Earth's Systems

  1. Earth

    Explainer: Understanding plate tectonics

    Plate tectonics is the process whereby Earth continually rebuilds itself — and causes destructive events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

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  2. Environment

    Arctic warming bolsters summer heat

    Rapid warming in the Arctic is sapping summer storms of their power to cool. That worsens heat waves across the Northern Hemisphere.

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  3. Earth

    Ancient ocean linked to supercontinent’s breakup

    The supercontinent Pangaea started breaking apart 200 million years ago. This may have been triggered by the shrinking of the Tethys Ocean, a new study finds.

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  4. 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.

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  5. 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.

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  6. Climate

    Fast sea level rise is a very recent change

    Sea levels have been rising for more than a century. But that rise is now speeding up. That suggests that what is driving the rise — climate change — also has increased dramatically in recent years.

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  7. Fossils

    Dino double whammy

    Most scientists think an asteroid helped kill off the dinosaurs. But new calculations suggest that asteroid might have gotten some help from a long series of volcanic eruptions in what is now India.

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  8. Fossils

    Tar pit clues provide ice age news

    New analyses of insects and mammals trapped in the La Brea Tar Pits point to climate surprises during the last ice age.

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  9. Climate

    The worst drought in 1,000 years

    The 1934 drought, during a period in American history known as the Dust Bowl, was the worst in a millennium, a new study finds. While the drought had natural origins, human activities made it worse.

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  10. 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.

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  11. Earth

    When life exploded

    Life exploded in diversity during the Cambrian Period. Experts are exploring what could account for this sudden change 540 million years ago.

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  12. Earth

    How people have been shaping the Earth

    We are the dominant force of change on Earth. Some experts propose naming our current time period the ‘Anthropocene’ to reflect our impact.

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