Armillaria solidipes (formerly Armillaria ostoyae) is a species of fungus in the Physalacriaceae family.
It is known to be one of the largest living organisms, where scientists have estimated a single specimen found in Malheur National Forest in Oregon to have been growing for some 2,400 years, covering 3.4 square miles (8.4 km²) and colloquially named the “Humongous Fungus.” Armillaria solidipes grows and spreads primarily underground and the bulk of the organism lies in the ground, out of sight.
Therefore, the organism is not visible to anyone viewing from the surface. It is only in the autumn when this organism will bloom “honey mushrooms”, visible evidence of the organism lying beneath. Low competition for land and nutrients have allowed this organism to grow so huge; it possibly covers more geographical area than any other living organism. Read more
Yellowstone’s underground volcanic plumbing is bigger and better connected than scientists thought, geologists reported this week at the Seismological Society of America’s annual meeting.
“We are getting a much better understanding of the volcanic system of Yellowstone,” said Jamie Farrell, a c graduate student at the University of Utah. “The magma reservoir is at least 50 percent larger than previously imaged.” Read more
In the midst of chaos here on Earth, scientists are finding hope for life on other planets. Scientists announced Thursday the discovery of three planets that are some of the best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our own solar system — and they’re very far away. NASA’s Kepler satellite, which is keeping an eye on more than 150,000 stars in hopes of identifying Earth-like planets, found the trio. Read More
Never mind aliens in outer space. Some scientists believe we may be sharing the planet with ‘weird’ lifeforms that are so different from our own they’re invisible to us. Read More
NASA’s twin Van Allen space probes, which are studying the Earth’s radiation belts, made the cosmic find. The surprising discovery — a new, albeit temporary, radiation belt around Earth — reveals how much remains unknown about outer space, even those regions closest to the planet, researchers added. Read more
A a group of international scientists have found evidence that an ancient, lost continent may be buried beneath the Indian Ocean floor.
Nature reports that the study, published Feb. 24 in the journal Nature Geoscience, reports that fragments of an ancient micro-continent dubbed “Mauritia” now lie underwater between Madagascar and India.
As evidence of this lost continent, the researchers point to ancient sand grains that contain minerals pre-dating the volcanic eruption that they argue brought them to the surface, according to the BBC. These zircon minerals could be anywhere between 1,970 and 600 million years old. Read more
Last summer, an eruption on the sun’s surface scored a solar weather hat trick, racking up all three of the major phenomenon scientists observe: a solar flare, a coronal mass ejection (CME), and coronal rain, “complex moving structures in association with changes in magnetic field lines that loop up into the sun’s atmosphere,” NASA explains. The solar flare in the video is not massive, by the sun’s standards, but “moderately powerful,” as NASA calls it. But what makes the show special is the coronal rain, charged plasma slowly dripping in fiery loops along the sun’s magnetic fields. Read more
Nearly one fifth of all reptiles — turtles, snakes, lizards and crocodiles — are on a slippery slope toward extinction due to loss of habitat, over-harvesting and other factors, a new report says.
The study is the first of its kind to summarize the global conservation status of reptiles. More than 1,500 species were selected at random from around the world for conservation assessments in an effort to gain a representative sample. Read more
A huge meteorite flared through the skies over Russia’s Chelyabinsk region early Friday, triggering a powerful shock wave that injured hundreds of people, blew out windows and reportedly caused the roof of a factory to collapse.
Multiple amateur videos posted online showed the meteor’s flaring arc across the western Siberia sky. Others from the scene included the sound of a loud boom, followed by a cacophony of car alarms. One video showed the hurried evacuation of an office building in Chelyabinsk. Read more