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geology

A tale of two rocks: Moon-like rocks right next door

Lunar exploration is once again in full swing. Japan’s Kaguya and India’s Chandrayaan-1 satellites are currently in orbit around the moon. China’s Chang’e spacecraft, after a successful mission, has been intentionally crashed on the moon. And the United States’ Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is preparing to launch. These are all unmanned missions; humans haven’t been to the moon in more than 30 years. But we will probably return in the next decade, and when we do, we hope to dig even deeper to uncover the moon’s secrets.

18 Jun 2009

Redefining Quaternary

Blogging on EARTH

The Quaternary Period — the geologic time period that includes human evolution up to the present — is now a bit longer than it used to be.

04 Jun 2009

Travels in Geology: The Midwest's Little Egypt

Southern Illinois, also known as “Little Egypt,” offers great geological sites in an easy half-day’s journey from many Midwestern cities. The region boasts remnants of 200-million-year-old inland seas,100,000-year-old glaciations and10,000-year-old landmarks carved out of ancient sandstone.
02 Jun 2009

DOE promises $2.4 billion for clean coal

Blogging on EARTH

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced today at a meeting of the National Coal Council that $2.4 billion in stimulus money will go to developing carbon capture and storage technologies.

15 May 2009

FY 2010 budget cuts Yucca, oil and gas programs

Blogging on EARTH

The White House Office of Management and Budget released today its FY 2010 budget reductions and savings — what programs it plans to cut or reduce.

07 May 2009

Alaska's Mt. Redoubt erupts at last

Blogging on EARTH

After months of threatening and rumbling, Mount Redoubt finally erupted late Sunday night.

Redoubt began to exhibit increasing unrest last fall, with seismic activity becoming markedly increased in January, and expectations of an imminent eruption were growing. On March 15, researchers detected four hours of continuous volcanic tremor and observed of a brief plume of gas and ash, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory.

23 Mar 2009

Rewriting rivers: What it means for river restoration

In 1702, Francis Chadsey and his family bought 200 hectares of meadow and upland on the banks of the Brandywine Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania. Within a year, he built a mill for grinding wheat, oats and barley. Like other landowners in the region, Chadsey also built a small dam on the creek. He most likely used local stone to erect the 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high structure, behind which a small pond sprang up. From the pond, a conduit carried water that spilled over a wheel to produce power to run the mill.

13 Mar 2009

How amphibious whales returned to the sea

Millions of years ago, the first animals emerged from their watery habitat to live on dry land. After becoming fully adapted to a terrestrial environment, however, some animals, such as whales, ultimately returned to the ocean. But the evolutionary steps involved in that watery return have long been a mystery. Now, some exceptional fossils — and one really old baby — are shedding some light on how whales went back to the sea.

19 Feb 2009

Earthworms churn out calcite crystals

Any gardener can tell you that earthworms play a major role in soil ecology. But that information hasn’t always been common knowledge. Charles Darwin was one of the first to study earthworms, and in 1881, he discovered the curious fact that many species leave behind calcite crystals as they work their way through the soil. Now, new research might shed some light on the enduring mystery of how and why earthworms produce the crystals.

10 Feb 2009

Criminals steal London dino's dung

Blogging on EARTH

A series of robberies over the past five years at London’s Natural History Museum has curators frustrated — and puzzled. From stuffed squirrels to scarab beetles, it seems that anything that can be carried is vulnerable. But most oddly, some thieves made off with a piece of fossilized dinosaur dung.

04 Feb 2009

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