Topic: U.S. Geological Survey

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  • Aflockalypse now? Turns out mass bird deaths are quite common.

    Aflockalypse now? Turns out mass bird deaths are quite common.

    Aflockalypse: Despite alarming headlines about dead birds plummeting from the sky, biologists say that mass die-offs happen all the time, and do not necessarily augur catastrophe, either biblical or environmental, or any kind of 'aflockalypse.'

  • Mystery bird deaths: Blame it on harsh winter, fireworks, or 'avicide'?

    Mystery bird deaths: Blame it on harsh winter, fireworks, or 'avicide'?

    It's not unheard of that birds fall from the sky or fish die off en masse – but all at once around the world? Hard cold snaps are emerging as a likely cause of some of the bird deaths and fish die-offs.

  • Blackbird mystery deepens: more birds fall from sky in Louisiana

    Blackbird mystery deepens: more birds fall from sky in Louisiana

    Just days after more than 1,000 birds fall from the sky over Beebe, Ark., another batch of blackbirds has dropped in Pointe Coupee Parish, La. What's going on?

  • Indiana earthquake 'extremely rare and unprecedented'

    Indiana earthquake 'extremely rare and unprecedented'

    An Indiana earthquake Thursday, measured at a magnitude of 3.8, is the strongest ever recorded in that part of the state, which rarely sees earthquakes. No damage has been reported.

  • When is mudslide danger greatest? Lessons from California storms

    When is mudslide danger greatest? Lessons from California storms

    Mudslides pose perhaps the biggest threat from the torrential rains drenching California this week. Here's what researchers have learned about mudslides and the conditions that cause them.

  • What's new with Titan? Five intriguing findings about Saturn's moon

    What's new with Titan? Five intriguing findings about Saturn's moon

    Like many a robotic planetary mission, you've gotta love the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn – a joint effort between NASA and the European Space Agency. It launched in 1997 and for the past six years (yes, it took some time to get there), Cassini has been the gift that keeps on giving. Saturn's largest moon, Titan, continues to be one of Cassini's most intriguing targets. It's the only planetary satellite with a thick atmosphere – a hydrocarbon haze that makes a smoggy day in Los Angeles look crystal clear by comparison. And although it's a cold moon, with lakes of liquid methane, Titan has many of the compounds that on Earth were the building blocks for organic life. It's high on the list of "let's go back" destinations among astrobiologists. So far, Cassdini has performed 73 flybys of Titan, including eight this year. Here are some of this year's eye-popping discoveries associated with Cassini's observations of Titan.

  • Polar bear 'doomed'? Only if greenhouse-gas emissions aren't cut.

    Polar bear 'doomed'? Only if greenhouse-gas emissions aren't cut.

    Greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide must be cut to avoid a disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic, which is crucial to the polar bear.

  • Arsenic microbe in Mono Lake may reshape hunt for extraterrestrial life

    Arsenic microbe in Mono Lake may reshape hunt for extraterrestrial life

    Scientists have found a microbe in Mono Lake, California, that uses arsenic as a fundamental building block, changing the definition of 'life as we know it' and the search for extraterrestrial life.

  • How does an arsenic-based life-form work, exactly?

    How does an arsenic-based life-form work, exactly?

    Scientists have apparently discovered a type of bacteria that, unlike every other known form of life, uses arsenic instead of phosphorus as one of the basic components of its DNA molecules.

  • No damage reported after minor New York earthquake

    A New York earthquake that struck New York City and surrounding states measured 3.9 but was still the largest earthquake to hit the region in almost twenty years.