Taxonomy term

february 2013

Sahara dust brings rain and snow to California

What triggers the mountain rain and snow that are vital to California’s water and energy needs? The answer, according to new research, is blowing in the wind: dust and bacteria from as far away as Africa’s Sahara Desert.

28 Feb 2013

Setting sail on unknown seas: The past, present and future of species rafting

The 2011 Japanese tsunami set adrift tons of debris, some of it carrying live plants and animals that landed in North America more than a year later. It isn’t the first time species have traveled the globe on ersatz rafts, and it won’t be the last. But it is concerning.

24 Feb 2013

Down to Earth With: Terry Plank

“You’re a genius! Now here’s half a million dollars to use however you please.”

That, in essence, was what geochemist and volcanologist Terry Plank was told when she received a surprising phone call early last October. The voice on the other end of the line was that of Robert Gallucci, president of the MacArthur Foundation, who was calling to inform her that she’d been selected to receive one of the foundation’s 23 fellowships — the so-called “genius grants” — for 2012. The prestigious, “no strings attached” grants award $500,000 over five years to innovative individuals to allow them the flexibility to pursue creative, often otherwise out-of-reach interests.

18 Feb 2013

Energy Notes: October 2011-2012

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.

 
18 Feb 2013

Bare Earth Elements: Voices from GSA 2012

Glimpsing the lighter side of a conference

Last November, EARTH's Tim Oleson attended the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. To get a different perspective on the conference, he talked to some of the assorted geoscientists there about their experience: why they had come, if they were enjoying themselves and, because it was a gathering of geoscientists, how the beer was. It was a chance to catch attendees while they simply enjoyed the occasion and the company of kindred spirits while away from the rapid-fire schedules of the technical sessions and academic lifestyles.

14 Feb 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Beryllium

Beryllium is a lightweight, gray-colored metal. Its physical and mechanical properties — high stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios, one of the highest melting points of all light metals, excellent thermal conductivity, outstanding dimensional stability over a wide range of temperatures, reflectivity and transparency to X-rays — make it useful for many applications. 

 
13 Feb 2013

Moon could have formed from Earth after all: Reviving and revising the giant impact theory

Scientists are revisiting the age-old question of how Earth’s moon formed. New models indicate that it could have been born from the Earth following a giant collision after all.

The idea of a moon-forming collision is not new. The giant impact theory — the idea that a catastrophic collision about 4.5 billion years ago between Earth and a protoplanet about half Earth’s size created a disk of molten rock, gas and debris that consolidated to form the moon — was first set forth in the mid-1970s.

04 Feb 2013

Benchmarks: February 3, 1953: Jacques Cousteau's "The Silent World" is published, opening a window on the underwater world for millions

Few names are as evocative as Jacques Cousteau. The sunlight-infused blue glow of the marine subsurface, the endless array of otherworldly creatures that populate the ocean, and masked divers stealthily easing through the sea — trailed, of course, by glittering streams of bubbles emanating from Cousteau’s famed contraption — are morsels of the vivid imagery that his name often brings to mind. And with good reason: After all, he’s the one who introduced us to the real world below the waves, long before Bob Ballard found the Titanic or the Discovery Channel showed us what it’s like to swim with the sharks.
 
03 Feb 2013

Getting There and Getting Around India

Shillong is connected to the rest of India by regular flights from Kolkata (Calcutta) that fly into Gopinath Bordoloi Airport in Guwahati, roughly 100 kilometers from Shillong. There is also a small airport at Umroi about 40 kilometers from Shillong with flights from Kolkata on certain days of the week. The nearest railway station is in Guwahati, which is well connected to all the major cities of India. Travel by bus is also an option.

 
01 Feb 2013

Travels in Geology: Abode of the clouds: A journey to Meghalaya, India

While most of India swelters through the hot monsoon season, which runs from approximately June through September, the picturesque town of Shillong, on the Meghalaya Plateau in northeastern India, offers a welcome respite from the heat. Meghalaya, which translates to Abode of the Clouds, was aptly named for the mist that often hovers over the region, and the climate is salubrious, with the warmest months averaging 20 to 22 degrees Celsius. For the geo-traveler, Meghalaya offers abundant opportunities to explore some of the oldest geological formations on the planet and a glimpse of a unique area of southern Asia that travelers to India often overlook.

01 Feb 2013

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