Posts

August 21, 2014

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6:00 PM | US West Rising Due to Severe Drought
The U.S. West is recoiling like a spring due to water loss from a severe drought, reports a new study.
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4:01 PM | Bárðarbunga caldera possibly lowering
This is a short no-picture update on the status in Bárðarbunga volcano. This information is going to get outdated quickly. There are now clues that Bárðarbunga volcano caldera is getting lower. While there are no signs of imminent … Continue reading →
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3:55 PM | On The Consequences Of A One To One Scale Map
 My Book Shelf # 30I have just started reading A History Of The World In Twelve Maps by Jerry Brotton, an exploration of influential maps through our history that shaped the way we viewed the world and in turn how our cultural habits, religious beliefs and political power equations of the day shaped decisions of how and what to represent. Each period in our history argues Jerry Brotton gets the map it deserves. It promises to be a really interesting read.Early in the introduction I came […]
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3:19 PM | Comet Flyby Missions for Mars Rovers
On October 19, the Mars rovers — like their orbiting cousins — will become comet flyby missions. Comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) will pass within 140,000 km of Mars.
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12:48 PM | Stardust@home Finds Some Stardust
What’s new at Stardust@home, the groundbreaking program that asked volunteers to help find interstellar dust particles collected by the spacecraft Stardust.
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12:33 PM | At home with Leonardo
Well, OK, Leonardo da Vinci wasn't actually there, having been dead 495 years, but on Tuesday morning I visited the house at which he spent the last three years of his life. I say house, it's more of a mansion — the Château du Clos Lucé is a large 15th century manoir near the centre of the small market town of Amboise in the Loire valley of northern France. The town was once the royal seat of France, and the medieval grandeur still shows.  Leonardo was invited to […]
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10:30 AM | Could Hazelnut Shortage Threaten Nutella?
The chocolate spread is taking a beating due to bad news about this year's hazelnut shortage.
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9:32 AM | Ho hum, another M3.2 Duncan aftershock
Aftershocks continue in the Duncan area with a M3.2 event on Tuesday night at about 8:16 pm.[right, orange star marks epicenter. Credit, USGS] Smaller aftershocks are more common but are not being reported by the USGS.  AZGS is monitoring all the aftershocks with a temporary seismometer network deployed around the main shock area.
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7:22 AM | Northern Convergence: Vancouver Island, the Plan That Was, Part III
Road construction at Malahat Summit. Photo by Mrs. Geotripper.Continuing my brief series of things my students didn't see on Vancouver Island during our Northern Convergence tour of Canada, we reach a place my students did in fact "see", as in we were there and looking around, but the students didn't see what we saw. Malahat Summit is 352 meters above sea level, about 1,155 feet, and is the local high point on this part of the Trans-Canada Highway between Victoria and Nanaimo. Several of my […]
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5:49 AM | Scientist in focus – meteorologist and climate communicator Paul Huttner
Meteorologists have the tools to clearly understand how humans are affecting the Earth’s climate. For folks who study weather every day, the changes they’ve seen defy natural explanation. But most meteorologists have to balance their very limited airtime and their reporting obligations with a desire to convey the reality of climate change. It’s very rare that a meteorologist, let alone a major media organization, take time to bring in-depth discussions to their listeners. But, […]
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1:58 AM | SO close
I have often argued that given their long hindlimbs, massive tail-bases, and posteriorly-located centers of mass, diplodocids were basically bipeds whose forelimbs happened to reach the ground. I decided to see what that might look like. Okay, now obviously I know that there are no trackways showing sauropods actually getting around like this. It’s just […]
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1:23 AM | Geology Sonnet 3
Science week geology sonnet number three!  See previous posts for background. A pox on all those proxies non-unique Which make interpretation hard to do. Magnesium to calcium we seek Sea Temp'rature, and not pCO2. So lithium, uranium are used To disambiguate the Mg curve. O. umbonatus' data's not recused, Antarctice ice growth isotopes observe. But whence the melting in the Miocene? Here

