Vital to many modern technologies yet mined in few places, the ‘rare earth elements’ are in fact not that rare – they are just difficult to find in concentrations that make them economic to mine. Researchers from Cambridge University and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) are investigating whether the remarkable properties of these materials can be used to track them down from the air.
In 2014, Cambridge researchers monitored a series of seismic shocks which preceded Iceland’s biggest volcanic eruption in 200 years. The dramatic story of their work, and its scientific value, is now part of this year’s Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition.
Simon Redfern (Department of Earth Sciences) discusses how Brexit may impact EU research opportunities and funding in the UK.
Super-slow circulation allowed world’s oceans to store huge amounts of carbon during the last ice age27 Jun 2016
The way the ocean transported heat, nutrients and carbon dioxide at the peak of the last ice age, about 20,000 years ago, is significantly different than what has previously been suggested, according to two new studies. The findings suggest that the colder ocean circulated at a very slow rate, which enabled it to store much more carbon for much longer than the modern ocean.
A symbiotic relationship that has existed since the time of the dinosaurs is at risk of ending, as habitat loss and environmental change mean that a species of Australian crayfish and the tiny worms that depend on them are both at serious risk of extinction.
First global map of flow within the Earth’s mantle finds the surface is moving up and down “like a yo-yo”09 May 2016
Researchers have compiled the first global set of observations of flow within the Earth’s mantle – the layer between the crust and the core – and found that it is moving much faster than has been predicted.
The Department of Chemistry received a silver Athena SWAN award while the Department of Pathology and Department of Earth Sciences both received bronze.
The earliest example of an organism living on land – an early type of fungus – has been identified. The organism, from 440 million years ago, likely kick-started the process of rot and soil formation, which encouraged the later growth and diversification of life on land.
A 520 million-year-old fossilised nervous system – so well-preserved that individually fossilised nerves are visible – is the most complete and best example yet found, and could help unravel how the nervous system evolved in early animals.
Increase in volcanic eruptions at the end of the ice age caused by melting ice caps and glacial erosion02 Feb 2016
Researchers have found that glacial erosion and melting ice caps both played a key role in driving the observed global increase in volcanic activity at the end of the last ice age.