Taxonomy term

july 2013

Bare Earth Elements: The field camp experience in photos

For the August issue of EARTH, I wrote about some of the ways in which geology's longstanding rite of passage — field camp — has changed over the years, as well as how it has remained the same.

22 Jul 2013

Mediterranean mammals migrated prior to the Messinian Salinity Crisis

The people of the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa share a long and complicated history, evident in culinary and genetic similarities, due in large part to their close proximity. Now it appears that the animals of the region have shared an even longer history. Researchers studying mammal fossils in Spain and Morocco recently determined that a migration event between the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa occurred more than 6 million years ago — more than half a million years earlier than previously thought.

19 Jul 2013

Energy Notes: March 2012-2013

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit

19 Jul 2013

Map provides clues to natural protection of U.S. coastal communities

Devastating storms like Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina have left many coastal residents wondering how to protect life and property from future catastrophes. In a study published this week in Nature Climate Change, researchers suggest the best protection from storms and rising sea levels in the U.S. may entail a combination of engineering and conservation.

16 Jul 2013

Alaskan volcano doesn't just huff and puff, it screams

In March 2009, Alaska’s Mount Redoubt awoke from two decades of silence with something to say: A series of small earthquakes leading up to the eruption produced a seismic sound that staff at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Volcano Observatory nicknamed “the screams.” Now, two new studies are eavesdropping on Redoubt’s inner workings and quantifying the forces needed to produce the unusual harmonic tremors.

16 Jul 2013

Down to Earth With: Anna Henderson

Politicians and pundits communicate with talking points. In Washington, D.C., a catchy sound bite often trumps a filibustering speech, and a grandiose idea must usually fit into only a few sentences. In science, however, communication occurs as dense journal articles or professional textbooks that flesh out complexities in minute detail. Bridging the gap between these two diverse communication styles in order to convey scientific issues to policymakers is the job of the American Geosciences Institute’s William L. Fisher Congressional Geoscience Fellows.

16 Jul 2013

Corn syrup model splits Yellowstone's plume in two

Yellowstone is renowned for its hot springs, geysers and for hosting one of the world’s most volatile supervolcanoes. Despite its popularity, the origin of all that volcanic activity remains poorly understood. Traditional plume models can’t explain the jumble of volcanic surface features. Now, a new study using corn syrup to replicate the mantle processes underlying Yellowstone offers a more complicated scenario.

14 Jul 2013

Mineral Resource of the Month: Bismuth

Bismuth is a brittle, silvery-white metal with a low melting point and a high density approaching that of lead. Alloys of the metal with lead and tin are known to have been used since the Middle Ages. The metal was referred to as wismuth, and at the end of the 16th century, Georgus Agricola, an early mineralogist, Latinized the Germanic name to bisemutum. 

13 Jul 2013

Iowa impact crater confirmed

An airborne geophysical survey mapping mineral resources in the Midwest has confirmed that a 470-million-year-old impact crater nearly five times the size of Barringer (Meteor) Crater in Arizona lies buried several hundred meters beneath the town of Decorah, Iowa.

07 Jul 2013

Ancient Egyptian artifact is otherworldly

In ancient Egypt, iron was a rare and symbolic metal, but scientists and historians have long wondered about the prehistoric civilization’s knowledge of metallurgy. Now, one part of that mystery has been solved: The oldest-known iron artifacts were made from meteorites. The evidence comes in the form of iron beads from approximately 3300 B.C., more than 2,000 years before the Iron Age in Egypt, and before there is record of trade in iron goods with other civilizations.

03 Jul 2013