Earth

Just 5% of Earth's landscape is untouched

An illustration of a set of hands holding a malleable Earth
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Humans have a greater influence on the world's landscape than previously thought, according to a comprehensive new high-resolution analysis of human modification of the planet. The map, published in the journal Global Change Biology, is meant to guide conservation strategy in the coming years.

Why it matters: The new study finds that just 5% of the Earth’s land surface is currently unaffected by humans, far lower than a previous estimate of 19%.

"They're still out there:" Scientists make massive crater discovery

Two views of the Hiawatha crater region: one covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, the other showing the topography of the rock beneath the ice sheet, including the crater.
Two views of the Hiawatha crater region: one covered by the Greenland Ice Sheet, the other showing the topography of the rock beneath the ice sheet, including the crater. Image: NASA/Cindy Starr.

One of the largest impact craters on Earth has been discovered more than a half-mile under ice in northwest Greenland, NASA reported on Wednesday.

Why it matters: Per NASA, major impacts from asteroids like this have been proven in the past to "profoundly affect Earth's climate" and have serious consequences for life on the planet at the time of impact.

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