Taxonomy term

june 2016

Comment: What's a map worth? The big cost and bigger benefit of three-dimensional elevation data

The 3-D Elevation Program is a collaborative effort to share the costs of collecting three-dimensional elevation data over the entire U.S. over an eight-year period. The end goal is a fully three-dimensional elevation map of the entire U.S. and its territories.

30 Jun 2016

Geoscience on Film: The view from outside Kathmandu

Doug Prose and Diane LaMacchia have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences since 1992. At work on a project delving into the complex interplay of tectonics, natural hazards and humanity in the Himalayan region, LaMacchia and Prose traveled to Nepal and Bhutan in June to investigate recovery and resilience in the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Prose wrote about their recent experiences while there, and filed the following series of posts upon returning home.

29 Jun 2016

Slow-moving super-eruptions still travel great distances

When Hollywood movies depict the destruction unleashed by volcanic eruptions, they usually focus on red-hot lava, but even more dangerous are pyroclastic flows: mixtures of rocky debris and searing hot ash and gas that move as fast as 700 kilometers per hour and can bulldoze, incinerate and suffocate anything in their paths. In a new study looking at pyroclastic flow deposits associated with the Silver Creek Caldera in the southwestern U.S., researchers have found that not all pyroclastic flows are so swift. Dense, slow-moving flows can still wreak havoc over vast distances.

29 Jun 2016

Down to Earth With: Planetary scientist Steven Squyres

By age 6, Steven Squyres already considered himself a scientist, and, with his father’s help, would conduct rudimentary experiments with a chemistry kit. By the time he was 10, he had become fascinated by meteorology and erected a weather station in his backyard. He vividly remembers building an anemometer out of funnels, and realizing that his device would need to be calibrated in order to accurately measure wind speed. So, he asked his father to drive the family car up and down their street. While perplexed neighbors looked on, Squyres excitedly hung the instrument out the window, shouting to his dad to drive 5 miles per hour as he counted how many times the kitchen funnels spun around. Next, Squyres asked his dad to drive 10 miles per hour, and then even faster, repeating his counts at each speed until the calibration was complete.

28 Jun 2016

Saving Mongolian wildlife, 80 million years after extinction

In the time of Velociraptor, 80 million years ago, southern Mongolia looked surprisingly like the Gobi Desert that exists there today. Animals roamed, nested and fought amid an arid climate while sand-soaked winds battered rocky outcrops. Today, walking along the Flaming Cliffs of Bayanzag, you may only notice one stark difference: Where Velociraptor and other dinosaurs once thrived, there are now only a few fossilized remains. And even those are endangered. Because of this, a small team of scientists, hired staff and volunteers is heading to Mongolia this fall to try to save them. 

27 Jun 2016

'P' is for phosphate: Could urine solve a fertilizer shortage?

Phosphorus is essential to plant growth, but there’s a looming shortage, which could leave global agriculture without the fertilizer needed to feed growing populations. Some scientists think, with some tweaks to our sanitation system, human urine could be mined for the necessary phosphorus.

26 Jun 2016

Take a stand (or sit) for better water quality management

The average person urinates four to seven times over a 24-hour period, producing about 1.5 liters of urine per day. Here are some things you can do today to help conserve water, improve water quality, and keep all that waste from going to waste.

 
26 Jun 2016

Geoscience on Film: Revisiting an earthquake-ravaged region, one year on

Doug Prose and Diane LaMacchia have produced documentaries showcasing Earth and the geosciences since 1992. At work on a project delving into the complex interplay of tectonics, natural hazards and humanity in the Himalayan region, LaMacchia and Prose traveled to Nepal and Bhutan in June to investigate recovery and resilience in the aftermath of the 2015 Gorkha earthquake. Prose wrote about their recent experiences while there, and filed the following series of posts upon returning home.

24 Jun 2016

Giant armadillo look-alikes really were giant armadillos

Due to coincidences of evolution, extinct creatures sometimes resemble living animals, even if they’re not actually related. But in a new study looking at the family tree of glyptodonts, armored beasts resembling giant armadillos that once roamed South America, researchers have found that the animals actually were early relatives of modern armadillos.

24 Jun 2016

Statistics shine light on T. rex family tree

Tyrannosaurus rex is one of the most recognizable dinosaurs, but the tyrannosauroid family tree is also occupied by many lesser-known cousins — such as Xiongguanlong and Lythronax — along with some large holes. Now, researchers have produced a new phylogenetic family tree including all of the known tyrannosauroid species that highlights the largest remaining gaps and provides clues as to how they might be filled.

22 Jun 2016

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