Posts

July 23, 2014

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11:19 PM | Field work travelog – Day 12, the Paleocene-Eocene boundary
Today has been a delightful day. Much learning was had. Our crew now includes expertise in paleobotany and stratigraphy, so we walked all around the rocks that bracket the Paleocene-Eocene boundary. I learned a ton today and now beret understand … Continue reading →
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9:35 PM | Geo 730: July 23, Day 569: Stilbite Vesicles
I'll be mixing in photos from three different trips to Quartzville over the last couple years for this portion of the series; this one is from the middle of June, and shows a bit of vesicular basalt. The gas bubbles are partly filled with (mostly) stilbite. Note that I can't make that identification from this photo; the resolution isn't good enough. You need to get up close and personal with a hand lens to make that call. With the exception of natrolite, that's generally the case at this […]
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8:16 PM | Massive Ring of Fire Burns in Pacific Northwest
About a million acres of the Pacific Northwest are burning right now. Continue reading →
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8:02 PM | LightSail-A Has a Blown Radio Amplifier. Now What?
LightSail-A's blown radio amplifier doesn't affect the 2016 SpaceX Falcon Heavy mission, but it adds an unwelcome obstacle to the 2015 test mission's ever-shortening timetable.
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6:15 PM | Bat-Pterodactyls
Italian Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727-1806), at the time chairman of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the principality of Pfalz (Germany), was the first naturalist to speculate about pterodactyls in 1784. Fig.1. Pterodactylus antiquus (Upper Jurassic, Eichstätt, Bavaria), specimen studied by Cosimo Collini in 1784 and copper engraving of the fossil to illustrate his scientific study [...]
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6:15 PM | Bat-Pterodactyls
Italian Cosimo Alessandro Collini (1727-1806), at the time chairman of the Cabinet of Curiosities of the principality of Pfalz (Germany), was the first naturalist to speculate about pterodactyls in... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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4:13 PM | Whither technical books?
Leafing through our pile of new books on seismic analysis got me thinking about technical books and the future of technical publishing. In particular: Why are these books so expensive?  When will we start to see reproducibility? Does all this stuff just belong on the web? Why so expensive? Should technical books really cost several times what ordinary books cost? Professors often ask us for discounts for modelr, our $9/mo seismic modeling tool. Students pay 10% of what pros pay in our […]
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3:28 PM | Pressure increasing to do something about a dropping Lake Mead
With a meeting coming up Friday of representatives of the seven Colorado River basin states, pressure is increasing to do something about the dropping reservoir levels in the basin, Tony Davis reports: “How urgent it is depends on what you think the risk is,” said attorney Wade Noble, who has represented Yuma-area irrigation districts for 30 ...Continue reading ‘Pressure increasing to do something about a dropping Lake Mead’ »
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2:57 PM | GEER Report on OSO Landslide is Out
The GEER report on the Oso slide has been released. http://www.geerassociation.org/GEER_Post%20EQ%20Reports/Oso_WA_2014/index.htmlGEER stands for Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance. I believe this is the first landslide the program has looked at. They visit sites shortly after huge floods, tsunamis and earthquakes to gather evidence of the event before it weathers away. I utilized a GEER report for assessing scour potential from tsunami in a tsunami inundation area.
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2:13 PM | Nature’s roadblock to hurricane prediction
The quiet Atlantic hurricane season of 2013 came as a surprise to many, as seasonal forecasts had consistently predicted an unusually large crop of named storms. A new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, finds that internal variability—processes that unfold without being dictated by larger-scale features—can make one season twice as active as another, even when El Niño and other large-scale […]
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2:02 PM | Updating how we teach the process of science
This week, I’m with a group of in-service middle school teachers for a week-long workshop on climate science.  It is always inspiring to connect with K-12 teachers to see and hear about their passion for their classrooms and for teaching – and always frustrating to hear that they have to do so with so few resources that include outdated textbooks.  And in those outdated textbooks we will find the “scientific …
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1:43 PM | New Indian Government Takes Promising Steps on Agiculture, Water and Climate
This is a guest post by Romit Sen and Kamal Vatta, Centers for International Projects Trust (CIPT). Riding high on a populist mandate but facing growing concerns of a slowdown in the economy and a rising fiscal deficit, last week Finance Minister Arun Jaitley presented the new Indian government’s first annual budget, attempting a delicate [...]
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1:32 PM | Updated information on Askja volcano landslide
This is a short update on Askja volcano landslide. Travel ban is still in effect to Askja volcano. Parts of it are going to be lifted later today or tomorrow, but access to Askja lake is going to … Continue reading →
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12:40 PM | Is Climate Change Ruining Wine Corks?
Some experts are worried about wine cork quality, which has been mysteriously in decline for almost 20 years.
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12:30 PM | Fieldwork should be safe and welcoming for all. Currently, it’s not.
How prevalent is sexual harassment and assault during fieldwork? A paper in PLOS One that grapples with this question is getting some justified attention in the press and online at the moment, and the answer is of concern to anyone … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | Open geoscience
Not so long ago I was in a meeting with EGU’s young scientist representatives, who had gathered online to discuss the issues facing those early in their academic careers. One member of this dedicated team put forward a compelling notion: that the future of open access is in the hands of today’s early-career researchers. This […]
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10:57 AM | Top-of-atmosphere contribution to unforced variability in global temperature
As the attention received by the ‘global warming hiatus’ demonstrates, global mean surface temperature (T) variability on decadal timescales is of great interest to both the general public and to scientists. Here, I will discuss a recently published paper (Brown … Continue reading →
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10:15 AM | Hot Air: the sorry tale of climate policy in New Zealand
This guest post is by Alister Barry, producer and co-director of the new documentary Hot Air, which will be premiered in Wellington next week. Hot Air is screening in the New Zealand International Film Festival around the country over the next month. Hot Air is a story of compromise, broken promises and corporate pressure, of […]
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9:51 AM | Oso landslide: the last set of remains been recovered and a new report has been released
Two key events happened yesterday in relation to the Oso landslide in Washington State - the remains of the last victim were recovered and a new report analysing the landslide was released.
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6:36 AM | Bahama Carbonate Precipitation Triggered By Saharan Dust
Interesting paper in Geology : The fertilization of the Bahamas by Saharan dust: A trigger for carbonate precipitation? - P.K. Swart, A.M. Oehlert, G.J. Mackenzie, G.P. Eberli and J.J.G. ReijmerAbstractThe enigma of the Bahamas is that this highly productive carbonate system has existed for at least 100 m.y., building a vast edifice of carbonates, thousands of meters thick, in an essentially nutrient-poor environment. Based on measurements of the insoluble material, the Fe and Mn in the […]
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5:51 AM | New study investigates the impact of climate change on malaria
It's tempting to view global warming on, well, a global scale. However, when we think about how climate change affects human and biological systems, it's often the local impacts that matter most. We want to know how things are going to change where we live, not on some abstract global scale. In the past, local impacts have been very difficult for scientists to assess. One of our most useful tools, climate computer models, are best used to predict how the entire globe will change. These computer […]
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4:55 AM | The Great Facebook Blizzard of 2014
At the AMS Broadcast Meteorology conference last month in Lake Tahoe, I presented a talk about widespread rumors on Facebook last January that a paralyzing snowstorm was coming. This is just one example of the love/hate relationship that meteorologists have with Facebook, and I was quoted in an article on TV News Check about this as well a couple of weeks ago. As I told the reporter for TV News …
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2:45 AM | Field work travelog – Day 11, we’re back
After a night in Laramie for showers and resupply, we’re back in the field. This time the team has added five new members. Only craziness can result. Stay tuned!
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2:03 AM | Matthew Sturm – insight into the Arctic
Over four decades after entering the Arctic Circle for the first time, Matthew Sturm, snow scientist and University of Alaska professor, still looks on the Arctic as a place of wonder. In Finding the Arctic (University of Alaska Press, 2012), a story of history and culture along a 2,500 mile snowmobile journey from Alaska to Hudson’s Bay, Matthew Sturm tackles an epic path across Alaska and Canada. As Finding the Arctic’s story unfolds, Sturm and six companions: Jon Holmgren, […]
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12:20 AM | blog regularity
I've been able to post more regularly for a while now, and I attribute that to a few specific changes:1. Every time I have a thought for a blog post while working in the office, I write it on a post-it note. Then I immediately stuff it in a pocket and bring it home, where it gets added to a pile of other post-it notes. I do something similar in the field or while in transit - I rip off a square of scrap paper and bring it back to the hotel (or back home, if I don't get around to writing it […]
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12:03 AM | All traffic to Askja volcano forbidden due to a large landside yesterday (22-July-2014)
According to Icelandic Meteorological Office, a large landslide fell yesterday (22-July-2014) around midnight in Askja volcano, the landslide did go into Askja lake creating a flood wave that was 100 to 200 meters high. It did reach the … Continue reading →
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12:00 AM | Changing the Pace
By Thomas I don`t know why exactly – maybe it is for no reason at all, maybe because it is “winter” here in Australia, or maybe because I came across the video below a few weeks back – but these … Continue reading →

