A Strange New Blend of Rock and Plastic Is Forming on a Portuguese Island

If you go to the beach, you’re likely to see some form of plastic pollution scattered in the waves or sprinkled among the sand grains. A bottle cap fragment here, a transparent piece of packaging there. But researchers have identified a new, and perhaps more permanent type of plastic pollution, one that incorporates itself right into the rocky shoreline: 'plasticrust', a veneer of plastic encrusted right onto wave-licked rocks. Read More >>

We Finally Know the Immense Weight of Humanity’s Footprint

It should be obvious to everyone at this point that humans are having an enormous impact on the planet. But how much, exactly, does our collective footprint weigh? It may sound odd, but a new scientific paper is offering an answer to that very question: a staggering 30 trillion tonnes. Read More >>

The Sixth Mass Extinction Will Be Like Nothing in Earth’s History

The sixth mass extinction — the one that seven billion humans are sadly doing their utmost to trigger at this very moment — is shaping up to be like nothing our planet has ever seen. That’s the conclusion of a sweeping new analysis, which compared marine fossil records from Earth’s five previous mass extinction events to what’s happening in the oceans right now. Read More >>

There Is A Lot Of Confusion About What Geologic Epoch We’re In

For the record, planet Earth is still in the Holocene. Read More >>

Six Signs That We’ve Entered a New Geologic Age

We’ve heard a lot of buzz recently about the Anthropocene, the geologic epoch of man and machine. Does it exist? Are we in it right now? Later this summer, the International Stratigraphic Union will convene and attempt to answer these weighty questions. Read More >>

Swarms of Octopuses Are Taking Over the World’s Oceans

Something strange is happening to the oceans. As coral reefs wither and fisheries collapse, octopuses are multiplying like mad. As soon as they perceive weakness, they will amass an army and invade the land, too. Read More >>

These Harrowing Photographs Depict East Africa’s Dystopian Future

Africa is one of the last great holdouts for charismatic megafauna. But as the human population continues to grow and industrialise, lions, zebras, and elephants are being edged out of existence. A harrowing new series by photographer Nick Brandt makes this transformation visceral. Read More >>

A Huge Portion of Greenland Started Melting This Week

A vast region of Greenland is experiencing a freakishly early spring thaw. Summer-like temperatures—a balmy 10 degrees Celsius—have created a melt area encompassing 12 per cent of the planet’s northernmost ice sheet, according to analysis by the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI). That’s not normal. Read More >>

We Finally Know Why the North Pole is Moving East

Something strange is happening to our planet. Around the year 2000, the North rotational pole started migrating eastward at a vigorous clip. Now, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have figured out what’s going on — and you’ll be shocked to learn that humans are behind it. Read More >>

The Future Happened 56 Million Years Ago

History has a way of repeating itself. Humans are currently conducting a grand experiment with Earth’s climate, but the outcome of that experiment may be foretold. According to Penn State climate scientist Richard Alley, the future—or a somewhat diluted version of it—happened 55.9 million years ago. Read More >>

How to Survive a Mass Extinction

If we want to know what sorts of creatures will survive the next mass extinction, the best place to look is the fossil record. After examining the bones of Lystrosaurus, a vertebrate that famously thrived during the worst apocalypse in the history of life on Earth, a team of paleontologists think they know how it managed to adapt. Read More >>

We Were Wrong About What Happened After Europeans Reached America

The tale of Europeans explorers’ arrival in the Americas is a dark one, coloured by slavery, slaughter, and smallpox. But a new study calls key details of that story into question, including how quickly Native American societies succumbed to disease, and how Earth’s climate responded. Read More >>