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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Flash Floods Make Gems on Titan
11 May 2010 5:40 pm
Gem hounds take note: Titan may hold some of the biggest and most unusual polished stones in the solar system. Radar data from the Cassini spacecraft show vast fields of smooth, rounded ice rocks--some more than 2 meters in diameter and nearly as transparent as rhinestones--on Xanadu, an Australia-sized plain south of the equator on Saturn's largest moon. Researchers have known about the stones ever since the European Huygens probe photographed Titan's landscape in January 2005 (above, left). But they didn't realize how many of them there were or that they were of such high quality. In a study published in the June issue of Icarus, the team reports that the stones are similar to those found in streambeds on Earth (above, right), but instead of being formed by water, the Titan stones likely bounced along streambeds of liquid methane and ethane for billions of years, which polished them to a remarkable smoothness.
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