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Earth Happenings Archive
May, 1998
China signs global warming treaty (CNN/AP 5/30)
"China on Friday became the 37th country to sign the international treaty to reduce "greenhouse" gas emissions, the United Nations announced."
Possible planet found outside solar system (CNN 5/30)
Hubble Takes First Image Of A Possible Planet Around Another Star And Finds A Runaway World (Science Daily 5/29)
(NASA Press Release 5/28)
"NASA unveiled Thursday the first image of what researchers believe may be a planet from outside our own solar system, a giant gassy body double or triple the mass of Jupiter."
Earthquakes Would Rattle Central United States (Science Daily 5/29)
"The bluffs of the Mississippi River -- though they shielded Confederate inhabitants from the bombardments of Yankee gunboats during the Civil War-- will not protect the current residents from the strong ground shaking produced by potential large earthquakes."
Climate Change May Impact Waterborne Diseases (Science Daily 5/29)
"Increased precipitation caused by global warming may increase flooding in some areas, which could lead to drinking water contamination, so a team of Penn State economists is investigating the economic costs associated with a possible increase of waterborne diseases due to climate change."
Researchers Say Glaciers Melting (Washington Post/AP 5/28)
World's Glaciers Continue To Shrink, According ToNew CU-Boulder Study (Science Daily 5/26)
"All of the glaciers in Glacier National Park in Montana will be gone in the next 50 to 70 years, according to researchers who have been measuring the rate that glaciers are melting around the world."
The canals of Venus (Nature Science Updates 5/28)
"The 'canali' on Venus: revealed by high-resolution mapping of the surface of the planet by the Magellan orbiter, these sinuous channels are broad (around two kilometres wide), shallow (less than 50 metres deep), and often very, very long thousands of kilometres from end to end. They meander across the landscape, creating deltas and features reminiscent of sand-bars, for all the world like Earthly rivers."
New photo may show Mars crater with ice-filled mud or sand (CNN/AP 5/27)
"Scientists studying the latest photographs from Mars may have spotted the first evidence of ice outside the planet's polar ice caps."
Global warming could alter ocean's ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CNN/AP 5/21)
"Heating up the atmosphere could reduce the natural ability of the ocean to suck up some of the gas like a sponge and carry it to the depths, Jorge Sarmiento and colleagues at Princeton University reported in a study appearing in today's issue of the journal Nature."
Earth's big hits: comets, not asteroids (Reuters 5/21)
"Thirty-six million years ago, while ancient deer and rhinoceros roamed the warm grasslands, two objects struck Earth, creating a one crater in present-day Siberia and the other in the floor of Maryland's Chesapeake Bay."
Brazil Skull Intrigues Scientists (Washington Post/AP 5/21)
"The discovery in southeastern Brazil of an 11,500-year-old skull -- the oldest in the new world -- may help to rewrite the theory of how the Americas were settled."
Duke Study Suggests Earthquakes Launched Ice-Age Iceberg Flotillas (Science Daily 5/19)
"A Duke University geological study proposes a novel cause for the massive and puzzling swarms of icebergs believed to have separated, or "calved," from the Canadian ice sheet to roam the North Atlantic Ocean six different times during the last ice age."
Do Giant Planets Form Quickly Or Slowly? (Science Daily 5/18)
"In a paper published in the May 14 issue of Nature, Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Washington explains that by looking for wobbles in young stars, a clear-cut test can be applied that will determine the mechanism through which giant planets form out of the disks of gas and dust that swirl around the youngest stars."
White dwarf star could be a real gem (CNN/Reuters 5/17)
"'We think BPM37093 is primarily made of carbon and oxygen in a crystallized state. That would make it a diamond with a blue-green tint,' the newspaper quoted Scientist Steve Kawalar as saying."
Damage from Spanish mine spill may be limited (CNN 5/16)
"In April, when a dam holding back mining wastes broke and sent a toxic deluge cascading through the Spanish countryside, there were fears of an ecological catastrophe. But now, some experts say they are optimistic that the damage from the dam failure will be limited."
