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Earth Happenings Archive
June, 1999
Earth May Have 'Twin' Somewhere (AP 6/30)
"The Earth may have had a twin or even more planetary siblings when the solar system was born, only to lose them in the vast darkness of deep space, an astronomer says."
Landslides Will Continue To Impact U.S. (Science Daily 6/29)
"Scenic rock cliffs falling to valley floors, rocks ripping out mountainsides, mud and debris moving down valleys at deadly speeds, mines and caves collapsing, and ocean and river bluffs sliding into the water -- all describe one of the nation's most underestimated hazards -- landslides."
Quakes May Endanger Californian Schools (AP 6/27)
"At least 1,000 public school buildings in quake-prone areas of California may have structural deficiencies, and thousands more have failed to undergo seismic inspection since being built decades ago, according to a report Sunday."
Dinosaur Fossils Reveal Evolution's Big Picture (Science 6/25)
"Dinosaur fossils are providing the answers to some of scientists' biggest questions about evolution, according to paleontologist Paul Sereno, who has assembled the most up-to-date picture yet of dinosaur evolution in the 25 June 1999 issue of Science."
Geologist Calls Millennium-Destination Fiji a Hidden Volcano (CNN 6/24)
"Jet setters planning to greet the year 2000 on the Pacific island of Taveuni may want to think again -- a geologist is warning that the island is a sleeping volcano that could erupt any time."
The Lost World of the Galapagos (Nature 6/24)
"The discovery of a 14-million-year-old, 'drowned' island group off the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica will enrich our understanding of evolution."
Colder Climate May Stifle Volcanoes (CNN 6/22)
"The thick glaciers that accumulate during ice ages may put a lid on volcanoes. A study of volcanoes in eastern California indicates that, over millions of years, eruptions alternated with cycles of colder climate."
Life's Far-Flung Raw Materials (Scientific American July Issue)
"Life may owe its start to complex organic molecules manufactured in the icy heart of an interstellar cloud"
Alaska's Columbia Glacier Traveling At Record Pace (Science Daily 6/18)
"Already the fastest moving glacier in the world, the Columbia Glacier in Alaska has increased its speed from 25 meters to 35 meters per day in recent months, according to a University of Colorado at Boulder glaciologist."
Astronomers Pinpoint Birth And History Of Comet Hale-Bopp (Science Daily 6/17)
"The most precise measurement to date of the carbon monoxide to water ratio in a comet is reported by a team of astrophysicists in the June 17 issue of Nature. The article suggests that the comet Hale-Bopp was likely formed in the region between Jupiter and Neptune some 4 billion years ago."
Fossil of oldest beaked bird found (Seattle Times 6/17)
"Paleontologists have found a fossil of the oldest-known bird species with a beak - an upturned bill resembling Woody Woodpecker's. The 130-million-year-old, crow-sized Confuciusornis dui was discovered last year in ancient lake sediment in China, so exquisitely preserved that impressions of its feathers are clearly visible. Previously, the earliest known toothless, beaked bird dated from about 70 million years ago."
Katydids do what they did 55 million years ago, scientists say (CNN 6/16)
"Katydids were singing pretty much the same song 55 million years ago that they do today, new fossil evidence suggests. The katydid fossils, discovered in Denmark, represent the oldest known evidence of insects communicating by making distinct noises."
New Insight On The Plains' Biggest Rains -- Rocky Mountains Affect Midwest Flooding (Science Daily 6/16)
"Until now scientists have found it hard to predict which summer storms forming over the Rocky Mountains would produce giant, flood-prone storm systems in the Great Plains to the east. Now Andrew Crook (National Center for Atmospheric Research, or NCAR) and Donna Tucker (University of Kansas) may have found the key: the strength of intense downdrafts that emerge from the mountain storms and stir up severe weather downstream."
Nebraska Education Officials Stick With Evolution (Yahoo! News 6/12)
"The Nebraska Board of Education Friday rejected an effort to broaden the science curriculum in state schools in a way that could have allowed classrooms to explore biblically based creation theories. The board voted 5-3 to approve a set of new science standards that lists evolution as the only theory of the origins of the universe that will be presented to children."
Reading the signs (Nature Science Update 6/10)
"When it comes to clarifying the causes of climate change it appears that the situation might not be, as some lobby groups would have us believe, hopeless. At least this is what Simon Tett from the Meteorological Office Bracknell, UK and colleagues report in the 10 June issue of Nature."
Scientists Monitor Seaweed As CO2 Changes At Biosphere 2 (Science Daily 6/10)
"It's the only ocean view this side of the Rockies, and University of Arizona marine biologist Ed Glenn wants to take a closer look. So every couple of months he and a team of graduate students dive into the compact sea of Biosphere 2 to examine seaweed populations."
Museum Opens 'Temple Of Geology' In New York (Yahoo! News 6/10)
"The American Museum of Natural History in New York, best known to millions of annual visitors for its stuffed fauna and dinosaur bones, is now into rock and roll. No, not the music. On June 12 it opens the Gottesman Hall of Planet Earth, an extravaganza of sights, sounds and sensations complete with 168 geological specimens and a simulated earthquake."
