Our planet’s lithosphere is broken into several tectonic plates. Their configuration is ever-shifting, as supercontinents are assembled and broken up, and oceans form, grow, and then start to close in what is known as the Wilson cycle.
Secret underground nuclear tests could now be a thing of the past thanks to a major scientific breakthrough in ways to identify them.
Australian geologists have used plate tectonic modelling to determine what most likely caused an extreme ice-age climate in Earth’s history, more than 700 million years ago.
The 37th International Geological Congress (IGC 2024) in August 2024, Busan, Korea, will highlight a growing concern amid urgent threats posed by accelerated climate and environmental changes.
If global temperatures increase by 1 degree Celsius (C) or more than current levels, each year billions of people will be exposed to heat and humidity so extreme they will be unable to naturally cool themselves.
As the next generation of giant, high-powered observatories begin to come online, a new study suggests that their instruments may offer scientists an unparalleled opportunity to discern what weather may be like on far-away exoplanets.
By analyzing noble gas isotope data, a scientist determined that the ancient plume mantle had a water concentration that was a factor of 4 to 250 times lower when compared with the water concentration of the upper mantle. The resulting viscosity contrast could have prevented mixing within the mantle, helping to explain certain long-standing mysteries about Earth’s formation and evolution.
Were Earth’s oceans completely covered by ice during the Cryogenian period, about 700 million years ago, or was there an ice-free belt of open water around the equator where sponges and other forms of life could survive? Using global climate models, a team of researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the University of Vienna has shown that a climate allowing a waterbelt is unlikely and thus cannot reliably explain the survival of life during the Cryogenian. The reason is the uncertain impact of clouds on the epoch’s climate. The team has presented the results of its study in the journal Nature Geoscience (DOI: 10.1038/s41561-022-00950-1).
New models that show how the continents were assembled are providing fresh insights into the history of the Earth and will help provide a better understanding of natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes.
New Brunswick, N.J. (April 6, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick microbial oceanographer Kay D. Bidle is available for interviews on the persistent and profound impact of viral infections on algae in the oceans. These infections influence the Earth’s carbon cycle, which helps…
New Brunswick, N.J. (Feb. 22, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Professor Kristen McQuinn is available for interviews on the upcoming launch of the James Webb Space Telescope, its potential scientific impact and the leap forward it will provide in our understanding of the…
Scientists have little understanding of the role fishes play in the global carbon cycle linked to climate change, but a Rutgers-led study found that carbon in feces, respiration and other excretions from fishes – roughly 1.65 billion tons annually – make up about 16 percent of the total carbon that sinks below the ocean’s upper layers.
Human health and ecosystems could be affected by microbes including cyanobacteria and algae that hitch rides in clouds and enter soil, lakes, oceans and other environments when it rains, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.
How did rocks rust on Earth and turn red? A Rutgers-led study has shed new light on the important phenomenon and will help address questions about the Late Triassic climate more than 200 million years ago, when greenhouse gas levels were high enough to be a model for what our planet may be like in the future.
The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.
Darwin’s theory of evolution should be expanded to include consideration of a DNA stability “energy code” – so-called “molecular Darwinism” – to further account for the long-term survival of species’ characteristics on Earth, according to Rutgers scientists. The iconic genetic code can be viewed as an “energy code” that evolved by following the laws of thermodynamics (flow of energy), causing its evolution to culminate in a nearly singular code for all living species, according to the Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Quarterly Review of Biophysics.
Red algae have persisted in hot springs and surrounding rocks for about 1 billion years. Now, a Rutgers-led team will investigate why these single-celled extremists have thrived in harsh environments – research that could benefit environmental cleanups and the production of biofuels and other products.
Scientists have long believed that ocean viruses always quickly kill algae, but Rutgers-led research shows they live in harmony with algae and viruses provide a “coup de grace” only when blooms of algae are already stressed and dying. The study, published in the journal Nature Communications, will likely change how scientists view viral infections of algae, also known as phytoplankton – especially the impact of viruses on ecosystem processes like algal bloom formation (and decline) and the cycling of carbon and other chemicals on Earth.
Algae in the oceans often steal genes from bacteria to gain beneficial attributes, such as the ability to tolerate stressful environments or break down carbohydrates for food, according to a Rutgers co-authored study.
The study of 23 species of brown and golden-brown algae, published in the journal Science Advances, shows for the first time that gene acquisition had a significant impact on the evolution of a massive and ancient group of algae and protists (mostly one-celled organisms including protozoa) that help form the base of oceanic food webs.
New Brunswick, N.J. (April 20, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick professors Robert E. Kopp and Karen M. O’Neill are available for interviews on the legacy of Earth Day and what the future may hold for humanity and the environment on our fragile planet. Kopp…
Researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and their colleagues used a new geochemical tool to shed light on the origin of nitrogen and other volatile elements on Earth, which may also prove useful as a way to monitor the activity of volcanoes. Their findings were published April 16, 2020, in the journal Nature.
Rutgers researchers have discovered the origins of the protein structures responsible for metabolism: simple molecules that powered early life on Earth and serve as chemical signals that NASA could use to search for life on other planets. Their study, which predicts what the earliest proteins looked like 3.5 billion to 2.5 billion years ago, is published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Heat stress from extreme heat and humidity will annually affect areas now home to 1.2 billion people by 2100, assuming current greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Rutgers study. That’s more than four times the number of people affected today, and more than 12 times the number who would have been affected without industrial era global warming.
The iconic photograph of planet Earth from distant space – the “pale blue dot” – was taken 30 years ago – Feb. 14, 1990, at a distance of 3.7 billion miles, by the NASA spacecraft Voyager 1 as it zipped toward the far edge of the solar system. The late Cornell astronomy professor Carl Sagan came up with the idea for the snapshot, and coined the phrase.
Scientists may have figured out how dust particles can stick together to form planets, according to a Rutgers co-authored study that may also help to improve industrial processes. In homes, adhesion on contact can cause fine particles to form dust bunnies. Similarly in outer space, adhesion causes dust particles to stick together. Large particles, however, can combine due to gravity – an essential process in forming asteroids and planets. But between these two extremes, how aggregates grow has largely been a mystery until now.
Each week, researchers with Rutgers ENIGMA teach astrobiology lessons to children in grades four through eight at McKinley Community School and Greater New Brunswick Charter School. Astrobiology is a relatively new interdisciplinary field that seeks to understand whether life arose elsewhere and whether we can detect it.
Join in celebrating World Soil Day on December 5th
New Brunswick, N.J. (Sept. 19, 2019) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick Engineering Professor Stephen D. Tse can comment on flame experiments this month on the International Space Station. The NASA project on symmetrical flames, called s-Flame, is aimed at studying combustion,…