A whale in blue water.

Mysterious evolution of wonky whale skulls

How we worked out when whales first evolved asymmetrical skulls.

A yellow ball with rays all around it.

Earth’s magnetic field may change faster than we thought

A long-standing question has been how fast Earth’s magnetic field can change. The authors of a new study say they’ve uncovered some answers.

Orbital view of Gulf Coast from Texas to Mississippi with bar graph at bottom.

Gulf of Mexico dead zone: Summer 2020 forecast

NOAA scientists forecast that this summer’s dead zone would measure roughly 6,700 square miles – bigger than the long-term average recorded since 1985, but lower than 2017’s record-high extent.

Human-linked Earth vibrations dropped 50% during Covid-19 lockdown

Between March and May 2020, many people across Earth went into lockdown. During those months, seismographs recorded a drop in human-linked vibrations in the solid Earth, by an average of 50%.

USGS map showing the epidcenter of the July 21, 2020 quake.

A powerful 7.8-magnitude quake struck Alaska on July 21

The quake happened around 10:15 p.m. Tuesday night, according to clocks in Alaska. A tsunami warning along coastal Alaska – which was later rescinded – sent some residents to higher ground.

A sun-centered view of the planets in July 2020.

Planetary alignment? Increase in volcanoes?

The book called “The Jupiter Effect” suggested an alignment of planets in 1982 would cause earthly catastrophes, including a great earthquake on California’s San Andreas Fault. There’s another planetary alignment, of sorts, going on now. Will it cause volcanic eruptions? Charts, and info, from Guy Ottewell.

Are the Earth’s magnetic poles about to swap places?

Earth’s previous polar reversal happened 780,000 years ago. Are we facing another one soon? Hear from the authors of a new study, on a strange anomaly that might be a clue.

Dark Sky Sanctuary established in New England

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument in Maine was certified as a Dark Sky Sanctuary on May 8, 2020.

Giant A-68 iceberg 3 years on

The colossal iceberg that split from Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf in July 2017 is now in the open waters of the South Atlantic, about 650 miles (1,050 km) from its birthplace.

These ancient crocodiles walked on 2 legs like dinosaurs

Researchers suggest 110-120 million year old fossil footprints were made by ancient crocodiles that walked on 2 hind legs about the same length as adult human legs.

Nishinoshima volcano belches ash and lava

A young volcanic island in the western Pacific Ocean has been going through a vigorous growth spurt since mid-June 2020.

How volcanoes explode deep under the ocean

Explosive volcanic eruptions are possible deep down in the sea – although the water masses exert enormous pressure there. An international team reports how this can happen.

Long slightly bent funnel from twilight clouds to splashing ocean surface.

How do waterspouts form?

Waterspouts are essentially tornadoes that form over water. They can and do form over all the world’s oceans. In the U.S., they’re most common near the Florida Keys and in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why fireflies light up

A firefly’s familiar glow is caused by a chemical reaction. Explanation here, plus many wonderful firefly photos.

Check out this sloth robot

SlothBot is a slow-moving and energy-efficient robot that can linger in the trees to monitor animals, plants, and the environment below.

Stunning images of the night

See the winners of the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) 1st annual photography contest.

Matchstick-like trees laying on the ground, in black and white.

When the sky exploded: Remembering Tunguska

On June 30, 1908, the largest asteroid impact in recorded history occurred in remote Siberia, Russia. We now celebrate Asteroid Day each year on the anniversary the Tunguska event, as it is now known.

Silhouettes of two people against dark gray sky.

Saharan-fed sunsets in the US

A massive Saharan dust plume is moving into the southeast US, bringing technicolor sunsets and suppressing tropical storms.

Mountain, lake and blue sky.

Plastic rain: More than 1,000 tons of microplastic rain onto western US

New research finds that microplastics are emitted into the atmosphere.

Study reveals biggest Yellowstone supervolcano eruption

The new study also suggests that the supervolcano under Yellowstone National Park was much more explosive in its early history and could be slowing down.