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A geochemist at the University of Minnesota is a pioneer in the use of cave formations to document ancient climate. Stalagmites are being looked at as a collection of climate sensors (like tree rings), extending often hundreds of thousands of years back in time. This work is providing the scientific community with an increasingly precise time scale.

In a recent study of rocks in the Grand Canyon, researchers found evidence that the canyon is much older than previously thought. Most geologist have set the development of the Grand Canyon at 5 to 6 million years ago, as the Colorado River cut into layer after layer of the Colorado Plateau. The most recent results come from geochemical studies of the retention of helium in apatite in the rocks of the canyon. The results led the scientists to conclude that an ancient river must have carved through the rocks there about 70 million years ago.

Researchers studying data from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft have found signs of water ice and frozen organic matter in permanently shadowed craters at the north pole of Mercury, confirming observations by ground-based telescopes over the past 20 years.

A total solar eclipse will be visible from Australia early in the morning local time on 14 November. The path of totality will start in Kakadu National Park and continue across the Pacific Ocean. For more information about the eclipse, see http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2012/11/07/3624663.htm.

Astronomers have recently discovered a planet in a "sweet spot" habitable region, relative to the star in its solar system HD 40307, which could potentially have water at its surface. The planet, which is seven times as massive as Earth, is only 42 light-years away in the constellation Pictor.

The National Research Council has released a new report on the military impacts of climate change. According to the report, clusters of apparently unrelated events will be exacerbated by a warming climate and will create more frequent but unpredictable crises in water supplies, food markets, energy supply chains and public health systems, placing strains on the military.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center downgraded the tsunami warning to an advisory just before 1 a.m., and Hawaii residents were allowed to return home.
The tsunami warning was issued for Hawaii 7:14 p.m., more than two hours after a 7.7-magnitude earthquake off British Columbia. Immediately after the earthquake, the warning center had said Hawaii was not under a tsunami threat from the quake, but may see strong or unusual currents and sea-level changes.

A magnitude 7.7 earthquake hit off of Masset Island, Canada, near 8 pm local time on Saturday the 27th of October. The quake occurred as a result of oblique-thrust faulting near the plate boundary between the Pacific and North America plates, and is likely associated the Queen Charlotte fault system offshore of British Columbia. A tsunami warning was issued for the state of Hawaii, but has now been cancelled.

For more information about the quake, go to the USGS earthquake hazards page.

As Kilauea continues to become more active, with vigorous spattering evident in the summit lava lake in Halemaumau crater, a new study has found a link between Kilauea and its rival volcano, Mauna Loa. Geophysicists in Hawaii and Texas have come up with a mathematical model that could explain how Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanoes are linked yet has distinct, separate eruptions and slightly different magma sources, geochemically.

The mid-October explosion of a the upper stage of a Russian rocket has produced a cloud of space junk which would threaten the space station. The explosion produced about 500 pieces of debris, which have joined the ~21,000 pieces of space junk bigger than 10 centimetres that NASA tracks as a potential danger to the space station. For more information about this incident, go to http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Record_space_junk_cloud_could_threaten_ISS_report_999.html.

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Earth and Space Science Today


Now you can easily access information on topics that highlight our active Earth. Learn all about the latest earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, severe weather, wildfires, tides and currents, droughts, a calendar of solar and lunar eclipses, and daily streamflow information.