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Geomedia: Books: A witty look at "The Ends of the World"

Our planet has been through some harrowing episodes, particularly in the form of mass extinctions since the advent of multicellular life. How organisms came to perish in these events should interest all conscious, intelligent forms of multicellular life lucky enough to still be alive — you and I included. A great way to satisfy that interest is with “The Ends of the World: Volcanic Apocalypses, Lethal Oceans, and Our Quest to Understand Earth’s Past Mass Extinctions” by Peter Brannen, a well-paced, well-sourced and well-written guide to mass extinctions.

21 Mar 2019

Geomedia: Books: "How the Rock Connects Us" shares copper country geoheritage

There is extensive literature on Michigan’s “Copper Country,” but most existing publications on the subject are either technical reports or anecdotal recountings of exploration, mining and life in the “wilderness.” A recent book, “How the Rock Connects Us: A Geoheritage Guide to Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula and Isle Royale” — written by Bill Rose and Erika Vye, both of Michigan Tech University, with Valerie Martin, a longtime Isle Royale interpretive ranger — fills a long-standing need for a readable, user-friendly explanation of how familiar Keweenaw landscapes and recent mining history are related to the area’s underlying geology. It is an eye-opener.

21 Mar 2019

Mineral Resource of the Month: Garnet

Garnet is the general name given to a group of complex silicate minerals, all with isometric crystal structure and similar properties and chemical composition. The most common garnet minerals are classified into three groups: the aluminum-garnet group, the chromium-garnet group and the iron-garnet group.

21 Feb 2019

Benchmarks: February 17, 2017: Arkansas Gets a State Dinosaur

In 1972, the first dinosaur remains ever found in Arkansas — a fossilized foot — were pulled out of a gravel and sand pit near the Sevier County town of Lockesburg in the southwestern part of the state. Though the foot remained a scientific mystery for decades, it became something of a local celebrity.

17 Feb 2019

Mineral Resource of the Month: Boron

Boron does not occur in nature in an elemental state. It is always found in oxidized states as borate salts. Four mineral forms account for the majority of the economically viable borate deposits throughout the world: two sodium borates, tincal and kernite; a calcium borate, colemanite; and a sodium-calcium borate, ulexite. Borate deposits are formed in areas that are tectonically active with arid climates. Large deposits are found in the Mojave Desert of the United States near Boron, Calif., the Tethyan belt in western Asia and the Andean belt of South America. Most borates are extracted in California and Turkey.

30 Jan 2019

Benchmarks: January 12, 1888: "Schoolchildren's Blizzard" Strikes the Great Plains

By mid-January 1888, the Great Plains had seen ice storms, frigid temperatures and above-average snowfall. On the morning of Jan. 12, however, the weather was unseasonably warm and sunny, with temperatures reaching well above freezing in places. Many people, including children on their way to school, left home without winter coats, hats or mittens. In a matter of hours, everything changed.

12 Jan 2019

Down to Earth With: Clay mineralogist Warren Huff

Two distinct images come to mind when I think of Warren Huff, my former doctoral adviser: one in which he is enthusiastically teaching and mentoring students both in and out of the classroom, and one in which he is sitting around a fire, playing guitar and leading a group of geologists in science-themed sing-alongs. Both images encapsulate the kind of person he is: a leading scholar in the field of clay mineralogy who lives life with gusto.

04 Jan 2019

Down to Earth With: Coastal scientist Gary Griggs

Maybe it was the summer camping trips with his family along the Pacific coast, or perhaps surfing off Santa Barbara, Calif., during college, but Gary Griggs always gravitated to the ocean. He turned that love into a career and has spent the last 50 years teaching about the oceans and coasts at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

26 Dec 2018

Geologic Column: Light amid the darkness: Celebrations during the winter solstice

The winter solstice falls on Friday, Dec. 21, marking the arrival of winter and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For at least 5,000 years, humans have celebrated this celestial event with festivals of light and ceremonies of renewal.
21 Dec 2018

Benchmarks: December 7, 1988: A Massive Earthquake Devastates Armenia

Thirty years ago this month, on Dec. 7, 1988, a magnitude-6.8 earthquake shook the northern region of the then-Soviet republic of Armenia. At 11:41 a.m., the earthquake damaged nearly a third of the small country and destroyed the town of Spitak near the epicenter.

07 Dec 2018

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