Thomas Sumner

All Stories by Thomas Sumner

  1. Earth

    News Brief: Volcanic spark zaps ash to glass

    The lightning associated with some erupting volcanoes can be quite crafty — turning ash into lots of microscopic glass beads.

  2. Climate

    Buildings may be chasing L.A.’s fog away

    Roads and buildings that have mushroomed up around Los Angeles in the past half-century. Now, a study finds they may have created conditions that limit fog. And that could further dry out this very arid part of America’s West Coast.

  3. Climate

    Scientists confirm ‘greenhouse’ effect of human’s CO2

    Government scientists link directly, for the first time, a boost in warming at Earth’s surface to increasing levels of carbon dioxide. Much of that gas has been released by human activities, such as coal burning and gas-burning vehicles.

  4. Climate

    Distant pollution may intensify U.S. twisters

    A new study of one of the deadliest U.S. outbreaks of tornadoes sees a possible role for smoke. In this analysis, the smoke had come from fires burning in Central America.

  5. Earth

    Earth’s most common mineral finally gets a name

    A half-century search for samples of Earth’s most abundant mineral has ended. This stuff forms only deep in the rocky layer surrounding our planet’s core. But scientists found bits of it in a meteorite that fell in 1879. And finally, this bridgmanite gets a name.

  6. Climate

    Lightning strikes will surge with climate change

    Warming temperatures will lead to 50 percent more lightning strikes across the 48 U.S. states in the next century, researchers report. That increase could lead to more warming, more fires and even more deaths.

  7. Animals

    Ancient jellyfish died a strange death

    Scientists have probed the fossilized remains of an ancient jellyfish. It reveals a bizarre sequence of events that led to its preservation 310 million years ago.

  8. Microbes

    Buried Antarctic lake teems with life

    Last year, scientists drilled 800 meters (roughly a half mile) down through ice to reach a pitch-black Antarctic lake. They now report that lake hosts a thriving community of one-celled microbes.

  9. Earth

    Meteorites likely wiped out Earth’s earliest life

    Enormous meteorites appear to have slammed into Earth several times early in its history. Each mega-smashup would have boiled off oceans and obliterated any bit of life.

  10. Physics

    Smooshed diamonds: A window into exoplanets?

    Scientists have compressed diamonds more than ever before. Their carbon may give clues to what conditions might be like deep within planets way beyond our solar system.

  11. Fossils

    This dino-bird is super-feathered

    This late-Jurassic dino was also a bird. Its ample coat of feathers emerged before any need for flight.