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Terrestrial Climate
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This image shows annual mean surface temperatures in degrees Celsius at the time of the Permian extinction. It is based on a
computer simulation generated by the Community Climate System Model at NCAR.
Illustration Credit: Jeff Kiehl, NCAR
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Jeffrey Kiehl
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A Flood Glacier in the Boundary Ranges of the Coast Mountains, British Columbia. Credit: University of Michigan
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The Autonomous Benthic Explorer (ABE) will be one of two unmanned vehicles used to explore and map hydrothermal vents sites near Papua New Guinea. (Photo by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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A hydrothermal vent chimney on the East Pacific Rise in the eastern Pacific Ocean. Vents like these exist at mid-ocean ridges on the ocean floor around the world. (Photo by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
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Earth's early atmosphere of nitrogen, methane and carbon dioxide was hostile to life as we know it, but friendly to the first methane-loving bacteria. Astronomers modeled the history of Earth's atmosphere to learn what fingerprints to seek on alien worlds. This artist's rendering shows Earth at 4 billion years ago, before continents had formed and while our planet still suffered bombardment from asteroids and comets left over from the solar system's formation. Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
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Early Earth banner Credit: David A. Aguilar (CfA)
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Analysis of the shale led scientists to conclude significant temperature variations occurred during the Cretaceous Period. Credit: Simon Brassell
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IU Bloomington geochemist Simon Brassell (right), Penn State sedimentologist Michael Arthur (middle), and Tohoku Univ. sedimentologist Harumasa Kano (left) inspect an ancient shale aboard the JOIDES Resolution research vessel. Credit: Ocean Drilling Program
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View of Mittelstation and Davos, in Switzerland. Photo credit: Leslie Mullen
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A new book by Peter Ward suggests dinosaurs became dominant because they developed efficient respiratory systems. Credit: National Academies Press
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Graphic shows changes in the concentrations of cloud droplets over the Southern Ocean. Researchers believe emissions from phytoplankton are increasing cloudiness in the area.
Credit: Nenes/Meskhidze
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This true-color image from NASA´ Visible Earth project shows a phytoplankton bloom off South Georgia Island in January 2004. Researchers have discovered an apparent link between the blooms and increased cloud cover.
Image: NASA
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This true-color image from NASA´ Visible Earth project shows a phytoplankton bloom off South Georgia Island in January 2004. Researchers have discovered an apparent link between the blooms and increased cloud cover.
Image: NASA
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Cosmic radiation penetrating the atmosphere promotes the formation of clouds which have a cooling effect on Earth's climate.
Credit: Danish National Space Center
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One of the ocean bottom seismometers trapped in fresh lava on the East Pacific Rise. The flag on top is used to help locate the device when it surfaces. Photo courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Science Foundation and Ridge 2000
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When researchers went to retrieve 12 ocean bottom seismometers placed along the East Pacific rise to monitor for submarine eruptions, they found most of the instruments were trapped in fresh lava or unresponsive. Credit: Nicolle Rager-Fuller, NSF
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A rock from a banded iron formation in northern Quebec, Canada.

Credit: University of Chicago
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This map illustrates the horizontal surface motions of sites in Asia. Eric Calais, a Purdue associate professor of geophysics, used global positioning systems to measure the precise movements of hundreds of points on the continent to determine how they react to collisions of the underlying tectonic plates. Credit: Purdue graphic/Calais laboratory
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The familiar continents of Earth are embedded in tectonic plates on the planet's surface that slowly collide with each over time.
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Jiayong Wei, Payne´ colleague, examined a block of early Triassic microbial limestone.
Credit: Stanford University
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In south China, Jonathan Payne searched for clues to the recovery from a
250-year-old extinction event.
Credit: Stanford University
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A prototype Venus balloon in a JPL cleanroom.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Earth's biosignatures include methane, liquid water, and ozone. Image Credit: NASA PlanetQuest.
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A team of geochemists has new ideas about how gases are expelled from the Earth, and
their theories may change our understanding of how an atmosphere formed on Earth.
Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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Amplitude of the M2 tidal constituent (in centimetres) derived from the FES99 model. Cotidal lines indicating the phase every 30 degrees originate at amphidromic points where the tidal range is zero. Image Credit: Legos/CNRS
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The new findings resulted from studying a kilometer-long drill core dubbed the
'Hamersley core'. It was recovered as part of the Deep Time Drilling Project (DTDP)
of the Astrobiology Drilling Program (ADP) of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI).
This project involves collaborators from Arizona State University, Harvard, MIT, U.
Maryland, U. C. Riverside and U. Washington as well as the Geological Survey of
Western Australia, Randolph Resources, Hamersley Iron, SIPA Resources International,
and the University of Western Australia.
Credit: Anbar Lab, Arizona State University
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The Hamersley core was acquired from a region in Western Australia. Click here for a
complete image of the region.
Credit: NASA Astrobiology Institute
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This balloon was able to carry a solar telescope to 120,000 Feet.
Credit: NCAR
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The latest rock cores examined for the study were collected from the state of Iowa
in upper Midwest of the United States, and from the state of Queensland in
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ESA's Envisat spacecraft was launched in February of 2002 and continues
to help researchers understand Earth's atmosphere and climate.
Credit: ESA
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This image shows a polished face of the Mezö-Madaras meteorite from Romania - one
example of a common chondrite. The material that composes meteorites like
Mezö-Madaras is thought to be the same material that formed the planets of our Solar
Credit: Arizona State University
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Diagram showing the exploration of subglacial Lake Ellsworth.
Credit: BAS
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The research team includes Dr. Dan Fitzgerald and Dr. John Woodward of the
University of Northumbria, Dr. Andy Smith of the British Antarctic Survey and Dr.
Neil Ross of University of Edinburgh.
Credit: BAS
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This image from a USGS field site in Nevada shows fractures in a rock that are
filled with silica and calcium carbonate. If scientists can determine whether or not
deposits like this have been precipitated by microbes, it might be one way to
identify signs of past life on other planets.
Photo credit: USGS
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Calcium carbonate is found in rocks all over the world. It can form with or without
microbes - but scientists have long wondered if there was a way to distinguish
between the calcium carbonate precipitated by microbes and that which forms through
non-biological means.
Credit: University of Texas
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The Toarcian occurred at the end of the early Jurassic Period, between 183 million years ago to 175 million years ago.
Credit: UC Berkeley
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The carbon cycle is one of the most important biogeochemical cycles on Earth. In any given year, tens of billions of tons of carbon move between the atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere. The illustration above shows total amounts of stored carbon in black, and annual carbon fluxes in purple.
Credit: NASA/NASA Earth Science Enterprise
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Sometime between 180 and 120 million years ago, the great Pangaea landmass broke apart into two continents. Gondwana, the southern continent, consisted of Africa, South America, India, Madagascar, Australia and New Zealand. The northern continent, Laurasia, was composed of what are now North America, Europe, Asia and Greenland.
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