Natural Sciences

Oldest North American petroglyphs dated to at least 10,500 years ago

A new high-tech analysis led by a University of Colorado Boulder researcher shows the oldest known petroglyphs in North America, which are cut into several boulders in western Nevada, date to at least 10,500 years ago and perhaps even as far back as 14,800 years ago.

Set by the sun: An escape from electrical lights synchs our circadian clocks to the solar day

A weeklong wilderness escape from the electrical lights that illuminate most of our daily lives is enough to reset our internal circadian clocks to synchronize with sunrise and sunset, according to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder.

NASA mission involving CU-Boulder discovers particle accelerator in heart of Van Allen radiation belts

Using data from a NASA satellite, a team of scientists led by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and involving the University of Colorado Boulder have discovered a massive particle accelerator in the heart of one of the harshest regions of near-Earth space, a region of super-energetic, charged particles surrounding the globe known as the Van Allen radiation belts.

CU study shows how early Earth kept warm enough to support life

Solving the “faint young sun paradox” -- explaining how early Earth was warm and habitable for life beginning more than 3 billion years ago even though the sun was 20 percent dimmer than today -- may not be as difficult as believed, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.

The West is getting dustier, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down.

CU-Boulder prof to lead NASA campaign to study North American air quality

A University of Colorado Boulder professor is leading a major NASA airborne science campaign this summer that will probe weather patterns and air pollution over a vast expanse of North America that have potential global climate consequences.

Water-rock reaction could create enough 'food' to sustain life on Mars or in Earth's ocean crust

A chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen “food” to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

CU-Boulder helps tap crowds to digitize museum records of bugs and plants

Inside the natural history museums of the world are billions of animal and plant specimens from birds, fish and beetles to flowers, mushrooms and grasses, all stacked, stored and preserved in jars and collection drawers.

The rich and diverse collections could be critical to understanding how the Earth’s biodiversity is changing in the face of a growing human footprint — if only the information were easily accessible.

Northern hemisphere losing last dry snow region, says CU study

Last July, something unprecedented in the 34-year satellite record happened: 98 percent of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface melted, compared to roughly 50 percent during an average summer. Snow that usually stays frozen and dry turned wet with melt water. Research led by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences now shows last summer’s extreme melt could soon be the new normal.

ABCs, 123s and frontal lobes: Neuroscientists share research with kindergartners

When the raw egg plummeted to the playground hardtop at Creekside Elementary School in Boulder, falling exactly 36 inches, the shell shattered and the gooey insides oozed out. The 18 kindergartners looking on were rivited.

A few minutes later, a second egg — this one wrapped in a “helmet” of taped-together bubble wrap and dropped from exactly the same height — fared much better, escaping with its shell still intact.

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