Cast out of Eden (New Scientist 5/16)
"Our ancestors wiped out the peace-loving creatures that would have become Earth's first intelligent lifeforms, or so says a maverick fanning the flames of the Ediacaran controversy."
Dinosaur discovery yields clues about continental drift (CNN/AP 5/14)
Scientists Unearth Well-Preserved Remains Of A Predatory Dinosaur In Madagascar (Science Daily 5/19)
"Sampson, first author of the study, said the animal, called Majungatholus atopus, closely resembles a meat-eating dinosaur called Carnotaurus found in Argentina that most experts had considered a strange, unconnected, South American offshoot of the dinosaur clan. 'Now we find an animal in Madagascar that is a dead-ringer for it,' Sampson said. "This means that this group spread out over most of the southern globe.'"
Origins of human speech (Nature Science Updates 5/14)
"New anatomical studies of fossils now suggest that speech may have evolved as long as 400,000 years ago."
Study Of Sulfides In Bacteria Casts Doubt On Evidence Of Life In Martian Meteorite ALH84001 (Science Daily 5/12)
"In an article appearing in the May 8, 1998 issue of Science, a team led by two scientists from Arizona State University reports finding evidence for as many as three different iron sulfide minerals in two different bacteria known for generating magnetic compounds but not other iron sulfides normally found with them."
High-Pressure Scientists 'Journey' To The Center Of The Earth, But Can't Find Elusive Metallic Hydrogen (Science Daily 5/12)
"The long-sought goal of turning the element [hydrogen] into a metal, it has been predicted, would require pressure close to that found at the center of the Earth. Researchers at Cornell University have now dispelled that theory: They submitted hydrogen gas to just such pressure, but the element remained unchanged."
New Fossil Discoveries Clinch Ancient Age Of Human Ancestor (Science Daily 5/11)
"Newly discovered African fossils could resolve questions over the age and evolution of a species thought to be the most ancient known upright-walking ancestor of humans, according to research to be published in the May 7 issue of the journal Nature. 'after much sifting through the ashes--we have managed to get enough good crystals to determine quite firmly that these fossils are between 4.1 and 4.2 million years old,' he [Alan C. Walker] says. 'We also have discovered 38 more fossils at this site [Australopithecus anamensis] that clearly show us how very primitive this species was.'"
Interplanetary Dust May Cause Climate Change, Gradual Extinction (Science Daily 5/11)
"Space dust in the earth's atmosphere and changes in the planet's orbit may have started the gradual extinction of dinosaurs and other life thousands of years before a massive asteroid collision dealt the final blow, according to research from the University of Florida and the Carnegie Institution of Washington."
French expert says sea killed sensitive dinosaurs (CNN/Reuters 5/11)
"Leonard Ginsburg believes he knows why the dinosaurs vanished 65 million years ago. He believes his basic argument, that a gradual drop in world sea levels led to disastrous climate changes for the huge reptiles, still holds good but that more eye-catching theories have captured the public imagination."
Deep Impact: It could happen (CNN 5/9)
"Jack Hills' research shows that a big comet splashing into the middle of the ocean really could spark a 1,000-foot tidal wave -- a wall of water that would turn the entire Eastern Seaboard into a salt marsh all the way to Appalachia."
Boom and doom: Countries get richer, Earth gets poorer (CNN 5/9)
"While the world is doing well economically, a new study released Saturday indicates the world's environment is suffering more than ever."
As Yangtze River dam rises, questions arise (CNN 5/8)
"This small city, an ancient cultural center along the Yangtze River in central China, is doomed to disappear as the world's largest dam takes shape. The controversial Three Gorges dam project also calls for the forced relocation of more than 1 million people by the 2009 completion date."
Star Wars laser drill could revolutionize oil business (CNN/Reuters 5/8)
"Star Wars laser technology developed during the Cold War to shoot down Soviet missiles may find a more terrestrial use in the not-too-distant future to drill for oil and gas."
