Earth

Bayreuth/Leipzig. Extreme weather events have a greater effect on flora than previously presumed. A one-month drought postpones the time of flowering of grassland and heathland plants in Central Europe by an average of 4 days. With this a so-called 100-year drought event equates to approx. a decade of global warming. The flowering period of an important early flowerer, the common Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) was even shortened by more than a month due to heavy rain and started flowering early by almost one month.

The research done at the Chinese Academy of Geological Sciences has shown that after geochemical experiments, the porosity of crystalline rocks in the middle crust increases sharply due to water-rock interaction (see ref.). This research further shows the increased porosity facilitates natural gas concentrations in top of the mid-crust to form some large gas reservoirs, which can be detected using the three-component seismic method. The results are reported in Science in China Ser. D 2008 (No.9 in Chinese and No.12 in English).

Dutch-sponsored researcher Robin Gremaud has shown that an alloy of the metals magnesium, titanium and nickel is excellent at absorbing hydrogen. This light alloy brings us a step closer to the everyday use of hydrogen as a source of fuel for powering vehicles. A hydrogen 'tank' using this alloy would have a relative weight that is sixty percent less than a battery pack. In order to find the best alloy Gremaud developed a method which enabled simultaneous testing of thousands of samples of different metals for their capacity to absorb hydrogen.

Imagine descending in a submarine to the ice-cold, ink-black depths of the ocean, 800 metres under the surface of the Atlantic. Here the tops of the hills are covered in large coral reefs. NIOZ-researcher Furu Mienis studied the formation of these unknown cold-water relatives of the better-known tropical corals.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3, 2008 — Move over, oil, gasoline, and coal. Researchers are describing key advances in developing new fuels to help supply an energy-hungry world in the 21st Century in the eighth and ninth episodes in the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges/Chemistry Solutions series. Those fuels include "green gasoline," "designer hydrocarbons," "the ice that burns," and other sources that can help power an energy-hungry world into the future.

The Greenland ice cap has been a focal point of recent climate change research because it is much more exposed to immediate global warming than the larger Antarctic ice sheet. Yet while the southern Greenland ice cap has been melting, it is still not clear how much this is contributing to rising sea levels, and much further research is needed. A framework for such research was defined at a recent workshop organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF).

AUSTIN, Texas—Conducting a rapid response research mission after Hurricane Ike, scientists at The University of Texas at Austin surveyed the inlet between Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, discovering the hurricane significantly reshaped the seafloor and likely carried an enormous amount of sand and sediment out into the Gulf.

A resounding vote of international petroleum geologists from around the globe concluded that the mud volcano was triggered by drilling of a nearby gas exploration well.

This may have implications for compensation of the local population affected.

Lusi started to erupt in East Java, Indonesia, on May 29th 2006, and is still spewing huge volumes of boiling mud over the surrounding area. It has displaced around 30,000 people from their homes and swamped 12 villages.

29 October 2008

Boulder, CO, USA - The latest issue of GSA BULLETIN spans the globe, examining ancient soils in Big Bend National Park, Texas; loess soils in Nebraska, including the greatest known thickness of the Peoria Loess in the world; folding, faulting, and metamorphism as seen in detailed geologic mapping across Pakistan; tectonic fractures in Southeast Viti Levu, Fiji; subsidence in Mexico City; groundwater arsenic in Araihazar, Bangladesh; the formation of the Andes; and earthquakes in the Seattle fault zone.

Highlights are provided below.

After eight years of near-zero growth in atmospheric methane concentrations, levels have again started to rise.

"This is not good news for future global warming," says CSIRO's Dr Paul Fraser, who co-authored a paper to be published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.