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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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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.

How Much Water Is There on Earth?

Water is one of the most abundant substances on the planet. About 70 percent of our planet is covered by oceans, but just how much water is there on Earth?

The Stratosphere: Where Birds and Planes Fly and Bacteria Thrives

The stratosphere is the second-lowest level in Earth's atmosphere. It's a bastion of ozone gas and rapid winds, where clouds are scarce, but life endures.

Is Old Faithful Petering Out?

Since its discovery in 1870, the Wyoming cone geyser Old Faithful has wowed spectators with its predictable eruptions, but its eruptions are not quite as predictable or prodigious as they once were.

What Is an Ice Volcano?

Ice volcanoes form when it's freezing cold outside and choppy water is forced to erupt through a hole in the ice around a body of water, cascading down into the classic shape of a volcano.

Why Is the Tropic of Cancer Important?

You've probably heard of the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, but do you know the difference?

Why Is the Tropic of Capricorn Important?

You've probably heard of the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer, but do you know the difference?

6 Stone-cold Facts About the Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle is a region marked by frigid temperatures, strange sunlight and glaciers galore. And for hundreds of thousands of people, it's also home sweet home.

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 instead.

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 20 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?

Scientists Think Humanity Is 100 Seconds From Doomsday

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds 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.

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