Taxonomy term

march 2009

Mineral Resource of the Month: Iodine

Désirée E. Polyak, a mineral commodity specialist for the U.S. Geological Survey, compiled the following information on iodine, an essential trace element vital to the production of thyroid hormones.

14 Mar 2009

Rewriting rivers: What it means for river restoration

In 1702, Francis Chadsey and his family bought 200 hectares of meadow and upland on the banks of the Brandywine Creek in southeastern Pennsylvania. Within a year, he built a mill for grinding wheat, oats and barley. Like other landowners in the region, Chadsey also built a small dam on the creek. He most likely used local stone to erect the 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high structure, behind which a small pond sprang up. From the pond, a conduit carried water that spilled over a wheel to produce power to run the mill.

13 Mar 2009

Natural dust may be harmful to ocean organisms

Although human-made aerosols sometimes are toxic, natural aerosols from deserts and volcanoes are important contributors to ocean fertilization. Now, new research suggests that natural aerosols have their downside too — and the impact of natural aerosols on ocean organisms could influence predictions of future climate change.

10 Mar 2009

Glaciers present a complicated tale

Going, going, gone. That’s the popular view of the fate of glaciers in the American West because of climate change. But that may not be quite true. Glaciers throughout the region are shrinking, but not at the same rates. Some are actually advancing, and others have shown relatively little retreat since the 1970s. New research shows that the retreat story is not just about temperature, but ultimately about the connections between temperature, topography, precipitation and location.

04 Mar 2009

Saving Energy and Water Through Superior Sanitation

Have you ever thought about using your urine to fertilize your tomatoes and cucumbers? Full of nutrients like phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen, urine can work wonders in your garden. How about composting your feces — packed with rich organic matter just waiting to be decomposed — to help your rose bushes and oak trees grow? If you don’t use feces for composting, then it could be a source of natural gas and hydrogen for use as an alternative energy supply. Or perhaps you would be more comfortable with the thought of reusing the water you wash your clothes in to flush your toilets?

03 Mar 2009

People of the Ice

“We do not come to Antarctica because we are in love with Antarctica. We come to Antarctica because we want a mystery to solve, and we love a challenge. And there’s one here.”

With those words, Adam Lewis, a glacial geologist from North Dakota State University, sums up the human story at the heart of “Ice People,” an austere, unpretentious and often gorgeous documentary about scientists working at the end of the world.

09 Jan 2009

Comet finished off North American big game animals, cooled the planet?

Fires from a comet shower may have killed off the big game in North America about 13,000 years ago, scientists say. Those extinctions have long been attributed either to an abrupt return to glaciation known as the Younger Dryas event or to over-hunting. But now, a team of scientists has found tiny, nanoparticle-sized diamonds in sediments from the Younger Dryas — signs that a cosmic impact may have ultimately been behind both the cold period and the extinctions.

02 Jan 2009

Swarm of earthquakes rattles Yellowstone

An abnormally high number of earthquakes has shaken up Yellowstone National Park in the past week. Since Friday, a “swarm” of more than 250 low-magnitude, shallow quakes has repeatedly rattled an area under Yellowstone Lake, with the highest-magnitude tremor — a magnitude-3.9 quake — on Saturday. The seismic activity has raised fears that the quakes may foreshadow a larger earthquake, or a volcanic eruption — but scientists say there isn’t yet reason to fear an eruption.

31 Dec 2008

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