Frontiers | Science News

Science News post list

23 news posts in Frontiers in Earth Science

Featured news

16 Oct 2023

Chronic pain may increase dementia risk: Here are five Frontiers articles you won’t want to miss

by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, it’s impossible to cover all of them. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. Chronic pain associated with increased dementia risk Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) make up approximately 80% of the more than 47 million cases of dementia worldwide. Looking into the future, cases are expected to increase sharply in the coming decades. A large percentage of the older population is also affected by chronic pain, a leading cause of disability that shares many risk factors with ADRD. These include advanced age, depressive disorders, diabetes, obesity, social isolation, and a low level of education. Now, researchers in France have assessed the impact of chronic pain on the incidence of ADRD. They published their results in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. They found that the presence of chronic pain is associated with a higher incidence and risk of developing ADRD when compared with older adults with no chronic pain. The researchers stressed the importance of prevention, diagnosis, and management of chronic pain to limit resulting […]

Earth science

04 Apr 2023

New low-cost camera could help scientists forecast volcano eruptions affecting millions

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Monitoring emissions from volcanoes – particularly sulfur dioxide (SO2) using specialized cameras – is important for hazard forecasting. Gathering long-term time series datasets is critical because volcanoes can exhibit significant changes in activity over time. Now, researchers have developed a cheap and low-power SO2 camera suited for long-term measuring. The tool could have significant implications for millions of people worldwide who live close to active volcanoes, they say. Gas emissions are the manifestation of activity occurring beneath the surface of a volcano. Measuring them lets researchers see what can’t be seen from the surface. This knowledge is vital for hazard monitoring and the prediction of future eruptions. Since the mid-2000s, ultraviolet SO2 cameras have become important tools to measure emissions. The measurement campaigns, however, must be accompanied by a user, making SO2 cameras unsuitable for acquiring long-term datasets. Building and operating this type of camera can cost upwards of $20,000, resulting in very few cameras being installed permanently. To get better long-term monitoring data, an international team of researchers has developed an SO2 camera to continually measure emission rates from volcanoes. They have now published an article about the camera design and two […]


16 Feb 2023

From microplastic waste to large, ancient squirrels: Five Frontiers articles you won’t want to miss

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, it’s impossible to cover all of them. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. UK seafloor sediments rich in microplastics For years, plastics have made up a large portion of the debris polluting the marine environment. Much of this plastic consists of particles under 5mm in any dimension. Writing in Frontiers in Marine Science, an international team of researchers from the UK and Norway examined the occurrence and abundance of microplastics in UK seafloor sediments between 2013 and 2021. The scientists used a fast-screening approach for the detection and quantification of microplastics in sediment samples. They detected microplastics in every sample collected from 15 sites around the UK, which supports the argument that seafloor sediments are suitable matrices for the long-term monitoring of microlitter. The adoption of seafloor sediments as a common indicator for microlitter for the north-east-Atlantic region would allow for future assessments at a regional level as well as regional action plans rather than isolated national remediation measures, the researchers pointed out. The […]

Earth science

17 Jan 2023

Rare fossilized feathers reveal secrets of paleontology hotspot during Cretaceous period

by Angharad Brewer Gillham, Frontiers science writer Fossil STM 15-36, photographed by Xuwei Yin at the Shangdong Tianyu Museum of Natural History. Photograph courtesy of the authors. Rare preserved soft tissue – feathers from early Cretaceous birds at Jehol Biota – sheds new light on the world in which they died, millions of years ago. The site of Jehol Biota in China is famous for stunning fossils which preserve soft tissue – skin, organs, feathers, and fur. These fossils offer rare insights into the evolution of characteristics like flight, but they need careful interpretation to understand what the soft tissue looked and behaved like in life, and how decomposition may have affected it. A study published in Frontiers in Earth Science analyzed five fossils of an early Cretaceous bird, Sapeornis chaoyangensis, in order to study how the environment they were buried in changed the preservation of their soft tissue. “Jehol Biota provides the most informative source for understanding Mesozoic ecology,” said corresponding author Dr Yan Zhao, based at the Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Linyi University. “Better understanding of the diverse taphonomy of Jehol terrestrial vertebrates can help us finally understand more about the past and future of biological evolution.” […]

Featured news

18 Jul 2022

Alzheimer’s impact on the brain is broader than we thought and 4 other fascinating Frontiers articles you don’t want to miss

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science communications manager Image: At Frontiers, we bring some of the world’s best research to a global audience. But with tens of thousands of articles published each year, many often fly under the radar. Here are just five amazing papers you may have missed. Impact of Alzheimer’s on the brain may be greater than previously thought A significant review of more than 200,000 scientific publications has shown that the effects of Alzheimer’s disease on the brain are far broader than initially thought. Writing in their review article in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, the international team of researchers said that they wanted to understand the breadth and diversity of biological pathways – key molecular chain reactions that drive changes in cells – that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease by research over the last 30 years. They found that while nearly all known pathways have been linked to the disease, the most frequently associated biological mechanisms have not significantly changed in the last three decades, despite major technological advances. These include those related to the immune system, metabolism, and long-term depression. They also found that the top-ranked 30 pathways most frequently referred to in literature remained relatively consistent […]


20 Apr 2022

Most read articles of March 2022: Secrets of ancient leftovers revealed and endangered shark discovered in pet food

