How long will a volcanic island live?

Plate tectonics and mantle plumes set the lifespan of volcanic islands like Hawaii and the Galapagos.

Phil Yeo/Getty Images

When a hot plume of rock rises through the Earth's mantle to puncture the overlying crust, it can create not only a volcanic ocean island, but also a swell in the ocean floor hundreds to thousands of kilometers long.

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The TESS satellite caught a comet ‘burp'

What happens after a heavy comet meal?

Image source: Farnham et al./NASA
  • A comet produces and unexpected explosive ejection of ice, dust, and gas.
  • NASA's TESS satellites captures the whole thing by accident.
  • The "burp" may have left a crater 65 feet across. That's quite a burp.
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Gravity is not uniform. It varies geographically.

As this map of Bouguer's gravity anomaly shows, the pull of the earth varies considerably by region.

Image: USGS
  • The law of gravity may be universal, gravity itself varies considerably across the earth.
  • Most factors can be mathematically accounted for; local geology is the odd one out.
  • Bouguer gravity anomaly maps like these show regional gravitational variation.
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NASA's curiosity rover finds remnants of a lost oasis on Mars

NASA's intrepid Curiosity rolls upward into Mars history.

Image source: NASA
  • Curiosity is exploring an exposed cross-section of Mars' early history within the unusual Gale Crater.
  • Intriguing salt deposits indicate briny bodies of water appearing and disappearing over time.
  • Curiosity is digging through Mar's past in search of environments that could have supported microscopic life.
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Confirmed: Some dinosaurs did nest in colonies

An unexpectedly revealing find in Mongolia solves a longstanding riddle.

Image source: Noiel / Shutterstock
  • Normal geological evidence isn't precise enough to confirm paleontologists' suspicions.
  • The new fossils find is covered by a fine veneer of red sand deposited in a single season.
  • Scientists can infer whose eggs they were.
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