Recent discoveries about our planet, its rocks, and other “stone” topics
Scientists discovered how mother-of-pearl self-assembles into a perfect structure: The right-handed and left-handed defects move through the structure until they meet and cancel each other out. These events lead to a tissue-wide synchronization. Over time, it allows the structure to develop into a perfectly regular and defect-free.
Insights into the Yellowstone hotspot and its supereruptions in the geologic past: according to a new scenario, hotspot volcanism began offshore and migrated to the east-northeast across northeastern California, northern Nevada, southeastern Oregon, and southern Idaho to its current position at Yellowstone National Park.
Surprising news: drylands are not getting drier. Researchers identified a long-term soil moisture regulation of atmospheric circulation and moisture transport that largely ameliorates the potential decline of future water availability in drylands, beyond that expected in the absence of soil moisture feedbacks.
Why Earth’s oddest mammal, Australia’s beaver-like, duck-billed Platypus, lays eggs instead of giving birth to live babies, sweats milk, has venomous spurs, and is even equipped with 10 sex chromosomes. The answer: it belongs to an ancient group of mammals – monotremes -, but is genetically a mixture of mammals, birds, and reptiles. It has preserved many of its ancestors’ original features.
(12.01.2021, USA: 01.12.2021)