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Earth Happenings Archive
May, 1997
'Missing link' between birds and dinosaurs (Nature Science Updates 5/29/97)
"A 'missing link' between birds and dinosaurs has been found in 90-million-year-old rocks in southern Argentina. Two-metre-long Unenlagia comahuensis was a small, leggy, running dinosaur, possibly similar in shape to the famously ferocious carnivore Velociraptor."
Why Tyrannosaurus rex was bad-tempered (Nature Science Updates 5/29/97)
"Now it can be told -- the dinosaur Tyrannosaurus rex, literally 'King of the Tyrant Lizards' -- was a martyr to the misery of gout. This revelation, in the 22 May 1997 issue of the science magazine Nature, will only increase the legend of T. rex as the fiercest of the dinosaurs."
Dinosaur treasures from the gobi desert (Nature Science Updates 5/29/97)
"The happening place for dinosaurs on the planet is the unforgiving landscape of the Gobi Desert of Mongolia. Ever since the 1920s, researchers from around the world have hauled spectacular 80-million-year-old dinosaurs from the Gobi. The most precious of these palaeontological prizes are now on a tour of museums around the world."
Discovery of new human ancestor announced in Spain (CNN/AP 5/29/97)
Face to Face With the Oldest Europeans (Science Now 5/29/97)
Scientists Find Possible New Human Species (Reuters 5/29/97)
"Scientists on Thursday announced the discovery of a common ancestor of both Neanderthals and modern man, a tall and lanky being with protruding brows and heavy jaws but who otherwise looked a lot like us. Homo antecessor lived 800,000 years ago, hunting in what is now Spain in oak and beech forests for rhinoceros, elephant and other game, according to scientists who discovered the species."
More Trouble for First Extrasolar Planet (Science Now 5/29/97)
"A team of California astronomers has come up with new evidence disputing the existence of the first planetlike object found around a star like our sun. The putative planet, detected some 18 months ago at the star 51 Pegasi, has already faced more than its share of scrutiny."
NASA: Cosmic Snowballs Pelt Earth's Atmosphere (Reuters 5/28/97)
Daily rain of comets splatter atmosphere (UPI 5/28/97)
Photos back space 'snowball' theory (MSNBC 5/29/97)
"Giant cosmic snowballs are bombarding the upper atmosphere, then breaking up, adding water to Earth's oceans and possibly nurturing life on the planet, scientists reported Wednesday."
Scientists find life in nasty places (UPI 5/28/97)
"Scientists say they have been looking for life in all the wrong places _ and finding it. Researchers are reporting this week at the national meeting of the American Geophysical Union that places once thought too hot, too cold, or otherwise too horrible do show signs of life."
Carbon Clouds Greenhouse-Warming Picture (Science Now 5/27/97)
"Researchers have long thought that pollution high in the atmosphere may be putting the brakes on global warming by reflecting sunlight back into space. But new measurements presented this week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in Baltimore are casting doubt on that assumption."
Resolving the Faint Young Sun Paradox? (InScight 5/27/97)
"It takes a while for a star to get its fusion reactor up to speed; nuclear physicists have long agreed that 4 billion years ago, the sun was only 75% as bright as it is today. This means that Earth should have been completely covered with ice for most of its history. But geological evidence shows that there was plenty of liquid water as far back as about 4 billion years ago. So, what happened?"
Galileo Returns New Insights Into Callisto and Europa (JPL/NASA Press Release 5/23/97)
"Jupiter's icy moon Europa has a metallic core and layered internal structure similar to the Earth's, while the heavily cratered moon Callisto is a mixture of metallic rock and ice with no identifiable central core, according to new results from NASA's Galileo mission. In addition, recent plasma wave observations from Galileo show no evidence of a magnetic field or magnetosphere around Callisto, but do hint at the prospect of a tenuous atmosphere."
