Over the past 450 million years, life on earth has undergone at least five great extinctions, when biological activity nosedived and dominant groups of creatures disappeared. The final one (so far) was 65 million years ago, when it appears that a giant meteorite brought fires, shock waves and tsunamis, then drastically altered the climate. That killed off [...]
Wave-washed sea cliffs along the coasts of western England and Wales are home to spectacular assemblages of rocks and fossils that may hold keys to understanding a sudden global extinction 201.4 million years ago that cleared the way for the rapid evolution of dinosaurs. Paleontologist Paul Olsen and geologist Dennis Kent of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty [...]
Paleontologist Paul Olsen has been investigating the causes of Triassic-Jurassic extinction–a turning point in earth’s history that wiped out many life forms and started the reign of dinosaurs. More than 200 million years separate us from this catastrophe (also called the End-Triassic Extinction), but it could contain some lessons for us today, says Olsen. For one, it may have been [...]
Last week, leading marine scientists, government officials, policymakers, shipping and businesspeople from North America and Europe met to discuss the critical problems facing the world’s oceans, and how to address them on international levels. Afterward, a panel discussed the main ideas and plans for moving forward at a press briefing. With the oceans facing increasing damage [...]
A mile or so of glacial ice covering much of North America and plowing down from the north once terminated in the New York metropolitan area, at a front stretching roughly from exit 13 on the New Jersey Turnpike (Rahway), on across southern Staten Island, the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, and northeastward through Long Island. But exactly when that ice started [...]
Much of the modern understanding of climate change is underpinned by pioneering studies done at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Here’s a timeline of significant studies.
Daniel Hillel, an adjunct senior scientist at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, has been awarded the World Food Prize for his work in conceiving and promoting water-saving methods that have increased crop production on arid lands in 30 countries.
The group traveled by boat, motorcycle and finally by foot through the forest to reach cliffs where burials lay. At one site, 20 feet off the forest floor was a ledge protected by an overhang, where lay a row hollowed-out logs, along with ceramic jars.
A study published earlier this month indicated that due to manmade emissions of carbon dioxide, the earth’s oceans are tipping toward acidity faster than at any time in the last 300 million years. It made world headlines, and this week the study was the subject of Sunday New York Times editorial, “Changing the Chemistry of Earth’s Oceans.” And now, the poem. [...]