Volcanoes and Herzog

Werner Herzog, the legendary German director, has always been fascinated by Nature and Death. What more intriguing for him than volcanoes, that embody both the dersupting forces that shaped the Earth, as well as the destiny that awaits all those who choose to defy them?

This gigantic, unnamed Chilean volcano is an iconic representation of the mighty forces that shape Earth. Photograph by Fabio Luca Bonali.
This gigantic, unnamed Chilean volcano is an iconic representation of the mighty forces that shape the Earth. Photograph by Fabio Luca Bonali.

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Italy: A History of Earthquakes

 Italy braces itself once again in the wake of a M 6.6 jolt that shattered the town of Norcia, in the Southeast of Umbria, causing major damage to the Monastery of St. Benedict, one of many Italian architectural jewels that are prone to seismic activity in the central part of the peninsula. Continue reading Italy: A History of Earthquakes

Italy: on shaky grounds

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Satellite image of the Italian peninsula, a seismically-hyperactive land.

The recent, catastrophic quake in Central Italy is the lastest of a series of seismic jolts that have rattled the country since 1908. This alarming seismic pattern can be understood in terms of the dynamics of the Italian peninsula, undoubtedly one of the most geologically-active regions on Earth. Continue reading Italy: on shaky grounds

Italy: Earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings do

Italy has once again been struck by a deadly temblor that, to date, caused 290 deaths and thousands of injured. This is the seventh deadly quake in Italy in the last 40 years, with most of the tremors concentrated in central-southern Italy.

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Giant helium reserve found in the East African Rift Valley

Underneath the iconic, East African terrain, lay huge volumes of helium.   Photograph by A. Tibaldi
Huge volumes of helium are trapped underneath the iconic, East African Rift terrain.
Photograph by A. Tibaldi

Reseachers uncovered a mammoth helium gas field, in the Tanzanian East African Rift, which they say could help address the increasingly critical shortage of this vital element.

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Getting rid of excess CO2 once and for all? Iceland tests confirm it is possible

Iceland's basalts have proven to be the key to tackling global warming once and for all. Photo by Federico P. Mariotto
Basaltic rocks, like the ones that were erupted in Iceland, may represent the key to tackling the global warming crisis. Photo by Federico P. Mariotto.

A new, cutting-edge research published by Science in June 2016 gives new hope to mankind: Global warming and climate change, the most devastating environmental problems that Earth is facing these days, might be defeated.

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New insights into the origin of Solar storms

Solar eruptive events caused by magnetic reconnection on the sun can lead to giant ejections of solar material, called coronal mass ejections. This one, as observed by the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, traveled through space toward Earth in July 2012. Credits: ESA&NASA/SOHO
Solar eruptive events caused by magnetic reconnection on the sun can lead to giant ejections of solar material, called coronal mass ejections. This one, as observed by the joint ESA/NASA Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, traveled through space toward Earth in July 2012.
Credits: ESA&NASA/SOHO

The Magnetospheric Multi Scale or MMS mission celebrates one year in space since it was launched in March 12, 2015. It’s now fully operative “in science mode” and collecting measurements with 4 spacecraft flying in a tetrahedral formation sampling the Earth’s magnetosphere and collecting¬†pressure, velocity and temperature observations of charged particles in space. Continue reading New insights into the origin of Solar storms

A record-breaking catastrophe at Zion Canyon, Utah, 4,800 years ago


Nobody could even imagine what might happen if a landslide as catastrophic as the one that struck Zion Canyon, Utah, 4,800 years ago, were to occur today in the same area, a hikers’ paradise visited every year by millions of tourists. Continue reading A record-breaking catastrophe at Zion Canyon, Utah, 4,800 years ago

Looking into Mercury’s secrets

Mercury globe - Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington
Mercury globe – Credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun and also the smallest in the Solar System. With a high-eccentricity orbit and a gravity which is about 3 times smaller than that on Earth, it takes about 88 days to complete its orbit around our Star. Continue reading Looking into Mercury’s secrets