Massive Pollution Documented Over Indian Ocean (Science Daily 6/10)
"An international group of scientists participating in a climate field experiment has documented widespread pollution covering about 10 million square kilometers of the tropical Indian Ocean -- roughly the same area as the continental United States. The finding raises serious questions about what impact the extensive pollution is having on climate processes and on marine life in the ocean below."
Scientists use balloons as poor man's space shuttle (Seattle Times 6/8)
"Frustrated by soaring costs, long delays and rocket failures that ruin everything, growing numbers of scientists are reaching for space with a technology that is much cheaper and simpler: balloons."
Two New Superheavy Elements Discovered (Science Daily 6/8)
"Discovery of two new "superheavy" elements has been announced by scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Element 118 and its immediate decay product, element 116, were discovered at Berkeley Lab's 88-Inch Cyclotron by bombarding targets of lead with an intense beam of high-energy krypton ions. Although both new elements almost instantly decay into other elements, the sequence of decay events is consistent with theories that have long predicted an "island of stability" for nuclei with approximately 114 protons and 184 neutrons."
Report links decline in salmon to 'continuous El Nino' (Seattle Times 6/8)
"Global warming may be causing a "continuous El Nino" that threatens Northwest salmon runs and other marine life around the world, according to a report to be released today by environmentalists. "
Study Finds Potential Water 'Wells' On Moon (Yahoo! News 6/7)
"The Moon's south pole is riddled with deep craters where ice deposits could last for millennia, scientists said Thursday. They said a radar-mapping mission showed numerous places where the Moon could be mined for water by future expeditions."
Toxic algae return to Lake Erie (CNN 6/3)
"Microcystis, a blue-green algae that is harmful to humans and deadly to plants and fish, has returned to a small area of western Lake Erie after a 10-year absence. Researchers are examining whether the reappearance of Microcystis might be associated with the recent arrival of zebra mussels, a non-native species that was introduced to Lake Erie from Russia in 1986."
UW Scientists Say Arctic Oscillation Might Carry Evidence Of Global Warming (Science Daily 6/3)
"For years, scientists have known that Eurasian weather turns on the whim of a climate phenomenon called the North Atlantic oscillation. But two University of Washington researchers contend that the condition is just a part of a hemisphere-wide cycle they call the Arctic oscillation, which also has far-reaching impact in North America."
Scientist questions safety of potential nuclear waste site (CNN 6/2)
"Signs of ancient groundwater flooding at the proposed Yucca Mountain site for nuclear waste in Nevada could put the project's safety in question, a Russian scientist says. Geologist Yuri Dublyansky of the Russian Academy of Sciences said Tuesday the flooding problem he found may be a "potential show-stopper." Designers of the long-delayed project hope to seal off the radioactive waste underground for 10,000 years or more, when it will have decayed to safer levels."
Yucca Mountain Is High And Dry, Say Usgs Scientists (Science Daily 6/2)
"The slow growth rates of calcite and opal minerals that coat fractures and cavities in Yucca Mountain attest to the hydrological stability of that Nevada mountain for the past several million years, according to three U.S. Geological Survey scientists. They presented their views today (June 2) at the spring meeting of American Geophysical Union in Boston."
Bacteria thrive on simulated Mars (Seattle Times 6/2)
"An exotic Earth bacterium thrives in laboratory conditions that imitate the environment of Mars, raising fresh hope that the red planet may harbor life, or at least did so in the past, a researcher says. Timothy Kral of the University of Arkansas said a methane-making, oxygen-hating microbe "grows just fine and dandy" in a simulated Martian environment that could not support most forms of life on Earth."
Huge Black Hole Seen As Probably Center Of Galaxy (Yahoo! News 6/1)
"Measuring the solar system's orbit around the Milky Way Galaxy has provided more evidence that a ''super-massive'' black hole lies at the galaxy's center, astronomers said Tuesday. Using precise measurements made with an array of radio telescopes, astronomers penetrated the dust that obscures our view and figured that the solar system is circling the galaxy's center at a speed of 135 miles per second, requiring 226 million years for a single orbit."
The world at 2000: hotter, stormier but with rays of sunshine (CNN 6/1)
"The world is getting hotter and Mother Nature madder, sperm counts are sinking in the United States and Europe, and the use of wind power is soaring, a millennium-ending snapshot of global trends finds. Worldwatch Institute's annual eclectic compilation of facts and figures, "Vital Signs 1999," offers a little something for everyone making predictions about where the planet and its inhabitants are headed in the next century."
Cosmic Ray History Encoded In Abundances Of Light Elements (Science Daily 6/1)
"By taking a closer look at two of the lightest elements in the universe, a University of Illinois scientist is helping to solve a mystery that lies at the intersection of cosmology, cosmic rays and chemical evolution."

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