Posts

October 20, 2014

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2:56 AM | Detroit Notes: Some Positive Stuff
Despite the grimness of the much of Detroit there are remnants of greatness and, in places, signs of revitalization. Not enough to overcome the large population decline in many of the neighborhoods, but clear indications that the city may have hope of entering a period of split personality with a revitalized core surrounded by depopulated neighborhoods extending to the suburbs. Most of Michigan Avenue, the main arterial from downtown to the west, is lined with abandoned and […]
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2:30 AM | So how are we going to build these western water markets?
Peter Culp, Robert Glennon and Gary Libecap have published an excellent new analysis of the potential for water markets to help us dig out of the western United States’ water mess: Water trading can facilitate the reallocation of water to meet the demands of changing economies and growing populations. It can play a vital role ...Continue reading ‘So how are we going to build these western water markets?’ »
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1:33 AM | Carbon News 20/10/14: Chile’s carbon tax, soil SOS and more pressure on dirty investments
Chile’s new tax could open carbon doors for NZ Chile’s new carbon tax potentially offers New Zealand an opportunity to offset some of its own agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, says economist Dr Suzi Kerr. The $US5-a-tonne carbon tax slipped into Chilean law last month as part of a package of tax reforms. Soils SOS as […]
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12:34 AM | Hiking Into Grand Gulch Utah - Cedar Mesa Sandstone and Ruins
Many of you will remember a hike I completed last October in southern Utah (link here). This year, a similar group of friends went into Grand Gulch, a marvelous little canyon located on Cedar Mesa. You can access the BLM web site for Grand Gulch here.I am including many photos from this six-day hike but little details on specific locations. A hike in Grand Gulch requires knowledge of changing conditions, stamina, and proper gear. It is a long ways away from help. But for those who are prepared, […]
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12:28 AM | The chemical map of otoliths
It's about the size of a diamond and comes from the inner ear of a fish. This tiny construction holds a treasure trove of information, a calcium carbonate microchip made of bone and accessed by a laser. Let's take a look at the science of otoliths. An otolith is a fish ear bone (from oto- ear and lithos- stone). From every population of fish Heidi Golden finds, she preserves a number of otoliths to take back to the lab. These... Read more

