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19
votes
1answer
2k views

What causes intra-plate faults, such as the New Madrid fault?

There's been news (some recently) about the New Madrid fault and other active intra-plate faults. For those living in the midwest of the United States, it's been a bit of a shock to learn they have ...
9
votes
1answer
84 views

Why does volcanic dust pose such a hazard to air travel?

What properties does volcanic ash have that make it a hazard to aircraft jet engines which are not posed by other sources of atmospheric dust, such as Saharan dust? Is it merely a question of ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I tell if a rock is really petrified wood?

I found a rock in the Mojave desert and it resembles a tree branch including what appears to be wood grain. Is there some test or observation that can be done at home to conclusively answer my ...
26
votes
2answers
2k views

Would the Earth function the same spinning the other way?

Right, I saw a question about why the Earth spins counter clockwise, and it reminded me of something I would like to know the answer to. I watched a episode of Futurama. In this episode the Earth ...
16
votes
2answers
11k views

Why is the troposphere 8km higher at the equator than the poles?

Fundamentals of atmospheric modeling show that the height of the tropopause depends on the location, notably the latitude, and that the troposphere is roughly 8km higher at the equator than the poles ...
5
votes
2answers
6k views

Are there more earthquakes near the equator or poles?

When comparing the average distance of the all known earthquake epicenters to the nearest pole, is the longitudinal distance to the equator or the poles the smallest of the two? Please note that any ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is earth's axis tilted?

Why is the axis of earth tilted? It can't possibly be that the Northern hemisphere is larger causing it to be pulled toward the sun, because then it would always be summer in the N hemisphere and ...
18
votes
3answers
28k views

Why does the earth spin clockwise?

Why does earth rotate in a clockwise direction? Did a large meteor collide with earth causing earth to rotate? If that is what happened, could another, larger meteor cause earth to reverse its ...
4
votes
1answer
234 views

What is the furthest observable phenomenon from Earth that is Earth Science?

Guessing that the Earth's magnetic field is the furthest observable Earth Science related phenomenon from Earth itself, though not completely sure.
10
votes
1answer
214 views

How can the 'abiogenic oil' hypothesis be disproven?

We do know that complex hydrocarbons (e.g., tholins) exist in the outer Solar System. Some geologists maintain that at least some oil on Earth is of non-biological origin. The mainstream, though, ...
11
votes
2answers
296 views

Has the number of natural disasters per year increased significantly in the years since human-caused climate change started?

Human-caused global warming has had an increasingly significant effect on the earth since the industrial era began. Since the beginning of the industrial era, has there been a significant increase in ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the domains of Earth Science?

Increasingly confused by all the "spheres" and agreed relationships between them. As a result, I am looking for a singular answer that clearly states at the very least what the top-level and secondary ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

A good book or source for climate science and meteorology basics?

I have a mainly a hydro-geological and geo-statistical background, I would like to have a basic introduction to meteorological, climatic processes and modelling techniques related to these fields. Any ...
8
votes
2answers
205 views

Earth Science Search Engine

After scirus is closed, which search engine do you all use? I know of Arxiv, and ADS, which only partially overlaps with Earth Science related issues. Any other recommendations would be appreciated.
9
votes
1answer
59 views

Lab procedure for analyzing/assessing the presence of semi-volatile solids

I'm looking for a lab experiment design that shows how to measure the presence of semi-volatile solids in water (and not sludge or soil or solids). All I have found so far are chromotography/mass ...
6
votes
0answers
68 views

Is global warming occuring only because of humans? [duplicate]

I learned that human activities produce gases that deplete the ozone layer, and create the greenhouse layer, which increases the world's temperature. (And seems real , now in Thailand it's 35 degree ...
8
votes
2answers
124 views

Measurement of groundwater levels

There are numerous measurement systems available for measuring groundwater levels (head / stage). What period of time should measurements be collected in order to draw solid conclusions about the ...
27
votes
6answers
6k views

How much will sea level rise if all the polar ice melts?

