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Travels in Geology: The inspiring, globe-trotting rocks of Scotland

As the birthplace of both modern geology and the sport of mountaineering, Scotland is home to some incredible, inspiring, diverse rocks. Whether climbing in the Highlands, wandering through the Lowlands or hiking the Southern Uplands, Scotland is a geo-traveler’s paradise.

16 Nov 2014

Bag your first Munro

One of the founding members of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, Hugh Munro, compiled a list of all the mountains in Scotland taller than 3,000 feet (914.4 meters), which are now called Munros. At present, there are 283, although this number has changed over time due to improvements in surveying and mapping. Munro-bagging is a national pastime in Scotland; for some dedicated Scots, summiting all the Munros is a lifelong project.

16 Nov 2014

Living mountains and wild places

Mountains often boast a strong literary tradition, and the legendary Cairngorms are no exception. Two of the Highlands’ most geo-minded authors are Nan Shepherd and Robert Macfarlane. Shepherd was born in 1893 and spent her whole life in Aberdeen, exploring the Cairngorm Mountains. Among the first female mountaineers, Shepherd also wrote novels, poetry and one nonfiction ode to the Cairngorms called “The Living Mountain.”

 
16 Nov 2014

Getting there and getting around Scotland

To visit Scotland, fly into Edinburgh or take a train from London. Arthur’s Seat is within walking distance of the Royal Mile and downtown Edinburgh. Scotland has a good train and bus system with routes to the Highlands, but traveling between the smaller villages is easier by private car, if you can handle driving on the left-hand side of the road. The Cairngorm Mountains are best approached from Braemar, Tomintoul, Aviemore or Kingusse, all small towns with hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists visiting the park.

16 Nov 2014

Travels in Geology: Bali beckons

Bali, Indonesia's top tourist destination, boasts everything a visitor could want: copious sun, sand and surf, flavorful food and fruity libations, stunning sunsets, and verdant rice paddies tucked beneath misty mountains. It also hosts a number of geo-attractions, including hot springs and Indonesia's first global geopark. 

30 Oct 2014

Getting there and getting around Bali

Visitors to Bali arrive at the Ngurah Rai International Airport on the island’s southern side. No direct flights are available from the U.S.; most itineraries route through a major East Asian hub. To travel between Bali and the neighboring islands of Java or Lombok, you can either catch a short domestic flight (options include Garuda Indonesia and Lion Air) or take a short, though frequently rough, ferry ride.

30 Oct 2014

Can renewable energy and desalination tackle two problems at once?

In an era of extended droughts combined with increasing water demand, water-scarce areas of the world are considering expensive and far-flung water sources. At the same time, electric grids are straining to meet surging demand for electricity. Could wind- and solar-powered desalination plants be the solution to both problems?

26 Oct 2014

Triggered tremor along the San Andreas Fault

The San Andreas Fault (SAF) in California is one of the most active in the U.S., but the 1,300-kilometer-long strike-slip fault seems to only be susceptible to small-scale dynamic triggering. After the magnitude-9 Tohoku quake in Japan in 2011, the SAF experienced an elevated incidence of tremor up and down its length. The tiny tremors were recorded at depths between 16 and 30 kilometers, below the fault’s seismogenic zone.

19 Oct 2014

Casting a seismic shadow

In the week or two before the magnitude-8.6 Indian Ocean earthquake in 2012, Earth was unusually quiet, with few large quakes over magnitude 5. Afterward, seismic activity all over the globe was elevated for more than a week. Then, suddenly, global seismicity dropped off precipitously: Beginning two weeks after the mainshock, no earthquakes of magnitude-6.5 or greater occurred for 95 days.

19 Oct 2014

We're all living in the global aftershock zone

Can a large earthquake trigger another quake hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away? The answer, scientists say, appears to be yes, but when it happens is far from predictable. How does such dynamic triggering affect global earthquake hazards? Perhaps the whole world should be considered an aftershock zone.

19 Oct 2014

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