Posts

February 19, 2015

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10:59 AM | Landslides, lake tsunamis and the tragedy of Lago Cabrera
Fifty years ago, on 19th February 1965, a rock and ice landslide fell from the summit face of Volcan Yate in southern Chile. It was mid-summer, and was one of the warmest and wettest February records in that part of Chile on record. The debris slid rapidly down a narrow gully, losing at least 1500 metres in elevation, […]
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8:15 AM | Paglajhora: another progressive road failure video
A video on Youtube shows a road collapse event that destroyed a truck at Paglajhora in Darjeeling. The landslide was a part of a much larger and very active slope failure that seems to have been initiated and exacerbated by poor slope management practices
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6:32 AM | The Pinnacle of Evil Volcano Lairs – At Least in This Solar System
A while back, we had a meme traveling around the geoblogosphere regarding evil volcano lairs. Many geologists came up with excellent lairs, as you shall see. But I decided we needed to think big as... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:21 AM | Museum bill advances in state Senate
Senate Bill 1200, which would transfer the former Mining & Mineral Museum from the Arizona Historical Society (AHS) to the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS), passed 5-0 in the Arizona Senate Rural Affairs and Environment Committee yesterday.The bill directs AZGS to re-open the museum as the Mining, Mineral, and Natural Resources Education Museum, to include the elements planned for the proposed Centennial Museum that was never developed - agriculture, livestock, specialty crops, tourism, and […]
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2:05 AM | Introducing Eotaria crypta from the Miocene of Southern California - the oldest known otariid pinniped
Photos of the holotype specimen and life restoration of Eotaria crypta, with Allodesmus for scale (Allodesmus is roughly the size of an adult male Steller's sea lion). Artwork by yours truly. […]
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1:00 AM | 2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #8A
‘Anti-petroleum’ movement a growing security threat to Canada, RCMP say Australian Academy of Science brings climate change closer to home Australian scientists make fresh attempt at explaining climate change BP's two-word fix for global climate change Climate change could decimate the American ski industry Global ocean acidity revealed in new maps How significant is the UK party leaders' joint climate pledge? Jury in on climate change, so stop using arguments of convenience and […]

February 18, 2015

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10:59 PM | Geo 1095: February 18, Day 779: Not All THAT Grand
Here we see Dana for scale with the "Grand Column" in Oregon Caves. As I commented yesterday, it's not all that grand, but a very nice example of this kind of speleothem, nevertheless. As I didn't mention yesterday, you can see the neck, the tight point, where the stalactite and stalagmite met, right about the same height as Dana's knees. Stalactites tend to be narrower and grow faster vertically, than stalagmites, which tend to be stumpier and grow vertically less quickly. So necks on columns […]
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10:51 PM | Our Coring Toolkit
A few days ago we broke the scientific ocean drilling record for the deepest APC core ever obtained (687.4 meters below the seafloor!). But what is APC? And how does it differ from other coring systems? read more
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9:44 PM | Tyrannosaurus rex – der König der Dinosaurier
Unter den Dinosauriern gibt es einen, der wohl unumstritten der König ist, zumindest was die Beliebtheit angeht. Den Tyrannosaurus rex. Aber warum ist das so? Was macht ausgerechnet diesen Dinosaurier so faszinierend? Nun, da ist zum einen seine Größe. Damals, als man seine Knochen zum ersten Mal fand, war er der größte Raubsaurier, den man je gefunden hatte. Das hat sich allerdings im Laufe der Zeit etwas geändert. Man kennt heute einige Raubsaurier, die […]
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8:00 PM | Boston Snow You Have to See to Believe: Photos
As Boston dug out of record snowfall, some managed to climb a mountain of snow. Others just wanted to protect a cleared parking space. See photos from social media.
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7:38 PM | Mapping Europa
Several global maps have been made of Europa, but amateur image processor Björn Jónsson felt they could be improved—so he decided to make a new one.
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5:43 PM | New Horizons spots Nix and Hydra circling Pluto and Charon
A series of images just sent to Earth from New Horizons clearly shows Pluto's moons Nix and Hydra orbiting the Pluto-Charon binary.
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4:27 PM | Pangea: The Animated Life of Alfred Wegener
Another winner from Flora Lichtman and Sharon Shattuck. The duo are responsible for producing animated science documentaries. Their previous effort includes the beautiful The Animated Life of A.R Wallace.This recent one is on another Alfred...Wegener.  He proposed in 1910 that continents drift. They must have once been together but then they broke apart and shifted positions through geological history. Wegener had spent time in the Arctic and in Greenland working as a meteorologist and the […]
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4:04 PM | Backtrack to… student feedback via video vs. red pen
Is it time to throw away your red grading pen, and to start providing feedback to your students via individual video clips? Two Australian researchers think so. But the question still remains... will students do anything with your feedback?
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3:48 PM | Bárðarbunga volcano weekly update on 18-February-2015
There has not been major change in Holuhraun eruption since last week. The eruption continues at low phase at the moment far as I know. Bad weather has prevented scientists monitoring the eruption in the past few days. … Continue reading →
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3:46 PM | Bonjour de Nouméa!
Scientists from research institutions around the world are participating in a research expedition aboard the R/V L 'Atalante to study how microorganisms in the South Pacific Ocean influence the carbon cycle. Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory graduate student Kyle Frischkorn is among them; this is the first in a series of posts in which Kyle shares what it’s like to do research at sea.
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3:32 PM | Yard Waste and Steep Slopes
A frequent recommendation I make in geology hazard reports for steep bluff slopes is not to place yard waste on the steep slope. The yard waste will eventually build up mass as more material is added, kills the plants and roots under the waste, and when wet will slide down the slope. Hence the frequency of slope failures increases. It is a common practice and I suspect that there is either a mistaken belief that the yard waste will improve the slope (make it bigger?) or steep slopes are viewed […]
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1:46 PM | Wind Erosion Creates Startling Sand Shapes
Photographer Joshua Nowicki created a sensation across the Internet when he posted a photo of tiny sand towers created by wind eroding frozen sand along Lake Michigan. Continue reading →
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8:08 AM | Landslides from the 2015 Wilberforce earthquake in New Zealand
The GNS landslide team have produced a reconnaissance report detailing the landslides triggered by the 2015 Wilberforce earthquake in New Zealand
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8:00 AM | Soils at Imaggeo: Gypsum concretions in a soil horizon
Antonio Jordán, University of Seville, Sevilla, Spain Most Gypsisols are formed when gypsum (calcium sulfate) from gypsiferous parent materials is dissolved and moves through soil water, precipitating in an accumulation soil horizons. Triassic rock outcrops in almost all Andalusia consist mainly of red and variegated clays and in some cases by clays of different colors are known as the iridescent clays of the Triassic, or as variegated clays. Gypsum appears as chemical precipitation […]
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12:59 AM | A Little Mystery to Accompany the Moving Stones of the Basin and Range
I'm back from an intense journey through Death Valley National Park and surrounding regions. Much photography and commentary can be expected in the next few weeks, but for today, I'll just lay out a bit of a mystery. The sliding stones of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley are justly famous, and the mystery of their mode of movement has recently been made clear. But the Racetrack isn't the only place where the stones slide. Bonnie Claire Playa, close to the California-Nevada border, also shows the […]
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12:11 AM | Thesis submission - return to blogging
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February 17, 2015

