Google Earth Engine unveils how Earth has altered

Google has launched Google Earth Engine, a global, zoomable timelapse map that allows you to witness how humans have altered the surface of the Earth since 1984.

The interactive map lets you track year-by-year changes to every spot on Earth, such as the drying up of Aral Sea in Central Asia, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in South America, or the urban expansion in the Nevada desert.

The Monitor_May 10_2013

Read more my latest story in The Christian Science Monitor.

How closely related are we to each other?

The Monitor_May 8_2013

If you are of European ancestry, a European stranger could be a not-too-distant relative, a new genetic study suggests. Indeed, all humans share a set of common ancestors who may not be as ancient as you might think.

Despite geographical distance and superficial differences in appearance, Europeans share the same set of ancestors who lived just 1,000 years ago.

Read more my latest story in The Christian Science Monitor.

NASA satellite snaps spectacular images of volcanic eruption

A NASA satellite has demonstrated that the best place to view an erupting volcano is from 438 miles straight up.

On April 29, the Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite passed over Indonesia‘s Flores Sea and snapped several shots of Paluweh island, the scene of a volcanic eruption in progress.

The Monitor_May 7_2013

Read more my latest story “NASA satellite snaps spectacular images of volcanic eruption” in The Christian Science Monitor.

Sun erupts with superheated plasma

The sun fired off super-hot plasma in a dazzling eruption, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Superheated plasma bursted from the sun’s edge on May 1 in a gigantic rolling wave, said NASA, which published a dazzling video captured by its sun-watching spacecraft.

The Monitor_May 2_2013

Read more my latest story “Sun erupts with superheated plasma” in The Christian Science Monitor.

Scientists unravel mystery of cannibal shark embryos

The Monitor_May 1_2013

Sand tiger sharks have been known for devouring each other in the womb. Scientists now believe that they can explain why.

Analyzing shark embryos found in dead sand tiger sharks at different stages of pregnancy, a team of researchers has found that, though female sharks commonly mate with multiple males, their offspring all tend to belong to the same father.

Read more my latest story “Scientists unravel mystery of cannibal shark embryos” in The Christian Science Monitor.

Was Africa the motherland of dinosaur predecessors?

The ancestors of dinosaurs might have established themselves in present-day Tanzania and Zambia, suggest newly discovered fossils.

Newly discovered fossils from 10 million years after the world’s largest known extinction indicate that dinosaurs’ ancestors might have taken hold in present-day Tanzania and Zambia, millions of years before the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and much earlier than dinosaur relatives are seen in the fossil record elsewhere.

The Monitor_April 30_2013

Read more my latest story “Was Africa the motherland of dinosaur predecessors?” in The Christian Science Monitor.

Earth permanently deformed by big quakes? Measurements in Chile challenge established theory.

Large earthquakes can deform the earth’s crust permanently, a study of major quakes in northern Chile over the past million years suggests.

This finding challenges a longstanding theory in geology that seeks to explain how energy is spread during earthquakes. First posited in 1910 by Johns Hopkins geologist Harry Fielding Reid after he observed the displacement of the ground following San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake, the elastic rebound theory holds that rock on either side of a fault slowly deforms over time, until it suddenly snaps back into its original shape, causing the quake. Reid’s theory was the first to satisfactorily account for earthquakes, and has ben supported by many GPS measurements, among other evidence.

The Monitor_April 29_2013