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Earth Happenings Archive
July, 1999
Pipeline Dig in Utah Leads to Dinosaur Discovery (Reuters 7/30)
"Dinosaur bones discovered last month in northeastern Utah may lead to identification of a new species of dinosaur and a new understanding of the migration of dinosaurs between continents, scientists said Thursday. The bones, dated at around 155 million years old, come from a large, four-legged herbivore similar to a brontosaurus, according to Evan Hall, the paleontologist."
Earthquake Analysis Reveals Changes in Fault Zones with Depth Below Surface, Shedding New Light on the Nature of Destructive Earthquakes (Science Daily 7/29)
"The world's largest earthquakes occur in subduction zones, where one plate of the earth's crust dives down below another plate. A new analysis of subduction zone earthquakes indicates that key properties of the fault zones change systematically with depth, resulting in very different types of earthquakes depending on the depth at which the fault ruptures."
Intact Mammoth to be Carved from Siberian Tundra (CNN 7/23)
"An adult woolly mammoth mummified 23,000 years ago under Siberia's frozen tundra will be dug out of the permafrost and may one day be cloned, an international team of scientists said on Thursday. In a scenario worthy of the fictional, cloned dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies, French explorer Bernard Buigues said the intact soft tissues and the hair of the Jarkov mammoth held out the possibility of recovering intact DNA."
New UNC-CH Study Explains Variations in Onset of Ice Ages (Science Daily 7/23)
"On average, ice ages occur about every 100,000 years, and the next one should begin with plenty of notice in about 60,000 years, says Dr. Jose Rial, professor of geophysics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. So not to worry. But the timing is not exact, Rial says, and he believes he has figured out why."
Catastrophic Draining of Huge Lakes Tied to Ancient Global Cooling Event (Science Daily 7/22)
"The catastrophic draining of two gigantic glacial lakes in Canada's Hudson Bay region some 8,200 years ago appears to have caused the most abrupt, widespread cold spell on Earth during the last 10,000 years, according to a group of scientists. Don Barber, a geological sciences doctoral student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, said the lakes, Agassiz and Ojibway, contained more water than all of the Great Lakes combined."
First Footing (Nature 7/15)
"The earliest vertebrates -- backboned animals, such as you and me -- to emerge on land did so at the end of the Devonian Period, around 365 million years ago. Or did they? The timing of the first steps on land has recently been the focus of vigorous debate, the latest salvo of which appears in the July issue of the journal Geology."
New Form of Pure Carbon Found in Mexican Meteorite-- Possible Player in Origin of Life (Science Daily 7/15)
"A University of Hawaii researcher and her colleagues from NASA's Space Science Division have confirmed that a new form of carbon previously made in the laboratory also exists in nature. The finding indicates that the pure carbon molecules known as fullerenes could have been a factor in the early history of Earth and might even have played a role in the origin of life."
African Dust Called A Major Factor Affecting Southeast U.S. Air Quality (Science Daily 7/14)
"Large quantities of dust, originating in Africa, are blown across the Atlantic Ocean each summer and constitute up to one half of breathable particles in the air over Miami, Florida, according to a new study. African dust can on certain days push the total number of airborne particles above the limit set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act. "
Dirty Eating for Healthy Living (Nature 7/8)
"Geophagy is the regular and intentional consumption of soil, and proposals as to its purpose have been many and varied. A spectacular example of geophagy is the highly selective consumption of earth -- clay in particular -- by flocks of certain parrots in the Amazonian rainforest. The reason, as reported in a new study, is that in the birds' stomachs the clay detoxifies foods that the parrots would otherwise be unable to consume."
Fossils Show Dinosaurs Roamed Warmer Antarctica (Reuters 7/12)
"Geologists have discovered the fossilized remains of massive dinosaurs in Antarctica, signs that many prehistoric ``eating machines'' were spread over a much broader territory than previously believed. An expedition to the remote Antarctica Peninsula and nearby islands has unearthed large deposits of dinosaur fossils, including remains of two types of large marine reptile -- mosasaurs and plesiosaurus."
What Makes a Starfish? (Nature 7/8)
"Juliette Dean of the University of Cambridge and the Natural History Museum, London, UK, looks at the problems of telling asteroids and ophiuroids apart from their fossils. Both kinds of starfishes have a rich fossil record going back more than 500 million years -- but starfishes back then need not have been anything like starfishes now."
Dating the Yixian (Nature 7/1)
"The past two years has witnessed an eye-popping parade of fossils from the Yixian formation of Liaoning Province, NE China, but one question has remained open - the age of the rocks themselves. This is resolved in a paper by Swisher and colleagues, who place the Yixian Formation squarely in the Early Cretaceous (125 million years ago)."
Feathered Dinosaurs Are Not So Old, Research Shows (CNN 7/1)
"Fossils of feathered dinosaurs and flowering plants, considered an extremely important discovery when they were unearthed in the Liaoning province in China, are not as old as scientists had thought, researchers said Wednesday."

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