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Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.08.2022
Fluoride in groundwater: global map shows all risk areas for the first time
Fluoride in groundwater: global map shows all risk areas for the first time
As an additive in toothpaste, it protects our teeth from decay. But when fluoride occurs in nature in larger quantities and accumulates in groundwater, it can become a hazard for our health. For the first time, scientists have produced a detailed map of global fluoride contamination in groundwater and shown which regions of the world are particularly affected.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 10.08.2022
One more clue to the Moon's origin
One more clue to the Moon’s origin
Researchers from ETH Zurich discover the first definitive proof that the Moon inherited indigenous noble gases from the Earth's mantle. The discovery represents a significant piece of the puzzle towards understanding how the Moon and, potentially, the Earth and other celestial bodies were formed. Humankind has maintained an enduring fascination with the Moon.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 28.07.2022
Heatwaves thawing Arctic permafrost
Heatwaves thawing Arctic permafrost
Satellite data affords researchers a new method for quantifying carbon mobilisation in Arctic permafrost. Their findings also reveal how summer heatwaves accelerate the rate of Arctic landslides in thawing permafrost. In the northernmost region of the earth the arctic permafrost is melting at an accelerated rate.

Health - Earth Sciences - 26.07.2022
Imaging the brain with ultrasound waves
Imaging the brain with ultrasound waves
As wave specialists, seismologists map the structure of planets from the information that seismic waves carry. Now, the team led by ETH professor Andreas Fichtner is also using this knowledge for medical imaging. Both ultrasound for medical imaging and seismology for imaging the Earth's interior measure the propagation of waves through matter.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 07.07.2022
Ozone depletion over North Pole produces weather anomalies
Ozone depletion over North Pole produces weather anomalies
Researchers from ETH Zurich have established that the destruction of ozone over the Arctic in the spring causes abnormal weather throughout the northern hemisphere, with many places being warmer and drier than average - or too wet. Many people are familiar with the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica, but what is less well known is that occasionally, the protective ozone in the stratosphere over the Arctic is destroyed as well, thinning the ozone layer there.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 27.06.2022
Long-term liquid water also on non-Earth-like planets?
Long-term liquid water also on non-Earth-like planets?
Liquid water is an important prerequisite for life to develop on a planet. As researchers from the University of Bern, the University of Zurich and the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS report in a new study, liquid water could also exist for billions of years on planets that are very different from Earth.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 22.06.2022
Tapping the ocean as a source of natural products
Tapping the ocean as a source of natural products
Using DNA data, researchers have examined seawater to find not only new species of bacteria, but also previously unknown natural products that may one day prove beneficial. The oceans are teeming with countless forms of life, from the world's largest creature - the blue whale - to miniscule microorganisms.

Earth Sciences - Physics - 16.06.2022
An underrated factor
An underrated factor
How the plates of the Earth's crust move depends largely on the behaviour of the rocks below them in the mantle. A new ETH study now shows that the grain size of these rocks is a key factor. The face of our planet is shaped by forces deep within its interior. These push the plates of the Earth's crust against each other, causing mountains and volcanoes to form along the collision zones.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 09.06.2022
Ground-breaking number of brown dwarfs discovered
Ground-breaking number of brown dwarfs discovered
Brown dwarfs, mysterious objects that straddle the line between stars and planets, are essential to our understanding of both stellar and planetary populations. However, only 40 brown dwarfs could be imaged around stars in almost three decades of searches. An international team led by researchers from the Open University and the University of Bern directly imaged a remarkable four new brown dwarfs thanks to a new innovative search method.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 09.06.2022
It was true detective work!
It was true detective work!
The InSight mission on Mars is running out of power and most of its functions could be shut down in the months to come. Some have already been deactivated. However, the attached seismometer, SEIS, will remain in operation for as long as possible. ETH Professor Domenico Giardini takes stock of three years of marsquake measurements.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 31.05.2022
Water treatment plants would be ready for the removal of nanoplastics
Water treatment plants would be ready for the removal of nanoplastics
The biologically active, slow-flow sand filters of lake water treatment would remove nanoplastics from the raw water very efficiently. This was shown both in the laboratory and in larger, realistic tests and modelling. It's a hot topic, at least on social media: tiny plastic particles allegedly end up not only in oceans and lakes, but also in drinking water - and, yes, even in bottled mineral water.