July 22, 2014

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10:26 PM | Geo 730: July 22, Day 568: Apparently Uninteresting
Just plain-ole basalt. Dull, right? Well, yes, it can get tedious in a state so well endowed with that rock, but it can be interesting if there's something more than just plain-ole black ugly rock. In this case, the white splotches down lower are mostly Queen Anne's Lace. But the speckles up higher are calcite and zeolites, and those are pretty and interesting. The best way to look for them here is by splitting the cobbles and boulders that have fallen off the face and into the ditch/berm. The […]
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9:04 PM | Tödlicher Bergsturz in China (Video)
Letzten Donnerstag kam es in Sichuan, im Kreis Mào Xiàn zu einem dramatischen Bergsturz, bei dem mindestens 11 Menschen ums Leben kamen und rund 19 schwer verletzt wurden. Das Geschehen wurde von einer Armaturenbrett-Kamera aufgezeichnet. Die Dinger scheinen sich auch in China einiger Beliebtheit zu erfreuen. Das Video selber ist nicht für schwache Nerven, das nur vorher als Warnung. Der eigentliche Felssturz findet weiter vorne statt und hat augenscheinlich die Fahrzeuge […]
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8:45 PM | At last, Champs One
More nonscience, I’m afraid. When we left off the never-ending story last year we’d just bumped Press, and were rather regretting not getting a shot at Champs. Roll forwards a year, and its Tuesday again. We have six of our old crew back, losing Mr W and Dr H, and replacing them with old-hand-turned-fit Paul…
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