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Toxic Gardens: The long legacy of urban lead

Many urban soils, including those in parks, playgrounds and community gardens, remain contaminated with lead from its historic use in gasoline and house paint. But there are ways to mitigate the risks of this legacy lead.
11 Oct 2015

Step one: Soil testing

The first step in planning a community or backyard garden should always be to get the soil tested, getting a read on not only pH and nutrient levels, but possible contaminants like lead and arsenic. “Some cities have public health programs to help residents get their gardens tested for low or no cost, but it’s kind of hit or miss,” says Gabriel Filippelli, a biogeochemist at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Some cities such as Philadelphia have also held one-day “soil kitchen” workshops where people can bring in samples of soil for immediate testing with an X-ray fluorescence instrument. 
11 Oct 2015

Travels in Geology: Rafting the Pacific Northwest's heavenly Hells Canyon

Few roads and only steep, difficult trails run down into Hells Canyon — the deepest canyon in North America — which forms part of the border between Oregon and Idaho. But the location is popular among boaters, whitewater rafters and fishermen, and a trip down the river reveals some spectacular rocks.

18 Sep 2015

Damming the salmon

In the 1940s, the state of Idaho decided that the Salmon River would be left to flow freely while the Snake would be developed for hydroelectric power to become Idaho’s workhorse river. To date, a total of 15 dams have been built along the Snake for a variety of purposes, from irrigation to flood control to hydroelectricity. Hells Canyon is home to three hydroelectric impoundments: the Brownlee, Oxbow and Hells Canyon dams, built in 1959, 1961 and 1967, respectively. Together they have a maximum capacity of 391 megawatts of power production. 
18 Sep 2015

Getting there and getting around Hells Canyon

The closest major airports to Hells Canyon are Missoula, Mont., Boise, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash. If you book a multiday trip with a reputable rafting company, the company will likely help you arrange shuttles to the beginning and end of the canyon, or you may need to rent a car. Most Hells Canyon river trips end in Lewiston, Idaho, which also has a small airport with regularly scheduled flights to Salt Lake City, Seattle and Boise. 
18 Sep 2015

Vital seconds: The journey toward earthquake early warning for all

People living along the U.S. West Coast are keenly aware that they live near faults that could quake at any moment. The good news is that earthquake early warning — providing warnings seconds to minutes before damaging seismic waves hit — is progressing from being just a good idea to reality. 
17 Sep 2015

Getting there and getting around the Whitsundays

The gateway airports to the Whitsundays are on Hamilton Island and near Proserpine on the mainland. Neither hosts direct flights from the U.S., but both connect to Sydney and Brisbane, Australia’s primary international arrival points, as well as Cairns, the most popular access point to the Great Barrier Reef. From Proserpine, Whitsunday Transit can transport you to accommodations throughout the region.
01 Sep 2015

Travels in Geology: Australia's Whitsunday Islands: Sun, sand and silicic volcanism

Swimming and snorkeling near the Great Barrier Reef, hiking and ziplining through rainforests and waterfalls, and relaxing on a beach composed of 99 percent pure quartz sand can all be done in a couple days’ trip to the Whitsunday Islands and Queensland, Australia.

01 Sep 2015

Geology for everyone: Making the field accessible

Many students with sensory, physical or cognitive disabilities are potentially discouraged from pursuing geoscience degrees when faced with physically rigorous field-based learning environments, but with planning, field geology can be accessible for all.

16 Aug 2015

Trip-planning resources

If you are thinking of making one or more of your field trips accessible, the International Association for Geoscience Diversity (IAGD), an organization charged with advocating for students and geoscientists with disabilities, can help.

16 Aug 2015