Taxonomy term

december 2018

Mineral Resource of the Month: Boron

Boron does not occur in nature in an elemental state. It is always found in oxidized states as borate salts. Four mineral forms account for the majority of the economically viable borate deposits throughout the world: two sodium borates, tincal and kernite; a calcium borate, colemanite; and a sodium-calcium borate, ulexite. Borate deposits are formed in areas that are tectonically active with arid climates. Large deposits are found in the Mojave Desert of the United States near Boron, Calif., the Tethyan belt in western Asia and the Andean belt of South America. Most borates are extracted in California and Turkey.

30 Jan 2019

Night lights reveal that people move as rivers rise

Flooding is one of the most damaging natural hazards, so it’s no surprise that many people resettle farther from rivers after catastrophic flooding. A new study finds that the distance that people move from a given river depends on the degree of flood protection in place, with people rebuilding closer to rivers that offer high levels of structural flood protection, such as levees and dams, than they do to rivers without such protections.

28 Dec 2018

Down to Earth With: Coastal scientist Gary Griggs

Maybe it was the summer camping trips with his family along the Pacific coast, or perhaps surfing off Santa Barbara, Calif., during college, but Gary Griggs always gravitated to the ocean. He turned that love into a career and has spent the last 50 years teaching about the oceans and coasts at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC).

26 Dec 2018

Survey says: U.S. lakes getting murkier

study of more than 1,000 lakes across the United States between 2007 and 2012 found that the number of murky green and brown lakes surpassed the number of clear blue lakes.

24 Dec 2018

Geologic Column: Light amid the darkness: Celebrations during the winter solstice

The winter solstice falls on Friday, Dec. 21, marking the arrival of winter and the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. For at least 5,000 years, humans have celebrated this celestial event with festivals of light and ceremonies of renewal.
21 Dec 2018

"Critical Minerals" list snubs copper, sparks discussion of criticality

In 2017, the United States relied on imports for more than half the needed supply of 50 mineral commodities that are critical in manufacturing. Some of the commodities come from just a few major suppliers — especially China and Canada — or are produced in tiny quantities in just a few places. Others come from conflict zones. Some are produced only as byproducts of processing ores of major metals, such as copper and zinc. Such complex international supply chains are at risk of being disrupted by a variety of problems, from trade wars and market volatility to natural disasters and terrorism.

20 Dec 2018

Bubbly discovery may impact volcanic hazard assessment

Programs that manage volcanic hazards use a variety of tools and techniques to monitor impending eruptions. But researchers recently found evidence — in the form of gas bubbles bursting out of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano — suggesting that scientists should forgo one common method for assessing hazards from basaltic volcanoes: averaging gas composition measurements.

19 Dec 2018

Revealing the ghosts of glaciers past

On the ground, it’s hard to fathom the effects that glaciers once had on the now nearly ice-free Rocky Mountains, but from the air, the landscape is clearly haunted by the ghosts of glaciers past. In 2015, pilot and photographer Garrett Fisher set out in his antique 1949 Piper Cub aircraft to photograph all the remaining glaciers in the American Rockies. 
18 Dec 2018

Two new species fill gap in dinosaur family tree

Cretaceous rocks in northwestern China have yielded two new dinosaur species that help fill a 70-million-year gap in dinosaur phylogeny. The new species — Xiyunykus pengi and Bannykus wulatensis — are both alvarezsaurians, an odd group of dinosaurs that, by the Late Cretaceous, had evolved many avian characteristics such as birdlike skulls, tiny teeth and light, slender bodies, as well as unique mole-like single-clawed forearms that were likely useful for digging.

17 Dec 2018