Taxonomy term

Features

Travels in Geology: The ephemeral Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are one of the most ephemeral places on Earth. The majority of the planet’s landmasses are millions of years old, but these islands have only been around for a few thousand years. Already, rising sea levels are threatening to submerge the young archipelago, possibly within the next century.

24 Jun 2013

Droning on for science

Unmanned aerial vehicles take off in geosciences research

Despite some controversy, scientists whose work involves imaging, monitoring or otherwise investigating the outdoor world have gradually been turning to unmanned aircraft in recent years, touting drones’ versatility, affordability and safety compared to manned flights. The possibilities for drones in the natural sciences are almost boundless.

13 Jun 2013

The past is key to the future: Historical observations strengthen modern science

 

Written records of natural phenomena come from personal journals and diaries, newspaper accounts, ship logs and government documents, among other sources. Such accounts often offer descriptive details and context that cannot be matched by other methods, and they can prove extremely useful in broadening records both temporally and geographically. Given that they predate the sort of widespread instrumental readings that scientists have come to depend on, sometimes there is simply — and literally — no substitute for historical data. Despite their advantages, historical records are used infrequently in modern physical sciences. That may be changing, however.

29 May 2013

Getting There and Getting Around Utah

Moab is well worth the effort required to get there. Direct daily flights to Moab’s tiny Canyonlands Field airport are offered through Great Lakes Airlines. Because a car is necessary to tour the area, a less expensive, though more time-consuming, option is to fly into one of the larger regional airports — Salt Lake City (a four-hour drive), Denver (six hours), or Grand Junction, Colo. (1.5 hours) — rent a car, and then enjoy the scenic drive to Moab.

 
24 May 2013

Road biking in Moab

Moab, Utah, is often called a mecca for mountain bikers. What fewer people know is that Moab is also home to some of the most spectacular road biking in the world. 

 
24 May 2013

Travels in Geology: Slickrock sojourn in Moab, Utah

Remember the scene in the beginning of “Mission Impossible 2” where Tom Cruise dangles from a cliff face high above a red rock canyon, hanging on by one hand? That’s Moab. Remember the cliff that Thelma and Louise drove off at the end of their on-screen adventure? That’s Moab. Remember the slot canyon in which James Franco got stuck in “127 Hours”? That’s Moab — or nearby anyway.

24 May 2013

N.E.O.N.: Studying critical ecological issues on a continental scale

NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network, is one of the most extensive ecology projects ever undertaken. Program scientists — along with members of the public — will examine critical ecological issues across North America, including the effects of climate change, invasive species, droughts, fires and floods.

22 May 2013

Getting There and Getting Around New York

The Adirondack and Finger Lakes region is roughly equidistant from New York City, Montreal and Boston. By far the most scenic way to get there from New York City is by train. The northbound Amtrak from New York City follows the Hudson River at least until Albany. From there, some routes continue toward Montreal and others veer westward toward Rochester. If you snag a window seat on the left side of the train, you can spot waterfalls and birds of prey through your window. There are daily trains between New York and Montreal; trains from Boston, however, require a nonsensical transfer in New York.

 
30 Apr 2013

Travels in Geology: Adventuring in upstate New York and remembering a life cut short

Adam and I splashed through the water to avoid the pricker bushes along the banks of the East Branch Mohawk River. The water was frigid — it was late in the fall. We were hiking about a kilometer from Adam’s family’s cabin in New York’s Finger Lakes region, in search of a cascade spilling from the surrounding hills. Adam promised that the waterfall was just around the next bend, as he’d done already five times that morning. “Wait up!” I yelled as I bent over to pick a rock out of the water. “I found another fossil!”

30 Apr 2013

Why is the U.S. so insecure about its energy security? Measures of energy independence show it is increasing, not decreasing

In recent years, every time an election has rolled around, politicians have espoused the necessity of energy independence and energy security. According to them, if we are to achieve the necessary level of energy security we need to “drill, baby, drill,” develop “clean coal,” install new pipelines, develop renewable energy, make sure our cars get better gas mileage, or [fill in another sound bite of your choosing here]. A listener could easily conclude that the U.S. lacks energy security. But what do the numbers tell us about our current state of independence?

28 Apr 2013

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