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Down to Earth With: Glaciologist Lonnie Thompson

As a child growing up in Gassaway, W.Va., Lonnie Thompson was poor. When his father died while Thompson was a senior in high school, he realized he’d need to earn a reliable paycheck as quickly as possible. As an undergraduate at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va., he knew he wanted to study science; he started off as a physics major before settling on geology. Later, when he arrived at Ohio State University (OSU) as a graduate student in 1971, Thompson’s intent was to study coal geology, a practical choice that he believed would quickly secure him a job.

17 Jan 2015

Benchmarks: January 3, 1970: Lost City meteorite is tracked and recovered

On the evening of Saturday, Jan. 3, 1970, residents of northeastern Oklahoma saw a fireball as bright as a full moon blaze across the sky. The nine-second light display was accompanied by a sonic boom heard over a 1,000-square-kilometer area.

 
03 Jan 2015

Benchmarks: December 26, 2004: Indian Ocean tsunami strikes

On Dec. 26, 2004, a magnitude-9.2 earthquake ruptured the seafloor off Indonesia, sending the most destructive tsunami in recorded history across the Indian Ocean. A wall of water and debris slammed the shores of South Asia; some witnesses described it as sounding like a freight train. Tourists and locals alike scrambled to safety inland and atop tall hotels, recording videos of the surging water that inundated their communities. Many were unable to reach higher ground.

26 Dec 2014

Mineral Resource of the Month: Strontium

Strontium occurs commonly in nature, ranking as the 15th most abundant chemical element on Earth. Only two minerals contain sufficient strontium, however, to be used commercially to produce strontium compounds: Strontianite (strontium carbonate) has a higher strontium content, but celestite (strontium sulfate) is by far the most abundant strontium mineral.

24 Dec 2014

Energy Notes: July 2013-2014

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.

24 Dec 2014

Down to Earth With: Ecologist Chris Field

Last summer, the American Geophysical Union honored Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology, with its annual Roger Revelle Award, which recognizes “outstanding contributions in atmospheric sciences, atmosphere-ocean coupling, atmosphere-land coupling, biogeochemical cycles, climate or related aspects of the Earth system.”

 
22 Dec 2014

Geomedia: Books: Are we causing a sixth extinction?

Last year, Elizabeth Kolbert released her latest excellent book. Her previous volume, “Field Notes from a Catastrophe,” set a high bar for accessible, accurate science writing about environmental issues, but in my opinion, “The Sixth Extinction” surpasses it in several regards. Readers of this magazine will appreciate its solid geologic grounding and perspective, with entire chapters devoted to the end-Ordovician and end-Cretaceous extinctions, as well as sections on the principles of evolution and Earth history. Climate change, the focus of her earlier book, looms large here too, though it is just one of the many threats to the survival of our biosphere that Kolbert covers.

20 Dec 2014

Geomedia: Gifts: Holiday Guide

Finding the perfect present for the science devotee on your list can be hard, but luckily, we’ve tracked down some of the season’s most fun (and functional) gifts. Whether for the office or home, a scientist or just a science lover, these presents are sure to be a hit.

09 Dec 2014

Energy Notes: June 2013-2014

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.

22 Nov 2014

Mineral Resource of the Month: Mica

The mica mineral group includes 34 phyllosilicate minerals, all with a layered, platy texture. The mineral has been known for millennia: Mica was first mined in India about 4,000 years ago, where it was used primarily in medicines. The Mayans used it for decorative effect in stucco to make their temples sparkle in the sun. Today it is used in everything from electrical products to makeup.

22 Nov 2014

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