Scientists trace South Georgia's giant ice history

Penguins Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The changes that have occurred on South Georgia could be a prelude to what will happen on Antarctica

South Georgia is an island of astonishing beauty - of imposing landscapes, and bewildering numbers of penguins, seals and seabirds.

It also has some impressive ice fields, although none it seems quite like those of the past.

Some 20,000 years ago the island's glaciers pushed out 50km and more from their current positions, reaching to the edge of the continental shelf.

The British Overseas Territory was in effect covered by a giant ice cap.

This realisation is reported in the current edition of the journal Nature Communications.

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Boaty McBoatface submarine set for first voyage

Media captionProf Russell Wynn explains the workings of Boaty McBoatface

The yellow submarine named Boaty McBoatface is set to leave for Antarctica this week on its first science expedition.

The robot is going to map the movement of deep waters that play a critical role in regulating Earth's climate.

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'Rock star' Archaeopteryx fossil heads for Japan

Media captionNHM's Lorraine Cornish: "For us, it is one of our most important fossils"

One of the true "rock stars" of the fossil world is going on tour for the first time.

London's Natural History Museum has sent its specimen of Archaeopteryx - the so-called "first bird" - to Japan.

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SpaceX Moon mission extends Elon Musk's ambitions

Crew Dragon Image copyright SPACEX
Image caption Artwork: The Dragon capsule was designed from the outset to be capable of carrying crew

Elon Musk, it seems, loves nothing more than to spin plates. When most of us might be looking to lighten the load, he's piling on the ambition.

The serial entrepreneur's latest gambit is to fly people around the Moon. Two wealthy individuals have apparently lodged significant deposits with his SpaceX company to make this journey.

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Hunt for Antarctica's 'missing meteorites'

Meteorite Image copyright ANSMET/K.Joy
Image caption When the flowing ice hits a barrier, such as a mountain range, it is forced upwards to reveal the meteorites

The go-ahead has been given for the first British expedition to collect meteorites in Antarctica.

Most of the space rocks now in collections worldwide have been picked up on the continent.

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Defining a true 'pre-industrial' climate period

A Frost Fair on the Thames at Temple Stairs, c1684 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Cool times: A depiction of a 17th Century Frost Fair at Temple Stairs on London's Thames River

Scientists are seeking to define a new baseline from which to measure global temperatures - a time when fossil-fuel burning had yet to change the climate.

At the moment, researchers tend to use the period 1850-1900, and this will often be described as "pre-industrial".

Read full article Defining a true 'pre-industrial' climate period

Italy avalanche: A cruel coincidence

Members of Lazio's Alpine and Speleological Rescue Team stand in front of the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola, central Italy Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Rescue workers had difficulty reaching the Hotel Rigopiano in Farindola

It's a cruel coincidence that the latest swarm of big quakes to strike the Apennines region of Italy should occur just after a period of very heavy snow.

The sizeable tremors - four magnitude fives in the space of four hours on Wednesday - appear to have triggered an avalanche that swept into the Rigopiano hotel in the Grand Sasso resort area, killing many of its occupants.

Read full article Italy avalanche: A cruel coincidence

To see finally the face of Peggy

Peggy Image copyright NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI
Image caption When first identified Peggy was picked up as a long, bright smudge at the edge of Saturn's A-ring

Will Peggy finally reveal herself?

Scientists studying the splendour of Saturn's rings are hoping soon to get a resolved picture of an embedded object they know exists but cannot quite see.

Read full article To see finally the face of Peggy

Recruiting prawns to fight river parasite

Media captionSusanne Sokolow: "The prawns voraciously eat the snails"

Making sure certain rivers are fully stocked with prawns could prove to be an important contribution to fighting schistosomiasis.

The parasitic worm disease is endemic in many parts of the tropics and sub-tropics. Africa is a hotspot.

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Norcia earthquake: Why multiple quakes are hitting Italy

Aerial view of Amatrice - 30 October (firefighters' handout) Image copyright EPA
Image caption The town of Amatrice has been hit by earthquakes several times in recent months

Sunday's early-morning quake near the town of Norcia is the biggest in Italy since the Magnitude-6.9 Irpinia event in the south of the country in 1980.

Back then, some 2,500 people died and more than 7,000 were injured. Thankfully, we are not expecting loss of life on that scale here.

Read full article Norcia earthquake: Why multiple quakes are hitting Italy