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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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.

By Kathryn Whitbourne

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Jesslyn Shields

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

By Christopher Hassiotis

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

By Rachel Pendergrass

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.

By Jonathan Strickland

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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

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?

By Patrick J. Kiger

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

By Robert Lamb

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?

By Jessika Toothman

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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

Do you ever play that game in which you select the items you'd bring if you got stuck on a desert island? Along with that treasured bootleg recording of your favorite band, we think that an endless supply of water should be at the top of your list. Here's why.

By Jonathan Atteberry

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?

By Robert Lamb

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.

By Robert Lamb

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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?

By Tracy V. Wilson

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.

By Robert Lamb

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

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

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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.

By Rick Mayda

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

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.

By Craig Freudenrich, Ph.D.

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?

By Julia Layton

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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.

By Rick Mayda

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