Taxonomy term

august 2012

Seismic citizens: Volunteers host home-based seismometers to help assess earthquake threat

A network of volunteer hosts and home-based seismometers around Washington’s Puget Sound region report earthquake data to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN) through the volunteer-powered NetQuakes program. Driven by a desire to to help the area better prepare for future large earthquakes, to be part of a group effort, and by an abiding (though not necessarily professional) interest in science and technology, the members of this unusual family are part of a growing movement in earthquake research and monitoring that is making use of the explicit support of citizen scientists.

27 Aug 2012

Behind the scenes with NetQuakes' Doug Gibbons

Doug Gibbons, a research assistant in the University of Washington’s Department of Earth and Space Sciences and a NetQuakes technician, is one of several people involved in managing and maintaining the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network’s (PNSN) portion of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) NetQuakes program. Having installed many of PNSN’s NetQuakes seismometers, he is a point man for outreach and interaction with current and prospective volunteers.

27 Aug 2012

Do–it–yourself lava flows: Science, art and education in the Syracuse University Lava Project

Picture this: You’re walking across the tree-lined quad of Syracuse University, amid brick and stone buildings, when you happen upon a crowd of people. Crowds on the quad aren’t unusual, but this crowd is unusually diverse — students, professors and even parents with kids. You move a little closer and smell something odd: a blend of sulfur and marshmallows. Then you see it — molten lava pouring down the slope of a parking lot.

20 Aug 2012

The Syracuse University lava experiments

Pouring Lava

Melting a batch of the ancient basalt takes about four hours, but we hold the lava above its melting point for much longer to ensure that it is completely melted and to remove unwanted volatiles such as water. The lava is then poured at temperatures of 1,100 to 1,350 degrees Celsius, comparable to eruption temperatures of natural lava. We monitor it with a spot calorimeter and a Forward-Looking Infrared (FLIR) camera, the same instrument conventionally used at lava flows in the field.

20 Aug 2012

Energy Notes: April 2011-2012

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
19 Aug 2012

Mineral Resource of the Month: Hydraulic Cement

Hydraulic cements are the binders in concrete and most mortars and stuccos. Concrete, particularly the reinforced variety, is the most versatile of all construction materials, and most of the hydraulic cement produced worldwide is portland cement or similar cements that have portland cement as a basis, such as blended cements and masonry cements. Cement typically makes up less than 15 percent of the concrete mix; most of the rest is aggregates. Not counting the weight of reinforcing media, 1 ton of cement will typically yield about 8 tons of concrete.

 
13 Aug 2012

Down to Earth With: Volcanologist John Eichelberger

The 2010 eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull showed that volcanic hazards are blind to international borders. After the eruption ended and air traffic returned to normal, discussion among the public of “ash” and “jet turbine blades” cooled. Not so for volcanologist John Eichelberger, who, as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Volcano Hazards Program Coordinator, deals with volcanic hazards daily, while working to improve monitoring of the United States’ many dangerous volcanoes and to internationalize research and risk reduction

13 Aug 2012

On the web: Shake, rattle and roll: What does an earthquake sound like?

The sounds we associate with earthquakes tend to be those induced aboveground. Low-pitched rumbles, rattling windows and car alarms might be heard during small temblors, while more terrifying sounds like the crumbling of concrete and the cacophony of people trying to reach safety sometimes accompany large earthquakes. But what does an earthquake itself sound like, as rock grinds against rock in a rupturing fault and large amounts of energy are released? Thanks to some recent efforts, we may be starting to get an idea.
 

08 Aug 2012

Bare Earth Elements: Let the real Curiosity begin

This has been a year of scientific milestones. In just the last few months, we have witnessed the first successful launch of a privately built spacecraft — SpaceX’s Dragon capsule — which docked with the International Space Station in May, as well as the announcement in July that the Higgs Boson, the lynchpin particle in the Standard Model of physics, had at last been confidently detected. And by now, you have surely heard that Curiosity — the latest model in NASA’s lineage of robotic Mars-exploring rovers — has successfully landed on the red planet. In case you hadn’t, here is your official notice:

CURIOSITY HAS LANDED ON MARS!

06 Aug 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Nevada

Getting to Lake Tahoe from the major airports in Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev., is fairly easy. From Sacramento, it is about a two-hour drive along scenic Interstate 80 or U.S. 50. Interstate 80, which takes visitors to the northern part of Lake Tahoe, is a bit of a longer but easier drive and it passes the Donner Memorial State Park. The park — which commemorates the emigrants from the East to California in the mid-1800s, including the famed Donner Party, many of whom perished in the winter of 1846-1847 — offers recreational opportunities in the summer and winter. U.S. 50 is a slightly shorter but windier drive that goes through California gold country and ends up at South Lake Tahoe, a city with lots of casinos and ample beaches and recreational activities. From Reno, Lake Tahoe can be reached in less than an hour via Interstate 80 and the Mount Rose Highway. All roads to Lake Tahoe are open year round, with only temporary closures during times of very heavy rain or snowfall. A few local public side roads such as Fallen Leaf Lake Road and Blackwood Canyon Roads are not plowed in the winter.

 
06 Aug 2012

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