Geophysics

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


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

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

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

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

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.

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.

Have you ever read "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and wondered if it were possible to do it? Well, scientists are in the process of giving it their best shot. How hard is it to dig a hole this deep, and what might they find?

You may have noticed that our planet isn't terribly predictable. Could a German polymath and an unfathomable pile of data change that?

Famine might bring to mind historical tragedies or modern media coverage of tiny children with swollen bellies. But how does the unimaginable -- a widespread loss of food -- actually happen?

Of course you know what gravity is. It's the force behind Wile E. Coyote plummeting off the face of a cliff and you stumbling spastically in front of your crush. But did you know it can bend light and help us detect hidden cosmic phenomena, too?

Water surrounds us, falling from the sky, rushing down Niagara Falls, 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.

We humans love to create. We build soaring skyscrapers from the ground up. We fill blank canvasses with timeless, magnificent art. Can we achieve the ultimate feat and generate matter?

Many of us regard the planet's favorite force as pretty straightforward. What goes up must come down, right? As it turns out, gravity has a few more secrets designed to trip us up.

A common misconception is that magma comes from the Earth's molten core. It really comes from the mantle, the layer between the core and the crust. Will it ever run out?

What if we could just add water to something and solve the planet's energy crisis? That's essentially the idea behind artificial geothermal energy. But there's one possible catch: catastrophic earthquakes.

Geysers are beautiful and their eruptions are exciting, but these fragile natural wonders are not to be trifled with. The water shooting from the geyser -- and the eruptions themselves -- can cause serious damage.

The Earth is incredibly heavy. How do scientists determine the weight of the Earth?

If you go to the beach, you can spend hours watching the waterline rise and fall as the day wears on. There are two of these tides each day, but what causes tides and why are there two of them each day? Find out in this article.

Huge walls of cascading water never cease to capture our attention with their majesty. Ready to marvel at nature? Check out some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world.

One evening, people heard their local lake rumbling. A day and a half later, 1,700 people were dead. What happened on that fateful night?

What are they? We'll give you a hint -- or four. Earth, wind, water and fire aren't among them, but our old friend and force gravity is.

Though it may seem disgusting to some, people all over the world must use waste water to irrigate their crops. Can you get sick from wastewater irrigation?

One of the most impressive features of the natural world are glaciers. These massive sheets of ice can travel hundreds of miles. This gallery shows some of the main features of glaciers.