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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

Geomedia: Gifts: Holiday Gift Guide

Gifts can be hard to find for the geek that’s got it all. If the science devotees in your life have already collected every piece of science memorabilia, or cleared out the shelves in the gift shop at their favorite museum, this guide might be just the solution. From inventive home and office items to engaging toys for kids, EARTH has curated a list of unique, fun gifts that any science lover would be happy to receive.

01 Dec 2018

Geomedia: Books: "This Gulf of Fire" recounts the 1755 Lisbon disaster

In the panoply of history-altering natural disasters, Lisbon’s destruction on All Saints’ Day, Nov. 1, 1755, stands out. You may have heard of this Portuguese calamity in the context of tsunami coverage, but it was a sequence of three disasters — an earthquake, a tsunami and a fire — that combined to level much of the city and claim tens of thousands of lives. Some scholars suggest a fourth calamity was the way the aftermath was handled, but author Mark Molesky seems more charitably inclined on that front. In “This Gulf of Fire: The Destruction of Lisbon, or Apocalypse in the Age of Science and Reason,” Molesky, a historian at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, has written the definitive scholarly account — if not the most accessible one — of that fateful day and its historical aftermath.

19 Nov 2018

Benchmarks: November 16, 1990: Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is established

Off the tip of the Florida Peninsula lies the world’s third-largest living coral reef, the Great Florida Reef. The only barrier reef system in North America, it is composed of a system of individual reefs that together extend 270 kilometers south of Miami through the Florida Keys, a crescent-shaped chain of more than 1,500 islands, about 30 of which are inhabited. This ecological treasure is home to more than 6,000 species of marine life, including colorful fish and endangered sea turtles, as well as extensive seagrass beds, mangrove islands and about 1,000 shipwrecks.

16 Nov 2018

Down to Earth With: Geologist Robert Brinkmann

As a child, Robert Brinkmann was always curious about rocks. He wondered how they got where they were and why they were different from each other. Brinkmann grew up in the farm country of southeastern Wisconsin, as well as in the woods in the northern part of the state. After one of his first geology classes in college, he went home and finally understood what he was looking at. “It was such an eye-opening experience to be able to read the landscape,” Brinkmann says.

09 Nov 2018

Mineral Resource of the Month: Phosphate

Phosphate rock refers to unprocessed ore and beneficiated concentrates that contain some form of apatite, a group of calcium phosphate minerals. Apatite in phosphate rock is the primary source for phosphorus in phosphate fertilizers. More than 80 percent of the world’s current production of phosphate rock is mined from sedimentary deposits, which were formed by the deposition of phosphate-rich materials in marine regions. Most of the rest comes from igneous deposits of carbonatites and silica-deficient intrusions. The grade of phosphate rock is classified by the phosphorus pentoxide content.

23 Oct 2018

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