Posts

December 20, 2014

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11:13 PM | Geo 730: December 20, Day 719: Timberline Trail
Timberline Trail circumnavigates all of Mount Hood, as the name implies, near timberline. Here it can be seen descending into the upper valley of the White River (unless you're taking the trail clockwise, in which case it's ascending from that valley). I did consider walking down there, but decided I didn't want to make the climb back up. According to the PDF at the link up front, the trail is "only" 36.6 miles/58.9 kilometers- I could've easily done it in two days, or a leisurely three, 30 […]
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7:31 PM | Geo 730: December 19, Day 718: Upper Salmon River
At the end of the dry season, this modest stream is barely a trickle. However, according to Wikipedia (see stats box on upper right), the Timberline area receives an average of 45 feet of snow each winter. (Note this is not the amount of snow on the ground at any time; it's total snowfall.) During spring melt, or during warm rain events, such as we're having today, Dec. 20, 2014, this small stream certainly swells to a torrent. Looking at all the loose rubble in and around the water, and […]
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2:15 PM | Watching lava fight with snow in Kamchatka
The result isn’t as straight-forward as you might think.
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10:53 AM | New, tighter timeline confirms ancient volcanism aligned with dinosaurs’ extinction
A definitive geological timeline shows that a series of massive volcanic explosions 66 million years ago played a role in the extinction event that claimed Earth’s non-avian dinosaurs, and challenges the dominant theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause of the extinction. A primeval volcanic range in western India known as the Deccan … Continue reading →

December 19, 2014

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9:58 PM | Next Napa Quake Could Be Bigger, Stronger
New research indicates the fault that triggered the August quake is 20 miles longer than scientists realized, which could produce more powerful earthquakes in the future.
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9:58 PM | Next Napa Quake Could Be Bigger, Stronger
New research indicates the fault that triggered the August quake is 20 miles longer than scientists realized, which could produce more powerful earthquakes in the future.
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6:26 PM | Electromagnetic imaging helps scientists locate underwater methane
A simple compound found in underwater structures could generate warmth below the ocean, inside homes, and in the atmosphere. The location of the compound, methane, determines whether it’s dangerous, welcome, or world-changing. Now, a team from GEOMAR in Kiel, Germany and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom has used electromagnetic images to more accurately identify and characterize a source of methane beneath the ocean floor.
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4:49 PM | Data from space illuminates Calaveras creep
Scientists have used satellites to more accurately measure the slow creep of land along the Calaveras and Hayward faults east of the San Francisco Bay, a finding that helped the researchers estimate the magnitude of future earthquakes. Both the Calaveras and Hayward faults are part of the San Andreas system, which sits at the boundary of two massive slabs of the Earth’s crust called the North American and Pacific plates. The plates slide slowly past one another, sometimes getting stuck […]
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12:39 AM | Rocks: the larger they are, the faster they crumble
Sooner or later, mountains crumble into boulders, boulders crumble into rocks and pebbles, and so on, until wind and rivers carry sand and dust into the ocean, completing the geologic rock cycle. "But how [rocks] go from the mountain into that ocean bottom, that's what is not understood very well," said Jaakko Putkonen, a geologist with the University of North Dakota. Scientists from UND and other institutions discovered that chunks of rock break off of boulders in Antarctica once every 1,900 […]
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12:38 AM | Geo 730: December 18, Day 717: Upper Salmon Valley
The valley directly in front of us here is the upper end of the Salmon River. The pair of valleys beyond that are a tributary to the White River (closer), and the White River (farther). Palmer ice field/glacier appears to the right of the tree in the left middle, and Crater Rock and the Mount Hood summit are above that feature. The winds were from the east this day, so I don't think that cloud could be described as a lenticular.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.

December 18, 2014

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8:42 PM | Geo 730: December 17, Day 716: Diurnal Stream?
The reason for the question mark in the title is that I'm not sure "diurnal stream" is a valid term, nor the correct one for this situation. Basically, snow melt from ice and snow fields above this spot doesn't melt during the night, so the water flow stops. Then, during the day, if it's warm enough, melting starts again, and the stream gets water. So this stream, at this point at least, flows in stop-and-start daily pulses. I'm not sure I've seen anything like this before, but thinking about […]
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8:20 PM | The Complete History Of Earth In One Tidy Infographic
Graphic designer Juan David Martinez has captured our planet's entire 4.6-billion year history in this rather clever wheel-like chart. Read more...
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6:09 PM | Dinosaur Extinction: New Research Favors Volcanism as Cause
A new set of rock dates have pushed volcanism back into the debate over the extinction of the dinosaurs.
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10:39 AM | The best science books of 2014: chemistry, physics, maths | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best popular physical sciences books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas for all the maths-astro-physics-chemistry buffs on your holiday gift-giving list!Today, I continue my series of “best of 2014” books lists by sharing the maths, physics, astronomy, chemistry and earth sciences books that I consider to be amongst the best published this year in this genre of popular sciences. […]

