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Travels in Geology: Winter sun and tectonic tales in Tucson

Late last March, seeking warm sun and a verdant landscape after a cold, snowy Colorado winter, our family headed south during the spring school break to the lowest-elevation place we could easily drive to in a day or two: Tucson. Hosting Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the largest concentration of astronomical observatories in the country, Tucson has the grand vistas, great hikes and learning opportunities we wanted.
 

16 Sep 2014

Searching the stars

Thanks to its dry climate and soaring peaks, the Tucson region offers some of the best night-sky viewing in the world.

16 Sep 2014

Getting there and getting around in Tucson

Both Phoenix and Tucson are good arrival points for exploring southeastern Arizona, but it’s best to base yourself in Tucson to visit the attractions described here. You will need a car to get around the area; if you choose to fly in, you can rent a vehicle at either city’s airport. Tucson is located about 180 kilometers south of Phoenix on Interstate 10.

16 Sep 2014

Living in the shadow of Mauna Loa: A silent summit belies a volcano's forgotten fury

After 30 years, no one is quite sure when Hawaii’s Mauna Loa will erupt again. History warns us that the volcano’s current silence is anomalous, and the odds are good that it will reawaken within the next couple of decades. So geologists are already taking steps — upgrading their monitoring tools and talking with the public — to prepare for another eruption.

02 Sep 2014

Kilauea vs. Mauna Loa

In the 19th century, Mauna Loa was the most active volcano in the world. Today, Kilauea is the star. Tourism agencies, journalists, civil defense, and even U.S. Geological Survey Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) geologists have played a role in funneling public attention toward the Big Island’s youngest volcano. Consequently, some people ignore the other volcanic threats on the island, including Mauna Loa. Without knowing the differences between the two volcanoes, people walk away thinking that if they have seen and interacted with one, they know them all.

01 Sep 2014

How to keep the flows out: Build a wall

The upper northern slopes of Mauna Loa are a painter’s palette of red, brown and black lava rocks. A cluster of scientific buildings composing the Mauna Loa Observatory and Solar Observatory stands out with their reflective white and silver rooftops against the Mars-like backdrop.
 

01 Sep 2014

Changing the landscape: Geoscientists embrace 3-D printing

The rapid proliferation of 3-D printing technology that began in the early 2000s sent ripples of excitement through the tech world and beyond despite the initial high price of printers. Now, more affordable printers have broken this barrier, and geoscientists have started testing the waters.
 

24 Aug 2014

Travels in Geology: Aussie Outback Adventure

Australia hosts a remarkable record of early-Earth events: from mineral grains only slightly younger than the planet itself, to a glacial event so severe that geologists call it “Snowball Earth,” to an unparalleled record of life’s early evolution. All are found deep in the vast, arid interior wilderness known as the Outback.

20 Aug 2014

Getting there & getting around the Aussie Outback

The Red Center’s gateway airports are Alice Springs and Ayers Rock/Uluru. Neither hosts direct flights from the U.S. but both are well connected to Sydney, Australia’s primary international arrival point, and other major Australian cities.

20 Aug 2014

Crowdfunding science: A new piece of the research grant puzzle

Scientific research has traditionally been funded by grants from various governmental agencies, along with funding from universities, corporations and private foundations. But money is often given out in large chunks to big research labs, leaving smaller, shorter-term projects in need of funding. Now, crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter — through which a large number of people donate small amounts of cash — are changing the landscape of research grant funding.

27 Jul 2014

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