Earth & Climate

NASA data leads to rare discovery: Earth’s moon wandered off axis billions of years ago

Ancient lunar ice indicates the moon’s axis slowly shifted by 125 miles, or 6 degrees, over 1 billion years. Earth’s moon is now a member of solar system’s exclusive “true polar wander” club, which includes just a handful of other planetary bodies. Planetary scientist Matt Siegler at Southern Methodist University, Dallas, and colleagues made the discovery while examining NASA data known to indicate lunar polar hydrogen. Continue reading

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SMU Research Day 2016: Students present their research to the SMU and Dallas community

SMU graduate and undergraduate students presented their research to the SMU community at the University’s Research Day 2016 on Feb. 10.

Sponsored by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, the research spanned more than 20 different fields from schools across campus. Continue reading

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Long-term daily contact with Spanish missions triggered collapse of Native American populations in New Mexico

New research in the Southwest U.S. has resolved long-standing debates on the timing and magnitude of American Indian population collapse in the region.

The severe and rapid collapse of Native American populations in what is now New Mexico didn’t happen upon first contact with Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s. Nor was it as gradual as others had contended. Continue reading

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SMU 2015 research efforts broadly noted in a variety of ways for world-changing impact

SMU scientists and their research have a global reach that is frequently noted, beyond peer publications and media mentions.

It was a good year for SMU faculty and student research efforts. Here’s a small sampling of public and published acknowledgements during 2015, ranging from research modeling that made the cover of a scientific journal to research findings presented as evidence at government hearings. Continue reading

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Science Insider: Does North Korea really have an H-bomb?

Stump, North Korea, H-bomb, earthquakeScience Insider, the online news site for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, quoted SMU seismologist Brian Stump, saying seismic data confirms that an earthquake in North Korea was triggered by an explosion there Jan. 5.

Richard Stone, who covers international news for Science quoted Stump in the Jan. 6 article, “Does North Korea really have an H-bomb?Continue reading

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Live Science: The 10 Strangest Animal Discoveries of 2015

Desmo, Ray Troll, Louis Jacobs, SMU, AlaskaScience writer Laura Geggel with Live Science named a new species of extinct marine mammal identified by two SMU paleontologists among “The 10 Strangest Animal Discoveries of 2015.”

The new species was identified by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs, a professor in the Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and paleontologist and SMU adjunct research professor Anthony Fiorillo, vice president of research and collections and chief curator at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Continue reading

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Dallas Morning News: Mounting evidence suggests Dallas quakes are induced by human activity

SMU seismologists presented new earthquake findings at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting. (Credit: DMN) Science journalist Anna Kuchment with The Dallas Morning News covered the comments of SMU seismologists Heather DeShon and Beatrice Magnani speaking during the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco, Calif.

DeShon and Magnani presented their latest research on North Texas ground shaking. Continue reading

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North America’s newest pterosaur is a Texan — and flying reptile’s closest cousin is English

A new species of toothy pterosaur is a native of Texas whose closest relative is from England. The new 94-million-year-old species, named Cimoliopterus dunni, is strikingly similar to England’s Cimoliopterus cuvieri.

Identification of the new flying reptile links prehistoric Texas to England, says SMU paleontologist Timothy S. Myers, who identified the fossil as a new species.
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Capital Public Radio: California Sixth-Grade Textbooks Frame Climate Change As Uncertain

California, study, climate change, sixth grade, textbooks, SMU, Stanford, Public radio, sacramentoCapital Public Radio in Sacramento, Calif., covered new research co-authored by SMU teaching expert Diego Román.

The new study measured how four sixth-grade science textbooks adopted for use in California frame the subject of global warming. Sixth grade is the first time California state standards indicate students will encounter climate change in their formal science curriculum. Continue reading

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