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The oil and gas boom has devastated ecosystems across the US

oil and gas destroy ecosystemsDrilling for oil and gas has caused long-lasting damage to ecosystems across Canada and the US, according to a study published today. The findings lend new weight to longstanding concerns over the resurgence in domestic fossil fuel production, as well as the complex land use regulations that make environmental monitoring more challenging.

The paper, published in the journal Science, examines the impact of oil and gas production on terrestrial plant growth, using a metric called net primary production (NPP). NPP can be used to gauge the health of the ecosystem.

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Cause behind African migrant flood has terrifying implications for the world

immigrants from AfricaThe migrant crisis in the Mediterranean is symptomatic of deep dislocation in the Sahel region and sub-Saharan Africa — dislocation exacerbated by climate change.

Climate change is affecting such basic environmental conditions as rainfall patterns and temperatures and is contributing to more frequent natural disasters like floods and droughts. Over the long term, these changing conditions can undermine the rural livelihoods of farming, herding and fishing. The resulting rural dislocation is a factor in people’s decisions to migrate.

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Lake Mead On Track For Record Low Water Level Amid Drought

Lake Mead near record low levelNevada's Lake Mead, the largest capacity reservoir in the United States, is on track to drop to its lowest water level in recorded history on Sunday as its source, the Colorado River, suffers from 14 years of severe drought, experts said on Friday.

The 79-year-old reservoir, formed by the building of the Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas, was expected to dip below 1,080 feet on Sunday, lower than a previous record of 1,080.19 feet last August, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

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Scientists convinced of tie between earthquakes and drilling

fracking causes earthquakesWith the evidence coming in from one study after another, scientists are now more certain than ever that oil and gas drilling is causing hundreds upon hundreds of earthquakes across the U.S.

So far, the quakes have been mostly small and have done little damage beyond cracking plaster, toppling bricks and rattling nerves. But seismologists warn that the shaking can dramatically increase the chances of bigger, more dangerous quakes.

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Fracking Increases Quakes in 8 States

fracking earthquakesSignificant strides in science have been made to better understand potential ground shaking from induced earthquakes, which are earthquakes triggered by man-made practices.

Earthquake activity has sharply increased since 2009 in the central and eastern United States. The increase has been linked to industrial operations that dispose of wastewater by injecting it into deep wells.

The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a report today that outlines a preliminary set of models to forecast how hazardous ground shaking could be in the areas where sharp increases in seismicity have been recorded. The models ultimately aim to calculate how often earthquakes are expected to occur in the next year and how hard the ground will likely shake as a result. This report looked at the central and eastern United States; future research will incorporate data from the western states as well.

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Earth Day 2015: Our Favorite Photos of the Planet

Earth day 2015Today, people around the world will celebrate the 45th Earth Day, an annual event designed to pay tribute to the environment and promote ways to protect our home planet. More than 1 billion people worldwide are expected to take part in Earth Day this year, with activities that include environmental rallies, tree planting and other service projects.

At Live Science, we write about planet Earth every day, so to mark the occasion, we'd like to share some of our favorite photos of this beautiful world. Check out the images that symbolize Earth Day to us, and why we think they're significant.

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Oklahoma goes from two 3.0 quakes a year to two a day

Oklahoma earthquakesIn November of 2011, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake ripped through the small Oklahoma town of Prague, damaging more than a dozen homes and toppling a turret on a St. Gregory's University building in nearby Shawnee.

In November of 2011, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake ripped through the small Oklahoma town of Prague, damaging more than a dozen homes and toppling a turret on a St. Gregory's University building in nearby Shawnee.

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