December 17, 2014

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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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10:11 PM | With Unresolved Health Risks and Few Signs of an Economic Boon, Cuomo to Ban Gas Fracking
A look at the mix of economic, political and environmental factors that prompted Gov. Cuomo to bar fracking.
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6:26 PM | Curiosity samples methane surges in Martian atmosphere
Point to a dynamic and local process—possibly biological—that's releasing the gas.
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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 […]

December 16, 2014

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11:28 PM | Methane and Holes on Mars and Earth
Some musings on very different methane-emitting holes on Mars and Earth.
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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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8:29 PM | Watch As 40-Foot Trees Are Swallowed Up In Seconds By An Underwater Sinkhole (Video)
Last summer, a massive sinkhole opened up underneath the Corne Bayou in Assumption Parish, Louisiana. The bayou sits above an old salt mine that is slowly collapsing. On August 3, 2012, a one-acre sinkhole opened up, prompting Louisiana mayor Bobby Jindal to order an evacuation of the small Bayou Corne community. In just a single year, the sinkhole expanded in size from one to 28 acres. According to ecology.com, “In places, it is estimated to be 750 feet deep, and some […]
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5:49 PM | Climate Science: What You Need To Know via jtotheizzoe: Climate...
Climate Science: What You Need To Know via jtotheizzoe: Climate change is happening now, it’s happening fast, and human activity is causing it. This is what the vast majority of climate research tells us and what more than 97% of climate scientists agree on. Hopefully you’re the kind of person that trusts in science and agrees with all that. Good for you! I like your style.  But if a climate change denier walked up to you at a party, and said you were wrong, because climate […]
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6:42 AM | SR 530 (Hazel/Oso) Landslide Commission Report
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee set up a landslide commission to review the Hazel/Oso Landslide. The commission report came out on December 15: SR530 Landslide Commission Final Report.pdf One of the recommendations is to further fund landslide hazard mapping, "The SR 530 Landslide highlights the need to incorporate landslide hazard, risk, and vulnerability assessments into land-use planning, and to expand and refine geologic and geohazard mapping throughout […]
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1:11 AM | On Mars, What Was A Lake Is Now A Mountain Data from...
On Mars, What Was A Lake Is Now A Mountain Data from NASA’s Curiosity rover indicates that lake bottom sediment formed the lower layer­s of Mount Sharp over approximately million yea­rs. By: Video From Space.
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12:46 AM | December 14, 2014: Survive The Horrors of WWII With the Hero of “Unbroken,” Chase Water Down the Colorado River and More
This week on National Geographic Weekend, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they decide survival over summit glory in Myanmar, remain "Unbroken" with the hero of Angelina Jolie's newest film, spill the secrets of Southern cuisine, track Berlin's booming boar population, dodge los malditos on the rejuvenated Colorado River, teach kids to value the environment in school, paddle 2,000 miles to protect pristine wilderness, learn the forces that move Sarajevo's society, and tap into nature's […]

December 15, 2014

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11:00 PM | Absolutely Stunning Examples Of Lakes And Rivers With Unearthly Colors
When you see a bright red river or a lake that glows a vivid green color, you probably think it belongs on another planet. But these incredibly striking bodies of water are right here on Earth. Here are the most beautiful and alien-looking rivers and lakes, sporting bizarre colors.Read more...
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9:20 PM | Geo 730: December 15, Day 714: Timberline Chimney
Inside Timberline Lodge, the lighting is dim, and it's not easy (especially as I get older) trying to hold my camera steady for good clarity. Above is the best shot I have of the chimney over the great hearth. This is native stone; I don't know if there was a dedicated quarry for the stonework in the lodge, or if they just used loose blocks laying around on the surface. Goodness knows, there's plenty of those. The lodge was built as a part of the WPA program in the late 30s, and dedicated by […]
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6:12 PM | Bárðarbunga Volcano Eruption Led To Earth Growing A New Layer Underneath
When the Bárðarbunga volcano beneath Iceland's Vatnajökull ice cap reawakened in August 2014, scientists got an opportunity to monitor how the magma flowed through cracks in the rock away from the volcano.  Although it has a long history of eruptions, Bárðarbunga has been increasingly restless since 2005, including a dynamic period in August and September of this year, when more than 22,000 earthquakes were recorded in or around the volcano in just four weeks, […]
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3:45 PM | Deccan Traps Volcanism May Have Contributed to Dinosaur Extinction
A massive volcanic eruption in what is now India about 250,000 years before the cataclysmic Chicxulub asteroid impact may have played a role in the extinction of dinosaurs, say scientists who have dated rocks from the Deccan Traps, east of Mumbai. In December 2013, a team of scientists headed by Dr Brian Gertsch from the [...]
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12:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Elizabeth Rusch
Special thanks to Elizabeth Rusch for answering 5 questions about her recently featured book – Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives Elizabeth Rusch is an award-winning children’s book author and magazine writer. She writes both […]
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