Taxonomy term

geology

Bubbly discovery may impact volcanic hazard assessment

Programs that manage volcanic hazards use a variety of tools and techniques to monitor impending eruptions. But researchers recently found evidence — in the form of gas bubbles bursting out of Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano — suggesting that scientists should forgo one common method for assessing hazards from basaltic volcanoes: averaging gas composition measurements.

19 Dec 2018

Revealing the ghosts of glaciers past

On the ground, it’s hard to fathom the effects that glaciers once had on the now nearly ice-free Rocky Mountains, but from the air, the landscape is clearly haunted by the ghosts of glaciers past. In 2015, pilot and photographer Garrett Fisher set out in his antique 1949 Piper Cub aircraft to photograph all the remaining glaciers in the American Rockies. 
18 Dec 2018

Did early agriculture knock the climate off track?

During the last 2.5 million years, Earth’s climate has seen cycles of advancing and retreating glaciers over much of the Northern Hemisphere. We are currently in a warm, interglacial period — one that’s been prolonged by increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. According to a new study in Nature, these high concentrations of greenhouse gases have disrupted the recent pattern of cycling in Earth’s climate and pushed back the next ice age. The study also suggests that human activity, beginning thousands of years ago with early agriculture and continuing through to the present day, has fueled the rise in greenhouse gas concentrations.

12 Dec 2018

Southern Ocean is absorbing less carbon

In the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica, complex and dynamic interactions among the atmosphere, cryosphere, and surface and deep ocean waters play an important role in climate. Although it covers only a quarter of Earth’s oceanic surface area, the Southern Ocean — with its cold temperatures and carbon-sucking algal blooms — has been estimated to take up 40 percent of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions. However, new data collected by a fleet of autonomous floating sensors show that the Southern Ocean is taking up significantly less carbon than scientists thought.

10 Dec 2018

Science by floats

The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) set out four years ago to study the Southern Ocean and its role and influence on global climate. The main mission of the project was to increase Southern Ocean observations, especially during the frigid winter months, to better understand climate change and biogeochemistry.

10 Dec 2018

Travels in Geology: Touring the Capital Geology of Washington, D.C.

This month, the American Geophysical Union will host its annual fall meeting in Washington, D.C. Take a tour of the city’s unexpected geology, showcased in both natural rock outcrops and the capital’s diverse suite of building stone found in museums and monuments on the National Mall.
07 Dec 2018

Comment: National Geological Surveys: The past, present and future

The oldest national geological survey (Britain’s) is 183 years old; the youngest (China’s) is 19. Yet all the surveys share commonalities. A symposium last June in Vancouver, British Columbia, examined where surveys have been and where they’re going.

06 Dec 2018

Comment: Learning "Minecraft" as a forty-something proves the game can be an educational tool for all ages

When an energy researcher’s work becomes the basis for a “Minecraft Education” module, he decides to learn to play the popular video game, and turns to an expert, his 12-yearold son, for lessons. 
06 Dec 2018

Fats on Neolithic pottery pinpoint climate cooling event

About 8,200 years ago, right around the time that animals such as cows and sheep were first being domesticated in the Near East for meat and milk, the planet underwent a cooling event that lasted about 160 years. How this cold snap, known as the 8.2-kiloyear event, affected early farmers has long been a mystery, as archaeological evidence from the period of the cooler and drier climate has been scant. But new research investigating fatty residues preserved on scraps of pottery found at the UNESCO World Heritage site of Çatalhöyük in Turkey is offering some clues.

05 Dec 2018

Forecasting California's earthquake hazard

In California, scientists use a model called the Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast (UCERF3) to assess earthquake hazards across the state based not on the physics of the state’s faults, but on history: By considering the historic record of earthquakes, including the location and severity of past quakes, UCERF3, the third version of the model, provides a hazard measure. “But those observations are limited, because we only have a few hundred years [of written earthquake records] in California,” says Greg Beroza, a seismologist at Stanford University. “In the long term, we have a small sample of the possible behavior of the system.” This means the resulting hazard assessments, relying on the relatively short historical earthquake record, may not accurately reflect earthquake potential across the state. So, scientists have long been trying to come up with physics-based models that show how particular faults might rupture without depending on historical records — and now, they have.

04 Dec 2018

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