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Neonicotinoids: Prominent pesticides escape into the environment

Three decades after neonicotinoids, a widely used class of pesticides, were first introduced, a far more complex understanding of their distribution, abundance and persistence in the environment — as well as their effects on nontarget species like bees — is emerging. 
14 Apr 2017

Shale boom could fuel batteries

Independent energy trends — namely a shale revolution and a push toward electronic vehicles — are connected in nonobvious but synergistic ways. In fact, the shale revolution may be a helpful partner for the electric vehicle industry.
09 Apr 2017

Of airplanes and ash clouds: What we've learned since Eyjafjallajökull

The havoc created when Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupted in 2010 and closed trans-Atlantic and northern European airspace for days also created research opportunities. Scientists, engineers and the airline industry have been working together to figure out how to keep the aviation system going when volcanic ash can’t be avoided.
02 Apr 2017

Warning: Ash Ahead!

One of the next-generation tactics being pursued by engineers is the use of ash-sensing equipment installed on airplanes that could warn of an ash cloud ahead and allow pilots time to adjust their flight path to avoid the cloud. “If you’re driving a car and you see a hazard up ahead, you can navigate around it,” says Fred Prata of the University of Oxford in England. “Every aircraft has radar equipment with which [pilots] can see weather systems and fly around them. This is the same concept, but adapted to image volcanic ash.”

02 Apr 2017

Ash vs. airplanes

Between 1953 and 2009,* there were 129 reported incidents of airplane-ash encounters, with 79 of those causing some degree of airframe or engine damage. Twenty-six involved significant or severe damage, and nine involved some degree of engine shutdown during flight. Most of the encounters occurred within 24 hours of the onset of ash production during an eruption and within 1,000 kilometers of the source volcano. All flights landed safely.

02 Apr 2017

Travels in Geology: Easter Island's enduring enigmas

Easter Island, a lonely island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is steeped in mystique — and not just for its famous, perplexing statues and controversial story of societal collapse. How the island formed has also baffled geologists for decades.

27 Mar 2017

Getting there and getting around Easter Island

Easter Island has just one gateway, tiny Mataveri International Airport (IPC), to which only one airline, the Chilean carrier LATAM, offers regular service. This includes one flight weekly from Tahiti, as well as daily service from Santiago, a five-hour flight. Airfares are high, ranging from about $400 to $1,500 round trip. The island’s unusually long runway once served as an emergency U.S. space shuttle landing site; today, it allows LATAM to land large Boeing 787s there, a rarity among small islands.

27 Mar 2017

Travels in Geology: Exploring Maine's magnificent Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin marks a fitting end to the Appalachian Trail: It’s a nontechnical, but grueling, climb, not to be underestimated or attempted without preparation, that affords spectacular views of igneous and glacial geologic features.

 

08 Mar 2017

Getting there and getting around Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park is about 120 kilometers northwest of Bangor, Maine, and its international airport. Once in Maine, you will need a car to get around. You can rent one at the airport or drive in from another large regional city like Boston. Plan to visit in the summer months before Oct. 15, when the campgrounds close. Bear in mind, they can be closed earlier due to weather.

08 Mar 2017

Assessing how well earthquake hazard maps work: Insights from weather and baseball

Seismologists can gain insights about how well earthquake hazard maps work and how to improve them from other forecasting applications, like weather forecasting and baseball statistics. 

28 Feb 2017

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