Taxonomy term

april 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Diatomite

Diatomite is a soft, friable and very fine-grained siliceous sedimentary rock composed of the remains of fossilized diatoms. Chalky to the touch and often light in color, diatomite can be white if pure, but more commonly it is buff to gray in situ, or sometimes black. Because of its low density and high porosity, it is extremely lightweight, and it is essentially chemically inert. Its properties make diatomite very useful as a filtration medium as well as a component in cement. 

13 Apr 2013

Benchmarks: April 1916: "Jingo the Stegosaurus" campaigns to keep the U.S. out of World War I

One side effect of the discovery and popularization of dinosaurs in the latter half of the 19th century was their introduction into the vernacular as a metaphor, particularly concerning international politics and war. For example, just prior to World War I, one writer compared Russia to Diplodocus, “a vast inert creature,” only saved from extinction because of English expansionists. To French paleontologist Pierre Marcellin Boule, however, Diplodocus provided a more dangerous comparison, at least in reference to Germany: “an overgrown brute, specialized in strength, mad with its own might.” 
10 Apr 2013

Widely used index may have overestimated drought

The severity and frequency of drought are expected to increase worldwide as climate change leads to a warmer atmosphere and regional changes in precipitation, and some research has shown that drought is already increasing. But a new study concludes that the increase in drought claimed by previous studies has been overestimated and that there has actually been little increase over the last 60 years.

07 Apr 2013

Bare Earth Elements: Mars-Observing Fleet Set to Face Silent Treatment

Outbound communications from NASA to its group of Mars-observing orbiters and rovers will be curtailed starting April 4. And as of April 9, no commands will be sent in the Red Planet’s direction. Lest anyone worry that this radio silence has to do with sequester-related budgetary constraints affecting the space agency, don’t fret, it’s only temporary and it has more to do with orbital, rather than fiscal, dynamics. The planned break in communication is a result of an impending planetary configuration, known as a solar conjunction, that will put the sun directly between Earth and Mars.

03 Apr 2013

Where on Earth? - April 2013

Clues for April 2013:
1. This 3-kilometer-long flat-topped mesa is composed of altered and folded phyllites, slates and greywackes as well as intrusive granite, all emplaced during the Late Precambrian, and capped by Ordovician-aged quartzite and sandstone.
2. Along with several other topographic highs carved from the same rock, the outcrop lends a dramatic backdrop and an amphitheater-like feel to its host country’s second-largest city — which prominently features the outcrop on its municipal flag.

Community college at sea: Research experiences for community college students build the STEM pipeline

It’s 3 a.m., and students from two Oregon community colleges are rocking back and forth through roiling seas. Their objective is to recover an ocean-bottom seismometer that has been lying 160 meters underwater off the west coast of Vancouver Island, where it has been steadily recording seismic signals and long-period pressure trends for the past year. These students are experiencing what earth scientists do for a living, as a part of the Cascadia Initiative’s CC@Sea program.

31 Mar 2013

Spotlight on UCORE projects

The National Science Foundation-funded Undergraduate Catalytic Outreach and Research Experience (UCORE) program ran from 2007 to 2012 and involved 132 students from six different community colleges in Oregon. During the five years of the UCORE program, groups of three to six community college students from each campus spent 10 weeks in the summer on the University of Oregon campus, working on projects alongside graduate students and faculty in chemistry, geological sciences and physics research groups. Listed below are some of the projects in which the students were involved.

31 Mar 2013

Apollo science, 40 years later: Scientists reopen a lunar cold case

Today’s lunar scientists are like detectives who reopen old criminal cases and examine them anew with modern instruments and techniques like DNA analysis. Armed with data and analytical techniques not available in the 1970s, scientists are re-examining Apollo moon rocks and learning more than ever before about our nearest celestial neighbor.

24 Mar 2013