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Earth News

USC Dornsife professor Kenneth Nealson is working on an atmospheric monitor that will search for signs of life on Mars. Photo by Phil Channing.

Is the 'Dead Planet' Full of Life?

November 22, 2011

David Bowie asked it best in his 1971 song “Life on Mars?” But when it comes to the question of whether there’s currently life on the Red Planet, USC Dornsife professor Kenneth Nealson is fairly confident…

USC Dornsife's David Bottjer is searching for clues to the future by examining the past. Photo by Philip Channing.

And the Microbes Shall Inherit the Earth

October 12, 2011

Global warming is not a novel phenomenon, and by studying what happened to the planet during a period of global warming about 250 million years ago, one USC Dornsife scientist hopes to discover what could happen to us this…

USC Dornsife's Meghan Miller of earth sciences explains her discovery of active delamination beneath the Earth in the Colorado Plateau — research featured today in <em>Nature</em>. Photo by Pamela J. Johnson

Peeling off the Layers

April 27, 2011

For the first time, an active delamination of continental lithosphere has been found beneath the Colorado Plateau. Meghan Miller, assistant professor of earth sciences in USC Dornsife, and her team’s discovery is…

The Great California ShakeOut

Los Angeles' 8.8 Wake-Up Call

October 15, 2010

"We live in earthquake country and every day is earthquake season." This is Tom Jordan's mantra. The director of the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC) based in USC College notes that while residents elsewhere in…

Dynamic topography (gray surface) and mantle flow (vectors) as predicted by a geodynamic model for the Mediterranean.

Dismantling a Volcanic Puzzle

June 3, 2010

If tectonic plate collisions cause volcanic eruptions, as every fifth grader knows, why do some volcanoes erupt far from a plate boundary? A study in Nature suggests that volcanoes and mountains in the Mediterranean can…

Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement laureates Laurie Marker and Stuart Pimm give lectures and collect their awards during an April 22 ceremony at USC. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

They're Both a Rare Breed

April 30, 2010

We know that the extinction of species is irreversible and geographically concentrated. We know that tropical deforestation is the main driver of terrestrial extinctions. So what will it take to slow the quickening pace of…

Katrina Edwards, professor of biological sciences and earth sciences in USC College, is leading a team to explore the subseafloor biosphere as a result of the establishment of the Center for Dark Energy Biosphere Investigations (C-DEBI). Photo credit Phil Channing.

The Power and Promise of the Ocean

April 26, 2010

"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.” These were the remarkable words spoken by President…