News & Views

  • News & Views |

    Ocean-floor plateaus are not voluminous lava flows from central volcanoes as thought, but anomalously thick oceanic crust, suggest magnetic anomaly patterns from the Shatsky Rise, in the northwestern Pacific Ocean.

    • Joanne M. Whittaker
  • News & Views |

    Earth’s formation by the accretion of volatile-rich carbonaceous chondrite-like materials, without a need for exotic building blocks or secondary volatile loss, is supported by recognition of a plateau pattern for highly volatile elements.

    • Zaicong Wang
  • News & Views |

    Confidence that banded iron formations record oxic conditions during deposition is established, as a model demonstrates that they are formed of primary iron oxides rather than secondarily altered silicate minerals.

    • Eva E. Stüeken
  • News & Views |

    Deep soil carbon in tropical catchments can be rapidly mobilized to rivers upon land-use change to agriculture, suggest analyses of dissolved organic carbon. Such carbon stocks had been thought stable for millennia.

    • Alf Ekblad
    •  & David Bastviken
  • News & Views |

    The Toarcian oceanic anoxic event disrupted terrestrial ecosystems as well as the marine realm, according to analyses of microfossils derived from land plants. Changes in diversity and composition were initially more rapid in terrestrial ecosystems.

    • Luke Mander
    •  & Jennifer C. McElwain
  • News & Views |

    The Moon’s isotopic composition is uncannily similar to Earth’s. This may be the signature of a magma ocean on Earth at the time of the Moon-forming giant impact, according to numerical simulations.

    • H. Jay Melosh
  • News & Views |

    Nitrogen deposition in China has stabilized over the past decade, thanks to efficient regulation of fertilizer use, suggests an analysis of wet and dry deposition.

    • Maria Kanakidou
  • News & Views |

    Flotation of aerosols as a film on the hydrocarbon lakes of Saturn’s moon Titan may explain the lakes’ stillness, and could influence the atmospheric hydrocarbon cycle.

    • Isabelle Couturier-Tamburelli
  • News & Views |

    Pyroclastic density currents generate a basal air cushion that reduces friction with the ground, reveal laboratory experiments. This explains their ability to travel rapidly over large distances from their volcanic source.

    • Alain Burgisser
  • News & Views |

    Thinning and retreat of Jakobshavn Isbræ has reversed in 2016, in tandem with regional ocean cooling.

    • Rebecca H. Jackson
  • News & Views |

    A chemically distinct region separates the Indian and Pacific mantle domains as revealed by isotope analyses on rare samples from the Australian–Antarctic Ridge.

    • Pamela D. Kempton
  • News & Views |

    A magnitude 7.5 strike-slip earthquake that struck Palu, Indonesia, in 2018 unexpectedly generated a devastating tsunami. Seismic data reveal that its rupture propagated fast, at supershear speed. Whether the two are connected remains to be seen.

    • P. Martin Mai
  • News & Views |

    Transition from a weak and erratic geomagnetic field to a more stable one around 560 million years ago, inferred from palaeomagnetic measurements, suggests that the inner core may have solidified around that time, much later than thought.

    • Peter Driscoll
  • News & Views |

    Differences between earthquake sequences in the crust and adjacent uppermost mantle at oceanic transform faults are revealed by a seafloor seismic experiment at the Blanco Transform Fault.

    • Jeffrey J. McGuire
  • News & Views |

    Cumulative wildfires or prescribed burning produce different outcomes for the vegetation, suggest two long-term analyses of fire-affected ecosystems. Climate change and land management practices are altering how ecosystems function.

    • Mark A. Cochrane
  • News & Views |

    Atmospheric levels of chloroform, an ozone-depleting substance not part of the Montreal Protocol, have risen. The increase may be attributable to industrial emissions in Eastern China.

    • Susann Tegtmeier
  • News & Views |

    Mangrove canopy heights vary around the world in response to rain, storms and human activities, suggests a global analysis of mangrove canopy height. How tall the trees are matters for estimating global mangrove carbon storage.

    • Daniel A. Friess
  • News & Views |

    Seismic data during the time interval between larger earthquakes could contain information about fault displacements and potential for future failure, suggest analyses of data from laboratory and real-world slow-slip earthquakes using machine-learning techniques.

