Posts

September 13, 2014

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12:45 AM | a culture of safety
Someone on ask a manager recently asked for advice on creating a "culture of safety" (sorry, can't find the link now).In the environmental biz, safety is A Big Deal, not because we're all intrinsically concerned about it (I mean, of course we are!), but because of the nature of the work and the clients. Most major clients (government, heavy industry, large corporations) in the modern era have found that if they have a problem (property/environmental damage, injuries, deaths), they can't just […]
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12:08 AM | Curiosity update, sols 727-747: Beginning the "Mission to Mount Sharp"
A lot has happened behind the scenes on the Curiosity mission in the last few weeks. The mission received a pretty negative review from a panel convened to assess the relative quality of seven different proposed extended planetary science missions. Then, just a week later, the mission announced big news: they have arrived at Mount Sharp.

September 12, 2014

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10:54 PM | Northern Convergence: Mt. Revelstoke, Where the Columbia Mountains Reach to the Sky (and right into the clouds)
Thanks for all the attention to the post on exfoliation in Twain Harte! 4,000 hits and counting, it's been my most read blogpost in five years (about 10 or 15 times normal traffic). Today we are getting back to our tour of British Columbia and Alberta, one of the most beautiful regions in the world. We last looked at Craigellachie, the site of the completion of the Trans-Canada Railroad. As we continued down the highway, the mountains around us were becoming dramatic.We had been traversing the […]
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9:42 PM | An Updated List of NASA's Commercial Crew Partner Milestones
Ahead of NASA's CCiCap partner selection, here is an up-to-date list of each company's milestones.
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9:14 PM | Geo 730: September 12, Day 620: Liesegang 2
In early October of 1989, I was hired to do some geochemical reconnaissance mapping and sampling in this area. (See this post for some more information.) It involved following 200 foot contours (constant elevation), collecting samples from the soil B-horizon every 200 feet laterally, flagging sample sites, and mapping those locations as we went. One of the contours my field partner Mark and I were assigned happened to be at approximately the same elevation as this access road, which has been […]
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7:51 PM | Friday Headlines: 9-12-14
Friday Headlines, September 12, 2014 THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES   Today’s round-up: Parts of I-15 in Nevada destroyed by flooding! The oldest mammal? Exfoliation (in the geologic sense) caught on camera!   I-15 partially open from St. George to … Continue reading →
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7:30 PM | Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano at 19:30 UTC
This information is going to get outdated quickly. Current status on Bárðarbunga volcano There are now two lava lakes (at least) in the fissure that has been erupting in Holuhraun. The eruption has not yet stopped, but it … Continue reading →
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5:01 PM | DNews: Meet the Guy Who Went into a Volcano
Trace sits down with Sam Crossman, star of a viral video this week that depicted his descent into the closest thing to hell on Earth -- an active volcano.
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3:18 PM | OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Passes First Major Qualification Test
The development of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft continues to make great progress having recently completed static load testing.
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2:21 PM | “Payback Time” cancer campaign mis-step
Here’s the video and some background. It’s a two minute animation currently showing on British TV, in support of an upcoming Channel 4 cancer research fundraising evening, which will be held on 17th October 2014. The cause is impeccable and I’d urge people to support it. Furthermore, the animation is well made and quite striking. […]
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2:00 PM | Conference Registration
  One week to go… Register Here
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2:00 PM | Graceful, tiny, toothy ancestors
With body spry, tail curly, This mammal showed up early.
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11:41 AM | Friday fold: Quartz vein in Catoctin Formation, Point of Rocks, Maryland
I took this image in 2005, when I was working up a geologic history of the C&O Canal National Historical Park. It’s a vein of quartz, gracefully folded within the Catoctin Formation. The exposure is along the railroad tracks at Point of Rocks, Maryland, easternmost extent of the Blue Ridge province on the north shore of the Potomac River. The Culpeper Basin begins about 100 meters to the east of …
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11:08 AM | A dark future sprouting from sealed soil
Every year in Europe, soils covering an area larger than the city of Berlin are lost to urban sprawl and transport infrastructure. This unsustainable trend threatens the availability of fertile soils and groundwater reservoirs for future generations. A new report made public today by the European Commission recommends a three-tiered approach focused on limiting the […]
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10:30 AM | Geosciences Column: Adapting to acidification, scientists add another piece to the puzzle
In the latest Geosciences Column Sara Mynott sheds light on recent research into how ocean acidification is affecting the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. The findings, published in Biogeosciences, reveal large differences between the abilities of different animals to adapt and highlight the urgent need to understand the way a greater suite of species are […]
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9:00 AM | GfGD Conference – Skills for Sustainability
A core part of our upcoming conference programme is a session on ‘Skills for Sustainability.’ At our conference in 2013 we introduced a range of ways by which geologists can support the fight against global poverty, including hydrogeology, engineering geology, natural resource management, hazards and disaster reduction (and much more). This technical understanding of geology can have a […]
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3:10 AM | Thirsty Thursday – My Sam Adam’s Clone
In our household, there’s a lot of beer consumption. I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason why I can’t lose weight is because of the vast quantities of beer available. (This is also my motivation to keep exercising so … Continue reading →
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1:30 AM | Bryantodus mundus Conodont Fossil
Here is a picture of a recently found conodont fossil fragment. It appears to be a Bryantodus mundus. The fossil was found in the Jacobs Chapel Shale of Clark County, Indiana, USA which dates to the Mississippian Period. Thanks to Kenny for the picture.

