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Earth Sciences - Physics - 20.11.2019
Stabilizing a cliff using biomineral binders
Stabilizing a cliff using biomineral binders
EPFL spin-off Medusoil has successfully tested its ground-stabilization process on cliffs subject to surface erosion. The company's biomineral-based solution can be used to stabilize sandy and gravelly subsoils to safeguard surrounding infrastructure. It is a long-lasting and easy-to-use alternative to industrial fluids - the production and use of which can be harmful to the environment.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 13.11.2019
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Large storage potential in future ice-free glacier basins
Glaciologists at ETH Zurich and WSL assessed the global water storage and hydropower potential that could be freed up in future as glaciers melt in response to climate change. Global warming will cause substantial glacier retreat for the majority of the world's glaciers over the next few decades. This will not only spell the end for some magnificent natural monuments, but also importantly affect the water cycle.

Computer Science / Telecom - Earth Sciences - 08.11.2019
Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike
Using AI to predict where and when lightning will strike
Researchers at EPFL have developed a novel way of predicting lightning strikes to the nearest 10 to 30 minutes and within a radius of 30 kilometers. The system uses a combination of standard data from weather stations and artificial intelligence. Lightning is one of the most unpredictable phenomena in nature.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 25.10.2019
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
Mountain streams emit a surprising amount of CO2
For the first time, an EPFL-led team of scientists has measured the total amount of CO2 emissions from mountain streams worldwide. This research builds on findings issued in February 2019 and shows how important it is to include mountain streams in assessments of the global carbon cycle.  Mountains cover 25% of the Earth's surface, and the streams draining these mountains account for more than a third of the global runoff.

Earth Sciences - 14.10.2019
Clay minerals call the shots with carbon
Clay minerals call the shots with carbon
Clay minerals suspended in seawater binds sedimentary organic carbon to their mineral surfaces. But the quantity of carbon that is bound and the source of that carbon very much depends on the clay mineral in question. A research team from ETH Zurich and Tongji University have shown this by studying sediments in the South China Sea.

Earth Sciences - 09.10.2019
Was that the main quake?
So far it has not been possible to predict whether a strong quake will probably be followed by a stronger one or not. A new study by researchers from the Swiss Seismological Service at ETH Zurich gives rise to hopes of being able to make predictions in almost real time. Whereas most major earthquakes are not preceded by foreshocks, they are always followed by thousands of aftershocks, whose frequency and magnitude fade over time.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 12.09.2019
Gloomy forecast for the Aletsch Glacier
Gloomy forecast for the Aletsch Glacier
The largest glacier in the Alps is visibly suffering the effects of global warming. ETH researchers have now calculated how much of the Aletsch Glacier will still be visible by the end of the century. In the worst-case scenario, a couple patches of ice will be all that's left. Every year, it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world: as the largest ice flow in the Alps, the Great Aletsch Glacier is a major tourism draw in the Swiss region of Upper Valais, second only to the Matterhorn.

Astronomy / Space Science - Earth Sciences - 29.08.2019
Hints of a volcanically active exomoon
Hints of a volcanically active exomoon
A rocky extrasolar moon (exomoon) with bubbling lava may orbit a planet 550 light-years away from us. This is suggested by an international team of researchers led by the University of Bern on the basis of theoretical predictions matching observations. The "exo-Io" would appear to be an extreme version of Jupiter's moon Io.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 20.08.2019
Methods for reducing the risks of melting glaciers
Methods for reducing the risks of melting glaciers
Under a pilot project being spearheaded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), a team of experts - including civil and environmental engineers from EPFL - are studying methods to help protect a region of the Andes Mountains threatened by glacial retreat. The testing phase of the pilot project will conclude at the end of the month.

