Posts

July 27, 2014

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12:27 PM | How to Find Sapphires… Sort Of [Northeast Tasmania]
Intro: I’ve never considered myself to be much of a rock hound, but being a geologist I guess I’m naturally attracted to pretty rocks and minerals… and so up sparked an idea to go panning (i.e. fossicking) for sapphires with some other Geo-friends in northeast Tasmania. What could be more fun than paddling knee high in […]
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11:23 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #30
SkS Highlights Dana's Climate models accurately predicted global warming when reflecting natural ocean cycles examined a new paper by James Risbey et al that takes a clever approach to evaluating how accurate climate model temperature predictions have been while getting around the noise caused by natural cycles. Needless to say, the article generated a lively and enligtening discussion on its comment thread. El Niño Watch El Niño 2014: Weather Phenomenon […]
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6:14 AM | Field Work Travelog – Day 15, Onward and Northward
This morning we left the Hanna Basin. I’m always a little sad to go. It’s like an old friend. I know it’ll be there waiting for me,  but knowing that it will be at least a year before I go … Continue reading →
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5:00 AM | Which Will Reduce Your Carbon Footprint More: Giving up Beef or Your Car?
I listened to a fascinating interview on Science Friday from NPR Friday afternoon, and it’s good news for poultry producers/bad news for cattle ranchers. Giving up beef reduces your carbon footprint more than giving up your car! Click below to listen: Poultry is a big industry here in Maryland, and they should be very happy about this. Poultry is an order of magnitude less carbon intensive than beef production.
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4:19 AM | Rare Mid-Summer Tornado Outbreak Possible In Midwest Sunday
An unusually strong summer cool front is expected to kick off numerous super-cell thunderstorms Sunday across the Midwest and even into the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast. With thousands of folks at campgrounds and beaches, the possibilities that the storms may catch folks in the open and away from sturdy shelter is much higher than normal. Just this week, an EF1 tornado hit the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and left two dead and over …

July 26, 2014

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10:10 PM | Is the basin the wrong scale to look at Colorado River (or Rio Grande) system groundwater losses?
I think the answer to my rhetorical question in this post’s headline is obviously “no”. I think this is enormously useful data. But I’m still puzzling over who beyond clickbaiting bloggers like myself might use it, and how. In his coverage of the GRACE Colorado Basin groundwater depeletion, Brett Walton at Circle of Blue included ...Continue reading ‘Is the basin the wrong scale to look at Colorado River (or Rio Grande) system groundwater losses?’ »
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6:51 PM | Scenic Saturday: Crossbeds on the Edge
Some of the famous features of the Peak District are not really peaks at all – but there is nothing more scenic than a wander along one of the ‘Edges’. These sheer cliffs, scattered along the eastern and western edges … Continue reading →
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6:28 PM | Geo 730: July 26, Day 572: More Amygdules
There are a number of calcite amygdules in this photo; the largest is in the upper center, and there are several smaller ones nearby. This spot sometimes gets overgrown with brambles, then a road crew will come through and clear them out. Over the next few years, the brambles will grow back, and the cycles repeats. So don't count on being able to find this spot, but it's definitely worthwhile looking for it.Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.
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5:36 PM | Groupo Mexcio to buy rest of Silver Bell copper mine
Grupo Mexico, parent company to Asarco, is reported to be buying the 25% of the Silver Bell copper mine that it doesn't already own.   Mineweb refers to a Wall Street Journal story that says Grupo will pay about $120 million to buyout Mitsui & Co's share.  [Right, Google Earth view of Silver Bell mine complex]The […]
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5:24 PM | Dinosaurs and the dangers of pedantism
Did you click here because of the word pedantism in the title? If so, you’ll like this (perhaps) apochryphal exchange between a married couple I know. Person A: ” You’re always correcting me! Your pedantism is really getting me down.” … Continue reading →
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5:00 PM | Request for info on Critical & Strategic Materials Supply Chain
Maeve Boland at the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) passed along this notice that the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy has issued a Request for Information on Critical and Strategic Materials Supply Chains, with a deadline for submissions of August 31, 2014.  [Photo credit, National Mining Association]The RFI focuses mainly on the downstream side of things but Maeve offers that this would be a good opportunity to point out the importance of the upstream part of […]
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3:35 PM | EoE – End of Expedition
We are almost there. Today we finished logging of Hole F that was dedicated for the purpose of logging only. More than 700m deep. We ran the Triple-Combo during the night and this morning the VSI. The VSI has to be operated during daylight hours because it seismically images the borehole using shockwaves. read more
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2:42 PM | Closer Look at The Nooksack Flow Split
As a bit of follow up on the DEM (digital elevation model) messing about I zoomed in a bit at the Nooksack River avulsion (course change) location near Everson.The river flows into the image from the south across a broad braided-channel flood plain. The river then bends sharp to the left at Everson just before it passes under a State highway bridge. It appears almost delta-like as over bank deposits on either side of the river cover a broad flood plain down stream of the Everson Bridge. If […]
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1:20 PM | Science isn’t always linear
 These days mostly I build scientific instrumentation- I don’t do a lot of science.  But last year I did get a small grant to look at some novel stuff.  I don’t want to go into it right now; but the process was interesting enough to share.  Figure one shows how we thought the project would progress; that is what we proposed to the funding body.  Figure 1: We’ll do this- what could possibly go
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8:25 AM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #30B
14 concepts that will be obsolete after catastrophic climate change Abrupt climate shifts in the past offer warning for future Changing human behavior is major factor in selling cleaner cars, curbing congestion China’s energy plans will worsen climate change, Greenpeace says Extreme weather – Canadians better get used to it Forest fires: Climate change’s new normal Funds needed to prevent coastal disasters, not just recover from them How ignoring climate change could sink the […]
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8:09 AM | Guizhou and Nagano – the aftermath of recent landslides
Photographs have emerged of the aftermath of landslides in Guizhou in China and Nagamo in Japan. The landslides are very different but both were equally devastating
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3:15 AM | Ag-urban transfers: “a significant fission of costs and benefits”
More from in Brian Devine’s excellent series on the tradeoffs, some quite hidden, in the agricultural-to-urban water transfers that seem the inevitable path forward in the western United States: To many rural communities, water is more than just money. Irrigation is the lifeblood of rural communities’ economies, to be sure, but it is also a ...Continue reading ‘Ag-urban transfers: “a significant fission of costs and benefits”’ »
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3:09 AM | Biocrusts in El Malpais National Monument, New Mexico
It's that time again…photo dumps from trips taken months ago! Last Spring I joined my graduate student Jesse, and two collaborators from the National Park Service on a trip to El Malpais in New Mexico.  Jesse is working on establishing an array of monitoring plots for "unique plant communities" which are important reservoirs of biodiversity in the National Park System. El Malpais is a National Monument built around a series of lava flows. One cool thing about it is that the […]
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2:02 AM | Triassic footprint donation
Paul Olsen from Columbia University spent the day at VMNH examining some of our Triassic collections. Paul is responsible for much of our understanding of how Newark Supergroup sediments were deposited and how they correlate with each other, so we’re always … Continue reading →
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12:41 AM | fieldwork and harassment
How common is harassment for field scientists? Chris Rowan recently discussed this paper on sexual harassment of field workers. The paper is focused on academic field experiences, but I'd like to address the issue in terms of environmental (industry) experiences.I have not been the target of sexual advances or harassment by any managers, superiors, or advisors. But those folks have rarely been in the field with me anyway. I've never been bothered by subcontractors - I've certainly run into […]