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11:41 PM | Planetary CubeSats Begin to Come of Age
Van Kane rounds up some recent planetary mission concepts based on CubeSat technology.
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11:37 PM | The Chesapeake Bay is Freezing Up!
Click the image above for a version large enough to print! It’s become another ‘winter to remember’ in the Northeastern U.S. The snow goes all the way to the beach here on Delmarva, with 6-8 inches covering the area. Some pics sent in from our viewers are below. Below is the ferry out to Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay. A snowy Ocean City beach below.
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11:06 PM | Megadrought paper: message received, now what do we do?
The new paper by Ben Cook and colleagues clarifying our understanding the risk of megadrought in the southwestern United States has rightly gotten a lot of attention. Combining paleo records and modeling of a changing climate under rising greenhouse gas scenarios, Cook and his colleagues have created some scary reading: [F]uture drought risk will likely ...Continue reading ‘Megadrought paper: message received, now what do we do?’ »
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10:29 PM | Geo 1095: February 17, Day 778: Grand Column
Columns form when stalactites, growing down from the ceiling, meet and join with stalagmites growing up from the ground. This so-called Grand Column (page 18) is not terribly large, which is what the prefix "grand" is usually taken to imply. However it has very nice form, and it's right on the trail, so not only can you get a good close look at, but you can take another photo with Dana for scale...Photo unmodified. May 9, 2013. FlashEarth Location. (Since we're underground, I have only a vague […]
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9:23 PM | Stories from the history of science: the discovery of the stratosphere
There are many others, of course. RMG has one just now on the Chandler wobble; there’s Alfred Russel Wallace and the flat-earthers and the history of the word Scientist itself. All of these have “mottoes”, if you like; but I distrust them. There’s a sci-fi novel from ages back, the only bit of which I…
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8:59 PM | Random Geology Picture - Temperature-Elevation Correlation
Here are some older pictures I had taken. They are panoramas of the Oquirrh Mountains (pronounced Oaker) looking east. I had taken the pictures to illustrate changes in the temperature gradient as you moved up in the atmosphere. While it was raining down in the valley, you can pick out the freezing point in the atmosphere by just looking at where the snow started. Also you can see by this snow line, that the mountains are sloped to the left (the north). 
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7:32 PM | Global Ocean Acidity Revealed in New Maps
New satellite maps show the variation in ocean acidity across the globe, revealing a side effect of climate change that threatens marine life. Continue reading →
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6:54 PM | Report Forecasts Worsening Climate Hazards for New York Region
A new report released by the city today gives a worrisome picture of climate-related problems the New York metropolitan region will likely face this century. Temperatures are projected to rise, extreme precipitation and heat waves will be more frequent, and sea level could reach 6 feet under the worst-case scenario. The New York metropolitan region has been preparing to meet these challenges.
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