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Deadly tornadoes

Even with improved warning technology, tornadoes remain a deadly threat. Below is a list of some of the deadliest storms throughout the 20th century.
 
02 Mar 2011

Down to Earth With Richard Prum

Evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum may be the first person to write a scientific field guide to dinosaur watching. Drawing on years of experience as a bird watcher and field researcher, Prum has made huge advances in our understanding of how feathers evolved and in turn how we view dinosaurs. Last year, Prum’s feather expertise allowed him to describe the dinosaur Anchiornus huxleyi in living color. All of this work on dinosaur feather evolution earned Prum a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, in 2009.
 
01 Mar 2011

Benchmarks: Henri Becquerel discovers radioactivity on February 26, 1896

February 26, 1896, was an overcast day in Paris — and that presented a problem for French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel. Becquerel was hoping to demonstrate a link between minerals that glow when exposed to strong light and a new type of electromagnetic radiation called X-rays. The weather thwarted this experiment — but that failure inadvertently produced an entirely new discovery: natural radioactivity.

28 Feb 2011

Geomedia: Zombie Science? New Madrid and "Disaster Deferred"

During the winter of 1811-1812, three strong earthquakes between magnitude 7 and 8 rocked the New Madrid seismic zone, which runs through parts of eastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. The quakes opened deep fissures, destroyed forests and lakes, and produced intense ground shaking that liquefied the soil, turning the land to the consistency of jelly across an area of 10,000 square kilometers.

02 Feb 2011

Down to Earth With Kateryna Klochko

Kateryna Klochko made a splash in the ocean geochemistry world as a doctoral student at the University of Maryland in College Park. She had been in the U.S. for only a few years, following a long journey from her native Ukraine. Yet she was about to challenge paradigms.
 
01 Feb 2011

Benchmarks: January 23, 1960: Humans reach the deepest point on Earth

More than 9,000 meters underwater, a window buckles, sending a spider web of cracks across the glass. The entire submersible shakes, but no water rushes into the Trieste. Out of vocal contact with the main ship on the surface above them, Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh decide to continue their descent despite the new danger. After all, at more than nine kilometers below the sea surface, the explorers were too close to their goal to turn around. They were only 2,000 meters away from the deepest spot on Earth: Challenger Deep. On Jan. 23, 1960, they reached that fabled point 10,916 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
 
03 Jan 2011

The first dinner in a beast

Surprisingly, there is precedence for eating dinner in the body of a massive beast. In February 1802, Rembrandt Peale, an early American painter best known for his portraits of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, invited 12 friends and family to dine under the rib cage of a mammoth, which had recently been erected in his father’s museum in Philadelphia.
 
03 Dec 2010

From science to science fiction

Project Cirrus may have flopped in the meteorology world, but its research left an indelible impression on the literary world.
 
04 Oct 2010

Benchmarks: September 21, 1930: Alfred Wegener begins a fateful polar expedition

In September 1930, 15 polar explorers set out from their base camp at Kamarujuk on the west coast of Greenland. The team was carrying much-needed supplies 400 kilometers inland to two meteorologists waiting at a satellite camp at Eismitte at the center of the Greenland icecap. The team, consisting of German meteorologists Alfred Wegener and Fritz Loewe as well as 13 Greenlanders, traveled slowly, their dogsleds hindered by storms and frigid temperatures. All but Wegener, Loewe and one Greenlander, Rasmus Villumsen, were forced to turn back by the blizzards. At last, the three explorers managed to reach the icecap camp at the end of October.
 
03 Sep 2010

Benchmarks: August 1975: Geotimes magazine inspires name of rock formation: A Q&A with Tony Alabaster

In August 1975, an intriguing rock formation in Oman appeared on the cover of Geotimes magazine, EARTH magazine’s predecessor. This pillow lava — a type of rock that forms when hot molten basalt flows into water, such as happens in Hawaii, or erupts underwater — is one of the lowermost units of the now-famous Semail ophiolite sequence. Ophiolites, pieces of ancient oceanic crust and upper mantle later uplifted and exposed on land, were a hot geological topic in the 1970s, because they helped illuminate the process of seafloor spreading, a key puzzle piece supporting the then-revolutionary theories of continental drift and plate tectonics.
 
09 Aug 2010

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