September 11, 2014

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11:50 PM | Freak Summer Snowstorm in Calgary Leaves 30,000 Without Power
I grew up in Calgary and a small bedroom community west of it called Bragg Creek.  This event is not on a par with the flooding of a couple years ago, but it still qualifies as “freaky”. Freak Summer Snowstorm in Calgary Leaves 30,000 Without Power.
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10:11 PM | Status update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 22:11 UTC
This information is going to get outdated quickly. Eruption in Holuhraun continues and there are no signs about it ending any time soon. Lava lake has formed in one of the south crater according to the news today. … Continue reading →
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9:56 PM | New Rosetta views and first science on comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko from EPSC
At the European Planetary Science Congress held this week in Portugal, the Rosetta team showcased some early science results from Rosetta's mission to comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko.
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8:11 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #37A
97%, 97 hours, 97 climate scientists 97 experts explain the scientific consensus on climate change As people march, a moment of truth in the climate fight Climate change in plain language Don't understand global warming? Let 97 climate scientists explain it Fossil fuels, global warming and democracy Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984 Legendary accounting firm just ran the numbers on climate change Prophetic visions can rouse politicians from complacency The two-degrees […]
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7:46 PM | Geo 730: September 11, Day 619: Liesegang 1
Liesegang rings are, as we euphemistically say in the geo biz, "not well understood." In other words, we have some clues, but no one has managed to put the details together for a clear picture of how these are formed. No matter, they're fun and pretty; their mystery only adds to their appeal.This spot is maybe another 50 yards farther down the logging road past the bare area of the last two photos of the vein in the cut. Past that bare area, there's a copse of Douglas firs; as those start to […]
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6:38 PM | Geo 730: September 10, Day 618: Fire and Water
A nice conclusion to the vein photos, the fiery red of Aaron's hair along with the watery blue of Dana's clothes combine to create the quartz vein directly between them. Of course, "fire" is figurative in this case; the heat was supplied by the diorite intrusion we saw at Yellowbottom Falls, and the "water" was a hydrothermal fluid, well above the temperature we think of as boiling, but under enough pressure to keep it liquid. It would've hardly been perceived as a cool blue. The temperature we […]
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5:25 PM | Recovery. Peak. Collapse. Planetary Science from 1990 - 2014
The history of planetary exploration repeats itself starting with a resurgent program in the 90s and 2000s that launched a new fleet of planetary spacecraft. Like our first story, this great success rewarded by deep budget cuts.
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5:24 PM | Bacteria in our Glass!
In an inhospitable environment (such as deep beneath the sea floor), you can surprisingly run into organisms that thrive in such conditions. These “extremophiles” live in such harsh surroundings that they are without competition from other organisms; their niche is secure. read more
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4:47 PM | Expedition 40 Crew Returns Safely to Earth
NASA astronaut Steve Swanson and Russian cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev are safely back on Earth following a five-and-a-half month stay aboard the International Space Station.
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4:30 PM | Larry Gibson and the Lobster Boat
There are many brave people who recognize the climate crisis and are beginning to stand up and take personal risks to try to stop expansion of the fossil fuel industry, across the United States, in Canada, and in other nations. Their courage is remarkable and I hope it has an awakening effect.
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4:30 PM | Ozone Problem on Course for Fix By Mid-Century
Earth's damaged ozone should recover by 2050, although the hole over Antarctica may take longer.
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3:38 PM | Sustainability Management Alum Transitions to Career in Public Sector
Master of Science in Sustainability Management alum Harry McLellan (’14) has always had an interest in the built environment. Prior to joining the program, he worked as a construction lawyer for 25 years. Now, working as a Senior Counsel in the Law Department of the City of New York’s Commercial and Real Estate Litigation Division, Harry hopes to integrate environmental concerns by promoting public works projects.
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