A high-resolution search by satellite found 15 to 20 percent more cropland in the world than previously thought and identified India as the world leader, says the U.S. Geological Survey. The USGS says its new map, showing 1.87 billion hectares of cropland, will help "to ensure global food and water security in a sustainable way."
Federal scientists say Oklahoma and southern Kansas face significant risk of earthquakes this year – "so high that the chance of damage ... is expected to be similar to that of earthquakes in California," said the Los Angeles Times. Since 2009, the number of earthquakes above magnitude 2.7 has soared, perhaps related to injection of wastewater deep underground, a method known as hydraulic fracturing, as part of oil and gas production.
More than half the flow of rivers in the upper Colorado Basin is derived from groundwater, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Society. The study's authors hope it will compel state water managers to ask important questions, since rivers are a key source of irrigation and drinking water across the west. For instance, should a farmer’s use of a nearby river be limited if he or she is also pumping large amounts of groundwater?