The New Year saw the launch of a new Earth science journal: Nature Geoscience, part of the growing ‘family’ of specialist twiglets from the main trunk of their parent. Whether publishing in it will match the kudos of having a Letter in Nature itself remains to be seen. A monthly rather than a weekly format will keep an issue on the shelf for browsers, but will they rush to thumb through it in paper or on-line? Should Nature Geoscience take off and attract all the geoscience that was once in Nature, then Earth scientists may stop checking through each issue of that august journal, which would be a shame when our discipline is looking for an upsurge in cross-pollination with others. Whatever, the first issue had enough to interest me – three noteworthy Letters – but I can’t say the same for the second.