Articles by Ker Than

Researchers studying stalagmite formations in the Wabash Valley fault system have found that stalagmites can yield clues to the timing of ancient earthquakes.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Cave Formations Carry Clues About Ancient Earthquakes

Researchers have found that stalagmites can help determine if and when a region was struck by an earthquake.

Simple times may be over for the National Parks. Shown here: El Capitan, a vertical rock formation in Yosemite National Park, California.

Age of Humans

How the National Parks Are Playing the Game of “What If” to Prepare for Climate Change

Federal agencies are starting to embrace scenario planning, a tool developed by the military to plan for thermonuclear war

Temperature-sensitive pikas store grass for winter munching.

Future of Conservation

How Climate Change Will Transform the National Parks’ Iconic Animals and Plants

Dramatic changes may force park managers to choose which species will live, and which will die

New models of ocean currents suggest that the oceanic gyres thought to collect garbage actually have "exit doors" that allow plastic to eventually wash up on the shores of North and South America.

Age of Humans

The Ocean's Great Garbage Patches Might Have Exit Doors

Garbage isn't destined to swirl in the ocean forever; new models show it eventually washes up on shore.

A mudskipper clings to a rocky embankment.

Awkward Robots Show How Tails Propelled First Land Walkers to New Heights

A 3D-printed bot designed to move like amphibious fish suggests that the first land animals needed tails to climb slippery slopes

A 2.7-billion-year-old micrometeorite extracted from limestone found in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Ancient Spacedust Reveals Surprising Twist in Evolution of Earth’s Early Atmosphere

Mini fossil meteorites are providing new insights about how our ancient atmosphere evolved into its current state

Diamonds squeeze the truth about Earth's core out of experimental samples of iron and lighter elements like oxygen and carbon.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Crushing Pressures Start to Reveal the Truth About Earth's Core

Iron makes up the bulk of our planet's core. But now, researchers are getting closer to figuring out what else swirls at the center of the Earth

Age of Humans

Lemur Extinctions Are Harmful to Madagascar's Plant Life, Too

Plants and trees that once relied on a particular species of lemur to spread their seeds may also be headed for extinction.

U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly (right) and his twin brother Mark attend a press conference ahead of NASA's "Year in Space" mission at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in 2015.

A Brief History of Twin Studies

As NASA dives into the data from astronaut twins, take a look back at the famous, and infamous, results we've seen from this popular research tool

Rocky bodies that slammed into early Earth might have been integral in setting up the conditions for our magnetic field.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Humble Magnesium Could Be Powering Earth's Magnetic Field

The common element could have been driving the planet's dynamo for billions of years

Wooly mammoths would have been challenging but desirable prey for early humans.

New Research

Humans Were in the Arctic 10,000 Years Earlier Than Thought

Distinctive cut marks on a Siberian mammoth represent the first known evidence of human hunters this far north

A mushroom cloud rises in the sky during an atomic weapons test in the 1950s.

Age of Humans

The Atomic Age Ushered In the Anthropocene, Scientists Say

Geoscientists have concluded that the Age of Humans officially began at the start of the nuclear age.

These cracks hint at subsurface seas.

Does Icy Pluto Have a Hidden Ocean? New Horizons Offers New Clues

Data from the NASA probe are helping to build a solid case for a liquid ocean inside the tiny, distant world

The Dakotaraptor fossil, next to a paleontologist for scale.

New Research

New Winged Dinosaur May Have Used Its Feathers to Pin Down Prey

Meet "the Ferrari of raptors," a lithe killing machine that could have taken down a young <em>T. rex</em>

From Auto-Tune to Motor Oil, Pi Helps Power the World

More than just a famously never-ending number, pi has a knack for appearing in the mathematical formulas we use every day

This optical atomic clock uses strontium atoms to tell time.

Send Atomic Clocks to Space to Find Gravitational Waves

A new breed of the hyper-accurate clocks could help scientists detect the elusive ripples in space-time faster and cheaper

Melts in your mouth, not in microgravity.

The World of Chocolate

The Rich and Flavorful History of Chocolate in Space

From vacuum-sealed pudding to Blue Bell ice cream, astronauts have been taking the treat into orbit since the dawn of the space age

Illustration from Nellie Bly's 1887 book Ten Days in a Mad-House, depicting her practicing feigning insanity. Bly's work was originally published as a 17-part series of articles for the New York World.

Before Serial, There Were These Groundbreaking Examples of Serialized Non-Fiction

Can’t wait for the next episode of the podcast series? Take a look at these popular predecessors

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo is seen gliding back to Earth after its first test flight in 2010.

Past Transit Tragedies Point to a Way Forward for Virgin Galactic

From a fatal Apollo fire to the sinking of the <em>Titanic</em>, history has a few lessons following last week’s spaceflight disasters

J.K. Rowling isn't the only author who can't seem to get away from their most famous characters.

Authors Who Couldn’t Quit the Characters That Made Them Famous

Here is a list of famous writers, including J.K. Rowling, who couldn’t resist reconnecting with their creations.

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