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Earth Sciences (EAR) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Gray trees killed by bark beetles between green trees in Rocky Mountain National Park. Earth Week: Bark beetles change Rocky Mountain stream flows, affect water quality
What happens when millions of dead trees, killed by beetles, no longer need water?
Released  April 21, 2014
granite domes and conifer trees in the mountains Granite bedrock and sequoia forests 'communicate' in the Sierra Nevada
Research reveals the coevolution of life and landscapes
Released  April 3, 2014
aerial view of burning lava NSF-funded researchers use new models to explore Earth's interior
New findings from Arizona State University can help explain the geochemistry of lava
Released  March 31, 2014
Ilya Bindeman Will the Yellowstone supervolcano erupt in our lifetime?
Researcher studies the past to predict the future
Released  March 25, 2014
Closeup of fossil bone structure Snakes Alive! NSF-funded researchers find oldest fossil evidence of modern African venomous snakes
Seasonal habitats may have given rise to active hunters earlier than previously reported
Released  March 19, 2014
Photo of a white rooftop Is white--or green--the new black in cities?
How effective are white roofs, green roofs, and other urban heat-reducing technologies?
Released  March 11, 2014
Spring wildflowers with Nutrient Network fences in the mountains of southeastern Australia. Herbivores + light = more plant biodiversity in fertilized grasslands
Research on six continents shows that it all comes down to the light
Released  March 10, 2014
eruption of Fuego volcano, Guatemala Studying Mini Earthquakes Provides Clues to Volcanic Behavior
Researchers explore causes and pathways of volcanic eruptions to better predict major eruptions
Released  July 3, 2013
Mountain with dried trees in a forest overlooking Grand Lake, Colorado Ghosts of Forests Past: Bark Beetles Kill Lodgepole Pines, Affecting Entire Watersheds
Bark beetle epidemic changing water quality as well as forest health
Released  June 27, 2013
Photo of sun radiating over highway filled with cars in traffic in Phoenix Summertime: Hot Time in the City
Parks are islands of coolness in cities' urban heat
Released  June 21, 2013
Photo of smoke from a forest fire going up in to the sky Trail of Fire Leads to Less Snow, Threatened Water Resources
Scientists study New Mexico's Rabbit Mountain, where forests burned in the 2011 Las Conchas fire
Released  April 25, 2013
Image of melting snow and the text Photo Gallery Earth Week: The Search for White Gold--Snowmelt
Thin snowpack puts ecosystems and water resources in critical condition
Released  April 16, 2013
Map of Antarctica Advances in Computational Research Transform Scientific Process and Discovery
NSF-supported supercomputers enhance union between technology and the human mind
Released  March 25, 2013
Phot of the mountain peak El Yunque El Yunque, Majestic Rocky Icon of Puerto Rico: Impervious to the Ravages of Time?
Anvil-shaped promontory formed inside an ancient supervolcano
Released  February 27, 2013
Research area in Gordon Gulch, Colo. High-peak Creeks, Forest Fires and Landscape Erosion: Could They Be Linked?
Colorado's Boulder Creek watershed: Where rushing streams, raging blazes and the Rockies meet
Released  January 14, 2013
Photo of a scientist researching soil in a forested area. Science on the Graveyard Shift
Discovering what gets buried and how
Released  October 31, 2012
Illustration of satellite and ground-based systems monitoring snowmelt and water in the Sierra. A Tree Stands in the Sierra Nevada
A coniferous view of the link between snowmelt and water supplies in the U.S. West
Released  August 7, 2012
A dot on a map of the United States, Cherokee Marsh in Wisconsin is central to the Yahara watershed. Cry Me a River: Following a Watershed's Winding Path to Sustainability
National Science Foundation "Water, Sustainability and Climate" award fosters new view of urban rivers, lakes
Released  March 9, 2012
Image of snow-covered Mount Washington, N.H. The Snows of Mount Washington
Climate and environmental change in the U.S. northeast corridor
Released  March 2, 2012
Photo of a Cape sugarbird resting on a protea flower. Biodiversity of Earth's Richest Plant Kingdom Under Fire
In response to climate change, will a postage-sized-domain move uphill--and ultimately out of room?
Released  January 27, 2012
Photo of a natural gas drilling platform in Pennsylvania. Can Marcellus Shale Gas Development and Healthy Waterways Sustainably Coexist?
National Science Foundation Sustainability Research Coordination Network is Providing Answers
Released  December 9, 2011
Screenshot from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The Earth Exploration Toolbook Wins SPORE Award
Online resource for teachers and students provides data and data analysis tools related to the Earth sciences
Released  October 3, 2011
Photo of a coastal outcrop exposure of Late Ordovician Ellis Bay Formation. Relationship Found Between Ancient Climate Change and Mass Extinction
Researchers use a ground-breaking technique that reveals a relationship between cooler temperatures and Earth's second largest mass extinction, which occurred about 450 million years ago
Released  February 17, 2011
Photo of three California seed-harvester ant queens along with brood and a young worker ant. Superorganisms Are More Than the Sum of Their Parts
Studying ants to find out how colony size affects patterns of behavior and energy use
Released  January 25, 2011
Photo of Cristiano Collettini looking at the Zuccale Fault on the Isle of Elba, Italy. Mystery Behind Weak Earthquake Faults Solved
Chris Marone and Cristiano Collettini on their research team's work to find out why low-angle, normal faults slip
Released  April 9, 2010
Aerial photo of new forests above the shrinking Mendenhall Glacier. When Glaciers Melt, What's in the Water?
Measuring the movement of nutrients in Alaska's glacial streams is a "hot topic" for an NSF-supported research team
Released  March 17, 2010
Image showing flood inundation of the Iowa River on the University of Iowa Arts Campus. Better Prediction Sought for Devastating Floods
Research on the geophysical aspects of flooding could be key to developing new, real-time flood warning and forecasting systems
Released  September 3, 2009
Photo of Gregory Lehn and Matt Knhosh talking with co-principal investigator Jim McClelland. Permafrost Could Be Climate's Ticking Time Bomb
Researchers conduct fieldwork to track permafrost melting in Alaska and gain insight about the release of carbon into the atmosphere
Released  August 5, 2009
Photo of a researcher collecting soil samples at the Arctic LTER site. Life Underground Critical to Earth's Ecosystems
Scientists travel 'down the rabbit hole' for new view of subterranean biodiversity
Released  July 29, 2009
Photo of researchers collecting microbial biofilms in the Frasassi cave system, central Italy. Caves Reveal Evolution of Ancient Microbes
Jenn Macalady's geomicrobiology group is discovering the rules that enable microbes living in dark, oxygen-free environments to adapt and evolve
Released  March 27, 2009

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