Earth's Systems

  1. 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.

    By
  2. Earth

    Explainer: The volcano basics

    Here’s an overview of what they are, where they form and the many ways they pose dangers.

    By
  3. Climate

    Where will lightning strike?

    When lightning strikes, the results can be deadly. But nature’s dazzling light show also can provide scientists with insights into when and where the next thunderbolt might strike.

    By
  4. Physics

    Bracing sand sculptures with gravity

    Natural sculptures of sandstone withstand strong winds and rains. The reason, a new study concludes: Gravity holds the sand grains together.

    By
  5. Fossils

    Fossil hunting can start as child’s play

    Paleontology isn’t just for professionals. You don’t even need to be a teen to sometimes make startling — and scientifically important — contributions.

    By
  6. Fossils

    Explainer: How a fossil forms

    Minerals can replace any bone, shell or once-living tissue and also fill in the spaces between these hard parts, birthing a fossil.

    By
  7. Climate

    This umbrella ‘listens’ to rain — for science

    Scientists have developed an umbrella that ‘listens’ to falling raindrops. One day, a fleet of such simple rain gauges may help scientists better map weather patterns and changes in Earth’s water supplies.

    By
  8. Earth

    Thirst for water moves and shakes California

    Here’s a scary cost to pumping up groundwater to slake the thirst of crops in California’s Central Valley: It may uplift nearby mountains and trigger tiny earthquakes, experts find.

    By
  9. Math

    Teen puts calculus on ice

    Jacob Nichols wondered if he could use calculus to find the volume of the icicles building up outside his house. His study earned him a spot at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

    By
  10. Oceans

    Digging a trench to stop a tsunami

    Boyd Kane built his own wave tank to study tsunamis and how he might change the seafloor to stop their advance.

    By
  11. Earth

    The quake that shook up geology

    North America’s biggest earthquake struck 50 years ago. Here’s what science has learned about Earth since the 1964 Great Alaskan Earthquake.

    By
  12. Earth

    Explainer: Telling a tsunami from a seiche

    Waves that hit coastlines with ferocious power, tsunamis are one of the planet’s most devastating forces of nature. And seiches: They’re tsunamis little, but still potentially deadly, cousins.

    By