Journey to the Center of Earth

Mount Etna, Italy, erupts at night.

The Innovative Spirit fy17

Predicting Chaos: New Sensors Sniff Out Volcanic Eruptions Before They Happen

How volcanologists brave lung-singeing fumes to monitor eruptions with cutting-edge sensors


Journey to the Center of Earth

How Earthquakes and Volcanoes Reveal the Beating Heart of the Planet

The Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program has stitched together a visual archive of the world’s earthquakes and volcanoes

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.

The magnitude 5.8 earthquake that struck Pawnee, Oklahoma, on Sept. 3 is officially the state's largest on record. Geologists believe that activities related to oil and gas extraction in the state have triggered a quake swarm in the seismically active region.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Oklahoma Just Had Its Biggest Quake Ever, and There May Be More to Come

Oklahoma's recent string of earthquakes are something new for the state

A beach in Juneau, Alaska. Sea levels in Alaska are not rising, but dropping precipitously due to a phenomenon known as glacial isostatic adjustment.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Melting Glaciers Are Wreaking Havoc on Earth's Crust

Sea levels are dropping, earthquakes and volcanoes are waking up, and even the earth's axis is moving—all because of melting ice

The Cascadia Subduction Zone could unleash "the big one" soon, causing havoc in Seattle.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Slow Earthquakes Are a Thing

Slow earthquakes regularly move more earth than deadly fast quakes, but no one feels a thing

Marie Tharp's map helped vindicate plate tectonics, but her work was initially dismissed as "girl talk."

Journey to the Center of Earth

Seeing Is Believing: How Marie Tharp Changed Geology Forever

Marie Tharp's maps helped prove continental drift was real. But her work was initially dismissed as "girl talk"

Hutton, as painted by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1776.

Journey to the Center of Earth

The Blasphemous Geologist Who Rocked Our Understanding of Earth's Age

James Hutton was a leading light of his time, but is rarely talked about today

Rescuers search for survivors following the earthquake that struck central Italy early this morning.

Journey to the Center of Earth

The Geology Behind Italy’s Catastrophic Quake

A magnitude 6.2 earthquake shook the Apennine Mountains—and given the region’s geology, that’s no surprise

Journey to the Center of Earth

This 340-Million-Year-Old Ocean Crust Could Date Back to Pangaea

Researchers believe they've found the world's oldest ocean crust

Visualization of the giant impact that formed the moon

Journey to the Center of Earth

New Moon-Formation Theory Also Raises Questions About Early Earth

A new model of the impact that created the moon might upend theories about earth, too


Journey to the Center of Earth

Go Deep: 5 Places on Earth to See Seriously Old Rocks

See geology "in action"—or at least as action-packed as rocks can be—at these five spots

An artist's rendering of Chicxulub, the asteroid believed to have wiped out large dinosaurs and reshaped parts of the world.

Journey to the Center of Earth

What Happened in the Seconds, Hours, Weeks After the Dino-Killing Asteroid Hit Earth?

The Cretaceous forecast: Tsunamis, a deadly heat pulse, and massive cooling.

The San Andreas Fault, cause of countless big quakes.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Seismic Slowdowns Could Warn of Impending Earthquakes

An "earthquake machine" in the lab is helping scientists understand what goes on just before a quake

Paleontologist Paul Olsen of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is co-leading a project in Arizona's Petrified Forest National Park to drill deep into rocks dating back more than 200 million years.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Defying Critics, Paleontologist Paul Olsen Looks for Hidden Answers Behind Mass Extinctions

From a childhood spent discovering fossils to tangling over questions of ancient life and death, this scientist constantly pushes the boundaries.

An artist's impression of a planet forming through accretion.

Journey to the Center of Earth

To Uncover Earth’s Origins, Scientists Must Look Beyond It

Missions to study the other planetary bodies in our solar system could help solve the mystery of how our own came to be.

A drone shot of a researcher collecting data on cryoconite holes on the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Journey to the Center of Earth

The Tiny World of Glacier Microbes Has an Outsized Impact on Global Climate

Microbes living on glaciers collectively cover an area the size of New Hampshire—and they could have a big influence on global climate

Giant sauropods' feet didn't just leave footprints for future paleontologists to find, but changed landscapes entirely.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Dinosaurs Literally Reshaped The Planet

Dinos didn't just leave behind footprints and fossil bones—they also changed the landscapes in which they lived

A map of gravity variations on the Earth's seafloor, which mostly correspond to underwater ridges and the edges of Earth's tectonic plates.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Study Says Earth's Plate Tectonics May Be Just a Phase

New models suggest that earth's plates could grind to a halt in about five billion years.

Journey to the Center of Earth

Watch Scientists Make Their Own Lava

Basaltic rock and a lot of heat equals a homegrown brew that’s as beautiful as it is dangerous

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