If you've ever wondered where — and why — earthquakes happen the most, look no further than a new map, which plots more than a century's worth of nearly every recorded earthquake strong enough to at least rattle the bookshelves.
The map shows earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater since 1898; each is marked in a lightning-bug hue that glows brighter with increasing magnitude.
[Full Story: Stunning Map Reveals World's Earthquakes Since 1898]
Devastating wildfires scorching the state of Colorado are linked to a nasty streak of hot weather across the central part of the country, but it's tougher to link them definitively to global warming, climatologists say.
Earlier research has found broad trends linking earlier spring weather, rising temperatures and increased forest fires, suggesting that climate change may play a role in fires like the Waldo Canyon blaze outside of Colorado Springs, which has burned more than 18,000 acres and consumed about 300 homes here. But linking a specific fire to the long-term trend of global warming isn't possible.
[Full Story: Is Global Warming Fueling Colorado Wildfires? ]
In this photograph uploaded to the Poudre Fire Authority's Facebook page on June 18, the High Park fire near Fort Collins, Colo., sets pine trees ablaze. As of June 28, the High Park fire had burned more than 87,000 acres and was 75 percent contained.
[Full Story: Photos: Devastating Colorado Wildfires ]
Bright-red blood vessels and thick purple veins meander across the surface of a living human brain in the winning image in this year's Wellcome Image Awards contest.
A rare peak inside the skull beat out a plethora of other gorgeous shots for first prize, including a colorful caffeine crystal and a spiny, aqua-colored moth fly that could pass as an extraterrestrial.
[Full Story: Living Brain Image Wins Photography Prize ]
Another winning Wellcome Awards winner. This false-colored scanning electron micrograph shows caffeine crystals. Caffeine is found occurring naturally in plants, where its bitterness serves as a defense mechanism
[Full Story: Beauty and Brains: Award-Winning Medical Images ]
For years, scientists have struggled to determine why the sun's atmosphere is more than 300 times hotter than its surface. But a new study has found a possible answer: giant super-tornadoes on the sun that may be injecting heat into the outer layers of our star.
While comparing images from the Swedish Solar Telescope with others taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, an international team of scientists noticed bright points on the sun's surface and atmosphere that corresponded with swirls in the so-called chromospheres, a region that is sandwiched between the two layers. The finding indicates that the solar tornadoes stretched through all three layers of the sun.
[Full Story: Solar Tornadoes as Big as US Heat Sun's Atmosphere ]
In the sandy desert grasslands of Namibia in southern Africa, mysterious bare spots known as "fairy circles" will form and then disappear years later for no reason anyone can determine. A new look at these strange patterns doesn't solve the wistful mystery but at least reveals that the largest of the circles can linger for a lifetime.
Small fairy circles stick around an average of 24 years, while larger ones can exist as long as 75 years, according to research detailed today (June 27) in the journal PLoS ONE. Still, the study sheds little light on why the circles form, persist and then vanish into the landscape after decades.
[Full Story: Mysterious African 'Fairy Circles' Stump Scientists ]
Astronomers are mapping more than 40 million stars in the sky, recording the brightness and location of many faint stars that will be catalogued accurately for the first time, researchers say.
The stars are being charted as part of the American Association of Variable Star Observers Photometric All-Sky Survey (APASS), which is scanning the sky at a level 100 times fainter than any previous star-mapping expedition.
[Full Story: 40 Million Stars Mapped in New Night Sky Census ]
Saturn's turbulent jet streams are powered by the huge planet's internal heat rather than by energy from the sun, a new study suggests.
Heat from deep within Saturn causes water to condense, which in turn creates temperature differences in the atmosphere, researchers said. These temperature differences generate disturbances that accelerate the planet's jet streams — regions where winds blow much faster than in other parts of the atmosphere.
[Full Story: Saturn's Jet Streams Powered by Internal Heat ]
The vast scale of wildfires raging across parts of Colorado and the western U.S. has been captured on camera by astronauts on the International Space Station.
A video released by NASA today (June 28) shows huge plumes of smoke billowing up into an otherwise clear sky above the Rocky Mountains. Several fires have been burning nonstop in the region, including the out-of-control Waldo Canyon Fire that has consumed 15,517 acres (6,280 hectares) so far.
[Full Story: Colorado Wildfires Seen From Space in Astronaut Video ]