October 19, 2014

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10:53 PM | New Brian Cox Series Human Universe on BBC Two is Excellent. Will it air in America?
I was in the UK on holiday last week, and caught two episodes of Professor Brian Cox’s new series Human Universe on BBC Two. Once again, Cox was superb, and the BBC have shown that no one on the planet can match them in science programming. Hopefully BBC will air it on BBC America or perhaps they will sell it to PBS. Then again there are probably tons of illegal …
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10:05 PM | Geo 730: October 19, Day 657: Otter Crest Outlook
The view from Otter Crest has become my favorite along the central coast. It's a spot I visited once, maybe twice early in my undergrad years, then forgot how to get to it. It's off of 101, and access is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. So on my first recent visit, last year, I was pretty well blown away by the view. On our July trip this year, we arrived near high tide; during my previous two visits last year, the tide was low. You can see the difference it makes by comparing the […]
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9:47 PM | Oak leaves in fall
Lissa and I caught the tail end of fall colors on a drive in the mountains east of Albuquerque today. I wonder why these oak leaves are waiting until the last minute? Phenology.
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8:42 PM | NZ hikes terrorism threat to “low”, ignores Pentagon warning of “immediate” threat from climate change
So, the threat of a terrorist attack on New Zealand is upon us has risen from “very low” to “low” — second to lowest in a ranking that has six levels. Cabinet is now urgently reviewing our security laws to make sure we’re equipped to deal with this horrific new threat. The media has dedicated […]
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7:49 PM | Forest-Rangeland Soil Ecology Lab: Biocrust at Hovenweep NM
A repost of Kyle Doherty's post over at the lab site...Forest-Rangeland Soil Ecology Lab: Biocrust at Hovenweep NM: I traveled to Hovenweep National Monument today in search of cliff dwellings, but got distracted by the excellent crust communities there! ...
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6:58 PM | The Sierra Nevada Underground: How does a newly discovered pristine cave look? Finding out at Black Chasm
There are caves and there are caves. Many of them were discovered long ago, and the easily accessible ones suffered grievous damage. In earlier days, cave decorations (speleothems) were broken off as souvenirs in the sadly mistaken belief that they would grow back quickly. Today's cave vandals have no such excuse. They break and destroy for sheer maliciousness. It's sad either way because caves don't recover, not in any kind of human time-frame. Their special kind of beauty is lost to us.That's […]
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4:48 PM | Fibrous Calcite from Illinois
Back in 2010 I found a Devonian brachiopod fossil with a fibrous or needlelike mineral growth in it. I was trying to determine what this was. Last week while touring the Gallery of Natural History section of the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park (1300 N. College Ave, Tempe Arizona 85281) I saw a calcite specimen (AHS-NH#11396) from Cave in the Rock, Hardin County Illinois,
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4:17 PM | Oil decline: Price makes the story
So oft in theologic wars,The disputants, I ween,Rail on in utter ignoranceOf what each other mean,And prate about an ElephantNot one of them has seen!--The Blind Men and The Elephant by John Godfrey SaxeWhen the world's business editors sent their reporters canvassing to find out what is behind the recent plunge in the world oil price, they were doing what they do almost every day for every type of market: stocks, bonds, currencies, commodities and real estate.In financial journalism more often […]
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11:43 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #42
SkS Highlights Another "lightening rod" article by Dana, Dinner with global warming contrarians, disaster for dessert, drew the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. If you have not already done so, be sure to check out Rob Paining's original SkS article, Ocean Warming has been Greatly Underestimated. It's a real "eye opener". Toon of the Week   h/t to I Heart Climate Scientists Quote of the Week Increasingly, arguments against climate […]
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8:33 AM | Beautiful new Oligocene dolphin in the prep lab
 A couple of months ago the Haugh's quarry triage project started - we had dozens of unopened plaster jackets from Haugh's Quarry in South Canterbury. About a dozen medium to large size jackets were prepped out, including this one, which was found to have a beautifully preserved odontocete skull, mandible, and partial postcranial skeleton from the upper Oligocene Otekaike Limestone.Here's a view of the skull and mandible; the gray pieces at the upper right are parts of a large echinoid.And […]
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3:10 AM | California water for kids, circa 1961
The Los Angeles area, with its large population, requires a great supply of water. To meet its needs, water is brought in by pipe lines from a long distance. Little moisture falls on the Central Valley in the dry season. During the season of rainfall, water is dammed and stored. It is released through canals ...Continue reading ‘California water for kids, circa 1961’ »
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1:17 AM | Phoenix, Lake Mead and “the anticommons”
Here’s a good example of why fixing the west’s water problems is going to be so difficult. Phoenix wants to do something really simple. It currently has more Colorado River water than it needs, and it would like to just leave its unused apportionment in Lake Mead. This seems like a no-brainer – Phoenix gets ...Continue reading ‘Phoenix, Lake Mead and “the anticommons”’ »

October 18, 2014

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9:04 PM | Notes From Detroit
I have been traveling and I am still digesting my time in Detroit. I am not unused to seeing areas that are a bit on the downside. But the scale and the demographic and economic realities of Detroit are still taking awhile to settle in. The thing to keep in mind about Detroit is that its population has declined to approximately 36% of its peak population of 1.8 million in 1950 to less than 700,000 today with a drop of over 200,000 since 2009. So some notes mostly in pictures. […]
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9:00 PM | Pyrites of the Caribbean
This is an announcement by the RSES Bureau for Football Propaganda Reporting A team of students from the Research School of Earth Sciences is competing in the ANU`s 2014 Mixed Summer 9s Soccer Football Competition. The team (“Pyrites of the … Continue reading →
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8:13 PM | Geo 730: October 18, Day 656: Stonecrop
Poking around on the roadcut across from the pullout, many of the joints were inhabited by these pretty little succulents. I don't know plants terribly well, but I'm guessing this is some kind of Sedum, a very diverse genus of plants also known as stonecrops. They seem, in my experience, to be good pioneers, and are some of the earliest colonizers of fresh rock exposures before soil development has progressed very far.Photo unmodified. July 15, 2014. FlashEarth Location.
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1:36 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #42B
As deaths mount in Nepal disasters, questions about climate change raised Churches go Green by shedding fossil fuel holdings Climate change: it’s only human to exaggerate, but science itself does not Cutting global warming pollution just business as usual at some major companies Does the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans, deserve a golden spike? Fossil fuel industry sustained by ‘toxic triangle’ that puts 400 million at risk From Apple to Wal-Mart, companies make bets on […]
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12:35 AM | siblings? cousins?
If you're on a long-term field project that requires staying overnight, and it's just two or three of you out there, you tend to get a little close. You work 10, 11, 12 hour days together, then you go back to the same hotel (or hotel room, if you're unlucky). You may be sharing a ride. Even if you split for dinner, you can't really escape them.Regardless of whether you like or dislike the other field staff, you start developing your own vocabulary, in-jokes, nicknames, stories you've heard a […]

