Taxonomy term

december 2015

The Snowmastodon Project: Mammoths and mastodons lived the high life in Colorado

In fall 2011, a bulldozer driver in Snowmass, Colo., unearthed an unprecedented trove of Pleistocene-aged fossils. Over the next few months, “Snowmastodon” became one of the largest fossil excavations ever. Scientists have already learned a lot from the bones.

13 Dec 2015

What happened here?

Why did so many animals end up buried at the Snowmastodon site? What happened to them? “We really struggled to figure out why there were so many bones found in this location,” says Ian Miller, chair of earth sciences and the paleobotanist at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science who co-led the Snowmastodon Project. “Was it some kind of deathtrap? Or was there a deadly catastrophe like an earthquake or a landslide?” 
 
13 Dec 2015

Volunteering to muck around in the mud

The Snowmastodon Project team pulled thousands of fossils out of snowy mud in a matter of months, a herculean task that would not have been as successful without a small army of volunteers, many of whom came from the Denver Museum of Nature & Science’s paleontology program. The program trains interested laypeople in the art of collecting, studying and curating fossils, one of the only programs like it in the world. 
 
13 Dec 2015

Potentially venomous extinct mammals discovered in Zambia

Venomousness is rare among both living mammals and their extinct relatives, with only a handful of modern mammals, like the platypus and some species of shrews, known to produce venom. But the discovery of a mammal that lived about 255 million years ago in what is now Zambia may be one of the earliest venomous mammals. 
 
12 Dec 2015

Comment: GSW: A celebrated society celebrates its 1,500th meeting

The October 2015 meeting of the Geological Society of Washington was the society’s 1500th. It’s worth a look back at the last 123 years.

10 Dec 2015

Benchmarks: December 10, 1930: Seattle’s Denny Hill disappears

Few cities in the United States can rival Seattle for the scale of reengineering to its landscape. Not only did its citizens make more than 890 hectares of new land in its harbor, but they also replumbed the city’s largest lake, completely changing its drainage pattern and drying up its main outlet, and regraded tens of millions of cubic meters of its hills. The most famous of these projects was the elimination of Denny Hill, a 73-meter-high hill that stood at the north end of Seattle’s central business district.
 
10 Dec 2015

Public improvements, private funding

Seattle city engineer Reginald H. Thomson may have been the driving force behind the Denny Hill regrades, but they could not have occurred without public support. In order for a regrade to proceed, at least 50 percent of the people who lived in the affected areas had to sign a petition. For example, the Second Avenue regrade needed the signatures of 67 property owners. A completed petition triggered the next phase, which was a city council ordinance that defined the boundaries of the regrade. A second ordinance then provided the funding mechanism, or what was known as a Local Improvement District (LID). 

10 Dec 2015

Earthquake changed Po River's course in 16th-century Italy

The Po River runs for 650 kilometers from west to east across northern Italy, tracing the cuff of the country’s famous boot-like shape. But the river has not always followed its present course. Over the past 3,000 years, uplift along a fault gradually moved the river’s course about 20 kilometers north, and new research shows that a magnitude-5.8 earthquake in 1570 catastrophically rerouted the Po River another 40 kilometers north to its present location. 
 
09 Dec 2015

Energy Notes: May 2014-2015

U.S. Oil & Petroleum Imports (million of barrels per day)

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.
 

08 Dec 2015

Mineral Resource of the Month: Lime

Lime is the common term for several chemicals in three major categories: quicklime, hydrated lime and refractory dead-burned dolomite. Lime is almost never found naturally. It is primarily manufactured by burning limestone in kilns, followed by hydration when necessary. 

08 Dec 2015

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