Taxonomy term

june 2016

Fossil dinosaur illuminates evolution of tyrannosauroid body sizes

Tyrannosauroid dinosaurs were the dominant predators of the terrestrial ecosystems in which they roamed for much of the Late Cretaceous, from about 80 million to 66 million years ago. Some, like Tyrannosaurus rex, reached lengths up to about 13 meters and heights of nearly 4 meters. Their large size and keen senses — relatively large nasal passageways suggest a heightened sense of smell — are considered to have been keys to their success.

 
22 Jun 2016

Searching for the ancestors of meandering rivers

It might be difficult to imagine Earth devoid of vegetation, but for billions of years the sun shone, winds blew and rivers flowed on a planet without any plants.

21 Jun 2016

Bringing geoscience to bear on the problem of abandoned mines

With 3 million gallons of acidic, heavy-metal-laden water behind an earthen plug at high elevation, Colorado’s Gold King Mine was, literally, a situation just waiting to go downhill. The blowout last August shone a spotlight on the larger problem of abandoned mine lands. What role do geoscientists play in solving it?

19 Jun 2016

A new gravity map of Earth

Gravity differs from place to place around Earth because of the uneven distribution of mass across and within the planet. Scientists can study the variation in gravitational pull by measuring the gravity field at different places on the surface of the planet. In a new study published in Scientific Reports, gravity field data collected over the entire planet between 2009 and 2013 by the European Space Agency’s Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer (GOCE) satellite has been mapped, revealing many of Earth’s internal features, such as magmatic plumes welling up toward the surface.

17 Jun 2016

A labyrinth of silver mines uncovered on the shores of the Aegean Sea

By the fifth and fourth centuries B.C., silver mines under the ancient Greek city of Thorikos, now known as Lavrio, were the most important mines in Greece. Recent underground exploration of the network of tunnels found at the foot of the city’s Mycenaean-aged Acropolis is shedding new light on the scale — and miserable conditions — of the mines.

16 Jun 2016

Geomedia: Television: 'NOVA' for the earth science enthusiast

“NOVA,” the weekly prime-time science series that airs on PBS, is known for producing high-quality TV documentaries on subjects ranging from espionage and the military to ancient civilizations and nature. Naturally, much “NOVA” programming touches on topics in geoscience, so we decided to review several recent hour-long episodes that might be of particular interest to our readers.

15 Jun 2016

Travels in Geology: Turkey's storied Turquoise Coast

Turkey’s Turquoise Coast — where the rugged Taurus Mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea — owes its breathtaking scenery to tectonic contortions that have created a landscape that is both spectacular and geographically complex. The many Mediterranean civilizations that have inhabited this coastline left behind an impressive legacy of ruins.
09 Jun 2016

Getting there and getting around Turkey

Turkey has two major airports — Istanbul and Ankara — and many smaller regional ones. Istanbul Ataturk Airport offers nonstop flights on Turkish Airlines from several U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco. To enter the country, Americans need a visa; these can be quickly obtained online.

09 Jun 2016

New fossils illuminate 'hobbit' evolutionary history

Scientists first discovered fossils of Homo floresiensis — a species of extinct 1-meter-tall hominins nicknamed “hobbits” — in Liang Bua cave on the Indonesian island of Flores in 2004. Until now, H. floresiensis, thought to have lived between about 95,000 and 50,000 years ago based on recent evidence, was the only extinct hominin known to have lived on Flores, although artifacts discovered on the island dating to 800,000 to 1 million years ago pointed to earlier hominin habitation. In two new studies published in Nature, however, researchers announce the discovery of hobbit-like hominin fossils found elsewhere on the island that are roughly 700,000 years old. 

08 Jun 2016

Geomedia: Books: 'Floodpath' recounts the deadly collapse of California's St. Francis Dam

The catastrophic collapse of the St. Francis Dam, located 80 kilometers north of downtown Los Angeles and east of the town of Santa Clarita, just before midnight on March 12, 1928, claimed more than 400 lives when towering floodwaters destroyed homes, bridges and farmland, as they swept through downstream communities. The disaster was initially blamed on the failure of the west abutment, anchored in soft conglomerate rock. Additional studies have revised this explanation, with recent research citing other geologic and design factors that likely contributed. Regardless, the collapse effectively ended the career of William Mulholland, the self-taught engineer whose 1913 Owens Valley Aqueduct made the explosive growth of Los Angeles possible. Yet, despite the magnitude of the disaster and its impact on local and national policy, it has been almost entirely forgotten, except by a few historians.

08 Jun 2016

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