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Geomedia: Toys: LEGO® geoscientists break through the brick ceiling

Many adults probably remember the childhood fun of LEGO® toys, the plastic bricks from which you could build forts, cars, houses, planes, cities and even whole universes. The few simple shapes and colors encouraged unlimited creativity, limited only by the number of LEGO pieces you had, which could total in the thousands. 
 
18 Aug 2015

Benchmarks: August 3, 1958: USS Nautilus crosses the North Pole

As the USS Nautilus glided through the black depths of the Arctic Ocean, Cmdr. William Anderson asked the crew for quiet. A tense silence hung over the dull roar of the propellers and the sharp pings of sonar as the submarine closed in on its destination. “Eight … six … four,” Williams counted down over the intercom, accelerating as they got closer, “three … two … one …”
 
03 Aug 2015

Mineral Resource of the Month: Gemstones

Gemstones have been treasured objects throughout history, often serving as symbols of power and status for rulers and the wealthy. Stones used in early jewelry-making include amber, amethyst, coral, diamond, emerald, garnet, jade, jasper, lapis lazuli, pearl, rock crystal, ruby, serpentine and turquoise. 
 
23 Jul 2015

Benchmarks: July 22,1960: Mineral discovery ends Meteor Crater debate

In 1923, Daniel Moreau Barringer stood on the edge of a vast bowl-shaped depression in the Arizona desert, watching a drill rig bore into the floor of the crater. Barringer had spent more than two decades exploring the massive hole, which lies on the Colorado Plateau 65 kilometers east of Flagstaff, Ariz. And although he had sunk dozens of drill holes, collected scores of samples, and carefully mapped the piles of talus that draped its concave walls, Barringer still hadn’t found what he was looking for, and he was getting nervous.
 
22 Jul 2015

Down to Earth With: Industrial Archaeologist Fred Quivik

Fred Quivik is no ordinary historian. Though he likes dusty books and archives to be sure, Quivik looks at history through objects, specifically the equipment, buildings and landscapes of industrial sites. He’s an industrial archaeologist, digging into the past of former mine sites, factories and other environmentally degraded places to see how they are connected to people and companies today. Quivik has done this sleuthing as a historic preservation consultant and as an expert witness in lawsuits dealing with Superfund sites. He has looked at sites across the U.S., focusing especially on the West, and now teaches at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, Mich. 
 
18 Jul 2015

Geomedia: Books: Iceland's eruption of biblical proportions explored in 'Island on Fire'

For a few months in 2014–2015, a volcanic eruption in Iceland captivated many people around the world. The Holuhraun lava field produced the largest volume of lava erupted on the North Atlantic island in the past 200 years. Except for the areas plagued with acrid, sulfur-rich gas, which affected air quality, the eruption was mostly harmless and became a tourist spectacle. It was Icelandic volcanism at its finest.
 
16 Jul 2015

Geomedia: On the Web: Dinologue: A dino blog

Wherever you want to go, the Internet can take you there. Space? No problem. The bottom of the ocean? Sure. Now, you can add another stop to the itinerary: the Mesozoic. A new website, Dinologue.com, aims to transport visitors back to the time of the dinosaurs.
 
05 Jul 2015

Mineral Resource of the Month: Gold

Gold was highly valued by early civilizations for its scarcity, durability and characteristic color, reminiscent of the sun, which was worshiped by some as a deity. It was first recovered from streambed gravels (placers), where it occurred in native form, and thus did not require extraction from ores. It was both essentially indestructible and easily worked. Gold nuggets were prized possessions that could be fashioned into bars of different standard weights and into ornaments and items of adornment that also served as portable wealth. Gold leaf (gold beaten into thin sheets) has been used to decorate significant architectural structures since ancient times. In the 7th century B.C., the Etruscans used gold to make false teeth, and it is still used in dentistry today due to its nontoxicity, durability and beauty.

26 Jun 2015

Energy Notes: December 2013-2014

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

26 Jun 2015

Down to Earth With: Geophysicist Peter Molnar

As a graduate student in geophysics at Columbia University in the late 1960s, Peter Molnar — who had studied physics as an undergraduate — decided to sit in on a geology course for a term. When the professor began discussing cratons one day, Molnar raised his hand and asked what a craton was. Molnar still remembers the strange look he received, as if the professor were wondering, “Who let this guy in?”
 
20 Jun 2015

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