New Way to Hit the Pacific Hot Spots (Science Now 5/23/97)
"Until now, geophysicists have tried to locate hot spots by a technique that requires knowing the ages of seamounts, and that information can be hard to come by. The new method, described by Paul Wessel and Loren Kroenke of the University of Hawaii in the current issue of Nature, relies on simple geometry."
Sagan's last article focuses on greenhouse effect (CNN/Reuters 5/22/97)
"he late Carl Sagan, a premier popularizer of the mysteries of astronomy, theorized in a newly published article that ammonia and methane kept the infant Earth and Mars warm enough to foster life."
Japan's older buildings are earthquake deathtrap (Nature Science Updates 5/22/97)
"Japan could again suffer catastrophic loss of life and property from an earthquake unless urgent steps are taken to upgrade older-style buildings, according to a report in the 15 May 1997 issue of Nature. "
The price of the planet (Nature Science Updates 5/22/97)
"A group of scientists and economists from Europe, and the Americas have calculated that if we had to pay for the services nature provides, the bill would fall somewhere between US$16 and 54 trillion per year, roughly twice the world's annual gross domestic product."
Researchers dispute meteorite evidence of life on Mars (CNN/AP 5/21/97)
"A new study contradicts NASA scientists' claim that a meteorite holds microscopic traces of long-ago life on Mars. According to their interpretation of pictures, the alleged traces of life were formed not by ancient organisms, but by the huge shock that sent the rock hurtling into space millions of years ago."
T-Rex, King of Dinos, Also Had Gout (Washington Post/AP 5/21/97)
"In examining 'Sue,' the best preserved of the world's 14 known Tyrannosaurus rex skeletons, orthopedist Bruce Rothschild has found lesions characteristic of the painful disease."
Dinosaur discovery may shed light on bird origins (CNN 5/20/97)
Birds-from-Dinosaurs Theory Mulled (Washington Post/AP 5/20/97)
New Dino Was Poised for Takeoff (Science Now/APNet 5/20/97)
"Some 20 fossil bones found in Argentina are from a 90-million-year-old flightless animal with wing-like forearms, the "most bird-like dinosaur ever recovered," an Argentine paleontologist announced Tuesday."
Hubble Finds Harsher Mars Climate (Washington Post/AP 5/20/97)
Hubble aims its eye at Red Planet (CNN/Reuters 5/20/97)
"The Hubble Space Telescope, acting like an interplanetary weather satellite, has found that Mars is colder, cloudier and more unpleasant than astronomers once believed."
The Coming Climate (Scientific American May 1997)
"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."
NASA Joins Japan in Exploring Asteroid (Science Now 5/19/97)
"A Japanese mission to sample a small asteroid got a boost last week when NASA announced it would contribute a robotic rover and ground support."
Kobe port fully recovered from 1995 quake (CNN 5/19/97)
"Facilities at the port of Kobe, Japan, destroyed by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on January 17, 1995, have been fully restored, the city's mayor announced on Monday."
New major map of Alaska available from Geological Survey (Nando Times/AP 5/19/97)
"Americans with a large wall and a large interest in Alaska can now study the 49th state through a giant new wall map prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey. The "Digital Shaded-Relief Image of Alaska" and accompanying booklet can be purchased for $4 from the EROS Data Center, Mundt Federal Building, Sioux Falls, S.D., 57198, or by calling 1-800-USA-MAPS."
Battle brews over control of scenic Columbia River Gorge (CNN 5/17/97)
"The Columbia River Gorge, one of the Pacific Northwest's most spectacular landscapes, is at the heart of a pitched battle over money, power and the future of a unique landscape -- and who will control it. " CNN includes a quicktime slide show of the Columbia River Gorge.
Meat-eating Giganotosaurus dwarfs T. rex (CNN 5/16/97)
Southern Terror (Science Now 5/16/97)
"The Giganotosaurus -- a dinosaur that roamed South America about 100 million years ago and may have been the biggest meat-eater known -- was to make its North American debut at the Academy of Natural Sciences."