October 17, 2014

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11:03 PM | Loma Prieta plus 25
Yesterday I attended the Loma Prieta 25 Symposium at the Kaiser Center. It was a quake geek’s Woodstock, where a motley host of experts got together to schmooze, celebrate 25 years of progress since the 1989 earthquake, and look ahead. At 10:16 a.m., along with 27 million other people around the world, we participated in […]
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10:07 PM | Gender representation in Geology
A week and a half ago, I pointed out the gender imbalance apparent in the September issue of Geology.  My particular gripe was that it would be hard to achieve gender balance in my ongoing geopoetry series if issues (like the September one) had three or fewer papers by women authors.  With encouragements from commenters and the geotwitter rock stars, I had a slightly deeper look into what is
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9:39 PM | Friday update for Bárðarbunga volcano on 17-October-2014
Bárðarbunga volcano eruption in Holuhraun did reach one big milestone today (17-October-2014). It is now the largest eruption in Iceland since the eruption in Laki (Skaftáreldar) in 1783 – 1784 eruption. By volume the lava field in Holuhraun … Continue reading →
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9:11 PM | Watching Siding Spring's encounter with Mars
The nucleus of comet Siding Spring passes close by Mars on Sunday, October 19, at 18:32 UTC. Here are links to webcasts and websites that should have updates throughout the encounter.
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7:11 PM | Geo 730: October 17, Day 655: Otter Crest Rockfall
This was just a random stop- "Oh, look. A pullout. Let's see what we can see." And as you can see from yesterday's post, there's a nice view overall. But there's also a very nice example of a coastal rockfall. The pounding surf undercut and weakened the headland. Ultimately unable to support itself, a large chunk collapsed into the ocean, leaving an impressive pile of boulders. Coastal landforms, even this resistant block of Columbia River Basalt, are short-lived in such an energetic […]
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5:53 PM | Curiosity update, sols 764-781: Work complete at Confidence Hills; puzzling arm issues
Curiosity spent a total of four weeks at Confidence Hills, feeding samples to SAM and CheMin several times. On two weekends during this period, the rover's activities were interrupted by faults with the robotic arm. Curiosity drove away from Confidence Hills on sol 780, and is ready to observe comet Siding Spring over the weekend.
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4:41 PM | M.S. Professor Looks to Past for Future Drought Mitigation
M.S. in Sustainability Management professor Ben Cook often tells his students that the past can provide critical lessons for how we manage sustainability challenges now and in the future. Thus, it is not surprising that Cook, whose research at the Earth Institute’s Lamont-Dougherty Earth Observatory focuses on drought, hydroclimate, and interactions between the land surface and climate system, recently found that the drought of 1934 was caused in part by an atmospheric phenomenon that may […]
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4:30 PM | MPA Program Announces Full Fellowship Opportunity- Apply Now!
The Master of Public Administration (MPA) in Environmental Science and Policy is pleased to announce the creation of the Dean’s Environmental Science and Policy Fellowship – the first full tuition grant made in the program’s 12-year history. All prospective students who apply to the program by January 15, 2015 will be eligible for the Fellowship, valued at approximately $72,000.
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