During breakfast on June 30, 1908, a man named S.B. Semenov was sitting on a porch at a northern Russian trading post when the sky burst into flames. He looked up and saw the heavens appear to split apart, and he felt as though his shirt was on fire; after a moment, a heavy blow knocked him off his feet and he passed out. The inferno, afterward known as the Tunguska Event, was a high-altitude explosion of a meteor or a comet--but nobody ever found the remains.
Since the Viking landers’ footpads touched down on Mars, scientists have been searching for complex carbon molecules there, which on this planet are the building blocks of all life. They’ve found some examples in meteorites purported to come from the Red Planet, but debate persists about the origin of those rocks, let alone the carbon signatures inside them, which some have (controversially) argued could indicate life.
It’s long been known that the stone monoliths that make up the mysterious Stonehenge site in the UK traveled a great distance to get there, but up to this point the exact origin of the stones was unknown. Now, a team of British geologists have found the exact site from which the innermost circle of bluestone rocks were quarried.
We all know takeout food sometimes requires special utensils to be eaten properly. The same is true for fish. (The food they’re eating, not takeout fish.) Below, behold the first video of a reef fish using a tool — and traveling a great distance to find it.
The orange-dotted tuskfish, a species of wrasse, is the second type of wrasse documented using tools in the past few months. A blackspot tuskfish was caught on camera earlier this year; now the first video has been published.
For over two centuries we have struggled to understand the scope of Afghanistan's mineral wealth. Now geologists, if they can determine what lies beneath the nation's ground, might also help bring stability to the surface
By Matthieu Aikins
Posted 09.14.2010 at 10:26 am 22 Comments
Early one morning in June, just a week after the New York Times reported claims by U.S. officials that Afghanistan was perched atop enough copper, gold, iron, lithium, and assorted rare minerals and gemstones “to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself,” I made my way with a local guide to the illegal mines of the Safit Chir, an emerald-rich line of ridges 100 miles northeast of Kabul.
Diamond may remain the preferred material for wedding rings, Lil' Wayne's birthday gifts, and Damien Hirst sculptures, but it looks like girls' best friend will have to relinquish its title as the hardest natural substance known. The new title holder: mysterious carbon compounds found in a Finnish meteorite.
If you're tired of fretting about swine flu, here's something else to think about: dislodged "ear rocks" -- loose crystals made of calcium carbonate that can cause dizziness. These little guys are usually valuable, helping us stay balanced, until an injury or virus triggers a "rock slide."
Also in today's links: a levitating air conditioner, horse surgery, and more.
Tequila may be just another drink to those out in the town, but to a team of scientists in Mexico their country's native alcohol turned out to be a gem; a diamond, to be precise. Javier Morales, Luis Apátiga and Victor Castaño at the National Autonomous University of Mexico made the alchemist-worthy discovery while experimenting turning various organic solutions, such as acetone and ethanol, into diamonds. The scientists noted that 80-proof tequila (40 percent alcohol) had the ideal proportion of ethanol to water to create diamond films.
Scientists discover ancient rocks on the sea-floor that give them a window into the Earth's mantle
By Gregory Mone
Posted 04.14.2008 at 8:28 am 0 Comments
No, you can't hike or spelunk or even tunnel down to the center of the Earth, even if movies like The Core or this summer's 3D adventure flick, Journey to the Center of the Earth, suggest otherwise. To find out about our planet's insides, scientists rely on very different tricks. And, apparently, a little luck.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.