July 25, 2014

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11:21 PM | More details on the landslide in Askja volcano
Over the past few days scientists from Icelandic Meteorological Office and University of Iceland, geology department have been studying the massive landslide in Askja volcano. The area is considered unstable as is and might remain unstable for the … Continue reading →
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11:20 PM | Field work travelog – Day 14, Another view of the Paleocene-Eocene boundary
Today was another long but productive field day. We decided to take a look at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary in a slightly different part of the field area. The day started with driving to what I recalled add a good starting … Continue reading →
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9:03 PM | My scientific media diet, the arborization of science, and the Red Queen
I was reading a rant on another site about how pretentious it is for intellectuals and pseudo-intellectuals to tell the world about their “media diets” and it got me thinking–well, angsting–about my scientific media diet. And then almost immediately I thought, “Hey, what am I afraid of? I should just go tell the truth about […]
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8:38 PM | Wildfire Smoke Reaches New York and Ontario
The wildfires from Washington and western/northern Canada continue to send a shroud of dense smoke to areas thousands of miles away. It’s been an almost autumn like afternoon over the Northeast U.S., and here in Maryland we have a deep blue sky with low humidity. No deep blue sky to our north however, where a dense layer of smoke covers southern Canada and New England. Below is the temperature anomalies …
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6:03 PM | Stuff I helped write elsewhere: Endangered Species Act litigation on the Rio Grande
From this morning’s Albuquerque Journal (behind a GoogleSurveyWall for non-subscribers, sorry): Citing “two decades of broken promises by federal and state water managers,” a Santa Fe-based environmental group filed a federal lawsuit against two government agencies Thursday alleging they failed “to secure dynamic and perennial flows for the Rio Grande” needed to protect the silvery ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I helped write elsewhere: Endangered Species Act […]
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5:41 PM | Geo 730: July 25, Day 571: Calcite Amygdules
At the southwest (downstream, toward the dam) end of the basalt outcrop near Green Peter Dam, there is what I would guess is a different flow of vesicular basalt. (It's unclear to me just how many individual flows are present in this outcrop.) The vesicles in this flow are less abundant, but much larger than elsewhere, and entirely filled with calcite. In addition, due to shearing in the flowing lava, they are typically pulled out into flattened teardrop-shaped lenses, reminiscent of almonds, […]
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5:30 PM | Sprawling Northwest Wildfire Captured by Drone Cam
A wildfire is raging in central Washington, and a new video captured by a drone features aerial views of the damage.
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3:30 PM | Southwest Groundwater Disappearing at 'Shocking' Rate
The Colorado River Basin's underground water supplies are shrinking faster than they're being replenished.
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2:50 PM | Reputational risk in the UK financial sector
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. Reputation management is imperative to success for business professionals and in banking it is no different. Banks need a favourable reputation to build trust with customers in order to encourage them to deposit their money, take out mortgages or business [...] The post Reputational risk in the UK financial sector appeared first on Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog.
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1:56 PM | 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #30A
Attack of the Chicago climate change maggots Climate change already having profound impacts on lakes in Europe Error discovered in Antarctic sea-ice record EU agrees to improve energy efficiency 30% by 2030 G20 should facilitate international cooperation on climate change Global health and climate-change: together bound Great Barrier Reef's decline buried in government reports Has Antarctic sea ice expansion been overestimated? New data on extreme temperatures underscore planet's warming […]
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