desert

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Legend of Lost Treasure Ship Thrives in California Desert

Believers say it's out there, buried amid the rocks and sand

(Newser) - Alexander Nazaryan calls it "fake news for the romantic soul." Tales of a treasure-laden ship lost in the sands of California's Colorado desert that—though the details change—have persisted for at least 140 years. The Newsweek reporter takes a journey into the desert with a former... More »

Tesla Owner Stranded in Desert, and Not for Lack of Charge

Ryan Negri relied on phone to start car, but they were out of range

(Newser) - One Tesla Model S driver learned the hard way that technology has its limits. In a story he tells on Instagram , Ryan Negri describes venturing out into the Nevada desert with his wife and two dogs: "The thought was to go for a quick drive to take some photos... More »

Theory May Finally Explain Fabled 'Fairy Circles'

It's a combo of plants and termites

(Newser) - Scientists are always crashing the party when they bring the likeliest but often mundane reasons for mysterious phenomena. Such is the case in Namibia, where so-called "fairy circles" that pockmark the desert are now being explained in the journal Nature as not the footprints of gods or poisoned patches... More »

New Species Looks Like Ant, Bee Had a Baby

9 new species of desert bee revealed in Zootaxa study

(Newser) - If an ant and a bee had a baby, it would probably look a lot like the male Perdita prodigiosa, one of nine new species of desert bee mesmerizing researchers. All of the newly discovered bees come from the Perdita group of more than 700 species and subspecies of bees... More »

3 Kids Dumped in Scorching Desert as Punishment: Cops

California mom Mary Bell, boyfriend Gary Cassle arrested on felony child abuse charges

(Newser) - San Bernardino County deputies received a disturbing call Wednesday: Three young children were wandering around a Twentynine Palms-area desert. When they arrived on the scene around 11:30am, one of the hottest parts of the day ( KESQ notes it was around 94 degrees; the New York Daily News says... More »

Water Once Flowed Across the Sahara—and Might Again

New images reveal an ancient river system running through the desert

(Newser) - The Sahara wasn't much of a desert a while back. Satellite images have confirmed the existence of a river network that spanned hundreds of miles and made the region habitable for plants, animals, and humans as recently as 5,000 years ago, according to a French study in Nature... More »

Cops: Man Left Granddaughter, 5, in Desert With Loaded Gun

He reportedly told her to 'shoot any bad guys'

(Newser) - After downing a cheeseburger and a handful of drinks Sunday evening, Paul Rater called home and ordered his wife to come get him, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office says, per the Arizona Republic . But instead of his wife showing up at the South Buckeye Equestrian Center, the cops did—... More »

One of the Driest Places on Earth Is Covered in Flowers

The Atacama Desert is blooming thanks to record rainfall

(Newser) - One of the driest, harshest landscapes in the world has been transformed into a psychedelic canvas of reds, purples, and greens after record-setting rain. Live Science reports that Chile's Atacama Desert averages just over half an inch of rain a year, with some parts of the desert getting even... More »

Rockhound Finds WWII Bomb in Utah Desert

He was disappointed when the Air Force blew it up

(Newser) - Ex-Marine Craig Alvord calls it a "once-in-a-lifetime" find after more than 50 years of rockhounding: a 500-pound unexploded WWII-era bomb. According to the Desert News , Alvord found the 6-foot-long bomb while hunting rocks in Utah's West Desert Monday. He tells KSL he was nervous finding the bomb, so... More »

Couple Who Died in NM Desert Used Water to Save Son

French family wasn't prepared for the White Sands heat

(Newser) - Tragedy at White Sands: A French couple who disastrously underestimated the power of the New Mexico desert died in the heat but used what little water they had to keep their son alive, the Guardian reports. From what investigators can piece together, Ornella and David Steiner and their 9-year-old son,... More »

Scientists Make Amazing 'Fairy Circle' Finding

The circles' layout matches those of skin cells

(Newser) - The Namibian desert is home to what are called " fairy circles ": strange formations of grassless earth surrounded by grass. Almost perfect circles, they're the subject of local myths, the BBC reports. Researchers still don't know what causes them, but new findings could help them figure it... More »

25% of India Turning to Desert

Desertification, degradation could threaten food security

(Newser) - Nearly a quarter of India's land is turning to desert thanks to over-use of land, heavy grazing, and changing rainfall patterns, says the country's environment minister. He warns "land is becoming barren," and notes that could threaten food security in a country that houses 17% of... More »

How Maine Got Its Desert

40-acre phenomenon is Ice Age leftover

(Newser) - If you're ever in Maine, it might not hurt to bring a camel. Sure, the state has its forests and coastline, but it's also home to a 47-acre desert. Well, not technically a desert, thanks to the amount of precipitation it gets. Still, "walking to the middle... More »

How Did 'White Gold' End Up in Chile's Desert?

Scientists think nitrates came from ancient groundwater, not evaporation from the sea

(Newser) - Chile's Atacama Desert—the world's highest and driest—is packed with what's been called "white gold": nitrate deposits that have been historically important. The nitrates found there were key to World War I bombs and battling iodine deficiency, LiveScience reports. But until now, just how the... More »

72 Women, Kids Rescued in Sahara

Group was stranded when truck broke down

(Newser) - A delegation on its way to visit the burial place of 92 migrants who died of thirst in northern Niger saved 72 women and children from dying in the same unforgiving part of the Sahara. The group, 20 women and 52 children, were on their way back from Algeria when... More »

Desert Yields Bodies of 92 Thirst Victims

Thousands try cross-Sahara journey seeking work

(Newser) - Earlier reports suggested that about 35 people , apparently migrants seeking work, had died of thirst in a Niger desert—but the remains of more than double that number have been discovered by rescue teams, reports the AP . The 92 highly decomposed bodies appeared to have been scavenged by jackals, rescue... More »

Dozens Die of Thirst After Desert Stranding

5 bodies discovered following vehicle's breakdown near Sahara

(Newser) - Statements don't get much bleaker than this: "About 40 Niger people, including numerous children and women, who were attempting to emigrate to Algeria, died of thirst in mid-October." That's what the mayor of Agadez, Niger, tells the AFP , which reports that one of two vehicles carrying... More »

Couple Die of Thirst in Desert

They were trying to get across Saudi Arabia's 'Empty Quarter'

(Newser) - A Qatari couple trying to drive across the biggest desert in the world has been found dead, reports the BBC . The couple apparently had car trouble in the middle of what's aptly called the Empty Quarter, a desolate stretch of sand more than 600 miles wide where temperatures top... More »

Once-Green Sahara Turned to Dust Quickly

Change occurred 5K years ago, over a century or two

(Newser) - You wouldn't know it from looking around today, but the Sahara desert was once a lush, green wonderland of lakes, vegetation, and animals. And then poof, relatively speaking, it turned into the desert we know today. Researchers studying 30,000 years of dust sediment off the coast of Africa... More »

Desert 'Fairy Circles' Made by ... Termites?

German scientist thinks he's solved the mystery

(Newser) - It's kind of a let-down, if true. A German scientist says the mysterious "fairy circles" that have long cropped up in the desert of southwest Africa are caused by humble sand termites, reports Global Post . The critters live beneath the soil and thrive on grass roots, explains Norbert... More »

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