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Geophysics

Geophysics is the study of the forces that shape the Earth from a global perspective. Learn about gravity, plate tectonics and other topics.

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Why Aren't We All on the Same Time Zone?

The world has only had time zones since the late 1800s. Some people think we should eliminate them and have just one universal time.

A Season for Change: The Equinox and Solstice Quiz

Each year, Earth sees two equinoxes and two solstices. But how much do you actually know about these events? Take the quiz and find out!

Where Does Water Come From?

Water surrounds us, falling from the sky and pouring from faucets, and yet many of us never ask where it comes from. The answer stretches way back — before tides and thunderclouds to the big bang.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Spring Equinox

The spring, or vernal, equinox traditionally marks the first day of spring — but climate scientists use a different date altogether. Find out more about this and other facts about the spring equniox.

What Did Your Address Look Like 250 Million Years Ago?

The Ancient Earth visualization map shows the movement of the planet's tectonic plates in a really cool way.

Sastrugi: Nature's Beautiful Speed Bumps

Sastrugi are gorgeous snow formations found in the polar north, but they're also no fun to travel over.

Earth's Magnetic North Pole Has Rapidly Shifted in the Past 40 Years

Prior to the mid-1990s, the magnetic north pole traveled at speeds of around 9 miles per year. Now, it's 34 miles annually. What accounts for the acceleration?

What Makes a 'Killer' Lake Explode?

Lakes seem like serene places to escape and enjoy peace and quiet. So you'd probably be surprised to learn that a lake can actually explode without warning. It's happened, with deadly consequences.

Could Injecting Particles Into the Stratosphere Slow Global Warming?

Stratospheric Aerosol Injection (SAI) is a controversial possibility in the effort to slow the rate of climate change.

Massive Underground Mud Geyser Is California's 'Slow One'

A bubbling mud pool is moving toward the San Andreas Fault, but scientists don't see evidence of an impending earthquake.

What Causes High Tide and Low Tide? Why Are There Two Tides Each Day?

The oceans' levels change daily across the globe. We know them as tidal changes. But what causes this constant shift in sea level and why is it more dramatic is some places than others?

5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Summer Solstice

June 21 marks the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. There's even a midnight baseball game in Alaska to celebrate the 24 hours of sunlight.

5 Reasons Why the Great Lakes Are So Great

The Great Lakes are named so for several reasons, including shipwreck preservation, fresh water and even birdwatching.

Are Mist and Fog the Same?

Fog and mist are similar scientifically. But what makes them different?

Why Do Scientists Think We're Nearing the End of the World?

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock ahead 30 seconds to two minutes before midnight. What bumped up the time again this year?

Tibetan Glacial Ice Core May Hold Clues About Climate Change

Scientists from The Ohio State University have drilled longest ice core from outside the poles.

5 Things You Didn't Know About the Winter Solstice

For centuries, ancient cultures celebrated the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, as the "day the sun came back." Here are 5 enlightening facts about the winter solstice.

5 Things You Didn't Know About the Autumnal Equinox

The autumnal equinox is the day Earth is perfectly angled to the sun, so the day and night are of equal length. Well, almost.

The Caspian Sea Is Evaporating Due to Rising Average Temperatures

The Caspian Sea is the largest lake in the world, but it's gradually shrinking thanks to a changing climate.

Why North America's Lakes Are Getting Distressingly More Salty

Salt used in the winter to deice roadways is having an impact on hundreds of lakes across the region.

Gorgeous 'Jewelry Ice' Is Washing Up on Japanese Beaches Right Now

The unique, annual sea ice phenomenon is created when pure, salt-free river water hits cold, saline seawater near the beaches of Hokkaido.

Niagara Falls Will Temporarily Stop Gushing in 2019

The formidable gusher could stop flowing for a few months in 2019 in order to repair some bridges in dire need.

This Ship Hopes to Be the First to Drill Beneath the Earth's Crust

The JOIDES Resolution expedition launched in early December to drill into the Earth's mantle under the Indian Ocean and gain new geological and biological knowledge.

What conditions are required for life?

We argue that living well requires wine and cheese, but what does living at all require? You might be surprised to find out that there's no single definition.

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