Taxonomy term

february 2019

Wrangling the data to choose Mars landing sites

NASA has sent four rovers to Mars, and the fifth — the Mars 2020 Rover — is slated to launch in summer 2020 for an early 2021 arrival. Selecting suitable landing sites is a critical and painstaking pre-launch step in ensuring both the technical and scientific success of these missions.

27 Feb 2019

Beryllium: the rain bringeth and the rain taketh away

High in Earth’s atmosphere, cosmic rays collide with oxygen atoms, shattering the oxygen into smaller atoms, including radioactive beryllium-10. Atmospheric beryllium-10 that falls to Earth’s surface — in precipitation or aboard dust particles — is known as meteoric beryllium-10. Researchers often use the ratio of meteoric beryllium-10 to nonradioactive beryllium-9 in soil as a tracer of soil age and processes. As beryllium-10 has a long half-life — about 1.4 million years — scientists have used it for studies of both short- or long-term soil dynamics.

25 Feb 2019

Seismometers eavesdrop on glacial outburst flood

On July 5, 2016, a previously dammed glacial moraine in Nepal burst, releasing 100,000 tons of water that barreled down the Sunkoshi River, destroying bridges, hydropower plants and roads in its path. The flood was so massive that ground shaking was felt throughout the river corridor and recorded by seismometers deployed in the wake of the April 2015 Ghorka earthquake.

22 Feb 2019

Mineral Resource of the Month: Garnet

Garnet is the general name given to a group of complex silicate minerals, all with isometric crystal structure and similar properties and chemical composition. The most common garnet minerals are classified into three groups: the aluminum-garnet group, the chromium-garnet group and the iron-garnet group.

21 Feb 2019

Easter Island inhabitants drank brackish water to survive

The remote Chilean island of Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island, is famous for its 961 giant stone statues and monuments, erected between 1200 and 1600. Called moai, these statues have been a mystery for years, especially considering just a few thousand people inhabited the small, resource-limited Pacific island nearly 3,700 kilometers west of Chile. “Why did people put the statues where they did?” asks Carl Lipo, an archaeologist at Binghamton University in New York. The answer, according to new research, may have something to do with the civilization’s water supply.

20 Feb 2019

Lab-grown magnesite a boon for carbon sequestration?

Left undisturbed, carbonate minerals can naturally lock up carbon in a stable form for millions of years or longer. Triggering the formation of carbonate minerals is thus a promising means of removing and sequestering carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. In recent research, scientists uncovered new details about how one of Earth’s most stable, albeit slow-to-form, carbonates — magnesite — grows in nature and have found a way to accelerate its formation in the lab at room temperature. The results could aid in developing efficient carbon sequestration technologies.

19 Feb 2019

Travels in Geology: Mid-ocean volcanic excursion: The calderas and caldeiras of the Azores

The Azores, a volcanic island chain spanning more than 600 kilometers, may be diminutive and difficult to find on the map, but the islands offer oversize opportunities for sightseeing and adventure that are sure to appeal to almost any traveler, particularly those with an eye for natural and geologic scenery.

18 Feb 2019

Benchmarks: February 17, 2017: Arkansas Gets a State Dinosaur

In 1972, the first dinosaur remains ever found in Arkansas — a fossilized foot — were pulled out of a gravel and sand pit near the Sevier County town of Lockesburg in the southwestern part of the state. Though the foot remained a scientific mystery for decades, it became something of a local celebrity.

17 Feb 2019

Humans accidentally created new rivers in Europe

Meandering rivers that flow through and transport sediment to deltas often split off from their main courses and flow in different directions. This process, called avulsion, happens naturally when a river overflows its banks and the floodwaters carve out a new course for the river to follow. But humans can also trigger avulsions by changing the shape of the landscape, and in a new study, scientists report that people have been doing this for a very long time.

15 Feb 2019

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