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Uncharted Arctic waters: A new opportunity for exploitation, or conservation?

Co-authored by Erica Cirino When thick sheets of sea ice began melting in the Arctic waters around Svalbard, Norway, a few years ago, a new expanse of sparkling blue sea opened up. As climate change continues to drive ice melt here on the previously untouched waters of the North Barents Sea, what many ocean conservationists…

See Mars Map Landmarks for Yourself

A new Mars map makes a visual trip to the red planet possible for stargazers.

Stronger Efforts Needed to Reduce Nitrate Pollution in Mississippi River Basin

Despite growing concern over the last two decades about the low-oxygen “dead zone” that emerges each summer in the fisheries-rich Gulf of Mexico, the nitrate pollution at the root of the problem continues to rise. That’s the upshot of a study just released by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which monitored nitrate trends at eight…

The Missing Colorado River Delta: Rivers, Borders, and Maps

Water flows downhill, and you wouldn’t think that rivers would stop for political boundaries, not even when national borders intersect a river channel’s natural course.  The Mekong flows through China, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia before it drains into the South China Sea.  The Nile watershed includes Ethiopia, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt,…

August 18, 2013: Saving Children in Ethiopia, Reigning In Our Sweet Tooth, and More

This week, we stop an ancient Ethiopian curse, then we explore Iran using century-old images, and finally, we power homes using gas from human waste.

A New Check-Up on the Health of U.S. Rivers

Thanks in large part to the Clean Water Act, many rivers in the United States are cleaner now than when Ohio’s Cuyahoga River caught fire on a Sunday morning in June 1969. But the vast majority of the nation’s rivers and streams still do not measure up as healthy. According to a new assessment by…

Climate Change Questions From Glacier National Park

“Climate Connections” is a video series produced by the U.S. Geological Survey, in which scientists answer questions about climate change from across the nation. The latest episode focuses on Glacier National Park in Montana, and the repercussions of global warming on the park’s eponymous glaciers.

The Venomous Lizard, a Snake-Eating Snake, and the Tortoise that Holds its Poop

USGS herpetologist Cecil Schwalbe is a popular scientist at the Saguaro National Park BioBlitz. He demonstrates some of the charismatic reptiles found in the park, including a venomous lizard, a snake-eating snake, and a tortoise that survives the desert drought by holding in its pee and poop.

Why Rivers Need to Flow — High and Low — Again

Don’t be surprised if the next time you head down to a river with a fishing pole you pull up a lowly carp instead of a prized native trout. Most rivers no longer flow the way they’re supposed to flow–and that’s changing the mix of fish and other organisms that call them home. That’s a…

Mars Orbiter Takes an Unscheduled Breather

In the animal world, the fight-or-flight instinct is a pretty common response to danger. But when you’re a multimillion-dollar spacecraft, caution is usually the only response you get preprogrammed with. Adding to poor beleaguered NASA’s spate of recent glitches, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter went into safe mode on Monday after suffering what appears to have…