This Week: Ancient water = ancient habitat?
In the News: When dead men speak…
Coming Thursday: Roaches: A lot smarter than you thought!
Geologic dating shows that water has been trapped more than 2 kilometers underground since before the Cambrian explosion. This water contains chemicals that support bacteria in other places. Could the deep biosphere contain relics of the most primitive life? Could such life exist on Mars?
As molten rock gathers underground, a huge volcanic field in Chile is the fastest-rising land on Earth. The biggest eruptions at Laguna del Maule, if they happened today, would change our climate and planet. Scientists are racing to understand a strange unrest in a bizarre landscape.
What are sinkholes, and how dangerous are they? Can we detect and prevent them? Should you be asking more questions about the ground we’re standing on?
Meteorite hunters were out in force after the biggest impact in 100 years injured more than 1,200. Does the meteorite market damage science by sending the best samples to private collections, or does it feed science as well as the market?
How do hurricanes form? How do we predict their paths? How can we improve predictions?
Scientists have tracked a light beam that’s half-a-million light years long to a monster black hole and found that the hole and its disk of orbiting junk are spinning in parallel. Their new, supersize radio telescope promises more details on black holes at the center of most galaxies, including ours.
Take a modern volcano, and multiply it by 1,000. That’s a super-volcano. Their rare eruptions change landscapes and weather. How long can giant pools of molten rock sit beneath the surface before a super-v blows? A new study says, not long at all…
New pix from Mars show sand dunes on the move. Mars has been dry for 1.5 billion years; could massive erosion be due to wind? Yes, says a new report that tracked dunes with precise new images. Surprise: dunes move as fast on Mars as on Earth!
Volcanic eruptions are unpredictable, but here’s a new view of the historic eruption of a Mediterranean monster. About 3,500 years ago, Santorini’s eruption left a giant caldera and 60-meter layers of pumice. A new study of tiny crystals tracks the movement of molten magma before the cataclysm.
Neutrinos are odd: Extremely difficult to see, they travel through mass with scarcely a trace. A 1-billion ton detector in South Pole ice is now counting neutrinos, intent on understanding their origin and role in the universe, and even spotting echoes of the Big Bang.
For 15 years, we’ve presented the science behind the news. The Why Files are accurate, engaging, entertaining and educational. Check our links from national science teaching standards to specific Why Files — all 750 of them! Whether it’s geology or archaeology, weather or human behavior, The Why Files has it covered.
Seismic study shows crust thinning as continent divides, giving another view of our restless planet, showing tectonic movement in action, and highlighting a major real-estate investment opportunity.
With space shuttles in museums, what is the near-term American plan to return to space? Can other countries or private companies fill the gap?
If conflicts are more common near the equator, what will global warming affect do? A new study shows increases in conflict during el Niño periods — but only during the warm, dry part of the cycle, and only in places affected by these big climatic cycles.
Hitting the road? What could be more enlightening than gawking at a cave, exploring a desert, or eyeballing the largest telescope in the world? Need proof that science is not just books and websites or equations and software? Get moving!