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

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The problem of increasing soil salinity poses major challenges to farmers and scientists worldwide. Throughout the world, the land area of salt-affected soils is expanding as a result of decades of mismanagement and industrial agriculture. Most crops do not tolerate salt. Food security and the proper functioning of ecosystem services are therefore...

La Palma is composed entirely of volcanoes, and so are the six other Canary Islands. We explore the geological panorama in which this archipelago has formed and why it is both terrifying and attractive for its people, tourism and food production.

It was only a matter of time before La Palma's volcano would erupt. Most people have never heard of the Cumbre Vieja - literally, the old mountain ridge - yet it is one of the most active volcanoes in the Canaries, and in Europe. And with each eruption it becomes painfully clear how destruction and renewal, and fascination and terror,...

Throughout the last 20 years, one planet after the other has been discovered beyond the Solar System. Over 4,000 exoplanets are known by 2021. This is exciting in itself, but the key question is: what are we looking for on these planets? The answer is almost as old as humanity. We want to discover life beyond Earth, or places where...

Until now scientist believed that meteorites provided young Earth with the essential element phosphorus, one of the building blocks of life. But perhaps lightning bolts played a more important role than meteorites, new research shows. These new views on the origin of life increase the odds that life could arise elsewhere in the universe.

The planetary boundaries represent conditions that enable humans to live safely and comfortably on the planet. So far, humans have thrived and now rule the world. We want to continue to thrive, but it is only possible if natural systems are not pushed beyond the critical tresholds or tipping points.

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.

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— 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 / 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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