Earth Science

Earth Science covers all facets of how the earth works, from from volcanoes to the world's oceans.

Archaeologists dig up and study the material remains of human civilizations. Bioarchaeologists do the same thing, except they focus on the remains of, well, us. What's the big deal about old bones and teeth?

A sculpted mammoth shows visitors to the La Brea Tar Pits what these ancient animals might have looked like, but the pits themselves have looked the same for thousands of years. How did they form, and what discoveries lie beneath the sticky surface?

For hundreds of years, sailors have recounted coming upon miles and miles of pale, milky, glowing waters, sometimes stretching as far as the eye can see. So what causes this milky sea phenomenon?

When it comes to fossils, specimens like Sue the Tyrannosaurus rex grab much of the attention. And while Sue is a staggering 67 million years old, she's a new kid on the block, compared to some of the oldest fossils ever found. What's older than Sue?

Desalination has long been considered too expensive and too energy-intensive to make much sense. But with newer technologies, that line of thinking is changing. What are some of the most interesting desalination projects on the planet?

When you're trying to patch together human history, it helps to have a trick or two up your sleeve. And geoarchaeology, a scientific discipline with a fondness for fossils and soil, might be just that.

Not all archaeological digs take place in the sandy desert. Beneath the concrete sidewalks and streets and towering skyscrapers in our world's great cities are artifacts that tell stories.

While archaeological digs are still hands-on projects, some computer programs can help piece together a more complete picture of the site and even what its inhabitants might have looked like. What else can the software tell us?

In "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade," Dr. Jones battles the Nazis for the Holy Grail. Did the Nazis really have an interest in archaeology? And if so, what fueled it?

In "The Raiders of the Lost Ark," Indiana Jones competes with grave-robbing Nazis for the lost Ark of the Covenant. But what defined Dr. Jones as legit and the Nazis as grave robbers?

Each country and each region within each country has its own laws regarding the right to cultural property. So, how do you know which artifacts belong to the government and which are "finders keepers"?

At best, fossilization is a long and tricky process that mineralizes an occasional Tyrannosaurus rex or other extraordinary find. How has that affected our chances at charting a model of life itself?

It's not so much about time as it is about money. What dictates how long an archeological team is permitted to dig at a particular site?

It's easy to trace the evolution of the automobile. Your family tree poses a whole different challenge. Even an extensive genealogy chart can only reach back so far. So how do we chart the evolution of the human race?

We've been scribbling our thoughts down on stone and paper for a while now. But the job of assembling a history for all of humanity gets a lot harder once those written records disappear. Luckily, archaeologists are happy to tackle the job.

Identifying the biggest archaeological find in history is sort of like naming the best movie ever made. One person's blockbuster could be another person's bust. So which find swept the other contenders into the dust?

Crack open any science textbook and the authors will tell you that such things don't happen. So how did a couple of paleontologists and an acid bath turn that widespread belief on its head?

Birds then dinosaurs or dinosaurs then birds? It's a lot like the chicken-and-egg question, only with paleontologists. Who's arguing what these days, and what are they citing as evidence?

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.

Before the existence of radiocarbon dating, archaeologists would hope their prized potsherds happened to lie buried next to a dated coin. How has the measurement of C-14 and C-12 revolutionized the science of archaeology?

Archaeology used to mean reckless treasure hunting, but not so today. When even the most battered shard of clay can signify the world to an archeologist, how do the professionals plan and execute a dig?

You have to dig deeply to uncover the foundations of archaeology. What started as a treasure hunt gradually transformed into a science where every potsherd counts for something. Who were the game changers in archaeology?

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.