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geology

Travels in Geology: Lhasa, Tibet: Journey to the roof of the world

On a trip to the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, one of the world’s highest cities, you can cross the Eurasian- Indian collision suture zone, admire the sparkling turquoise waters of sacred Yamdrok Lake, tour hidden monasteries belonging to different Buddhist sects, and marvel at Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain.
17 Jan 2019

The geology of kidney stones revealed

Kidney stones are an excruciatingly painful problem for 10 percent of the world’s population. In a new study applying geobiological methods to the study of human kidney stones, researchers have shed light on how the stones form, and revealed that they partially and repeatedly dissolve inside the kidney — which could help in developing new protocols to treat the pervasive affliction.

15 Jan 2019

Rising carbon dioxide may raise risk of nutrient deficiencies in humans

Plants absorb carbon dioxide to fuel their growth. As humans increase the amount of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, more will be available to vegetation around the world. But according to a new study, too much carbon dioxide might eventually lead to plants that are deficient in key nutrients for humans, which could be especially detrimental in the developing world.

11 Jan 2019

Our top tips for adding storytelling to your repertoire

(from Green et al., Facets, February 2018)

  • Identify your take-home message first. Start with the end in mind.
  • Remember the shape of your story. Tracking the main character’s fortune over time moves the story forward.
  • Consider the scale and timing of your story. Cut irrelevant background, processes and methods if they don’t move the story forward in a compelling way.
  • Use vivid language. Help the reader feel like he or she is there.
  • Get feedback. Pause. Reflect. Try again. Find someone you trust to give you constructive, supportive criticism.
  • Embrace discomfort and transformation. Practice makes perfect.
08 Jan 2019

Comment: How to tell a good science story

Everyone has a story to tell, including scientists who make discoveries and solve mysteries about the world we live in. What better way to convey that science is relevant and exciting than by telling a good story?
08 Jan 2019

Columbia River basalts erupted faster than thought

In the Pacific Northwest, oozing volcanic basalts erupted over the landscape during the middle Miocene, layering a sequence of 43 distinct strata, comprising roughly 350 individual flows, up to 2 kilometers thick over roughly 210,000 square kilometers. The timeline over which all that rock, known as the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG), piled up — and the pace at which it did so — hasn’t been as clear as scientists would like, in part because prior dates for the lava flows have come with large uncertainties. But in a new study in Science Advances, researchers have reduced those uncertainties and shown that the vast majority of the massive CRBG was deposited in less than a million years.

07 Jan 2019

Down to Earth With: Clay mineralogist Warren Huff

Two distinct images come to mind when I think of Warren Huff, my former doctoral adviser: one in which he is enthusiastically teaching and mentoring students both in and out of the classroom, and one in which he is sitting around a fire, playing guitar and leading a group of geologists in science-themed sing-alongs. Both images encapsulate the kind of person he is: a leading scholar in the field of clay mineralogy who lives life with gusto.

04 Jan 2019

Arctic warming causes Siberian cooling

The Arctic is warming faster than anywhere else on Earth, and fall sea-ice extents have been trending downward for decades. But while the region is heating up, that northerly warming seems to be having the opposite effect on some midlatitude locations: Parts of Siberia near the Ural Mountains, for example, have had anomalously cold winters in recent decades.

04 Jan 2019

Eyes in the sea: Swarms of floating robots observe the oceans

Swarms of small, inexpensive, autonomous robots that can be deployed over a large area for a long time are changing how oceanographers work. The robots can rise and sink to different depths, swim against vertical currents, synchronize their movements and be tracked underwater. The sampling possibilities are nearly endless.
02 Jan 2019

Ancient collision left a bit of Europe behind in Britain

Great Britain is famously considered the birthplace of modern geology, and the many layers and terranes of rocks that make up England, Wales and Scotland have been studied and mapped for centuries. But that doesn’t mean scientists fully understand the island’s geologic past. In a new study, researchers looking at unusual volcanic rocks in southern England found previously unrecognized evidence of the island nation’s past connection to mainland Europe.

02 Jan 2019

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