News An aerial picture of the Grand Canyon in Arizona from around 30,000 feet (10,000m)

It was thought that the global landmark was perhaps 70million years old

The wonder of Mars in its seasonal glory

The astonishing diversity of the Red Planet's landscape is captured by the world's most powerful camera, reports Science Editor Steve Connor

The Complete Guide To: The Azores

Scattered across the North Atlantic lie nine volcanic islands with Portuguese heritage. Each is distinctive. But Simon Calder finds they share one attribute: a totally relaxed atmosphere

Steve Connor: Deadly fault lines that run down the spine of Italy

This region of Italy has a long history of earthquakes dating from long before classical times. It is one of the most seismically active regions of Europe, essentially due to the collision of the tectonic plates of Africa and Europe which pushed up the Apennine mountain range, the geological "backbone" of Italy.

Undersea volcano erupts near Tonga

Scientists sailed today to inspect an undersea volcano that has been erupting for days near Tonga — shooting smoke, steam and ash thousands of feet into the sky above the South Pacific ocean.

Journey Into Space, By Toby Litt

When I was a child, I had a nightmare about space; nothing I've ever read or seen since has recaptured the pitiless immensity of it. Until this novel. In the not-too-distant future, a spaceship is journeying through deep space carrying 100 would-be colonists – or rather, the ancestors of would-be colonists – for the voyage to the destined planet will take generations.

Earth tremor hits Folkestone

People in parts of Kent reported an earth tremor yesterday, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.

Rock on – careers in geology

Helen Wickens, 28, is a production geologist at Shell, based in Aberdeen. She talked to us about her study of geology, enthusiasm for volcanoes and thoughts on this week’s Big Bang science fair.

Mountain goes PC to honour black pioneer of the Wild West

Negrohead Mountain to be renamed after former slave who lived in its shadow

A Martian's view of Mars

Remarkable new images taken by Nasa rover vehicles on the surface of the Red Planet show a rocky, barren desert that looks surprisingly like home

Quakes hit China's remote west

Strong earthquakes hit China's remote western regions of Tibet and Xinjiang today but both appear to have struck sparsely populated, mountainous areas and caused only limited damage.

Tanzania: Animal magic

From baboons to wildebeest, Tanzania's Northern Circuit offers up a mind-boggling array of wildlife. James Palmer chills out with the zebra, then hangs around the hippo pool

Coral reefs face extinction

A third of the world’s coral species are threatened with extinction, according to an international study that revealed rapid and alarming deterioration in the state of coral reefs over the past 10 years.

An Atlas of Impossible Longing, by Anuradha Roy

A history at risk as the waters rise

Paperback: Selected Poems, by Martin Newell

Readers with fond memories of Newell's long innings as the pop poet of this parish will be delighted to find not just biting satirical verse but lyrical, reflective and personal pieces here – a range as broad and bracing as the East Anglian marshlands he adores. Buffs will tick off echoes (Larkin, Betjeman, Kipling, Auden...) but he's his own – Essex – man, cussed and tender and just a bit mystical, too. Germaine Greer (yes, really) warmly salutes him in her preface. He deserves it.

The Kiwi's Egg: Charles Darwin and natural selection, By David Quammen

Darwin came up with the theory of evolution, right? Wrong. Evolution, if not in the scientific mainstream, was part of the common intellectual currency of his time. His own grandfather espoused a version of it. What Darwin proposed was the blind, purposeless and godless mechanism by which it worked: natural selection.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick