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October 1 2014

Have Humans Really Created a New Geologic Age?


If you know how to read it, the face of a cliff can be as compelling as the latest bestselling novel. Each layer of rock is a chapter in Earth’s history, telling stories of birth and death, winners and losers, that help scientists understand the evolution of the planet over the past 4.6 billion years.

While humans arrived only recently on geologic time scales, our species already seems to be driving some major plot developments.

These changes have become so noticeable on a global scale that many scientists believe we have started a new chapter in Earth’s story: the Anthropocene.

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October 1 2014

We've Lost So Much Antarctic Ice It's Causing A Dip In Earth's Gravity


An ESA satellite has spotted something unusual happening in the Antarctic: As the ice has dwindled there over the last five years, they're also seeing a change in the Earth's gravity.

The GOCE satellite was launched in 2009 to undertake a detailed mapping of Earth's gravity, along with any fluctuations in strength. As researchers recently began analyzing the data they'd received, they noticed something curious: the variations in gravity they were seeing in the Antarctic were mirrored by the changes in ice as the collapse of the ice sheet there accelerated.

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