4/8)
"The "perfect", mummified remains of two girls and a boy have been found on top of a volcano in the Andes. The children were probably sacrificed by Incas 500 years ago, researchers said."
Unique U.S. Seisometer Array Shows Core-Mantle Boundary (Science Daily 4/5)
"A seismologist at Washington University in St. Louis has provided an unprecedented view of the Earth's blazing core-mantle boundary through analysis of seismic waves from a unique array of eastern U.S. seismometers."
Increasing Carbon Dioxide Threatens Tropical Coral Reefs (Science Daily 4/1)
"Tropical coral reefs could be directly threatened by the buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) entering the oceans, and some reefs may already be declining, say six scientists in a paper published in the April 2 issue of the journal Science."

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