    • Kenneth C. Creager
  • News & Views |

    Most of the net water transferred over the past 15 years from non-glaciated land to the oceans has originated from landlocked basins, according to satellite data. This source of sea-level rise is often overlooked.

    • Tamlin M. Pavelsky
  • News & Views |

    Extreme temperature swings and deteriorating environments are perhaps what killed most life in the end-Permian extinction, suggest climate model simulations. Siberian Traps volcanism probably triggered the events.

    • Ying Cui
  • News & Views |

    During flat subduction, material is scraped off the base of the continental mantle lithosphere, building a migrating keel. This testable mechanism for flat subduction recreates features of the Laramide orogeny.

    • Marc-André Gutscher
  • News & Views |

    Ice buried deep within the ice sheet on Antarctica preserves clues to past climatic change dating back more than a million years. A recent workshop discussed the challenges — and hopes — of drilling to these buried treasures.

    • Dorthe Dahl-Jensen
  • News & Views |

    While anthropogenic influence on global climate is clear, human impact on the Southern Ocean has been difficult to pin down. A new detection and attribution study achieves just that.

    • Nathaniel L. Bindoff
  • News & Views |

    The Laurentide Ice Sheet sapped the strength of the North American monsoon during the last ice age, but the ice sheet’s grip on the monsoon weakened as it retreated northwards.

    • Sarah E. Metcalfe
  • News & Views |

    Droughts lead to enhanced water-use efficiency and reduced carbon uptake by plants. Global analyses of atmospheric CO2 monitoring data suggest that the scale of the trade-off between water and carbon extends to a biome level.

    • Christopher J. Still
  • News & Views |

    Strong anisotropy within the source region of deep earthquakes explains their apparent non-pure shear faulting mechanism.

    • Barbara Romanowicz
  • News & Views |

    Rainfall interception by vegetation is an underappreciated part of the terrestrial hydrological cycle. Numerical modelling shows that non-vascular plants, such as lichens, substantially increase the interception capacity of the land surface.

    • Hubert H. G. Savenije
  • News & Views |

    Plants influence geomorphology. Research on salt marshes suggests that feedbacks between geomorphic processes and life-history traits of plants produce species-specific signatures in the organization of biogeomorphic landscapes.

    • Dov Corenblit
  • News & Views |

    There was minimal cooling in the North Atlantic Ocean during the Oligocene inception of the Antarctic ice sheet, according to a sediment record. This finding suggests asynchronous climate changes in the Northern and Southern hemispheres.

    • Timothy Herbert
  • News & Views |

    Much of the carbon in rivers originates from wildfires and is ultimately buried in the oceanic carbon sink, suggest measurements from 18 rivers globally. Rivers transport almost a gigaton of carbon to the oceans every year.

    • Lars J. Tranvik
  • News & Views |

    If emissions continue at the present-day rate, about 22 years are left until global mean warming reaches the 1.5 °C Paris Agreement target, suggests a new metric based on the observed level and rate of anthropogenic warming.

    • Katarzyna B. Tokarska
  • News & Views |

    Accounting for the oceanic transport of carbon suggests that existing estimates of the location and magnitude of the land carbon sinks need to be revised.

    • Andrew Lenton
  • News & Views |

    Detailed analyses of the source characteristics of two earthquake sequences lead to seemingly contradictory interpretations: one study concludes that each earthquake triggers subsequent ones, while the other favours a slow-slip trigger.

    • Joan Gomberg
  • News & Views |

    Tall trees are more resilient to drought than short trees, suggests a comparison of the sensitivity of photosynthesis to soil moisture in Amazon forests.

    • Paulo Brando
  • News & Views |

    Higher stream temperatures as the climate warms could lead to lower ecosystem productivity and higher CO2 emissions in streams. An analysis of stream ecosystems finds that such changes will be greatest in the warmest and most productive streams.

    • James B. Heffernan
  • News & Views |

    The heat driving Yellowstone’s volcanism originates from a depth of at least 700 km, according to images of the mantle created using novel seismic methods.

    • Karin Sigloch