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Evolution of Earth

The evolution of this planet and its atmosphere gave rise to life, which shaped Earth's subsequent development. Our future lies in interpreting this geologic past and considering what changes--good and bad--may lie ahead...

By Claude J. Allgre and Stephen H. Schneider

Earth before Pangaea

The North American continent may be more nomadic than most of its inhabitants

By Ian W. D. Dalziel

The Mid-Cretaceous Superplume Episode

Earth has an erratic "heartbeat" that can release vast amounts of heat from deep within the planet. The latest "pulse" occurred 120 million years ago

By Roger L. Larson

Probing the Geodynamo

Scientists have wondered why the polarity of Earth's magnetic field occasionally reverses. Recent studies of fer intriguing clues about how the next reversal may begin

By Gary A. Glatzmaier and Peter Olson

The Core-Mantle Boundary

This interactive zone may be the most dynamic part of the planet, directly affecting Earth's rotation and magnetic field

By Raymond Jeanloz and Thorne Lay

The Evolution of Continental Crust

The high-standing continents owe their existence to Earth's long history of plate-tectonic activity

By S. Ross Taylor and Scott M. McLennan

Panoramas of the Seafloor

Modern sonar techniques map the continental margins of the U.S. and reveal the richly varied scenery usually hidden underwater.

By Lincoln F. Pratson and William F. Haxby

Sculpting Earth from Inside Out

Powerful motions deep inside the planet do not merely shove fragments of the rocky shell horizontally around the globe-- they also lift and lower entire continents

By Michael Gurnis

Earth's Mantle below the Oceans

Samples collected from the ocean floor reveal how the mantle's convective forces shape Earth's surface, create its crust and perhaps even affect its rotation

By Enrico Bonatti

How Erosion Builds Mountains

An understanding of how tectonic, erosional and climatic forces interact to shape mountains permits clearer insights into Earth's history

By Mark T. Brandon and Nicholas Pinter

Earthquake Conversations

Contrary to prevailing wisdom, large earthquakes can trigger or inhibit one another in unexpected ways. This exciting discovery could dramatically improve scientists' ability to pinpoint future shocks...

By Ross S. Stein

The Threat of Silent Earthquakes

A lack of rumbling does not necessarily make an earthquake harmless. Some of the quiet types could presage devastating tsunamis or larger, ground-shaking shocks

By Peter Cervelli


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