Earth Sciences - Innovation - 20.05.2022
The missing piece to faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D mapping
The missing piece to faster, cheaper and more accurate 3D mapping
Engineers at EPFL and the University of Geneva believe they hold the key to automated drone mapping. By combining artificial intelligence with a new algorithm, their method promises to considerably reduce the time and resources needed to accurately scan complex landscapes. Three-dimensional (3D) mapping is a very useful tool, such as for monitoring construction sites, tracking the effects of climate change on ecosystems and verifying the safety of roads and bridges.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 17.05.2022
New findings on the global cooling of 1627 BC
New findings on the global cooling of 1627 BC
An interdisciplinary study, in which the University of Bern played a major role, sheds new light on two extreme volcanic events and a subsequent global cooling in antiquity. With the help of a highly precise analysis of volcanic ash and sulphur in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, it became clear that the global cooling around 1627 BC was not attributable to the Thera volcano in Santorini, as previously assumed, but to a volcano in distant Alaska.

Paleontology - Earth Sciences - 17.05.2022
Previously Unknown Dolphin Species Was Present in Switzerland
Previously Unknown Dolphin Species Was Present in Switzerland
Twenty million years ago, the Swiss Plateau region, or -Mittelland-, was an ocean in which dolphins swam.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 09.05.2022
Failed eruptions are at the origin of copper deposits
Failed eruptions are at the origin of copper deposits
Scientists reveal a surprising mechanism in the formation of copper deposits, an essential metal for the energy transition. Copper is one of the most widely used metals on the planet today due to its electrical and thermal conduction properties. The greatest natural resources of this metal are the so-called "porphyry" deposits that come from magmas deep in the Earth.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.05.2022
Assess and predict the quality of drinking water
Assess and predict the quality of drinking water
Oliver Schilling is newly appointed Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of Basel, where he is setting up a research group that is also associated with the Eawag Water Resources and Drinking Water Department in Dübendorf. This dual affiliation is perfect, says Schilling. Oliver Schilling spends most of his working time at the University of Basel, where he has been gathering his research group around him as a new assistant professor of hydrogeology since the beginning of March.

Earth Sciences - Environment - 19.04.2022
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
No glacial fertilization effect in the Antarctic Ocean
Can iron-rich dust fertilize the ocean, stimulate algae growth there, and thereby capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere? An international research team involving the University of Bern and led by the University of Bonn used deep-sea sediment cores from the Scotia Sea to investigate whether this hypothetical greenhouse gas sink had an effect during ice ages.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 29.03.2022
Restoring dammed rivers using artificial floods
Restoring dammed rivers using artificial floods
Naturally, water levels of rivers and streams are variable and fluctuate between drier and wetter periods. Spring snowmelt and the timing and location of rainfall events often drive these fluctuations, especially in alpine areas. Sediment and adsorbed nutrients are mobilised by flowing water and transported through river valleys.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 22.03.2022
'Groundwater, the invisible treasure'
’Groundwater, the invisible treasure’
Groundwater serves as drinking water for around half of the world's population and provides water for over 40 percent of the world's agriculture. So, there is no question that groundwater research plays an important role at Eawag. The aquatic research institute deals with groundwater quality, the regeneration of groundwater, geochemical processes in the subsurface and the treatment of groundwater to produce drinking water , both nationally and internationally.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 11.02.2022
Studying clouds can provide deeper insight into climate change
Studying clouds can provide deeper insight into climate change
An international team of scientists conducted CALISHTO, a large-scale air measurement campaign in Greece last fall, with the goal of surveying, counting and characterizing the tiny particles and their impact on cloud formation. The goal is to incorporate this information in climate models for improved predictions of clouds, precipitation and climate.