Posts

December 18, 2014

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2:19 AM | Lightning Bolts May have Jolted Life on Earth
Michael Wong wants to understand how life could evolve on other worlds. A graduate student in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology, he usually focuses on planetary atmospheres. But recently, his quest took Wong to a strange, hostile setting: the bottom of an acidic ocean on Earth, 4 billion years ago.
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2:03 AM | Infinite Visions, One Planetary Society
Three weeks ago, we launched a social media campaign hoping to engage the public in space exploration. What we achieved was more than we expected—our Infinite Visions campaign reached more than 2.5 million people in 47 countries.

December 17, 2014

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11:35 PM | NASA Delays Asteroid Redirect Mission Concept Selection until 2015
NASA's efforts to capture a near-Earth asteroid and tow it back to lunar orbit will have to wait a little bit longer for a final mission concept.
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10:40 PM | New computer system predicts malaria outbreaks in Ethiopia
Scientists have created a computer system that will help predict malaria outbreaks in northwestern Ethiopia. The advance warning system, which uses local epidemiological information and real-time environmental data, will allow public health officials to transport resources to high-risk areas and contain outbreaks early, explained ecologist Chris Merkord from South Dakota State University.
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10:25 PM | Unmarked burial sites: where history and geophysics team up
Located about 25 miles north of Houston, Mueschke Cemetery is a historical burial ground. With its oldest headstone dating back to 1849, the cemetery is the resting place for close to 150 people, many of them soldiers killed in 150 years of American wars. But the cemetery is also known to contain dozens of unmarked graves, their locations lost over time. Now, a tool used by geologists and engineers is helping to find them: radar.
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10:00 PM | New York State Bans Fracking
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would ban hydraulic fracking in New York State, citing health concerns about the controversial oil and gas drilling technique.
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9:25 PM | Solite Excavation: Day 14
On Saturday, our last day of excavation for 2014, we reached the cumulative work time of two weeks. During that time we collected ~53 cubic feet of insect bed and several boxes and crates full of various plants and vertebrates including … Continue reading →
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9:06 PM | AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 2
Tuesday I spent most of my time in the poster hall - a full day on my feet, in fact, which I'm regretting slightly today. In the morning I was learning about fluids and mineralization in hydrothermal systems in a number of places - Iceland, Chile, mid-ocean ridges, among others - and in the afternoon I saw some presentations on eruptive dynamics, particularly at my old field area of the Santiaguito lava domes in Guatemala.
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6:20 PM | SpaceX to Attempt First-Ever Ocean Barge Rocket Landing
This Friday, SpaceX will attempt what no agency or company has done before: land a used rocket stage on a floating ocean platform.
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5:57 PM | Paths to Decarbonization: A Live Twitter Q&A
@UNSDSN is hosting a live Twitter Q&A on Friday, Dec. 19, from 1-2 p.m. EST with Jim Williams, chief scientist at Energy and Environmental Economics Inc. and lead author on the U.S. Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project report. You can send in your questions before and during the live chat on Twitter or Facebook by using #USDDPP.
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5:38 PM | New evidence for a massive flood on the Mackenzie River 13,000 years ago
The Northern Hemisphere suddenly cooled about 12,800 years ago in an event named the Younger Dryas. Scientists have debated the cause for many years. One widely-believed explanation is that the massive but long gone Lake Agassiz in central Canada rapidly flooded fresh water east down the St. Lawrence River into the northern Atlantic Ocean. That pulse of fresh water interfered with warm ocean currents and triggered the cooling.
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5:14 PM | DNews: Volcanoes Can Show Us How Earth Resurfaces Itself
Volcanoes can wreak havoc with our lives and even take them without warning, but to geologists keen observing how Earth regenerates its crust, they can be as educational as they are scary.
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5:03 PM | An updated geological timeline for the extinction of the dinosaurs
The asteroid that smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula a little more than 66 million years ago left behind the Chicxulub crater, but it also left behind something else: iridium, a rare element, which settled in a fine layer all over the world. When scientists discovered this layer between rock strata in the 1980s, it eventually led them to the crater as well, and an explanation for the disappearance of the dinosaurs. But on either side of that layer, which serves as a geological boundary between […]
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4:20 PM | Strange Rock from Russia Contains 30,000 Diamonds
Here's the perfect Christmas gift for the person who has everything: A red and green rock, ornament-sized, stuffed with 30,000 teeny-tiny diamonds.
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3:01 PM | Three ridges and three valleys
That’s the view from Woodstock Tower, on the crest of Three Top Mountain, looking east/northeast across the Little Fort Valley and through Mine Gap (a water gap), across the main Fort Valley and then Massanutten Mountain itself, with the Page Valley separating Massanutten’s ridge line from the horizon-forming Blue Ridge.
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2:53 PM | Five emerging global risks insurers should be concerned about
Institute of Hazard, Risk and Resilience Blog - Making a difference to how we live with hazard and risk. by Marcus Fletcher In insurance the loss potential of natural catastrophes has traditionally been measured by catastrophe models. Catastrophe models are effective since they rely on past historic trends to predict possible financial loss to a natural catastrophe, however, emerging [...] The post Five emerging global risks insurers should be concerned about appeared first on Institute of […]
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1:28 PM | Laying out a seismic survey
Cutlines for a dense 3D survey at Surmont field, Alberta, Canada. Image: Google Maps.There are a number of ways to lay out sources and receivers for a 3D seismic survey. In forested areas, a designer may choose a pattern that minimizes the number of trees that need to be felled. Where land access is easier, designers may opt for a pattern that is efficient for the recording crew to deploy and pick up receivers. However, no matter what survey pattern used, most geometries consist of […]
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1:00 PM | GeoTalk: Nick Dunstone, an outstanding young scientist
 Nick Dunstone, the winner of a 2014 EGU Division Outstanding Young Scientists Award, who studies the Earth’s climate and atmosphere, including how they are impacted by natural variation and anthropogenic emissions talks to Bárbara Ferreira, the EGU Media and Communications Manager, in this edition of GeoTalk. This interview was first published in our quarterly newsletter, GeoQ. First, could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit about what you are working on at the moment? […]
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8:45 AM | Greenpeace Really Screws Up...Twice
Source: Greenpeace via Reuters It's hard to imagine a more moronic act by a supposedly respectable environmental organization. I have appreciated the activism of Greenpeace in the past, especially the efforts of the Rainbow Warrior (all three of them) to stop whaling and nuclear testing. But this was stupid. And they made it worse in the aftermath.Greenpeace has stood for action to save endangered species and habitats, sometimes putting lives on the line to protect them. It is sometimes the […]
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7:54 AM | 2014 will be the hottest year on record
For those of us fixated on whether 2014 will be the hottest year on record, the results are in. At least, we know enough that we can make the call. According the global data from NOAA, 2014 will be the hottest year ever recorded. I can make this pronouncement even before the end of the year because each month, I collect daily global average temperatures. So far, December is running about 0.5°C above the average. The climate and weather models predict that the next week will be about […]
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6:00 AM | Landslides from the 2010 Mw=7.2 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah, Mexico
In our latest paper, just published, we have mapped and analysed landslides triggered by the 2010 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah range in Mexico
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5:58 AM | Dr. G’s #AGU14 Spotlight – Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers
To support our undergraduate student researchers and presenters, the AGU Fall Meeting offers sessions on best mentoring practices for faculty
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5:36 AM | Local global science
I don’t spend all my time out among Oakland’s rocks. I also take advantage of the Bay area’s opportunities to learn about Earth science. Every year, for instance, I attend the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, held without fail in San Francisco since 1968. I started in the mid-1980s, and it’s where I’m […]
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2:41 AM | Long-lived lightning clusters in hotspots worldwide
Most lightning hits as a short-lived luminosity, a flickering flash in the pan. Other lightning lingers 10 to 100 times as long. It can simmer the sap of an entire tree and spark a dangerous forest fire. Now, researchers at the University of Alabama in Huntsville have identified hotspots worldwide where long-lived lightning clusters occur.
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1:02 AM | scientific $$$ competition
In both the academic world and the consulting business, many of us chase after big pots of money - the sort of money that would fund an entire research program or keep an office employed for years. Sometimes we compete for individual projects, or we compete for the chance to be put on a list for future work. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the sorts of organizations that have these pots of money are also big, and usually have complicated and occasionally opaque selection processes. If the […]

