Tarantulas: How 120-million-year-old creatures conquered the globe

A study from Carnegie Mellon University tracks the travels of tarantulas since the Cretaceous period.

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  • Scary-looking tarantulas actually prefer to keep to themselves and stay in their burrows.
  • Their sedentary nature makes a puzzle of their presence in so many places around the world.
  • Researchers discover that this is because they've been around a very long time and rode drifting continental land masses to their contemporary positions.
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‘Hidden’ magma pools under volcanoes may pose alarming eruption threats

A recent study of Iceland's Krafla volcanic caldera suggests hidden magma pools may be lurking under many of the world's volcanic systems.

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  • The study analyzed magma collected from a 2009 incident in which geothermal drillers encountered magma that geophysical surveys failed to detect.
  • Currently, magma imaging technology can't accurately detect magma pools under a certain size.
  • Hidden magma pools pose safety concerns because magma from other sources might combine with the hidden magma, which could trigger unexpectedly explosive eruptions.
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A new warning sign to predict volcanic eruptions?

Satellite imagery can help better predict volcanic eruptions by monitoring changes in surface temperature near volcanoes.

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  • A recent study used data collected by NASA satellites to conduct a statistical analysis of surface temperatures near volcanoes that erupted from 2002 to 2019.
  • The results showed that surface temperatures near volcanoes gradually increased in the months and years prior to eruptions.
  • The method was able to detect potential eruptions that were not anticipated by other volcano monitoring methods, such as eruptions in Japan in 2014 and Chile in 2015.
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Rain, caves, and miracles: New study connects weather to ancient tales

A new study provides a possible scientific explanation for the existence of stories about ancient saints performing miracles with water.

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  • Ancient climate patterns can be determined by examining the ratios of various isotopes.
  • Isotopic signatures found in Italian cave stalagmites suggest that the Sixth Century was wetter than usual.
  • The study provides a partial explanation for the origin of stories about saints performing water miracles.
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    Did Earth eat the protoplanet it crashed into long ago?

    A new study makes a compelling case for the origin of unexplained masses of underground rock causing changes to the Earth's magnetic field.

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  • Many experts believe that the Moon was formed when a protoplanet named Theia crashed into the Earth 4.5 billion years ago.
  • One flaw in the theory has been that there's no remaining sign of Theia.
  • New research suggests that Theia's mantle was subsumed by Earth and that large anomalous blogs of rock deep within the Earth are its remains.
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