Hot topics

Scientists have discovered a layer of liquified molten rock in Earth's mantle that may be responsible for the sliding motions of the planet's massive tectonic plates.

The finding may carry far-reaching implications, from understanding basic geologic functions of the planet to new insights into volcanism and earthquakes.

Comet Pan-STARRS, recently discovered by the Panoramic Survey Telescope & Rapid Response System, should be visible in early March 2013 as it approaches the Sun. Key dates are March 5th, when the comet comes closest to Earth (about 100 million miles away), March 10th, when the comet comes closest to the sun, and March 12th and 13th when Pan-STARRS emerges in the western sunset sky not far from the crescent Moon.

On February 28, 2013, a sinkhole suddenly developed under the bedroom of a house outside of Tampa, Florida, swallowing the bed and it's occupant, Jeff Bush, who is now presumed dead. Sinkholes are a common natural hazard, formed when water dissolves underlying limestone. For more information, see

A new study by scientists from Potsdam University links severe regional weather extremes observed in recent years to persistent disturbances in patterns of atmospheric flows in the northern hemisphere associated with climate change. For more information, see

Would you or your students like to help name the moons of Pluto? Go to to take part in a vote - through Monday, February 25!

About 9:20 am local time on February 15, 2013, the sounds of explosions in Chelyabinsk, Russia, announced the arrival of a meteorite in the skies above the city (1500 km east of Moscow). The meteorite exploded, generating fragments that peppered the city, injuring over 500 people mainly from broken glass. For more on the story, see

An 8.0 M earthquake occurred on February 6, 2013 at 01:12:27 UTC off the Santa Cruz Islands, approximately 700 km ESE of the Solomon Islands. The quake was a result of shallow thrust faulting on or near the plate boundary interface between the Australia and Pacific plates. The quake generated a tsunami that hit in several locations, with waves up to 3 ft.

Research from Dr. Darryn W. Waugh of Johns Hopkins University and his colleagues, published recently in Science magazine, shows a link between ozone depletion, surface winds, and ocean circulation. Their results, based in part on measurements of chloroflurocarbon-12 abundance in the Southern Oceans from the early 1990s to late 2000s, show that subtropical intermediate waters are "younger" while upwelling, circumpolar waters are "older".

On Feb. 15th an asteroid about half the size of a football field will fly past Earth only 17,200 miles above our planet's surface. There's no danger of a collision, but the space rock, designated 2012 DA14, has NASA's attention.

"This is a record-setting close approach," says Don Yeomans of NASA's Near Earth Object Program at JPL. "Since regular sky surveys began in the 1990s, we've never seen an object this big get so close to Earth."

Since just after midnight Jan. 3, 1983, lava has poured almost continuously from a cluster of vents on the eastern flank of Kilauea Volcano. Through 2012, fresh lava had covered more than 124.6 square kilometers (48.1 square miles) of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Activity has occurred during 60 distinct events, separated by shifts in the location or behavior of erupting lava. Most of these events have been centered at Pu’u ’O’o, a volcanic cone built from successive lava fountains and flows. The 60th eruptive episode began in March 2011 and was ongoing through January 4, 2013.


Member login

Upcoming Events

Members - Log in for access to the full calendar of upcoming events

No upcoming events available

Earth and Space Science Today

Now you can easily access information on topics that highlight our active Earth. Learn all about the latest earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, severe weather, wildfires, tides and currents, droughts, a calendar of solar and lunar eclipses, and daily streamflow information.