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Evidence supports ‘hot start’ scenario and early ocean formation on Pluto

The accretion of new material during Pluto’s formation may have generated enough heat to create a liquid ocean that has persisted beneath an icy crust to the present day, despite the dwarf planet’s orbit far from the sun in the cold outer reaches of the solar system.

Original story from UCSC Newscenter.











In death of dinosaurs, it was all about the asteroid — not volcanoes

New research published in Science argues that environmental impacts from massive volcanic eruptions in India did not play a direct role in the mass extinction that killed the dinosaurs. It was all about the impact of an asteroid. The discovery was made by climate scientist James Zachos and earth science alumni Donald Penman, Richard Norris, and Peter Lippert.
Original story from UCSC Newscenter.





Galaxy found to float in a tranquil sea of halo gas

“The signal from the fast radio burst exposed the nature of the magnetic field around the galaxy and the structure of the halo gas. The study proves a new and transformative technique for exploring the nature of galaxy halos,” said J. Xavier Prochaska, professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz and lead author of a paper on the new findings published online September 26 in Science.


New study traces Io's volcanic tides

PhysOrg — “The magma in Io’s crust takes time to flow,” said Francis Nimmo, a geophysicist at the University of California Santa Cruz and co-author on the new paper. “If you squeeze and stretch the crust rapidly, nothing happens; but if you squeeze and stretch it more slowly, the magma has time to move far enough to fill a volcanic conduit, causing an eruption. It’s similar to the way you can run on wet sand, but if you walk slowly your feet sink.”



Sea of Galilee earthquakes triggered by excessive water pumping

Science Magazine — Researchers have long known that humans can cause earthquakes by injecting fluid into the ground—a technique used in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to break open rocks and release natural gas or petroleum. Pumping water into geothermal vents to generate steam for heating and electricity has also triggered temblors. But earthquakes set off by pumping fresh water out of underground aquifers haven’t received much attention, says study co-author Emily Brodsky, a seismologist at the University of California, Santa Cruz. “This is not the first example of groundwater extraction triggering earthquakes, but it’s uncommon,” she says.