soil

8 Stories

Mankind's Blind Spot: We're Ruining Our Soil

George Monbiot: If we don't stop, we can't survive

(Newser) - If you took a poll to find out the biggest threat to the survival of mankind, it's doubtful that "soil" would be on the list. But at the Guardian , George Monbiot argues that the speed at which it's being degraded around the world makes all our other... More »

Researchers Solve Piece of Easter Island Mystery

The ongoing debate: Did Rapa Nui do themselves in, or are Europeans to blame?

(Newser) - The ongoing debate over what prompted the decline of Easter Island's native Polynesian inhabitants, known as Rapa Nui, is being clarified by scientists digging for answers in the soil. Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , an international team of researchers explain that they examined agricultural... More »

Scientists Surprised by Central Park Dirt

It has as much biodiversity as soils 'from the Arctic to Antarctica'

(Newser) - Dirt probably isn't something you'd think of as having "so much going on," but scientist Kelly Ramirez begs to differ. She's sampled dirt from tropical forests to deserts around the world and found it "teeming with so many different types of organisms," she... More »

Mysterious Mounds Attributed to New Source

Theory about soil, erosion may not be sexy, but it's convincing

(Newser) - The mystery of the mounds lives on. A mere six months after researchers said computer modeling proved pocket gophers , over the course of several hundred years of scurrying and burrowing, formed the bizarre-patterned earthen "Mima mounds" in Washington state, a new team of researchers claims that plants are in... More »

Under Greenland's Ice: Soil Older Than Mankind

Land mass once home to forests

(Newser) - The soil under the highest point of the Greenland Ice Sheet, scientists have learned, is 2.7 million years old, LiveScience reports. In other words, the silt buried under thousands of feet of ice "has been preserved from beyond the dawn of humankind," says Paul Bierman, who determined... More »

Martian Soil Is a Lot Like ... Hawaii's?

Curiosity scans soil sample

(Newser) - Aloha, Mars! The Curiosity rover has scanned a sample of Martian soil, and the ground composition on the Red Planet isn't all that unlike Hawaii's, reports the BBC . It's not a huge surprise to NASA scientists, who theorized that the soil would be comprised of "materials... More »

Why Eating Dirt Is Good for Us

Jeff Leach: We need to toughen up our immune systems again

(Newser) - We scrub away germs to ensure good health, but in the long term, our "squeaky-clean" culture may be backfiring on us. Our immune systems developed to fend off a constant threat of invading organisms, learning to distinguish helpful and harmful invaders throughout life, writes Jeff Leach in the New ... More »

For Drinkable Water, Add ... Dirt?

And maybe some salt: Scientists propose simple fix for world crisis

(Newser) - One in 6 people in the world faces a clean-water shortage, according to the United Nations—so scientists are proposing a quick fix. Dirty water can be rendered drinkable using a few odd ingredients: Sun, salt, dirt, and lime, NPR reports. The sun's rays can kill the germs in... More »

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