El Nino May Be Returning (Washington Post/AP 5/15/97)
"Government weather researchers said Thursday that conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean in recent months have begun to indicate a return of the unusual weather condition."
World oil will dry up in mid-century (Nature Science Updates 5/15/97)
"Dr Craig Bond Hatfield, who is at the University of Toledo, Ohio, says the 1,000 billion barrels of known global oil reserves are expected to run out by 2036 unless the current 69- million-barrels-per-day consumption of oil is brought down."
Celestial map alters ideas about age, size of universe (CNN/AP 5/15/97)
"European astronomers are unveiling the most accurate map yet of the stars, 17 volumes of celestial number-crunching that is already changing ideas about how old and how big the universe really is."
The Scam Of The Century (Time 5/14/97)
"Tiny Bre-X Minerals created millions for shareholders after it announced a huge gold find in Indonesia. Just one problem: it was all a hoax"
Core Belief (Science Now 5/13/97)
"The discoverer of the Earth's inner core, Danish geophysicist Inge Lehman, was born on this day in 1888."
With upgrade, Hubble offers new glimpse of space (CNN 5/12/97)
"The birth and death of stars, and new evidence of super-massive black holes, were among the phenomenon captured in the first pictures provided Monday by the newly upgraded Hubble Space Telescope."
Experts warn of mud flows (Reuters 5/8/97)
"Experts warn rain-spawned mud flows from Mt. Pinatubo will threaten low-lying areas in the Philippines until the year 2006."
Permian Pollen Eaters (Science Now 5/8/97)
"Russia's Ural Mountains have yielded what may be the oldest evidence yet for pollen-eating in insects. If confirmed, the findings, reported in the current issue of Lethaia, would turn back the clock on a crucial step in plant evolution--pollination by insects--by about 150 million years."
Canadian investigator delves into Bre-X gold scam (CNN 5/8/97)
"What was thought to be the largest gold deposit in the world turned out to be the largest scam ever to rock the gold mining industry."
Planetary remnants give clue to young solar system (MSNBC/Reuters 5/8/97)
"Tiny planet-like bodies at the edge of our solar system may give new clues to what Earth's celestial neighborhood was like in its infancy. These so-called planetessimals, made up of some of the same kinds of cosmic dust and ice that form the nucleus of comets, are located in a wide band known as the Kuiper belt."
Western Mining Co's Look to Zaire (Washington Post/AP 5/4/97)
"Like mining developers around the world, Swedish tycoon Adolf Lundin is eager to do business with the rebels who have seized three-fourths of resource-rich Zaire. Lundin is set to pay the alliance the first $50 million of a $250 million contract for what he calls 'the biggest copper mine in the world.'"
Monteserrat residents vow to wait out Caribbean volcano (CNN 5/2/97)
"Thousands have abandoned the island, but others in this far-flung remnant of the British Empire are talking of relocating the capital and the airport and establishing another harbor in a new offensive against the Soufriere Hills volcano."
Ice Age Theory Back in Stable Orbit (Science Now 5/2/97)
"For nearly a decade, a cloud of suspicion has hung over the idea that fluctuations in Earth's orbit triggered the ice ages. But now scientists have developed a way to double-check their dates for the corals and other deposits that hold clues to ancient climate change."
Part-time miner strikes it rich in Australia (CNN 5/2/97)
"A part-time Australian miner who worked 16 hours a day as a chef to support his family and fend off bankruptcy has found what may be the biggest opalized boulder in the world."
Emissions treaty flawed? (CNN 5/1/97)
"A treaty currently being negotiated to control global warming calls for keeping carbon dioxide emissions at 1990 levels through 2010, but critics charge the agreement could devastate several U.S. industries."
Research points finger to origins of South Africa gold (Nature Science Updates 5/1/97)
"Forty per cent of the world's gold reserves are found in South Africa. Most of these estimated 20,000-tonne deposits are located within a 50-kilometre stretch known as the Witwatersrand basin near Johannesburg in the Transvaal that was discovered in the late 1800s."

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