Science Current Events | Science News |

EARTH: 2012 - The end of the world of just another year of living in harm's way

July 24, 2012

Alexandria, VA - December 21, 2012 - the purported last day of a 5,125-year cycle in the Mesoamerican calendar - has been added to an endless list of days when the world has been expected to end. But what are our real chances of being wiped out by a catastrophic event - the kind that has happened in the past and will inevitably occur again someday? In the August issue of EARTH, we explore four of the most probable global events that could change life on Earth forever.

Near-Earth objects (NEOs), super-eruptions, solar storms and cataclysmic earthquakes all pose serious risks to our planet on a global and regional scale. However, though these threats exist, is it possible to realistically and economically prepare for them all? Find out more online at

Read this story and more in the August issue of EARTH Magazine, available online at

Turn trash to treasure when scientists turn nonrecylced waste into low-carbon fuel; discover how fossilized raindrops provide clues to Earth's early atmosphere; and learn about the silver lining of potentially hazardous asteroids all in this month's issue of EARTH.


Keep up to date with the latest happenings in Earth, energy and environment news with EARTH magazine online at

Published by the American Geosciences Institute, EARTH is your source for the science behind the headlines.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

American Geological Institute

Related Geosciences Current Events and Geosciences News Articles

Coral bleaching 'lifeboat' could be just beneath the surface
A report commissioned by the United Nations and co-authored by the University of Sydney's UNESCO Chair in Marine Science offers a glimmer of hope to those managing the impact of bleaching on the world's coral reefs, including the Great Barrier Reef.

Evidence of repeated rapid retreat of the East Antarctic ice sheet
Research published in the journal Nature on May 19, 2016 has revealed that vast regions of the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica are fundamentally unstable and have contributed significantly to rising sea levels several times in the past.

EARTH: Did the Medieval warm period welcome Vikings to Greenland?
What is known: Vikings sailed to Greenland. They homesteaded there for a few hundred years, and likely experienced multiple famines.

How the spectacular Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain became so bendy
The physical mechanism causing the unique, sharp bend in the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount chain has been uncovered in a collaboration between the University of Sydney and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

EARTH: Growth rings in rocks reveal past climate
For years, scientists have used mineral, sediment and ice layers, deposited intermittently throughout geologic time, to track the global climate record.

Microbes make tubular microtunnels on earth and perhaps on mars
Tubular microtunnels believed to be the trace fossils formed by microbes inhabiting volcanic rock interiors have only been reported in oceanic and subglacial settings.

Post-wildfire erosion can be major sculptor of forested western mountains
Erosion after severe wildfires can be the dominant force shaping forested mountainous landscapes of the U.S. Intermountain West, suggests a new research paper by two University of Arizona geoscientists.

Earth's soils could play key role in locking away greenhouse gases
The world's soils could store an extra 8 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases, helping to limit the impacts of climate change, research suggests.

Geothermal heat contributes to Greenland ice melt
An international team that includes University of Montana researcher Jesse Johnson has learned that the Earth's internal heat enhances rapid ice flow and subglacial melting in Greenland.

Fossil discovery suggests size poor predictor of maturity in ancient reptiles
Paleontologists at Virginia Tech have found that muscle-scarred fossil leg bones of one of the closest cousins of dinosaurs that lived approximately 240 million years ago can shine new light on a large unknown: How early dinosaurs grew from hatchlings to adults.
More Geosciences Current Events and Geosciences News Articles

Geoscience Research and Education: Teaching at Universities (Innovations in Science Education and Technology)

Geoscience Research and Education: Teaching at Universities (Innovations in Science Education and Technology)
by Vincent C. H. Tong (Editor)

This book examines how elements of geoscience research have been successfully incorporated in teaching and outreach contexts through innovative approaches. It shows how innovations can drive the bottom-up integration of scientific research and education.

The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets, Fifth Edition

The Geoscience Handbook: AGI Data Sheets, Fifth Edition
by Mark B. Carpenter (Author), Christopher M. Keane (Author), Mark B. Carpenter (Editor), Christopher M. Keane (Editor), Kathleen Cantner (Editor), Brenna Tobler (Editor)

For more than 40 years, AGI's Data Sheets have been a critical tool for the geoscientist in the field, the lab, and the classroom. For decades its bright orange cover and three-ring binding were distinctive in the geoscience community. The book evolved into its current, full-color and spiral bound format with the 2005 debut of the fourth edition. Now AGI has tapped some of the best minds in the geosciences to produce this fifth edition. Featuring the contributions of over 240 experts worldwide in their respective fields, this new, expanded edition is over 490 full-color pages. Three years of work went into the Handbook to broaden its scope across the disciplines. With more than 170 complete new data sheets, and full revisions of prior data sheets, over 85% of the content is either new or...

Lecture Tutorials in Introductory Geoscience

Lecture Tutorials in Introductory Geoscience
by Karen M. Kortz (Author), Jessica J. Smay (Author)

Book by Kortz, Karen M., Smay, Jessica J.