Earth Sciences - Computer Science / Telecom - 13.08.2019
Monitoring the Matterhorn with millions of data points
Monitoring the Matterhorn with millions of data points
A unique project is linking in-situ measurements with natural hazards research. For the past ten years, a network of wireless sensors on the Matterhorn's Hörnli ridge has been constantly streaming measurement data on the condition of steep rock faces, permafrost and prevailing climate. The project leader, Jan Beutel, reviews progress to date.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.07.2019
Volcanoes shaped the climate before humankind
Volcanoes shaped the climate before humankind
Five large volcanic eruptions occurred in the early 19th century. They caused cooling and - as a study led by the University of Bern shows - to drying in the monsoon regions and glaciers growing in the Alps. The study shows that the pre-industrial climate was not constant: if one takes this cold period as the starting point for current global warming, the climate has already warmed up more than assumed in the current discussions.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 03.07.2019
Influence in absentia
Influence in absentia
The preferred food of pike in shallow lakes in Denmark and Sweden is roach. Seven in ten fish found by researchers in the stomachs of pike were roach - and the numbers tended to be even higher in wintertime. The roach that pike ate in lakes with tributary or outflowing rivers were, admittedly, smaller during the winter, and became somewhat thinner as winter went on.

Earth Sciences - 27.06.2019
When Lake Zurich guarantees the best cool-down
When Lake Zurich guarantees the best cool-down
Two years ago, researchers from Eawag and EPFL posted a publicly accessible 3D model on www.meteolakes.ch * that uses current and forecast data from MeteoSchweiz, hydrological data from the Federal Office for the Environment and satellite data to map lake water temperatures. The temperatures are calculated for different depths and with a temporal resolution of three hours.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 23.05.2019
Source of new CFC emissions discovered
Source of new CFC emissions discovered
Since 2013, annual emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon CFC-11 have increased by around 7,000 metric tons from eastern China, according to a new study by an international team of scientists including Empa researchers, published in «Nature» today. The new discovery follows a finding in 2018 that emissions of this very important ozone-depleting substance had increased.

Life Sciences - Earth Sciences - 15.04.2019
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
Necrophagy: a means of survival in the Dead Sea
UNIGE researchers have found that bacteria can survive in the sediments of the Dead Sea at a depth of over 400 metres in spite of extreme conditions. Studying organic matter in sediments helps shed light on the distant past. What was the climate like? What organisms populated the Earth? What conditions did they live in? Researchers from the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, and the University of Lyon, France, have examined the sediments in the Dead Sea, where the salinity is without compare, making it one of the most hostile environments on the planet.

Earth Sciences - 08.04.2019
Melting Glaciers Causing Sea Levels to Rise at Ever Greater Rates
Melting Glaciers Causing Sea Levels to Rise at Ever Greater Rates
Melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic as well as ice melt from glaciers all over the world are causing sea levels to rise. Glaciers alone lost more than 9,000 billion tons of ice since 1961, raising water levels by 27 millimeters, an international research team under the lead of UZH have now found.

Earth Sciences - 22.03.2019
How fluid viscosity affects earthquake intensity
How fluid viscosity affects earthquake intensity
A young researcher at EPFL has demonstrated that the viscosity of fluids present in faults has a direct effect on the force of earthquakes. Fault zones play a key role in shaping the deformation of the Earth's crust. All of these zones contain fluids, which heavily influence how earthquakes propagate.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 18.03.2019
Researchers make a key discovery on how alpine streams work
Researchers make a key discovery on how alpine streams work
An EPFL study has showed that until now, scientists have been substantially underestimating how quickly gases are exchanged between mountain streams and the atmosphere. Based on research in the Swiss cantons of Vaud and Valais, an EPFL laboratory has shed new light on the role of mountain streams to emit greenhouse gases.

Earth Sciences - Health - 28.01.2019
New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake
New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake
EPFL scientists have developed a new method for evaluating building safety after an earthquake, helping residents return to their homes more quickly. Deciding when it's safe for a building's residents to move back in after an earthquake is a major challenge and responsibility for civil engineers. Not only do they have to evaluate whether the building could collapse, but also whether it could withstand aftershocks of the same magnitude.