Taxonomy term


Down to Earth With: Lawson Brigham

Lawson Brigham, a Distinguished Professor of Geography and Arctic Policy at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks and retired U.S. Coast Guard captain, has worn many hats in his career. He has been the deputy director and Alaska Office director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission in Anchorage; chair of the Arctic Marine Shipping Assessment of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic nations; vice chair of the Arctic Council’s working group on Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment; and a contributing author to the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment.

18 Oct 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Dimension Stone

Dimension stone is not actually any one type of rock. Instead, it is any natural rock material quarried for the purpose of obtaining blocks or slabs that meet certain size (width, length and thickness) and shape specifications needed for building. Color, grain texture and pattern, surface finish, durability, strength and the ability of the stone to take a polish are also important selection criteria.

13 Oct 2012

Benchmarks: October 1, 1960: Camp Century, a cold war ice fortress is built

The soldiers who staffed Camp Century enjoyed many of the same accommodations as their fellow soldiers at bases around the world. They had a mess hall, a chapel, a theater, a dispensary, an emergency room and even a hobby shop, all onsite. Just like their counterparts elsewhere, Camp Century’s soldiers got out of bed, shaved, showered and went to work. However, when Camp Century personnel opened the door and walked from their quarters, they saw only one thing: snow. No sun, no moon, no sky, and no distant horizon. Just a corridor with walls, floor and ceiling made of snow.
02 Oct 2012

Down to Earth With: Bruce Benson

In a remarkable career spanning nearly 50 years, Bruce Benson has held just two jobs. In 1965, a year after earning his bachelor’s degree in geology, he founded the Benson Mineral Group, an oil and gas exploration and production company that he has owned and chaired ever since. From this foundation, Benson’s business interests have spread into salvaging, banking, mortgage servicing, cable television, geothermal power, real estate and even pizza.

19 Sep 2012

Energy Notes: May 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 Sep 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Tungsten

Tungsten, sometimes called wolfram, is a metal only found naturally in chemical compounds, such as in the ore minerals wolframite and scheelite. Tungsten has the highest melting point and one of the highest densities of all metals. When combined with carbon, it forms a compound that is almost as hard as diamond. These and other properties make it useful in a wide variety of important commercial, industrial and military applications. 

13 Sep 2012

Benchmarks: September 23, 1933: The U.S. oil industry arrives in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia currently produces about 11 million barrels of oil per day, edging out Russia and the U.S. to rank first in the world in production, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. The desert kingdom also has proven reserves of more than 260 billion barrels — spread among numerous fields (though most reside in a handful of giant fields) — amounting to about one-fifth of the world’s total. The country exports more oil than any other and exerts an undeniably prominent influence on the world oil market from its seat in the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
03 Sep 2012

Energy Notes: April 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 Aug 2012

Down to Earth With: Volcanologist John Eichelberger

The 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull showed that volcanic hazards are blind to international borders. After the eruption ended and air traffic returned to normal, discussion among the public of “ash” and “jet turbine blades” cooled. Not so for volcanologist John Eichelberger, who, as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator, deals with volcanic hazards daily, while working to improve monitoring of the United States’ many dangerous volcanoes and to internationalize research and risk reduction

13 Aug 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Hydraulic Cement

Hydraulic cements are the binders in concrete and most mortars and stuccos. Concrete, particularly the reinforced variety, is the most versatile of all construction materials, and most of the hydraulic cement produced worldwide is portland cement or similar cements that have portland cement as a basis, such as blended cements and masonry cements. Cement typically makes up less than 15 percent of the concrete mix; most of the rest is aggregates. Not counting the weight of reinforcing media, 1 ton of cement will typically yield about 8 tons of concrete.

13 Aug 2012