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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Could you dig a hole all the way to the Earth’s mantle?

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?

How the Living Earth Simulator Will Work

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

How Famine Works

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?

What is gravity?

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?

Can we manufacture matter?

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?

What secrets of gravity have been uncovered in the last 50 years?

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.

Will we ever run out of magma?

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?

Could geothermal energy projects cause earthquakes?

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.

How Geysers Work

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.

How much does planet Earth weigh?

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

Waterfall Pictures

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.

How did Lake Nyos suddenly kill 1,700 people?

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 the four fundamental forces of nature?

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.

What is wastewater agriculture?

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?

Glacier Pictures

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.


Waterfall, or Cataract, a stream of water that falls in one or more steep descents.

What if a main water supply were infected with some form of bacteria?

The United States has an abundant supply to clean drinking water available in homes and businesses. But what if that water turned out not to be so clean? And what about the water supply around the world?

How Glaciers Work

Glaciers carve out lakes, grind down mountains and pulverize rocks to dust. These massive ice slabs shape our Earth, but they may be disappearing.

How Icebergs Work

One iceberg sank the unsinkable Titanic, and another exploded in front of an expedition. These floating chunks of ice carry their bulk deceptively below the surface of the water. What else are they hiding?

Exactly what happens if we run out of water?

On a planet that is 70 percent water, people don't have enough clean, safe water to drink. We're in a water crisis, and water rights are becoming a big issue. What happens if we just plain run out?

Why can't we manufacture water?

Water is just hydrogen and oxygen, so why can't we do what nature does and combine the two? Unfortunately, it's not that simple, and the results can be rather ... explosive.

How Water Works

In its purest form, it's odorless, nearly colorless and tasteless. It's in your body, the food you eat and the beverages you drink. All forms of life need it. What substance is more necessary to our existence than any other? Water.

7 Wonders of the Natural World

The 7 wonders of the natural world capture the imagination with their natural power and beauty. There is nothing that man can create that can match the beauty nature can create. Learn about all 7, including the great barrier reef.

Why is Arctic ice melting 50 years too fast?

It used to take three years to get through the thick ice of the Northwest Passage. Now, you can sail from New York to Korea without hitting any ice at all. Where is all the ice going, and what are the ramifications of it melting 50 years too fast?

How can a lake simply disappear?

A lake in South America has disappeared and has left scientists wondering where all the water went to. Is it possible that a lake can abruptly vanish?