August 20, 2014

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11:29 PM | Bardarbunga volcano, Iceland, rumbling!
Chaotic ice in Vatnajokull over BardarbungaImage from the Smithsonian site hereHeadlines are starting to appear about seismic activity under Bardarbunga volcano, which lies under Vatnajokull in Iceland, but with frustratingly little information as they hark back on the sensationalism of airplane flights cancelled when Eyjafjallajokull erupted a few years ago. More than 300 people in the region have been evacuated as a precaution. Flooding is a possibility. Rather than paraphrasing, here […]
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10:48 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #34A
A ‘major challenge’ to South Asia’s economic development Cities’ air problems only get worse with climate change Climate change reflected in altered Missouri River flow Climate scientist calls on colleagues to speak up on global warming Defending forests is daily life for Indian woman leader Deforested idle land identified as source of Indonesia "haze" fires Earth sliding into ‘ecological debt’ earlier and earlier Greenland ice loss doubles from late […]
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8:53 PM | Geo 730: August 19, Day 596: Altered Andesite?
For reasons I explained earlier, I'm pretty uncertain with respect to the actual field relationships in this quarry, but the gray rock occupying the center of this photo appears to be the host rock into which the rhyolite intruded. It's some kind of altered intermediate volcanic rock (for example, andesite), but it doesn't seem to be as altered as the lighter rhyolite. It's definitely not mineralized with sulfides in a similar manner. As an aside, the pervasive iron staining on the surrounding […]
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8:29 PM | Epidot – Mineralogisches Alphabet E
Manche Gesteine, zum Beispiel wie der Unakit, heben sich durch ihre hübsche grüne Farbe ab. Das Mineral, welches für die Farbe verantwortlich ist, ist sehr oft das Mineral Epidot. Bekannt ist das Mineral bereits seit 1782, als es im französischen Le Bourg-d’Oisans entdeckt wurde. Zunächst aber hielt man es für einen Turmalin. Erst der französische Mineraloge René-Just Haüy erkannte es als eigenständiges Mineral. Er gab ihm seinen Namen, […]
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7:56 PM | Our Government is Incapable of Building a Sustainable Economy
My Columbia University colleagues Bill Eimicke and Alison Miller recently joined me in authoring a new book entitled Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to A Cleaner Economy. If all goes well, Jossey-Bass publishers will release the book in early 2015. Our work focuses on how American government at the federal, state and local levels can work with the private sector to speed up what I see as the inevitable transition to a renewable economy. While there is a lot of action at the […]
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7:35 PM | Geology of the National Parks in Pictures - Craters of the Moon
The next up on my tour of the National Parks in pictures:Craters of the Moon National Monument & PreserveMy standard park sign picture, but this time with the little one. Lava tube entrance. This one shows a pretty good view of the landscape that has many trees and shrubs but is still pretty barren.A lot of dead trees hanging about. Climbing up the largest of the cinder cones, Inferno Cone. Panoramic view from the top of Inferno Cone. View from Inferno Cone of a […]
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7:00 PM | Work, Youth, Optimism, and the Drive Toward a Safe, Sustainable Planet
Earth Institute Executive Director Steve Cohen discusses the changing natures of work and opportunity in the transition to a sustainable economy.
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5:50 PM | Why Is a Monsoon Flooding Phoenix?
The Arizona monsoon is actually a long-documented meteorological phenomenon there. Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | Rock-Eating Microbes Found in Buried Antarctic Lake
The subglacial lakes in Antarctic are home to at least 3,931 species of microbes, a finding that resolves earlier controversies over whether life can exist in the dark, subzero temperatures.
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4:02 PM | Canadian Mars Analogue Mission: Field Report, Week 1
Tanya Harrison reports on Canada's efforts to simulate a Mars sample return mission here on Earth.
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3:30 PM | Update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 15:29 UTC
Donations: Please remember to support my work by donating or by buying from Amazon. Please note that Amazon does not pay-per-click, they pay by sale. Each click on Amazon banner here is valid for 90 days. Thanks for … Continue reading →
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3:17 PM | Fall 2014 Undergraduate Research Assistant Opportunities
The Earth Institute will offer six research assistant opportunities for undergraduate students during the fall 2014 semester. Undergraduates from Columbia and Barnard will be able to serve as research assistants on research projects related to sustainable development and the environment with distinguished faculty and researchers at the cutting edge of this burgeoning field.
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12:22 PM | Before you set a hashtag for your course or have students blog, think FERPA
Are you going to require that your students post on a public blog this semester?  Will you be creating a Facebook page for your class and asking students to post on it?  Will you have students post selfies on Twitter with a course hashtag?  For those instructors that use social media with their students and courses, this could be the most important tweet you read all year:   Is your …
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12:08 PM | Solite excavation, Day 3
Two weeks ago bad weather prevented us from continuing our National Geographic-funded excavations at the Solite Quarry, but last Saturday we were able to continue with our efforts. As is often the case at Solite, we recovered a number of … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill II
GSN field trip Day 2: we're still at Majuba Hill.Continuing with our progression from left to right of rhyolite porphyry hand samples, we move on to Rock Number 3, a weakly mineralized version of the tourmalinized porphyry. (Rock 1 and 2 were seen here.)The feldspar sites in this rock sample contain needles of tourmaline, and powdery white sericite with a soft, blue green copper mineral.An enlargement of the left part of the same photo.I'm unclear as to the timing of mineral deposition in the […]
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12:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill II
GSN field trip Day 2: we're still at Majuba Hill.Continuing with our progression from left to right of rhyolite porphyry hand samples, we move on to Rock Number 3, a weakly mineralized version of the tourmalinized porphyry. (Rock 1 and 2 were seen here.)The feldspar sites in this rock sample contain needles of tourmaline, and powdery white sericite with a soft, blue green copper mineral.An enlargement of the left part of the same photo.I'm unclear as to the timing of mineral deposition in the […]
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11:52 AM | Climate Change Impacts in Labrador
In 1534, famed explorer Jacques Cartier described Labrador as "the land God gave to Cain". This comparison is inevitably linked to Labrador’s rugged coastal landscapes dotted with deep inlets, fiords and rugged tundra. Culturally the region is steeped in complexity with three distinct indigenous populations intertwined with settlers and settler descendants. In the north lies the Inuit settlement area of Nunatsiavut, where its predominantly Inuit residents are spread across 5 small […]
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11:51 AM | The evolutionary history of walruses, part 1: Introduction, and the earliest walruses
Note: A bit of a disclaimer is necessary. This will probably be one of my most indulgent post series, as this is probably my most favorite topic in paleontology. Walruses are a totally weird and fascinating group to study, and I hope some of my enthusiasm for these fantastic blubbery beasts shines through.IntroductionThe walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is one of the most peculiar and charismatic of all modern mammals, and easily the most […]
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