Taxonomy term

june 2010

Saving Afghanistan: Redevelopment one resource at a time

In his campaign and early in his presidency, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he plans to make Afghanistan a priority, calling the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan “the greatest threat to [U.S.] security.” Fortunately, military might isn’t the only focus of Obama’s plan; he also intends to dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s economic development. Finally!

14 Jun 2010

Finding water in the heart of darkness: Afghanistan's ongoing water challenges

Fieldwork in Afghanistan is not like most geology fieldwork. “When I landed, the first thing I had to do was to put on a bulletproof vest,” says Tom Mack. He was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team that evaluated water resources in the Kabul Basin, in the north-central part of eastern Afghanistan, a couple of years ago. “It was strange to wear the vest, but eventually you get used to it.” There was a lot to get used to, he says. No matter where Mack went, he had to get special permission to be there.

14 Jun 2010

Afghanistan's mineral wealth

Blogging on EARTH

On Monday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Waheed Omar, told reporters that the USGS survey of Afghanistan's mineral resources found they are worth about $1 trillion. And on Wednesday, USGS will host a press conference in which scientists will discuss water issues in Afghanistan.

14 Jun 2010

Mineral Resource of the Month: Sulfur

Sulfur is one of the few solid elements that are found in elemental form in nature, and it has been used in industrial processes since ancient times. The Egyptians used sulfur compounds to bleach fabric as early as 2000 B.C.; the ancient Greeks used sulfur as a disinfectant; and the Romans used it in pharmaceutical applications. When the Chinese developed gunpowder in the 13th century, sulfur was an essential component. The Industrial Revolution expanded demand for sulfur used in the production of sulfuric acid, an essential component of myriad industrial processes.

14 Jun 2010

Getting There and Getting Around Montana

To get to the Bitterroot Valley, you can fly into Missoula, Helena, Great Falls or Kalispell (or any number of other smaller airports), or drive. Amtrak runs to several cities in Montana, but none are close enough that you wouldn’t still need to rent a car to get to the valley. But once there, you’ll need a car or a bike to get around anyway. Biking is quite popular in the valley, where the roads are mostly flat and bike lanes parallel the highway. You’ll often see people on bikes with camping gear strapped to their backs.

11 Jun 2010

Travels in Geology: Floods, Fires and Bears in Montana's Bitterroot Valley

Everything is big in Big Sky country: big mountains, big rivers, big glaciers, big floods and big bears. Montana itself is such a big place that it would take a lifetime to explore the whole state, so visitors are better off picking a few hot spots. Glacier National Park in far northern Montana may be the state’s most popular tourist destination, but Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley, a scenic four-hour drive south of the park, should also top any geo-traveler’s must-see list. 

11 Jun 2010

Slippery Slopes: How do we insure against landslides?

Feb. 5, 2010: A landslide in Maggie Valley, N.C., damages three homes after wet weather destabilizes the mountainside. No one is injured, but officials must dig out one family from its home. Feb. 6, 2010: A storm causes landslides in La Cañada Flintridge, Calif., damaging at least 43 homes. The event is set off by heavy winter rains that hit hillsides already denuded of vegetation by wildfires the previous summer. Feb. 6, 2010: City officials evacuate 11 families from their homes in Wheelwright, Ky., a month after a landslide began slowly ripping apart the hillside.

02 Jun 2010

Down to Earth With: Katerina Dontsova

Soil scientist Katerina Dontsova didn’t imagine she would be working at one of the nation’s most famous laboratories when she arrived at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., from the Ukraine as an undergraduate exchange student in 1993. But after earning a doctorate in soil chemistry from Purdue and working as a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mississippi, Dontsova did just that, landing a job at Biosphere 2, outside Tucson, Ariz., in 2008.

01 Jun 2010

Natural gas production linked to earthquakes in Texas

A saltwater disposal well, a part of the natural gas production process, may have been responsible for triggering a series of minor earthquakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in 2008, according to a recent study.

11 May 2010