earth science

An Elusive Gravity Signal Could Mean Faster Earthquake Warnings

An Elusive Gravity Signal Could Mean Faster Earthquake Warnings

Seismic waves from a big quake are easy to see—think of the classic image of a seismograph, pencil scratching out telltale waves on a rotating paper as the tremor arrives. Even to highly trained eyes, PEGS are just squiggles, indistinguishable from the noise. It’s hard to prove they’re there. In 2017, early identifications of PEGS …

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A Vast Underground Water System Helps Drive Antarctica's Glaciers

A Vast Underground Water System Helps Drive Antarctica’s Glaciers

Lake Whillans is a strange body of water, starting with the fact that there is liquid to fill it at all. Though buried under more than 2,000 feet of Antarctic ice, its temperatures climb to just shy of 0 degrees Celsius, thanks to a combination of geothermal warmth, intense friction from ice scraping rock, and …

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NASA's Psyche Spacecraft Heads to Cape Canaveral

NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft Heads to Cape Canaveral

In 2011, Lindy Elkins-Tanton and a couple of colleagues wrote a paper exploring ideas about how tiny would-be planets called planetesimals might have formed billions of years ago, and speculated about whether their remnants might still orbit in the asteroid belt. Afterwards, officials at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California approached her. “Would you …

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