Taxonomy term


Energy Notes: October 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit

18 Feb 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Beryllium

Beryllium is a lightweight, gray-colored metal. Its physical and mechanical properties — high stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios, one of the highest melting points of all light metals, excellent thermal conductivity, outstanding dimensional stability over a wide range of temperatures, reflectivity and transparency to X-rays — make it useful for many applications. 

13 Feb 2013

Benchmarks: February 3, 1953: Jacques Cousteau's "The Silent World" is published, opening a window on the underwater world for millions

Few names are as evocative as Jacques Cousteau. The sunlight-infused blue glow of the marine subsurface, the endless array of otherworldly creatures that populate the ocean, and masked divers stealthily easing through the sea — trailed, of course, by glittering streams of bubbles emanating from Cousteau’s famed contraption — are morsels of the vivid imagery that his name often brings to mind. And with good reason: After all, he’s the one who introduced us to the real world below the waves, long before Bob Ballard found the Titanic or the Discovery Channel showed us what it’s like to swim with the sharks.
03 Feb 2013

Energy Notes: September 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit

18 Jan 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Vanadium

Vanadium was first discovered by Andrés Manuel del Río in Mexico City in 1801. He called it erythronium, from the Greek word erythros, meaning red, for the color that it turned when it was heated. However, it wasn’t immediately accepted as a new element. Four years later, French chemist Hippolyte Victor Collet-Descotils declared that del Río’s new element was only impure chromium. Accepting Collet-Descotils’ assessment, del Río withdrew his claim. In 1831, Swedish chemist Nils Gabriel Sefström rediscovered vanadium in a new oxide while working with iron ores. In the same year, German chemist Friedrich Wöhler reinvestigated del Río’s original sample and found that Sefström’s vanadium was identical to del Río’s erythronium. In 1867, the metal was first isolated by Sir Henry Enfield Roscoe by reducing vanadium trichloride with hydrogen gas. The vanadium mineral, roscoelite, was named in honor of Roscoe’s work.

12 Jan 2013

Apps: Improving home energy efficiency in 2013

‘Tis the season for making New Year’s resolutions. We here at EARTH probably can’t offer much assistance when it comes to diet and exercise tips to help burn off unwanted pounds. But if your goals for 2013 involve understanding your family’s energy consumption patterns and possibly reducing your power bills, you’ve come to the right place.

04 Jan 2013

Benchmarks: January 1, 1960: The Discovery of "Extinct Radioactivity" The quest to date the elements that formed the solar system

On June 30, 1918, Leo Kern saw a fireball blaze across the sky above his farm near Richardton, N.D., lighting up the night sky as if it were daytime and then exploding with a deafening boom that shook houses and rattled windows. Kern ducked behind a telegraph pole as fragments that sounded like “whistling bullets” struck his barn, he later reported to geologist T.T. Quirke of the University of Minnesota. What Kern and other witnesses all over  the southwestern corner of the state had seen was a 90-kilogram meteor entering Earth’s atmosphere and breaking up 100 kilometers above the surface. Kern had no way of knowing it at the time, but he had also witnessed the arrival of a message from the dawn of the solar system — one that scientists wouldn’t decode for another 42 years. 
01 Jan 2013

Energy Notes: August 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit

19 Dec 2012

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

Mineral Resource of the Month: Soda Ash

Natural soda ash, sodium carbonate, is an alkali chemical refined from the mineral trona or from naturally occurring sodium carbonate-bearing brines. Synthetic soda ash is sodium carbonate that has been manufactured from one of several chemical processes. Whether natural or synthetic, soda ash is an essential raw material in the production of flat glass and fiberglass — both of which are used by the domestic automotive and construction industries. Soda ash is also used to produce chemicals, detergents and other important industrial products. 

13 Dec 2012