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november 2012

Bare Earth Elements: Voices from GSA 2012

Glimpsing the lighter side of a conference

Last November, EARTH's Tim Oleson attended the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. To get a different perspective on the conference, he talked to some of the assorted geoscientists there about their experience: why they had come, if they were enjoying themselves and, because it was a gathering of geoscientists, how the beer was. It was a chance to catch attendees while they simply enjoyed the occasion and the company of kindred spirits while away from the rapid-fire schedules of the technical sessions and academic lifestyles.

14 Feb 2013

Down to Earth With: Antarctic meteorite hunters

Dotted with snow dunes and nunatak mountain ranges, Antarctica’s glacial landscapes give the continent an otherworldly feel — but the scenery isn’t what’s truly alien. Antarctica is littered with meteorites, hundreds of thousands of which have been untouched since the moment of impact. For more than 35 years, the volunteer scientists of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET) program have been scouring the icy plains in search of meteorites from meteoroids, the moon and even Mars.

15 Dec 2012

Highlights of 2012: Outlook on natural gas

Natural gas’s bright future in the United States

Thanks to new developments, we now can affordably produce natural gas from rock formations that previously were inaccessible. And thanks to these developments, we now have more natural gas than ever before. The glut has decreased prices for at least a little while. If recent trends continue — namely if those prices stay low and various political, environmental and economic pressures to transition to a cleaner, domestic source of energy remain in place, it’s likely that over the next decade or two, natural gas will overtake petroleum to become the most popular primary energy source in the U.S.
09 Dec 2012

Highlights of 2012: Climate 2012 - A window into what to expect for 2013 and beyond?

July 2012 was the hottest month by far for the lower 48 states. Much of the nation faced drought conditions that grew steadily worse throughout the summer, and there were major repercussions for crop yields and food prices. Wildfires were also rampant. The record low snowpack in May 2012 in the Colorado Rockies set the stage for major wildfires in June, with more than 600 homes lost in Colorado alone. Wildfires developed in other regions in July as well, as tremendous record-breaking heat developed in Oklahoma and surrounding areas. Considered individually, the record temperatures, droughts, fires and diminished snowpack are not necessarily alarming and may not signal anything beyond the natural occurrence of a hotter-than-average year. But combined, these indicators are much more significant from a climate standpoint. They highlight that there is more than just natural variability playing a role: Global warming has reared its head in a way that can only be a major warning for the future. So, what can we expect?

25 Nov 2012

Increasing resilience: A national imperative

Over the past several years, the concept of resilience has increasingly captured public attention. Even fitness clubs are advertising resilience to get you in the best shape of your life — able to handle anything that comes your way. The same resiliency that helps individuals — being mentally, physically and financially prepared, and having a disaster-recovery plan — applies to communities and even to nations. In August, a committee of the National Resource Council (NRC) of the National Academies released a report in which the authors looked at how communities can increase their resilience to natural disaster. The committee outlined a plan for becoming more resilient over the next two decades, but that work must begin today.

18 Nov 2012

SEC mandates businesses disclose use of conflict minerals

Restive stakeholders crowded the auditorium at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Aug. 22. They were anxiously awaiting the Commission’s final ruling on sections of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which would amend the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934 to include a conflict minerals disclosure statement.

07 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, days 2 and 3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He is blogging about interesting talks and activities he’s attended, so keep checking back to get the scoop. Read his first report from the conference here. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

Monday and Tuesday at GSA are in the books here in Charlotte. Naturally, there were too many interesting presentations to attend, but that’s the beauty of conferences. What’s another great thing about them?  You can listen to undergraduate, graduate and seasoned researchers alike discuss their research, all in the same day and in the same place.

06 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, day 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He’ll be blogging about interesting talks and activities he attends, so keep checking back to get the scoop. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

GSA’s annual conference got under way in earnest on Sunday with the start of technical sessions, poster displays and more. With major sessions focusing on sea-level rise and anthropogenic effects on the natural landscape, our interaction with Earth and with the climate was already sure to be a big theme.

05 Nov 2012

Where on Earth? - November 2012

Clues for November 2012:
1. The solitary ridge in the distance is part of a circular ring of rock, 180 meters high and 5 kilometers across, that is thought to be the central part of a crater, originally more than 20 kilometers in diameter, formed when either an asteroid or comet slammed into Earth at the site roughly 142 million years ago.

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