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Santiaguito Volcano's clockwork behavior provides an exceptional laboratory

If Earth breathes, Santiaguito Volcano in the Western Highlands of Guatemala could be its mouth. Roughly every half hour, like volcanic clockwork, Santiaguito’s active Caliente lava dome expands, filling with gas from depressurizing magma below. Then it exhales, often explosively, and deflates. Over the course of a day, you could almost keep time by it.

29 Sep 2014

Virtual water: Tracking the unseen water in goods and resources

Trading in “virtual water” — rainfall and irrigation water used in the production of food commodities or other goods and services, but that isn’t part of the final product — between water-rich and water-poor regions has been suggested as a means to allay water scarcity. And recently, the virtual water concept has gained a foothold among a number of governments and multinational businesses, potentially shaping approaches to water sustainability in the future.

22 Sep 2014

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

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