Researchers suggest space dust cools Earth, furthers extinctions (CNN/AP 5/7)
"The Earth's orbit causes the planet to encounter more space dust every 100,000 years, and this could cause a cooling that may contribute to climate changes and to periodic extinctions of some life forms, two researchers contend."
Gene Study Shows Mammals Lived Before Extinction Of The Dinosaurs (Science Daily 5/6)
Mammals and molecules (Nature Science Updates 5/7)
"Overwhelming evidence from the largest evolutionary study of gene sequences ever performed shows that the major groups of mammals emerged well before the extinction of the dinosaurs."
Hot Research At Sandia May Make Producing Electricity From Geothermal Energy More Cost Competitive (Science Daily 5/6)
"Research under way in Sandia National Laboratories- Geothermal Research Department may improve the economic feasibility of using geothermal energy -- water heated deep inside the earth's crust -- to produce electricity."
Evidence found dating earliest known erect humans (CNN/Reuters 5/6)
"A group of scientists say they have conclusive evidence that fossils they discovered in Kenya in 1995 are from the earliest known ancestor of man to walk erect, more than four million years ago [4.07 million years to 4.12 million years]."
Hawaiian Volcanoes Boost Australia's Bottom Line (Science Daily 5/4)
"Fiery Mt Kilauea in Hawaii is helping to reveal major new nickel discoveries worth billions of dollars in Western Australia, from fossil volcanoes that became extinct there nearly three billion years ago. The Magmatic Ore Deposits Research Group of CSIRO Exploration and Mining have found close links between the rich nickel sulphide deposits and ancient volcanic rocks called komatiites."
Ocean Drilling Program's New Technology To Open Exploration Of Earth's Interiors (Science Daily 5/4)
"Scientists with the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) are now installing one of many planned Geophysical Ocean Bottom Observatories (GOBO), in which a permanent seismograph station will be established on the sea floor for monitoring earthquake activity."
Astronomers use Shakespeare to name Uranus' newest moons (CNN/AP 5/2)
"Borrowing from Shakespeare, astronomers have proposed naming two recently discovered moons circling Uranus 'Caliban' and 'Sycorax' after characters in the bard's play, 'The Tempest.'"
Industries' environmental data available on Internet (CNN/Reuters 5/1)
"A database on the environmental performance of five big industrial sectors will be available on the Internet under a new program, the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday." (Environmental Data Site)
Babbitt pushes for mining law reform (CNN 5/1)
"In an effort to convince Congress of the necessity of revamping the 1872 Mining Law, Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt signed a patent for three mining claims on Wednesday, giving away public resources covering 62 acres worth more than $80 million."
Water, water everywhere (Scientific American 5/98)
"Ice found on the moon"
Making a deep impact (Scientific American 5/98)
The science behind the movie "Deep Impact." (Earth Magazine Special Report)
"Some indication of public attitudes toward the threat of near-earth objects might come soon, when Hollywood releases a film this month about such a possibility."
Women In Science: A Status Report (Scientific American Special Report)
"Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty? A conference celebrates the advances of the past 25 years and examines why disparities still persist."
Polar Connections (Discover Magazine 5/98)
" This year, Discover is proud to join the National Science Foundation in Polar Connections--an initiative to call attention to the research carried out in some of the world's most remote and forbidding territories." (Includes a web tour.)
Water--400 Miles Below Earth'S Surface (Discover Magazine 5/98)
"Tetsuo a geophysicist at Ehime University in Matsuyama, Japan, uses a tiny diamond-tipped anvil for the feat, subjecting small grains of rock to pressures of some 3.7 million pounds per square inch. At such crushing pressures, he has found, some minerals will ooze water. The most surprising aspect of his research, though, is that the stones manage to retain any water at all at such extreme pressures. His discovery suggests that Earth's mantle contains tons of water at depths where most geologists believed water couldn't possibly exist."
Fallout: Eye on the Volcano (National Geographic Special)
A geologic and personal look at the eruption of Montserrat Volcano.

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