Earth Science

Apparatus for administering nitrous oxide and other anesthetic gases

These Objects Tell the Story of Human-Driven Climate Change

Smithsonian curators dig into the collections to find artifacts that illustrate how we arrived at this moment

Turkish world-record-holding free-diver Sahika Ercumen swims amid plastic waste on June 27, 2020, to raise awareness about plastic pollution.

Scientists Discover Microbes That Could Revolutionize Plastic Recycling

These bacteria and fungi can break down certain plastics at cool temperatures, saving money and energy compared to some current methods

A massive ice island breaks free of the Petermann Glacier in northwestern Greenland in July 2012.

Satellites Show Warming Tides Melting a Massive Greenland Glacier

The finding could mean that past predictions of sea-level rise from glaciers should double

The Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone National Park

Listen to Music Made From Yellowstone's Seismic Data

A scientist and a musician performed a live musical rendition of the park's underground rumblings

The Neo P1 starts at $179, roughly five to ten times the price of a normal pothos plant.

Could Genetically Modified Houseplants Clean the Air in Your Home?

A Parisian start-up wants to filter harmful chemicals indoors with engineered pothos plants

A revolutionary new tool, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory and NASA, will monitor the chemistry and changing dynamics of major pollutants (above: an Arizona power generating station).

This Eye in the Sky Promises Major Insights Into the Air We Breathe

The satellite mission TEMPO will detect pollutants at a neighborhood scale across the nation

Using satellite-based datasets from 2003 to 2017, a new study identified significant decreases in average rainfall in Southeast Asia, as well as the Amazon and the Congo.

Deforestation Is Linked to Lower Rainfall, Study Says

The Amazon rainforest and other tropical regions face drying climates due to loss of trees

An artist's rendition of a cross-section of Earth. The innermost layer, the inner core, is a 1,500-mile-wide ball of iron.

The Spin of Earth's Inner Core May Be Changing, Scientists Say

A new study finds our planet's iron center shifts between spinning slightly faster and slightly slower than the surface—but not all experts agree

Scientists believe that at several times in Earth’s history the planet was covered by ice.

How Animals May Have Conquered Snowball Earth

We know there were animals during our planet's chilliest era. But what did they look like?

Winchcombe meteorite

Meteorites May Have Brought Water to Earth and Mars

Rare, carbon-containing rocks could have created conditions suitable for life on both planets, two new studies suggest

The dark patches on the image of the sun captured by  NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory are trio of coronal holes. 

NASA’s 'Smiling Sun' Image Is a Reminder of the Threat of Solar Wind

Coronal holes on the sun can release jets of charged particles that may interfere with Earth's atmosphere

A cluster of galaxies that Slayton created in Minecraft

This 18-Year-Old Recreated the ‘Entire Universe’ in Minecraft

From the video game's blocks, he built galaxies, a nebula, a black hole and the solar system

A second asteroid may have struck the dinosaurs at the end of Cretaceous period, around 66 million years ago

The Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid May Have Had a Companion

A newly discovered crater suggests a second impact that would have triggered underwater landslides and tsunamis

The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano releases gas on December 24, 2021, before the eruption on January 14.

Tonga Volcanic Eruption Blasted an Enormous Plume of Water Vapor Into the Atmosphere

NASA scientists say the intrusion could warm the Earth's surface

Generally, the Earth is slowing its spin ever so slightly, so why it seems to be speeding up lately is a mystery.

The Earth Had Its Shortest Day in Recorded History

On June 29, our planet completed one rotation in 1.59 milliseconds less than 24 hours

The Earth’s oceans have risen and fallen over the millennia. But they have, on average, been relatively stable over billions of years. The balance of the deep water cycle—the exchange of water between the Earth’s surface and its interior—has an important role to play in maintaining that stability.

How the Earth's Mantle Sends Water Up Toward the Surface

A new model suggests "mantle rain" ensures we will always have a surface ocean

Researchers excavated fossils from a site in Turkey that helped them fill in some of the history of a previously unknown continent called Balkanatolia. 

Fossils Help Scientists Identify a 'Lost' Continent

Millions of years ago, a giant island called Balkanatolia shifted and connected Asia to Europe, allowing animals to migrate

Frozen ground preserved the body of this seven-week-old wolf pup, which lived during the Ice Age.

Five Fascinating Ice Age Finds Discovered in Yukon Permafrost

From a pristinely preserved wolf pup to ancient camels, remains found in northern Canada's frozen earth have provided remarkable glimpses into the Ice Age

A popular tourist site, Turkmenistan's Darvasa crater pit has been burning gas for over 50 years. The country's attempts to put out its flames have been unsuccessful. 

The Quest to Extinguish the Flames of Turkmenistan's Terrifying 'Gates of Hell' Firepit

The country's president says it’s time to quash the ongoing 50-year blaze at the 230-foot-wide Darvaza gas crater

Courtney Gallaher’s Women in Science students at Northern Illinois University created quilt blocks representing astrophysicist Margaret J. Geller, biologist Rachel Carson, and mathematician Ada Lovelace.

Inside the Growing Movement to Share Science Through Quilting

The classic medium allows researchers, students and artists to tell stories about science, technology, engineering and math

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