Unearthing evidence for the origins of plate tectonics

Minerals trapped inside tiny crystals that have survived the grinding of the continents over billions of years may help to reveal the origins of plate tectonics and perhaps even provide clues about how complex life sprang up on Earth.  The theory of plate tectonics – which describes how the Earth’s crust is separated into plates … Read more

Why more heatwaves endanger our health and ability to work

As the Earth warms, heatwaves are expected to occur more often, with sharper intensity and for longer periods. Rising temperatures adversely affect worker productivity and human health, but for policymakers to take substantive action for heat adaptation, and meet what researchers see as a life-saving Paris climate agreement, making an economic case is key. It’s … Read more

Bees use shark ‘supersense’ to help find food

Flying insects such as bees and moths have secret senses that allow them to ‘feel’ nearby flowers and navigate over long distances, according to new research. Armed with sensitive antennae and wide-angled compound eyes, bees have a sophisticated set of senses to help them search out pollen and nectar as they buzz from flower to … Read more

Trade and climate change increase pest threat to Europe’s forests

Europe’s forests face a growing threat from pests due to global trade and climate change, but scientists are developing techniques that can give an early warning of infestations to help combat damaging insects and diseases. Pests are responsible for damaging 35 million hectares of forest around the world every year. In the Mediterranean region alone an area the … Read more

Q&A: Plate tectonics is fundamental to understanding Earth’s evolution – but big questions remain

The division of the Earth’s surface into seven major mobile plates is fundamental to our planet’s uniqueness, creating a habitable environment and possibly the conditions under which life itself originated. The theory of plate tectonics is 50 years old, but there are many puzzles left to answer, says Dr Kate Rychert, who studies the geology … Read more

Deep Antarctic drilling will reveal climate secrets trapped in 1.5 million-year-old ice

Scientists will have to drill at a depth of nearly 3km to retrieve some of the oldest ice that can tell us about the past and future of climate. Image credit - NASA/Michael Studinger

by Richard Gray  An ambitious mission to drill into the Antarctic ice sheet to extract some of the oldest ice on the planet will provide vital clues about a mysterious shift in the behaviour of our planet’s climate. Drilling into the ice of Antarctica is like going back in time. Frozen within it are relics … Read more