Taxonomy term

july 2015

Widening the window of human dispersal into Arabia

The vast sea of sand that is much of the Arabian Peninsula presents a formidable barrier to travel, even with today’s modern conveniences. How and when our ancestors crossed this dry expanse after leaving Africa — on their way to populating the rest of the world — has long been a mystery. Now, a new paleoclimate study paints a wetter picture of Arabia during the time of human expansion, and the findings may change scientists’ thinking about the route and timing of early human migrations out of Africa.

31 Jul 2015

Geologic Column: Field Sketches

An art exhibit prompted the author to reflect on fieldwork, his library of field notebooks and how geolgists can integrate digital technology into field geology courses.
29 Jul 2015

Endangered Icebreakers: The future of Arctic research, exploration and rescue at risk

A shortage of ice-breaking ships limits polar research efforts; complicates search-and-rescue efforts when fishermen, tourists or others are stranded in sea ice; and raises national security concerns. So far, though, the U.S., which has only two government-owned icebreakers, isn’t prioritizing funding for these important ships.

26 Jul 2015

The Arctic is open for research

“Science knows no boundaries, and the issues that the Arctic region faces require high-quality, trans-disciplinary and problem-based research, something which cannot be accomplished solely at the national level.” So stated Annu Jylhä-Pyykönen, Finland’s Head of Delegation to the Arctic Council’s Task Force for Enhancing Scientific Cooperation (SCTF) in an interview published on the Arctic Council’s website in March 2015.
 
26 Jul 2015

Comment: Who should be worried about space weather

If a severe solar storm were headed toward Earth, should you worry? And to whom should you turn for reliable information?
25 Jul 2015

Benchmarks: July 22,1960: Mineral discovery ends Meteor Crater debate

In 1923, Daniel Moreau Barringer stood on the edge of a vast bowl-shaped depression in the Arizona desert, watching a drill rig bore into the floor of the crater. Barringer had spent more than two decades exploring the massive hole, which lies on the Colorado Plateau 65 kilometers east of Flagstaff, Ariz. And although he had sunk dozens of drill holes, collected scores of samples, and carefully mapped the piles of talus that draped its concave walls, Barringer still hadn’t found what he was looking for, and he was getting nervous.
 
22 Jul 2015

Beached iceberg alters Antarctic marine communities

Studying the effects of expanding sea ice around Antarctica has been challenging, however, as it is difficult to predict exactly where sea ice will expand and whether it will stick around long enough to make a difference on marine life. But a rare event involving an iceberg bigger than the island of Manhattan created just the environment that Graeme Clark, an ecologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia, and his colleagues needed to study how the sudden advent of long-term sea-ice cover affects marine communities.

21 Jul 2015

Racing to the future of automotive efficiency and performance

High-performance, environmentally friendly race cars used in endurance races are serving as prototypes for the electric and hybrid cars that will soon make their ways to a car lot near you.
19 Jul 2015

Down to Earth With: Industrial Archaeologist Fred Quivik

Fred Quivik is no ordinary historian. Though he likes dusty books and archives to be sure, Quivik looks at history through objects, specifically the equipment, buildings and landscapes of industrial sites. He’s an industrial archaeologist, digging into the past of former mine sites, factories and other environmentally degraded places to see how they are connected to people and companies today. Quivik has done this sleuthing as a historic preservation consultant and as an expert witness in lawsuits dealing with Superfund sites. He has looked at sites across the U.S., focusing especially on the West, and now teaches at Michigan Tech University in Houghton, Mich. 
 
18 Jul 2015

Brachiopod die-off signaled mid-Permian mass extinction

Since the explosion of complex lifeforms before the turn of the Cambrian, the expansion of life on Earth has been punctuated by a quintet of global mass extinctions known as the “Big Five.” The biggest of these happened toward the end of the Permian Period about 252 million years ago, when 95 percent of all species went extinct. In a new study, scientists have proposed that a sixth global extinction, about 10 million years before the End-Permian die-off, should be added to the list.

16 Jul 2015

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