December 16, 2014

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11:30 PM | Greenland Ice Loss May Be Worse Than Predicted
A warming planet may lead to swifter ice loss on Greenland’s ice sheet, and faster sea level rise for the rest of the world than previously predicted, scientists said Monday.
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11:29 PM | Can You See Holiday Lights From Space? Yes!
NASA’s Suomi Satellite has an amazing sensor that can see the Earth at night very well. The pics below are a comparison of normal city lights from space, and the green shows the added lights from all the holiday decorations! Pretty cool ay! NASA has a video here and the pics of our region are below. Here are further details from NASA: With a new look at daily data from …
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11:25 PM | Scientists use satellites to monitor volcano risks
A NASA team utilized satellite data to create a map of past volcanic deposits and modeled the risk to nearby towns. They found one town on a potential lava flow path and a second town at risk for mud flows. The results were presented at Monday’s poster session at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. The group’s methodology using satellite images can serve as a template for remotely assessing volcano risk, according to the researchers.
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11:18 PM | Geo 730: December 16, Day 715: At Timberline
"Timberline" was not a concept I really had when I was growing up. Like "snowline," it wasn't applicable in Ohio. Simply stated, it's the alpine elevation above which climatic conditions are too harsh, too persistently, for trees to grow. In both cases, these lines appear sharp from a distance, but when you're "on" the lines, they're more ragged and not as clear cut. Here, there are clearly some trees that look as if they're doing well, but the one in the left foreground looks as if it might be […]
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11:15 PM | Researchers keep an eye on walrus ice preferences
To walruses, ice means life. It’s their home base, their mating ground, and their transportation. As climate change threatens the extent of ocean ice, a new study takes a first step at determining how changing ice conditions are influencing walrus dynamics.
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