Taxonomy term

december 2011

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

Energy Notes: August 2010-2011

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

20 Dec 2011

Benchmarks: December 16, 1811-February 7, 1812: The New Madrid earthquakes strike the Heartland

This winter marks the bicentennial of a series of powerful intraplate earthquakes that occurred in the central United States over a two-month period beginning on Dec. 16, 1811. Named for New Madrid, one of the settlements on the Mississippi River, these tremors were among the largest historic earthquakes to occur east of the Rocky Mountains.

16 Dec 2011

Mineral Resource of the Month: Garnet

Garnet, the birthstone for the month of January, has been used as a gemstone for centuries. Garnet necklaces dating from the Bronze Age have been found in graves, and garnet is found among the ornaments adorning the oldest Egyptian mummies. However, garnet’s characteristics, such as its relatively high hardness and chemical inertness, make it ideal for many industrial applications.

13 Dec 2011

Down to Earth With: Pat Pringle

After finishing a master’s degree in geology at the University of Akron in 1982, Pat Pringle left the relative flatlands of Ohio’s Allegheny Plateau and went west to pursue his passion. More specifically, he went northwest, to the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Cascades Volcano Observatory, lured by the steaming vents and layered debris flows of the recently awakened giant, Mount St. Helens. He was smitten.

12 Dec 2011

Revealing the ancient sea levels recorded in reefs

Deriving the ancient sea levels in Barbados is easier than in other places, but still involves several steps.

07 Dec 2011

Getting There and Getting Around Barbados

Visitors to Barbados arrive at the Grantley Adams International Airport, on the south coast about 13 kilometers east of Bridgetown. Although there are established bus routes across the island, the most convenient way to explore it is by renting a car. A number of local agencies have depots at the airport. Driving is on the left in this former British colony.

07 Dec 2011

Travels in Geology: Barbados: Ascending the sea-level staircase

Most people go to the Caribbean to escape — to relax on pristine beaches, enjoy fruity island drinks or perhaps swim with the dolphins. In Barbados, you can certainly do that. But in between your beach days, you may want to spend some time exploring the island’s unique geological features. The island provides the rare opportunities to stand on an active accretionary wedge and to visit uplifted coral reefs that have played a pivotal role in reconstructing climate and sea-level records of the recent geological past.

07 Dec 2011

Blogging on EARTH: AGU: Japan tsunami actually made population more vulnerable?

Usually, when a major natural disaster strikes, a population becomes more alert and aware. People know what warning signs to watch for; they know what to do should such an event occur again. They increase their chances of staying alive. For example, intergenerational knowledge of tsunamis passed down by island tribes around the Indian Ocean is credited with saving lives during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

05 Dec 2011

Highlights of 2011: Jobs, jobs everywhere, but not enough people to fill them

This has been a vintage year for the health of the geoscience workforce in the United States. Overall enrollments and degrees in geoscience programs increased 5 to 10 percent — as they’ve been doing for the past four years — this year reaching nearly 25,000 undergraduate majors and 10,000 graduate students across the country.

02 Dec 2011