There are many movies about global warming, which say that melting of all polar ice would cause the whole world to suffer a huge flood. According my research (teachers, TV, Internet) people hold one ...
13
votes
2answers
620 views

Why do those glaciers form on the lee side of the mountains?

In the Scandinavian mountains, there is a strong effect of orographic precipitation. The west receives far more precipitation than the east. This difference can be a factor 5 or more in some places. ...
15
votes
2answers
822 views

What factors affect the size of rain shadows?

Rain shadows are dry areas on the lee side of mountains. Due to humid air condensing and precipitating as they are lifted up and over the mountains, they lose moisture by the time they reach the lee ...
12
votes
2answers
463 views

Bifurcation Scenarios in the Atmosphere

I read that the mathematical definition of bifurcation is that, at a critical value of a parameter that governs the dynamical system, the system changes to a topologically different system than the ...
8
votes
1answer
123 views

What is the concentration of silver in tap or freshwater in the United kingdom

Can anyone tell me the concentration of silver in uncontaminated water ways, or treated tap water in the united kingdom? sources would be desirable too
11
votes
1answer
486 views

Are mantle plumes distributed around the core randomly or in a known pattern?

Background: The theory of mantle plumes is useful (although controversial) in explaining the occurrence of intra-plate volcanoes. The website here suggests that "hotspots" exist in fixed locations ...
12
votes
1answer
227 views

Do normal modes of oscillation cause permanent deformation?

It is known that when a large earthquake occurs, say $M \ge 9.0$, The surface waves travel around Earth over and over, "ringing the surface like a bell". The GIF below is an example (Image Source): ...
58
votes
5answers
369k views

Why does lightning strike from the ground-up?

The enlightening image below is of a lightning strike slowed down at 10,000 frames per second. It can be seen that the most intense flash produced from the lightening occurs in the direction from ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does the so called “tornado alley” exist?

75% of the world's tornadoes occur in the USA, and within the USA these tornadoes are most likely to occur in particular regions of the country, such as the well known "tornado alley". The diagram ...
49
votes
4answers
5k views

How much oil is created each year?

We all know that oil is an essentially nonrenewable resource over human time scales. However, I am currently working on an activity for high schoolers that teaches them to predict how long humans can ...
14
votes
3answers
2k views

Is Earth an organism?

According to Wikipedia, "all known types of organism are capable of some degree of response to stimuli, reproduction, growth and development and self-regulation via homeostasis." Further, watching a ...
10
votes
1answer
135 views

How far from basalt bedrock can magnetometic survey find archaeological features?

Magnetometry is used to find archaeological features such as stone walls or ancient hearth. But it usually cannot be used for archaeological prospection in areas where the bedrock is strongly magnetic....
12
votes
1answer
357 views

What is the current theory about the formation of Tibet?

Although I basically understand, that how the Himalayas formed, it has always confused me how did the vast high Tibetian Plateau came into existence behind it? And what would be its future, is it ...
25
votes
3answers
34k views

Why is Earth's inner core made of an iron-nickel alloy?

This question has puzzled me for a while. I know that earth's mantle is made of different minerals, metals and rocks etc. and that has always made complete sense to me. But why is the inner core made ...
19
votes
1answer
284 views

Can large (and wet) storms really trigger large magnitude Earthquakes?

At the 2011 AGU Fall meeting, this poster claimed that the water erosion from Taiwan's wettest storms could prematurely trigger large magnitude earthquakes , $ M \ge 6.0 $. If this was true, this ...
8
votes
2answers
308 views

Is seismology really the only way to measure the thickness of Earth's layers?

Answers from these two questions: How can we guess the size of the earths inner core? & How can we measure the thickness of the earths mantle? use seismic waves as the method for detirmining ...
4
votes
2answers
8k views

How can we measure the thickness of the Earth's mantle? [duplicate]

According to Wikipedia the earth's mantle is approximately 2900 km (1,800 miles) thick. How is it possible to achieve such measurements? Obviously we haven't sent anything down that far to check.
13
votes
1answer
788 views

Is it possible to forecast ocean salinity 100 years into the future?