Structure from Motion in the Geosciences (Analytical Methods in Earth and Environmental Science)

Structure from Motion in the Geosciences (Analytical Methods in Earth and Environmental Science)
by Jonathan L. Carrivick (Author), Mark W. Smith (Author), Duncan J. Quincey (Author)

Structure from Motion with Multi View Stereo provides hyperscale landform models using images acquired from standard compact cameras and a network of ground control points. The technique is not limited in temporal frequency and can provide point cloud data comparable in density and accuracy to those generated by terrestrial and airborne laser scanning at a fraction of the cost. It therefore offers exciting opportunities to characterise surface topography in unprecedented detail and, with multi-temporal data, to detect elevation, position and volumetric changes that are symptomatic of earth surface processes. This book firstly places Structure from Motion in the context of other digital surveying methods and details the Structure from Motion workflow including available software packages...

Directory of Geoscience Departments 2016

Directory of Geoscience Departments 2016
by Carolyn E Wilson (Author)

The Directory of Geoscience Departments 51st Edition is the most comprehensive directory and source of information about geosciences departments and researchers available. It is an invaluable resource for individuals working in the geosciences or must identify or work with specialists on the issues of Earth, Environmental, and related sciences and engineering fields. The Directory of Geoscience Departments 51st Edition provides a state/country-sorted listing of nearly 2000 geoscience departments, research departments, institutes, and their faculty and staff. Contact information for departments and individuals is provided, as well as details on department enrollments, faculty specialties, and the date and source of faculty and staff's highest degree. Continuing for the 51st edition:...

Women in the Geosciences: Practical, Positive Practices Toward Parity (Special Publications)

Women in the Geosciences: Practical, Positive Practices Toward Parity (Special Publications)
by Mary Anne Holmes (Editor), Suzanne OConnell (Editor), Kuheli Dutt (Editor)

Read an interview with the author: "Working Toward Gender Parity in the Geosciences" The geoscience workforce has a lower proportion of women compared to the general population of the United States and compared to many other STEM fields. This volume explores issues pertaining to gender parity in the geosciences, and sheds light on some of the best practices that increase participation by women and promote parity. Volume highlights include:
• Lessons learned from NSF-ADVANCE
• Data on gender composition of faculty at top earth science institutions in the US
• Implicit bias and gender as a social structure
• Strategies for institutional change
• Dual career couples
• Family friendly policies
• Role of mentoring
• Career advancement for...

Petroleum Geoscience

Petroleum Geoscience
by Jon Gluyas (Author), Richard Swarbrick (Author)

Petroleum Geoscience is a comprehensive introduction to the application of geology and geophysics to the search for and production of oil and gas.
Uniquely, this book is structured to reflect the sequential and cyclical processes of exploration, appraisal, development and production. Chapters dedicated to each of these aspects are further illustrated by case histories drawn from the authors' experiences. Petroleum Geoscience has a global and 'geo-temporal' backdrop, drawing examples and case histories from around the world and from petroleum systems ranging in age from late-Pre-Cambrian to Pliocene.
In order to show how geoscience is integrated at all levels within the industry, the authors stress throughout the links between geology and geophysics on the one hand, and...

Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future

Geoscience for the Public Good and Global Development: Toward a Sustainable Future
by Gregory R. Wessel (editor) (Author), Jeffrey K. Greenberg (editor) (Author)

This publication offers an overview of the applications of the geosciences to sustainable development and geophilanthropic efforts worldwide, and offers advice to guide the creation of development projects. The primacy of geologic input to all development activities is highlighted along with problems that are encountered and environmental issues that must be addressed. General principles to follow are discussed, including guidelines for creating truly sustainable solutions, building foundations for effective international development, the importance of ethical and social values, the motivation behind sustainable development, and how geoscientists can best become development practitioners. Numerous case studies provide examples of planning for sustainability in mineral resources, water...

Geoscience Laboratory Manual

Geoscience Laboratory Manual
by Tom Freeman (Author)

The fifth edition has been updates includethe replacement of all 23 air-photo stereograms with Google Earth images.  Within this manual, questions are highlighted and embedded within the text, creating a dialog format and an inquiry-based learning environment. Little or no lecture is required to get students started on the exercise du jour. Minimal introductory narrative text precedes questions. Helpful hints accompany questions that some students might find difficult.  

Geoscience Animation Library on DVD

Geoscience Animation Library on DVD
by Pearson Education (Author)

Created through a unique collaboration among Pearson Prentice Hall’s leading geoscience authors—including Robert Christopherson, Darrel Hess, Frederick Lutgens, Aurora Pun, Gary Smith, Edward Tarbuck, and Alan Trujillo—the Geoscience Animation Library (GAL) offers over 100 animations that illuminate the most difficult-to-visualize topics in physical geology, physical geography, oceanography, meteorology, and earth science.   Available on DVD-ROM, the animations are provided as Flash files and pre-loaded into PowerPoint® slides for both Windows and Mac. The Fifth Edition animations now include audio narration and a text transcript, with new controls that enable instructors to turn the text and audio on or off.   URL: ...

© 2016