Tree rings may tell how old a tree is, but the rings or annual bands in some skeletal coral may tell not only the age of the animal, but also something of the dynamics of the ocean in which it grew, according to Penn State and University of Miami researchers. “Some coral grows like a tree; each year a complete layer with both a high and low-density skeletal calcium carbonate band is formed by the coral animal,” says Dr. Lisa Greer, assistant professor of geosciences. “Not all corals create rings, but the massive corals like boulder star coral or pin cushion coral do.”
Researchers have found that a portion of anomalous cosmic rays — charged particles accelerated to enormous energies by the solar wind — results from interactions with dust grains from a belt of comet-sized objects near Pluto’s orbit. These objects make up what is known as the Kuiper Belt, a remnant of the formation of the solar system.
Detection techniques and technology have improved so much in recent years that seismologists now say they are able to detect and identify virtually all events that might be nuclear explosions of possible military significance under the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty. Verification was a major issue in the U.S. Senate debate in 1999, in which American ratification of the treaty was defeated.
More auto news. A Stanford researcher has found that although diesel cars obtain 25 to 35 percent better mileage and emit less carbon dioxide than similar gasoline cars, they can emit 25 to 400 times more soot per kilometer. The warming due to soot may more than offset the cooling due to reduced carbon dioxide emissions over several decades. Laws that favor diesel cars over standard gasoline, therefore, may be doing more harm than good.