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Benchmarks: January 3, 1961: Three men die in nuclear reactor meltdown

By Cassandra Willyard

Of the hundreds of thousands of caskets buried in Arlington National Cemetery, only one is lined with lead to prevent the body from leaking radiation. It holds the radioactive remains of Richard Leroy McKinley, one of three men killed when a nuclear reactor exploded in the nation’s only fatal nuclear accident.

02 Jan 2009

Down to Earth With: Maurice J. 'Ric' Terman

A general wants to advance his army of tanks, but doesn’t know if the terrain he plans to cross will allow it. Tanks can’t go up steep slopes, for instance. And they can’t knock down large trees or traverse soft ground like peat bogs. That’s where military geologists come in — earth scientists who scope out the terrain to determine its suitability for different types of movement and construction.

23 Dec 2008

Energy Notes: August 2007-2008

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.

 
20 Dec 2008

Mineral Resource of the Month: Iron Oxide Pigments

Iron oxide pigments, which may be natural or synthetic, have been used as colorants since early humans began painting on cave walls. Natural pigments are derived from several iron oxide minerals: Red pigments are derived from hematite. Yellow and brown pigments — ochres, sierras and umbers — are derived from limonite. Magnetite provides a black iron oxide pigment. Micaceous iron oxide is a special form of hematite that occurs in thin metallic gray platelets or flakes. Synthetic pigments are manufactured under controlled conditions such that particle size, distribution and shape can be accurately replicated, resulting in superior uniformity, color quality and chemical purity. 

 
20 Dec 2008

Benchmarks: December 3, 1984: Bhopal gas leak kills thousands

By Cassandra Willyard

On Dec. 3, 1984, Aziza Sultan woke to the sound of coughing. When she opened her eyes, she could see that the room was filled with a white haze. She heard people shouting “Run, run.” Then she too began to cough. Each breath burned her lungs.

03 Dec 2008

November 26,1872: Great Diamond Hoax Exposed

By Cassandra Willyard

On a foggy day in 1871, two men walked into the Bank of California in San Francisco. One held a rifle and the other gripped a large buckskin pouch. Both were covered in a thick layer of grime. Initially, the nervous teller took the shady drifters for bank robbers. But his anxiety turned to elation when they showed him the contents of their pouch — a shimmery bounty of diamonds, rubies and sapphires.

26 Nov 2008

Down to Earth With: John 'Jack' Reed Jr.

Geologist Jack Reed spent his career studying rocks the most strenuous way someone can — by climbing them. During much of his 47 years with the U.S. Geological Survey, Reed clung  to rock faces in Alaska, Wyoming and Colorado, while creating geologic maps of North America’s tallest mountain ranges. Along the way, he published dozens of books for climbers and hikers on the geology of places like the Tetons in Wyoming, Seneca Rocks in West Virginia, Shenandoah National Park in Virginia and, most recently, “Rocks Above the Clouds: A Climber’s Guide to Colorado Mountain Geology.” Shortly before his latest book hit the shelves, Reed took some time out of his busy retirement schedule to speak with EARTH contributor and fellow climber Mary Caperton Morton.

23 Nov 2008

Energy Notes: July 2007-2008

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.

 
20 Nov 2008

Mineral Resource of the Month: Cultured Quartz Crystal

Cultured quartz crystal, also known as electronic-grade quartz crystal, is single-crystal quartz that has properties that make it uniquely useful in electronic circuits for precise filtration, frequency control and timing for consumer and military use. Common uses for cultured quartz crystal include aerospace hardware, commercial and military navigational instruments, computers, clocks, games, television receivers, toys and communications equipment like cell phones.

 
20 Nov 2008

Mineral Resource of the Month: Graphite

Graphite, a grayish black opaque mineral with a metallic luster, is one of four forms of pure crystalline carbon (the others are carbon nanotubes, diamonds and fullerenes). It is one of the softest minerals and it exhibits perfect basal (one-plane) cleavage. Graphite is the most electrically and thermally conductive of the nonmetals, and it is chemically inert. 

 
20 Oct 2008

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