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Comment: Rebuilding geology faculty in Afghanistan

A Pentagon program to improve geology and mining education in Afghanistan enlisted a team of geologists from Nebraska, Missouri and Turkey, including the author, to help. 

24 Feb 2015

A dry and ravaged land: Investigating water resources in Afghanistan

Decades of war, loss of hydrological knowledge, climate change and a growing population all threaten Afghanistan’s water supply, but the U.S. Geological Survey is working with the Afghanistan Geological Survey and other partners to establish safe and reliable supplies of water for now and well into the future. 

04 Jan 2015

Building resource corridors in Afghanistan: A solution to an interminable war?

Afghanistan has been ravaged by decades-long conflicts that have left it economically depressed, but the country also holds a potentially huge natural resource base. Some estimates have put the value of the resources — copper, gold, coal, oil, gas, industrial minerals, rare earth minerals and more — between $1 trillion and $3 trillion.

02 Sep 2013

Rescuing geologic maps during a coup

The author shows a map of the geomorphology of northern Afghanistan to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and others at the University of Nebraska in Omaha in 2005.

02 Sep 2013

Afghanistan's mineral resources laid bare

A mineral assessment milestone confirms world-class resources

Each donning about 10 kilograms of protective gear, including helmets and Kevlar, scientists trudged up the rugged, rocky volcanic terrain of southern Afghanistan, slowing now and then to catch an extra breath of thin air. Some carried guns. Others carried rock hammers.

29 Dec 2011

Down to Earth With: Alexander Stewart

Sgt. Alexander Stewart was brought up to believe serving in the military was an obligation all young men should fulfill. In 1991, at the age of 17, he answered the call of duty and joined the U.S. Army, which took him to Alaska with the 6th Infantry Division (Arctic)(Light). The state’s endless snow and ice fascinated Stewart, and after he left active duty, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in geology. In 2007, he completed a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati — in glacial geology, of course. Now he teaches the subject at St. Lawrence University in New York.
04 Apr 2011

Finding water in the heart of darkness: Afghanistan's ongoing water challenges

Fieldwork in Afghanistan is not like most geology fieldwork. “When I landed, the first thing I had to do was to put on a bulletproof vest,” says Tom Mack. He was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team that evaluated water resources in the Kabul Basin, in the north-central part of eastern Afghanistan, a couple of years ago. “It was strange to wear the vest, but eventually you get used to it.” There was a lot to get used to, he says. No matter where Mack went, he had to get special permission to be there.

14 Jun 2010

Saving Afghanistan: Redevelopment one resource at a time

In his campaign and early in his presidency, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he plans to make Afghanistan a priority, calling the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan “the greatest threat to [U.S.] security.” Fortunately, military might isn’t the only focus of Obama’s plan; he also intends to dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s economic development. Finally!

14 Jun 2010

Afghanistan's mineral wealth

Blogging on EARTH

On Monday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Waheed Omar, told reporters that the USGS survey of Afghanistan's mineral resources found they are worth about $1 trillion. And on Wednesday, USGS will host a press conference in which scientists will discuss water issues in Afghanistan.

14 Jun 2010

Rebuilding Afghanistan

Ravaged by war, drought and natural hazards such as earthquakes and landslides, Afghanistan’s people face many challenges. But the country also has untapped resources — great natural beauty , deep supplies of groundwater and a vast mineral wealth, including coal, gems like emeralds and metals like copper and iron.

02 Jul 2009