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Features

Minor miners: A brief reflection on child labor underground

It has been more than a century since one of the first child labor laws in the U.S. raised the minimum age of mineworkers to 12, but some mines in Colorado are still encouraging children to descend into the bowels of the Earth — as tourists now, of course.

03 Dec 2014

What a wonderful world to explore

Exploring this planet is a seminal experience, but my children don’t always see it that way. Over the last year, I was fortunate to travel extensively with my family across Europe, New Zealand, Australia and portions of Southeast Asia. From Croatia’s dazzling coastline and Australia’s dusty Outback to Bali’s mist-clad volcanoes, I immersed myself in dozens of diverse landscapes and numerous cultures. I was privileged to share these encounters with my husband, a fellow geologist, as well as my children — as it turned out, this was not always as enriching an experience for them as it was for us.

03 Dec 2014

I wish I could remember all the things I've forgotten

Not long ago, my husband and I were in the car when a story came on the radio about a big geomagnetic storm that was going to make the Northern Lights visible at much lower latitudes than normal. He turned to me and asked, "Why are the Northern Lights only visible at certain latitudes?" I opened my mouth to answer and nothing came to me. I had to admit that, although at one time I had known the answer, I couldn't remember. It got me thinking about all the things I once knew but have forgotten — as well as about all the things I feel like I should know as a good geoscience-minded individual. Have you ever had that experience?

02 Dec 2014

Mountains beyond mountains

The best perk of being a freelance writer, for me at least, is the flexibility to work from anywhere. Instead of paying rent, I house-sit in the winter and spend spring, summer and fall on the road. Winters are for exploring deserts; summers are for climbing mountains. Two summers ago, I drove all the way to Alaska, my 50th state, and in 2013, I spent the whole summer tagging peaks in southern Colorado.

02 Dec 2014

Beware the list that skews your view

List-making is an almost universal human endeavor. Some of us still scrawl them on paper; some tap them out on virtual sticky notes on phones and computers. Others, using mnemonic devices or sheer willpower, keep track in their heads. (I’m partial to the ink-on-paper medium, though I stray occasionally.) Whatever the case, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t make lists.

01 Dec 2014

2014 Commentaries

For our 2014 year-end issue, we decided to continue a new tradition begun last year, once again asking the EARTH editorial team and several of our regular contributors to offer short commentaries on topics that caught their fancy or ideas they’ve been mulling over the course of the year. The topics are often very personal and are quite varied, although many of the contributions seem to tie into one of two themes: lists and family.

01 Dec 2014

Family trips, liberation from lists and other musings from 2014

For our 2014 year-end issue, we decided to continue a new tradition begun last year, once again asking the EARTH editorial team and several of our regular contributors to offer short commentaries on topics that caught their fancy or ideas they’ve been mulling over the course of the year. The topics are often very personal and are quite varied, although many of the contributions seem to tie into one of two themes: lists and family.

01 Dec 2014

Travels in Geology: The inspiring, globe-trotting rocks of Scotland

As the birthplace of both modern geology and the sport of mountaineering, Scotland is home to some incredible, inspiring, diverse rocks. Whether climbing in the Highlands, wandering through the Lowlands or hiking the Southern Uplands, Scotland is a geo-traveler’s paradise.

16 Nov 2014

Bag your first Munro

One of the founding members of the Scottish Mountaineering Club, Hugh Munro, compiled a list of all the mountains in Scotland taller than 3,000 feet (914.4 meters), which are now called Munros. At present, there are 283, although this number has changed over time due to improvements in surveying and mapping. Munro-bagging is a national pastime in Scotland; for some dedicated Scots, summiting all the Munros is a lifelong project.

16 Nov 2014

Living mountains and wild places

Mountains often boast a strong literary tradition, and the legendary Cairngorms are no exception. Two of the Highlands’ most geo-minded authors are Nan Shepherd and Robert Macfarlane. Shepherd was born in 1893 and spent her whole life in Aberdeen, exploring the Cairngorm Mountains. Among the first female mountaineers, Shepherd also wrote novels, poetry and one nonfiction ode to the Cairngorms called “The Living Mountain.”

 
16 Nov 2014

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