Taxonomy term

march 2015

Down to Earth With: The USGS Landslide Response Team

Over the last year and a half, the Western U.S. has suffered a rash of devastating landslides. The streak began in September 2013, when heavy rains triggered widespread debris flows across the Colorado Front Range. Then came the tragic landslide that buried Oso, Wash., killing 43 people. Two months later, the West Salt Creek slide, a behemoth rock avalanche in western Colorado, killed three people as it barreled down a 5-kilometer-long path.

21 Mar 2015

Geomedia: Books: Rediscovering the science behind Thoreau's 'Walden'

Last summer, I had the opportunity to enjoy a personal tour around the world’s most famous kettle pond, Walden Pond in Concord, Mass., led by geologist Robert Thorson, who recently authored the book “Walden’s Shore: Henry David Thoreau and Nineteenth-Century Science.” The rainy, gray day did not diminish our hike or Thorson’s delight in sharing what he had learned from his research into Henry David Thoreau’s lifelong fascination with Walden Pond and the science behind his iconic book, “Walden.”

19 Mar 2015

Can dam releases restore river ecosystems?

Scientists and dam managers are studying how the very dams that disrupt river ecosystems can be used to restore them using controlled releases of water.

18 Mar 2015

Andean ski volcanoes

The caldera of Volcán Puyehue is an amazing experience, but it’s not for the uninitiated. Several other Andean volcanoes offer brilliant skiing and genuine adventure in a more straightforward setting. Here are three popular options in the region.

17 Mar 2015

Getting there and getting around the Andean Volcanoes

The towns of Puerto Montt, Temuco and Osorno make suitable jumping-off points for the region, and all are accessed via a short (and scenic!) flight on LAN Airlines south from Santiago, Chile. The volcano ski season lasts from early September through mid-October.

 
17 Mar 2015

Travels in Geology: Skiing into the heart of an Andean Volcano

What is it like to descend into a volcanic caldera? The author — a geoscience education consultant and ski instructor — travels to South America to find out.

17 Mar 2015

Red Planet Roundup: March 2015

NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence that one or more large and long-lasting lakes probably filled Gale Crater in the planet’s warmer and wetter early history. While investigating the lower slopes of Mount Sharp recently at an outcrop called the Murray Formation, the rover photographed thick rock stacks featuring numerous layers of lithified sediment. Such stacks are typical of lake environments, where sediments slowly settle to the bottom and transform into rock over time.

15 Mar 2015

One-of-a-kind dinosaur skull goes digital

Some dinosaur species are only known from a single skull, and gaining access to study such rare and fragile fossils can be difficult, especially if the skull is stored in a far-flung place like a museum in Mongolia. Now, a new technique using medical CT scans and digital imaging to create a digital model of fossils will allow such rarities to be studied by lots of eyes, all over the world, without damaging or transporting the delicate original.

14 Mar 2015

First tsunami refuge under construction on Washington coast

In April 2013, voters in two counties on Washington’s Pacific coast approved a $13.8 million bond for school renovations in the shared Ocosta School District. The bond had failed twice before, but this time — when the measure included funds to construct a “tsunami refuge for students, staff, and community” — it passed with the support of 70 percent of voters in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties. It will be the first structure of its kind in the country.

 
13 Mar 2015

Tricky take-off limited pterosaur size

Pterosaurs are the largest flying animals in Earth’s history — some boasted nearly double the wingspan of the largest flying birds. But just how big the airborne reptiles grew and what kept them from achieving even greater sizes are outstanding questions. Now, a new study examining the mechanics of pterosaur flight suggests that taking off was perhaps the trickiest part of flying for pterosaurs, and likely constrained their size more so than other factors.

 
12 Mar 2015

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