By Colm Gorey, Science Communications Manager, Frontiers Image: Each month, Frontiers shines a spotlight on some of the leading research across a wide range of topics. Here are just some of the highlights that resonated strongly with readers on our news site in the month of March. Leftovers in prehistoric pots let scientists peek into the kitchen of an ancient civilization How do you reconstruct the cookery of people who lived thousands of years ago? Bones and plant remains can tell us what kind of ingredients were available. But to reconstruct how ingredients were combined and cooked, scientists need to study ancient cooking vessels. “Fatty molecules and microscopic remains from plants such as starch grains and phytoliths – silica structures deposited in many plant tissues – get embedded into vessels and can survive over long periods,” said Dr Akshyeta Suryanarayan, a researcher at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona, Spain, and co-author on a recent study in Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. In their study, Suryanarayan and co-authors analyzed such ‘leftovers’ in Copper and Bronze Age vessels – including pots, vases, goblets, jars, and platters – from today’s Gujarat, India. “Our study is the first to combine starch grain […]

Earth science

25 Mar 2022

Last of the giant camels and archaic humans lived together in Mongolia until 27,000 years ago

By Mischa Dijkstra, Frontiers science writer Camelus knoblochi would have dwarfed the modern domestic Bactrian camel, Camelus bactrianus, which also has two humps. Image credit: Bandurka/ This is the first report of fossils of a species of giant camel, Camelus knoblochi, from today’s Mongolia. The author show that the species’ last refuge in the world was in Mongolia until 27,000 years ago. There, they coexisted with archaic humans and the much smaller wild Bactrian camel C. ferus. Climate changing leading to desertification and possibly hunting by humans and competition with C. ferus drove C. knoblochi into extinction. A species of giant two-humped camel, Camelus knoblochi, is known to have lived for approximately a quarter of a million years in Central Asia. A new study in Frontiers in Earth Science shows that C. knoblochi’s last refuge was in Mongolia, until approximately 27,000 years ago. In Mongolia, the last of the species coexisted with anatomically modern humans and maybe the extinct Neanderthals or Denisovans. While the main cause of C. knoblochi’s extinction seems to have been climate change, hunting by archaic humans may also have played a role. “Here we show that the extinct camel Camelus knoblochi persisted in Mongolia until climatic […]

Earth science

15 Jul 2021

Biogeoscience Chief Editor is the Recipient of the 2021 R. Berner Lectureship

Dr. Alexandra Turchyn We are honored to announce that Dr. Alexandra (Sasha) Turchyn, Co-Chief Editor of the Biogeoscience section of Frontiers in Earth Science is a recipient of the 2021 R. Berner Lectureship for her important contributions in the field of global geochemical cycles.  Recipients of this Lectureship are selected for their ‘exceptional ability to define globally important biogeochemical processes, develop new understandings, and significantly advance the corresponding area of research.’ Dr. Turchyn was presented the lectureship at the Goldschmidt 2021 conference, where she gave a Keynote Lecture on the topic of ‘Exploring the biogeochemical sulfur cycle over the past 150 million years’.  Dr. Turchyn graduated from Harvard University in 2005, and is currently a Reader in Biogeochemistry at the University of Cambridge. Her present research field includes understanding how the ocean’s chemistry has changed over time. It focuses on how interrelated biogeochemical cycles have responded to changes in climate on earth. Check out the Biogeoscience section The R. Berner Lectureship was established in 2017 to commemorate the late Robert Berner who was known for his outstanding contributions in the field of Geochemistry, including his contributions to modeling the carbon cycle. It is a joint program of the Geochemical Society […]

Jingmai O'Connor crossing her arms and leaning on a table while looking at fossilized remains of a bird.

Earth science

22 Feb 2021

Jingmai O’Connor: ‘I think people imagine we spend far more time digging up fossils than we actually do’

By Colm Gorey, Frontiers science writer/Jingmai O’Connor Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum. Image: Jesse Goldberg Jingmai O’Connor, associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum, discusses a recent ‘bizarre’ ancient digestive discovery and the issue of diversity in paleontology. In a recently published study to Frontiers in Earth Science, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum in the US published findings on the discovery of quartz crystals in the stomach of a fossilized bird that lived alongside the dinosaurs. According to Jingmai O’Connor, the associate curator of fossil reptiles at Chicago’s Field Museum who contributed to the paper, it appeared to be “some kind of bizarre form of soft tissue preservation that we’ve never seen before”. She added: “Figuring out what’s in this bird’s stomach can help us understand what it ate and what role it played in its ecosystem.” O’Connor is an American paleontologist whose research focuses on the dinosaur-bird transition and the Mesozoic evolution of birds and other flying dinosaurs. Her research includes studies of exceptional soft tissues, such as lung and ovary traces preserved in specimens from Jehel Biota between 130 million and 130 million years ago. […]

Specialty Chief Editor of Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Diagenesis Professor Dave Hodgson

Life sciences

23 Jul 2018

Between a soft rock and a hard place – Introducing Sedimentology, Stratigraphy and Diagenesis, a new section in Frontiers in Earth Science

Dave Hodgson is a hard man to pin down. On a quest to address some of the great challenges in sedimentological, stratigraphic and diagenetic research, his work takes him from the hard, red plains of the Karoo Basin, South Africa, to the desolate landscapes of the Neuquén Basin, Argentina