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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The stratosphere is one of Earth's five atmospheric layers that also includes the troposphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere.

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Patrick J. Kiger & Austin Henderson

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

By Patrick J. Kiger

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Researchers have been asking this question for almost a century and now we're a little closer to the answer. Something else to ponder: Every 27.5 million years there is usually a mass extinction.

By Valerie Stimac

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

By Kathryn Whitbourne

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

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Mark Mancini

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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?

By Mark Mancini

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

By Jesslyn Shields

Let's say you have a lunch date to make – and it's on the other side of the planet. Wouldn't it be convenient to pop down a hole through Earth's innards? But what would really happen if you did?

By Nicholas Gerbis

Few things have done as much harm to humanity as fire, and few things have done as much good. Find out where fire comes from and see why it behaves the way it does. The answers might surprise you!

By Tom Harris

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You probably know that the North Pole does not stay in the same spot. The North and South Poles can actually change positions. What causes this? Find out in this article.

By Tracy V. Wilson

A seismograph can accurately measure the movement of the Earth during a quake. How does a seismograph work, though, and what is the Richter scale that is associated with earthquakes? Learn the answers to these questions in this article.

By Sascha Bos

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?

By HowStuffWorks.com Contributors & Yara Simón

Gravity is a force that we experience every minute of our lives, but hardly notice or give a passing thought to in our daily routines. Have you ever wondered what gravity is and how it works? Learn about the force of gravity in this article.

By Julia Layton & Austin Henderson

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The polar ice caps have been in the news recently because of their alleged shrinking due to global warming. How much would the oceans rise if the ice caps melted completely?

By Marshall Brain & Sascha Bos

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight, the closest it's ever been to global catastrophe. What does this mean for humanity?

By Julia Layton

Have you ever wondered what would happen if we were able to flip a switch and turn the Earth's gravity off for a day? The end result may surprise you.

By Marshall Brain

A map is a type of language, a graphic way of representing information, whether it's to show population density or tell you how to get from Point A to Point B. Here's how they're made.

By Tracy V. Wilson & Alia Hoyt

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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?

By Mark Mancini

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.

By Jonathan Atteberry

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?

By Robert Lamb

Four fundamental forces of nature are behind all that we do, from falling down to orbiting the sun. Learn about the four fundamental forces of nature.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D. & Yara Simón

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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?

By Susan L. Nasr

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.

By Kate Kershner