Taxonomy term

julia rosen

Tools of the trade

Until a few decades ago, illustrators most often plied their trade with pencil and paper, ink, watercolors, or maybe airbrushed paints. While some still work in these media, most now rely heavily on computers, at least for the finished product. Some artists, like New Jersey-based illustrator Frank Ippolito, made the switch early on. “The promise was already there, so I was one of those early adopters who jumped in with both feet,” he says. For others, going digital became a necessity when clients started changing their expectations, says Lynette Cook, who previously worked as an artist and photographer at the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. 
 
16 Jun 2015

Exoplanets could have long-lived oceans

At last count, the Kepler spacecraft had identified more than 1,000 confirmed exoplanets in the Milky Way Galaxy. Some of these bodies orbit their parent stars in the so-called habitable zone, where liquid water, and thus, life, could survive. But scientists say favorable surface temperatures may not be enough to foster life. Exoplanets also need to generate and maintain liquid water at the surface, raising the question: Do exoplanets have stable oceans?

 
12 Jun 2015

Colonial mining left its mark in Andean ice cores

When Spanish Conquistadors arrived in the Andes Mountains of Peru and Bolivia, they found a landscape rich in silver. Now, scientists have found evidence of Europe’s voracious demand for the metal hidden in tropical ice cores, which contain a record of colonial mining pollution stretching back to the 1600s.
11 Jun 2015

Giant bolide hit South Africa 2.5 billion years ago

Some of the oldest scraps of continental crust on Earth cling to the southern tip of Africa and the western edge of Australia. In both places, geologists have found rock layers rich in tiny particles called spherules. Scientists think spherules form when meteorites strike the planet, vaporizing surface rocks that then condense into small droplets, blanketing the surrounding landscape. Now, research published in Geology confirms the extraterrestrial origin of a 2.5-billion-year-old layer of spherules in South Africa, which scientists say was produced by a bolide at least as large as the one that doomed the dinosaurs.
 
06 Jun 2015

Ancient moss reveals tsunami timing

Fishermen trawling Norway’s waters have long known of a place where the seafloor drops precipitously into the abyss. It’s called Storegga — or “great edge” — and it’s actually the steep headwall of the largest undersea landslide in recent geologic history. The slide triggered a tsunami that flooded the shores of the North Sea, reaching as far as Greenland, and likely affecting the Stone Age people that inhabited Northern Europe at the time.

 
14 May 2015

A decade of slow slip may have preceded Japan's 2011 earthquake

Everyone notices when a fault ruptures quickly — the ground shakes and shudders, and sometimes, the seas churn. However, tectonic plates can also creep past each other so slowly that it’s almost imperceptible. Researchers say they’ve now identified the longest example to date of this type of movement along the Japan Trench in the decade leading up to the devastating magnitude-9.0 earthquake that shook the island of Honshu in 2011.

12 May 2015

Yosemite's cliffs in retreat

This past winter, two athletes grabbed the world’s attention as they climbed up the sheer walls of Yosemite National Park’s El Capitan. But some geologists are more concerned with what falls down these precipitous faces — namely, rocks. Park geologist Greg Stock has developed a history of rockfalls in Yosemite valley dating back 15,000 years, which reveals how its cliffs have crumbled since glaciers disappeared at the end of the last ice age.

 
11 May 2015

Benchmarks: May 8, 1902: The deadly eruption of Mount Pelée

At the turn of the 20th century, the town of St. Pierre was known as the “Paris of the Caribbean.” Nestled into the northwest coast of the French island of Martinique, it boasted a bustling harbor where ships hauled away precious loads of sugar and rum, and it had usurped the official capital — Fort-de-France — as the colony’s cultural center. But St. Pierre had a problem: it lay in the shadow of a massive volcano.

 
08 May 2015

Could U.S. phosphate deposits help meet growing rare earth demand?

The modern world runs on rare earth metals — they are essential ingredients in light bulbs, smartphones, wind turbines and military weapons, among other uses. Currently, China supplies more than 95 percent of the global demand for rare earth elements (REEs), giving it a virtual monopoly. But new research suggests that the United States may contain vast domestic reserves of its own that could dwarf known deposits.

 
05 May 2015

Mysterious rapid radio burst captured live

Last year, astronomers received a signal from the depths of the cosmos: a fleeting pulse of intense electromagnetic radiation known as a fast radio burst (or FRB). First discovered in 2007, these millisecond blasts occur sporadically and continue to baffle astronomers. Now, for the first time, an FRB has been caught red-handed.

29 Apr 2015

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