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The Bakken boom and the new wild west: A young geologist's perspective

Like many of my colleagues, I have found myself in awe of the drastically changing energy landscape around me. Both technologically and economically, the world of energy is not what it used to be. Precious resources that allow the modern world to exist are becoming harder to find and much more difficult to extract, but advances in drilling technology, such as directional drilling, are a tribute to humanity’s ability to innovate when needed.

24 Sep 2012

School of rock: Educating educators at sea

Many things come to mind when you hear the words “School of Rock”: a bad Jack Black flick, the middle school band you were in, the guitar school down the street from you, some pun about geology … yes, all are likely candidates. But the one I’m thinking of probably didn’t cross your mind. The School of Rock I had the privilege to attend is a professional development opportunity for educators to spend a week to 10 days at sea, learning about ocean drilling, how science is conducted on a yawing ship, and how to be better science teachers.

20 Jul 2012

How the school of rock came to be

In the late 1950s, a growing interest in better understanding the structure and composition of Earth resulted in the creation of the controversial Project Mohole. Although the name may sound better suited for an Isaac Asimov novel, it was indeed a real, albeit short-lived, attempt to drill through the boundary between the crust and mantle, called the Mohorovičić (Moho) discontinuity — an engineering feat yet to be achieved. The project led to the modern-day Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) — and eventually the School of Rock.

20 Jul 2012

Blogging on EARTH: Yellow submarine robot debuts at AGU meeting

It doesn’t look like a typical robot. About half a meter across and 9 meters long, a new, super-high-tech submarine ROV, unveiled Tuesday in San Francisco at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting, strongly resembles … well, a big yellow cigar.

15 Dec 2010

The impact at El'gygytgyn crater

Moment of impact: As the asteroid hits the ground with a velocity of several tens of kilometers per second, a shock wave is generated that penetrates radially into the ground and compresses the rocks.

Contact/compression stage
Christian Koeberl, University of Vienna









20 Jul 2010

Early results

Although our final results won’t begin to be published until early next year, our team met in May to review all the data we had collected so far.

We had drilled several types of cores. Our initial pilot cores, taken in 1998 and 2003, provided proof of concept, demonstrating the importance of these cores as a climate record, as they contain climate data that extend back in time 300,000 years — roughly three times longer back in time than the oldest portions of the Greenland ice core records.

20 Jul 2010

The thrill to drill in the chill

Nearly 3.6 million years ago, a large asteroid slammed into Earth in what is today northeastern Russia. Within minutes, the impact formed an 18-kilometer-wide hole in the ground that then filled with water.

20 Jul 2010