As our solar system was forming nearly four and a half billion years ago, a planet-sized object struck the early Earth, leading to the formation of the moon, possibly from a hot, spinning cloud of rock vapor called a synestia. But after the Earth and moon had condensed from the vapor, there was another phase of growth as meteorites crashed into both bodies.
Since landing in 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover has been collecting data about the geology and chemistry of the Martian surface. As a member of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, geology professor Dawn Sumner helps plan the route Curiosity takes as it explore ancient environments in Gale Crater.
With a terrain covering volcanoes, steaming fumaroles and forestlands, the Lassen Field Station is the newest addition to the University of California, Davis’ Natural Reserve System. The partnership offers researchers access to a variety of park facilities such as cabins, classroom space and camping. The reserve will streamline the research permit process and open new avenues for research, teaching and public outreach.
River flooding continues to be the deadliest and most costly natural disaster threatening the U.S. and the world. Research by Nicholas Pinter, the Roy J. Shlemon Professor of Applied Geosciences, and Huck Rees, undergraduate geology major, could help
Oliver Kreylos, a project scientist in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, used advanced 3D computer graphics to analyze a photograph allegedly proving the Earth is flat. The photograph is a stunning long-distance shot of Mt. San Jacinto taken from Point Dume in Malibu, 122 miles (197 kilometers) away. Spoiler alert: the Earth is round. Watch and find out why.
The Earth and Moon are like identical twins, made up of the exact same materials — which is really strange, since no other celestial bodies we know of share this kind of chemical relationship. What's responsible for this special connection? Looking for an answer, professor Sarah Stewart discovered a new kind of astronomical object — a synestia — and a new way to solve the mystery of the Moon's origin. Watch the talk on TED.com.
No animal alive today looks quite like a duck-billed platypus, a semi-aquatic, egg-laying mammal hailing from eastern Australia. But about 250 million years ago, something very similar swam the shallow seas in what is now China, finding prey by touch with a cartilaginous bill. The newly discovered marine reptile Eretmorhipis carrolldongi from the lower Triassic period is described in the journal Scientific Reports Jan. 24.