Taxonomy term

geology

From silver to snow: Full cloud seeding cycle observed

Cloud seeding — adding particles to clouds to modify precipitation patterns — has been suggested as a way to trigger rain and snowfall, which could help sustain mountain snowpack and water supplies across the western U.S. However, it has been challenging to demonstrate the technique’s effectiveness and efficiency, in part because direct observations of the full chain of events involved in cloud seeding have been lacking.

25 May 2018

Fieldwork among the pixels: Virtual and augmented reality diversify geoscience education

Students going out into the field to gain hands-on experience and mapping skills is a time-honored tradition in geology. Now, teachers are using virtual and augmented reality technology to bring the field to the students.
23 May 2018

Geologic Column: Rebranding Alexander

Alexander III of Macedon is a superhero of history, universally known as Alexander the Great, who was intent upon conquering a bigger chunk of the planet than anybody before him. But perhaps he wasn’t so great after all.

22 May 2018

Lava shaped Lake Tahoe

With its preternaturally clear blue waters, Lake Tahoe is tranquil today, but the deep lake straddling the border of California and Nevada was once the site of repeated lava flows. In a new study, researchers used radiometric argon dating to describe how episodes of volcanism created the landscape around the largest alpine lake in North America.

21 May 2018

Geologic Column: A world without measure

The treaty establishing a global, uniform system of measurement was signed on May 20, 1875. Today, we honor that achievement by celebrating World Metrology Day on May 20.

20 May 2018

Data-driven discovery reveals Earth's missing minerals

New discoveries in mineralogy, one of the oldest human endeavors, are arising from a new sort of mining—data mining. Mineralogists are applying statistical models and data science techniques to reveal previously unseen patterns and clues hidden in mineralogical databases, and to find undiscovered minerals.
18 May 2018

Swelling clay slows landslides

Rainfall can trigger landslides, and it can also cause slow-moving slides to speed up. But researchers have observed that rain also appears to cause landslides composed of clay-rich material to take longer to start moving, and to move slower than expected.

17 May 2018

When more humidity means less water

Scientists have long assumed that temperature is the main control on melting of winter snowpacks across the mountainous western United States. In a recent study, however, scientists suggest that regional humidity may have a larger impact than temperature.

16 May 2018

Rising waters sink seafloors

Predicting how much the ocean surface will rise in the coming years requires complicated, global-scale bookkeeping of the many factors that affect sea levels. In a new study, scientists have, for the first time, quantified the role of ocean-bottom deformation — the gradual deepening of ocean basins under the weight of more water — in both global and regional sea-level rise, an effort that may help produce more accurate sea-level projections.

13 May 2018

El Nino "flavors" affect California rainfall

Twenty years ago, the 1997–98 El Niño surpassed the 1982–83 event to become the strongest El Niño ever recorded, contributing to famine and drought in Southeast Asia, devastating floods in Southern California, and other natural disasters. By many metrics, the 2015–16 El Niño bested both to claim the title of the strongest El Niño on record. This most recent event, nicknamed the “Godzilla El Niño,” did contribute to extreme weather in parts of the world, including disastrous fires in Indonesia and the longest, global coral-bleaching event on record. However, it did not have the anticipated effect on California, which, at the time, was in the midst of a severe multi-year drought. In a recent study, researchers suggest the 2015–16 El Niño was the wrong “flavor” to bring heavy precipitation to the state.

13 May 2018

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