Natural science explained easily on GondwanaTalks, the online magazine for science dummies and anyone fascinated by nature.

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In the run-up to the µMED - the international conference on microplastic pollution in the Mediterranean - let's expose the ever-growing mountain of disposable plastic in the Gulf of Naples. No one seems to worry, least of all the young people. Is the Gulf of Naples the only place where a plastic eruption is imminent? Certainly not. But...

As summer 2022 is ablaze with wildfires and heat waves, we may well have entered the Pyrocene, the age of fire. This name was coined by Stephen J Pyne, as an alternative for the Anthropocene: the era in which humanity leaves an ineradicable mark on the earth. Fire seems to play an increasingly important role in how we transform the...

We're six months after Tonga and yet there aren't signs that it affected the climate. But weren't large volcanic eruptions and their aerosols supposed to have a worldwide cooling effect? Tonga was indeed the largest eruption ever recorded by instruments. It is hence no surprise that people have been speculating whether it would have an impact on...

Spain's famous biosphere reserve Doñana is being hit by drought and environmental disasters. May was the hottest and driest month ever. Temperatures already hit 45 degrees Celsius in spring and summer will be relentless. There have been droughts in past centuries too, in Andalusia. Then people turned to Our Lady of the Dew or Virgen del Rocío, a...

Spain loses nearly 1.4 million tonnes of good earth every day due to soil erosion. The country is heading for a disaster like the one that hit North America in the 1930s: the Dust Bowl. Winds blew away the topsoil and what was left was a wasteland where nothing could grow. In Spain, all the ingredients of the lethal...

The Zambezi is one of Africa's largest rivers, but that wasn't always so. It used to be a small river on the coast of the Indian Ocean in Mozambique. Like an advancing front the Zambezi captured inland rivers, creating a huge catchment area that reaches almost to the Atlantic Ocean. The natural wonder of Victoria Falls is the living proof...

Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe thanks to its fertile soils known as Chernozems. This 'good black earth' is among the most productive soils in the world, a fact Russians are well aware of. Russia has a long tradition of soil science, and its experts have made significant contributions to the field. If the Russia aim to conquer Ukraine, the...

Nitrogen is crucial to life because it is a building block of amino acids, proteins and DNA. But it turns out that half of the nitrogen in our tissues does not come from nature, but rather from factories, because humanity is interfering with the natural nitrogen cycle. To make crops grow faster, we produce nitrogenous fertilizers on an industrial...

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People once believed that the continents had always been in the same place. In the late nineteenth century, this idea came under fire. Explorers found indications of a more turbulent past. The idea of the continental drift was born, but it took a hundred years before the ultimate proof was delivered.

— Featured article —

Lapis lazuli: Via the Silk Road to Tutankhamun.

An article by Kathelijne Bonne

From high mountain peaks to the pharaohs.

How precious stone lapis lazuli found its way from the world's most ancient mines to Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece, and to the canvases of the great painters, has been documented extensively. Discover how lapis lazuli formed, as it crystallized in seams of precious rocks in the midst of plate tectonic turmoil. 



Photo: géry60 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND

What is Gondwana?

The inspiration came from the great, lost continent of Gondwana. Gondwana was the land area in which all southern continents were once united into one great supercontinent. When it formed, life had exploded into a myriad of life forms and had risen from a mainly microscopic bacterial world to a world in which animals and plants came to dominate. When Gondwana fell apart, and continents drifted away, new, isolated life forms emerged, of which the peculiar fauna and flora of Australia are the best, but not the only, example.

GondwanaTalks is an online magazine on the natural world, for a wide audience. 

 

 










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