Taxonomy term

march 2019

Getting there and getting around Florida

For travelers flying in from out of state, Florida has several major airports, including in Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO) and Tampa (TPA), as well as numerous other options. Orlando is the most central large hub and may be the best option if you’re heading toward the state’s springs, which are concentrated in the north-central part of the state. For traveling to and between sites, a car is the best option.

18 Mar 2019

Travels in Geology: Finding Florida's hidden freshwater gems

Florida is renowned for its beaches and seascapes, but the state also has possibly the highest concentration of springs in the world, due to the karst geology and climate. Whether you are a cave-certified scuba diver, are on the hunt for fossils, or you and your family are just looking for a vacation from Florida’s more crowded beaches and theme parks, Florida’s freshwater offers something for everyone.

18 Mar 2019

Hard-knock hominid skeletons tell harsh tales

The Pleistocene was a hard time for hominids. Homo fossils from this period, when humans evolved and expanded from Africa and across Eurasia, are riddled with an unusual number of skeletal abnormalities. Swollen braincases, bowed femurs, twisted long bones, pronounced dwarfism and malformed teeth are just a few of the unusual skeletal features found in many Pleistocene hominid fossils. A new statistical study has confirmed that these anomalies occur at higher-than-expected rates in the Pleistocene fossil record. But whether this elevated incidence was mainly caused by nutritional stress or inbreeding, or if it’s an artifact of preservational bias, is unknown.

15 Mar 2019

Kerogen's nanostructure determines oil and gas reservoir capacity

The petroleum and natural gas that power engines and heat homes are extracted from the complex networks of nooks and crannies that permeate kerogen — a waxy organic mishmash that forms within sedimentary rocks as algae, terrestrial plants and other organic matter is compacted and heated over geologic time. In a new study, scientists have taken the closest look yet at kerogen’s internal pore structure, and the resulting images are helping scientists understand why some oil and gas reservoirs are more productive than others.

14 Mar 2019

Geologic Column: Newspeak for kids

To make room for words from the brave new digital world, the editors of children’s dictionaries are culling words that describe the natural world. But if kids can’t put names to nature, how will they learn to love it enough to fight for its future?

13 Mar 2019

Dinosaur soft tissues preserved as polymers

Since 2005, several samples of ostensibly soft tissue, such as blood vessels and bits of organic bone material, have been gleaned from dinosaur bones. The finds have stirred debate because the notion that intact dinosaur proteins could survive tens of millions of years has proved a tantalizing but difficult pill to swallow for many paleontologists. In a new study, however, researchers have identified a chemical pathway — well known in food science but not seen before in paleontology — that may be the key to long-term preservation of soft-tissue structures.

12 Mar 2019

Deep Space Network

Messages from Juno and other spacecraft in the far reaches of the solar system are relayed to scientists via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), which was created in 1958. DSN consists of three sets of powerful radio antennae spaced about 120 degrees longitude apart around the world near Barstow, Calif., Canberra, Australia, and Madrid, Spain. The complexes are all situated in bowl-shaped terrain in semi-mountainous rural areas to minimize interference from external radio waves. As Earth rotates, at least one of the DSN antennae is pointed toward the spacecraft at all times. Communications via DSN begin and end at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the system.

11 Mar 2019

Citizen science (and art)

Juno carries a visible light camera, JunoCam, which is intended primarily to take photos that, it’s hoped, will provoke public interest in Jupiter. The images sent back are available for anyone to download and manipulate for scientific or artistic purposes. Thousands of images, both raw and manipulated, have been made available for viewing, and hundreds of citizen scientists have been engaged in the project. Scientists say they are delighted at how JunoCam has resonated and increased interest in, and understanding of, the Juno mission. See www.missionjuno.swri.edu/junocam.

11 Mar 2019

Juno unveils Jupiter's secrets

NASA’s Juno mission launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 5, 2011, and arrived at Jupiter nearly five years later, having traveled 2.8 billion kilometers. Since then, Juno has made a plethora of new discoveries, upturning much of what we thought we knew about the gas giant. What else could it reveal?

11 Mar 2019

Jump-starting earthquake insurance uptake in California

Many parts of California are at risk for large, damaging earthquakes. Yet only about one in 10 homes in the state is covered by earthquake insurance. Now, a new insurance option offers a means to supplement traditional insurance plans and provides a way for uninsured Californians to obtain at least a modicum of earthquake coverage.

08 Mar 2019

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