Paleosalinity is measured by chloricity of pore fluids (Adkins 2002). Current data are provided by the CORA dataset. In addition to answers to the main question, there are a few more points I'd like ...
8
votes
1answer
784 views

What is the most powerful natural catastrophic event on record?

Natural catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and meteor impacts releases vast amount of energy. What is the most powerful single event of such nature ever recorded ...
19
votes
2answers
265 views

Will tropical cyclones form and be sustained in areas they previously were not due to global climate change?

With global climate change, is it possible that tropical cyclones (as seen in the Atlantic basin for example) are going to form and be sustained in regions where they previously did not, for example ...
14
votes
1answer
736 views

What is the force imposed by underwater currents?

I would like to calculate the force of an underwater current on a meter by meter plate (or any other unit that you may use to represent it) that is standing in front of the current. How do I calculate ...
19
votes
1answer
5k views

Where does wind come from?

Wind is (according to Wikipedia) the flow of gases on a large scale.On the surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. What forces would cause such a mass movement of air?
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How can I plot a Skew-T log-P diagram?

For displaying atmospheric soundings the use of Skew-T Log-P diagrams is very common. The manual THE USE OF SKEW T, LOG P DIAGRAM IN ANALYSIS AND FORECASTING from the Air Weather Service explains what ...
29
votes
4answers
32k views

Why is Earth's outer-core liquid?

The Earth's inner core is solid because despite the enormous temperature in this region, there is also enormous pressure there, which in turn raises the melting point of iron and nickel to a value ...
36
votes
3answers
31k views

Why is Earth's inner core solid?

I have never understood why earth's inner core is solid. Considering that the inner core is made of an iron-nickel alloy (melting point around 1350 C to 1600 C) and the temperature of the inner core ...
14
votes
2answers
215 views

Ice Coverage on the Laurentian Great Lakes

Currently (April 2014), the fraction of the Great Lakes covered by ice is more than ten times the median amount for this time of year, the median amount being indicated by the green line in the below ...
24
votes
1answer
38k views

What is responsible for the underwater waterfall illusion of Mauritius Island?

From an aerial view just off the island of Mauritius, there is what appears be an underwater waterfall. The picture below illustrates this visual phenomenon: The image can also be seen from the ...
33
votes
4answers
13k views

How can we determine the size and composition of Earth's inner core?

From Wikipedia: Earth's inner core is Earth's innermost part and is a primarily solid ball with a radius of about 1,220 km (760 mi). (This is about 70% of the Moon's radius.) It is believed to consist ...
15
votes
0answers
194 views

How much heat is transported from the interior to the surface in the form of hydration enthalpy?

Heat is transferred from the interior to the surface through several methods. One is simply the conduction of sensible heat through the crust - I would guess this accounts for most of it. But some is ...
14
votes
1answer
178 views

What kinds of remote sensing required to observe methanogenic life on Titan?

Inspired by Chris McKay's Possibilities for methanogenic life in liquid methane on the surface of Titan. In the paper, the PI's found that the consumed acetylene, ethane, and other organic solids ...
44
votes
5answers
12k views

Why do snowflakes form into hexagonal structures?

Snowflakes are known to form into pretty hexagonal structures. The image below shows a variety of such structures that are possible (although by all means not an exhaustive list): What is the ...
10
votes
1answer
97 views

Alternatives to Plant Functional Types as parametrisations in land surface models?

Plant Functional Types (PFTs) are a discretisation of global vegetation types. They are used in land surface models to parametrise many values, including albedo, various photosynthesis parameters, and ...
9
votes
2answers
676 views

What tools are available to build unstructured grids for ocean models?

Generating finite element/volume grids is tricky, especially when you are dealing with complex coastlines. What are the more common tools to create the grids and to check the quality (e.g., minimum ...

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