Taxonomy term

Departments

Mineral Resource of the Month: Cadmium

The element cadmium was discovered in 1817 by Friedrich Stromeyer, a professor of chemistry at the University of Göttingen in Germany. Stromeyer noticed that a yellowish glow would occur when heat was applied to certain samples of calamine, a zinc-carbonate. This was unusual as the reaction was expected to be colorless. After further testing, Stromeyer deduced that an unknown metallic impurity in the carbonate caused the color change. He called the new metal “cadmium” after “kadmeia,” the Greek word for calamine.

 
13 Mar 2012

Benchmarks: March 1961: Project Mohole undertakes the first deep-ocean drilling

Since its inception in the 1960s, the ocean drilling program — an international research program that explores the world’s ocean basins — has logged hundreds of thousands of hours of ship time traveling the world’s oceans, drilling boreholes and retrieving cores of sediment and rock that have revealed Earth’s deep history and structure.
 
05 Mar 2012

Down to Earth With: Geologist Kyle House

Kyle House, a research geologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Geology and Geophysics Science Center in Flagstaff, Ariz., gravitated to scenery at a young age when he moved from Oklahoma to western Washington and beheld the Cascade Range for the first time. He learned that rocks and landscapes can tell fascinating stories, and he developed a passion for explaining the events that shape them. While earning degrees in the geosciences, he became attuned to the value of collaboration. Any scientist working in isolation can tell only an incomplete version of a phenomenon or event, he says.

24 Feb 2012

Energy Notes: October 2010-2011

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

 
19 Feb 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Boron

Elemental boron is a metalloid that has limited commercial applications. But boron compounds, chiefly borates, are commercially important; therefore, boron products are priced and sold based on their boric oxide content, varying by ore and compound and by the absence or presence of calcium and sodium. Four borate minerals — colemanite, kernite, tincal and ulexite — make up 90 percent of the borates used by industry worldwide.

 
13 Feb 2012

Benchmarks: February 7, 2009: Deadliest day of fire ever recorded in Australia

On Friday, Feb. 6, 2009, John Brumby, premier of the Australian state of Victoria, warned the public of the high risk of wildfires that weekend: “It’s just as bad a day as you can imagine and on top of that the state is just tinder-dry. People need to exercise real common sense tomorrow.” He was right. The next day, more than a dozen major fires and hundreds of smaller ones tore across the region, fueled by record temperatures and high winds. The so-called Black Saturday fires released more energy than 1,500 Hiroshima bombs, according to one fire expert. Together, the fires cost billions in damage and killed 173 people — the deadliest day of fires recorded in Australia.
 
06 Feb 2012

Down to Earth With: Lee Allison

Lee Allison was head of the Arizona Geological Survey. EARTH interviewed him in 2012 and spoke with him about the latest issues in Arizona geology and the complicated politics of potash and uranium mining.

27 Jan 2012

Energy Notes: September 2010-2011

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

 
19 Jan 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Rhenium

Rhenium, a silvery-white, heat-resistant metal, has increased significantly in importance since its discovery in 1925. First isolated by a team of German chemists studying platinum ore, the mineral was named for the Rhine River. From 1925 until the 1960s, only two metric tons of rhenium were produced worldwide. Since then, its uses have steadily increased, including everything from unleaded gasoline to jet engines, and worldwide annual production now tops 45 metric tons.

 
13 Jan 2012

Benchmarks: January 3–5, 1982: 18,000 landslides wreak havoc on the San Francisco Bay area

When a storm battered California’s San Francisco Bay Area in early January 1982, the rain was intense, but not without precedent. The region had historically endured heavy rains during the winter months, with individual storms sometimes bringing more than half the annual average rainfall in a single 36-hour span. But a collection of unique factors in 1982 created a recipe for a landslide disaster. First, two weather fronts merged, bringing copious amounts of rain to an already saturated region. Second, the rising population had resulted in a construction boom in the iconic hills of the Bay Area. During three days of relentless rain from Jan. 3–5, 1982, a record 18,000 individual landslides occurred, killing at least 25 people.
 
02 Jan 2012

Pages