Taxonomy term

may 2010

Mineral Resource of the Month: Germanium

Germanium is a grayish-white, hard, brittle element with electrical properties between those of a metal and an insulator. Germanium is metallic in appearance and is consumed as a pure metal or in compound form, depending on the application. Germanium is never found as a pure metal in nature, but trace amounts occur in many minerals, including common metallic ore minerals such as the zinc mineral sphalerite. Zinc smelters produce the majority of the world’s supply of germanium. Germanium is also recovered from fly ash produced by the burning of certain types of coal.

 
14 Jun 2010

Paleo Patrol: Was mankind's first leap in a forest or savanna?

Last October, scientists formally introduced the world to Ardi the Ardipithecus, the well-preserved skeleton of a 4.4-million-year-old hominin found in Ethiopia. Eight months later, scientists have had time to digest the data from all 11 papers that were published in Science last fall regarding Ardi’s biology and ecology, and there is some dissent.

28 May 2010

Where on Earth? - May 2010

Clues for May 2010:
1. This sand is made of the mineral gypsum. The gypsum was first deposited here about 250 million years ago. Ten million years ago, part of a dome containing the gypsum deposit started to collapse, forming a basin. The basin was then filled in with gypsum eroded from the  surrounding edges of the deposit.

Down to Earth With: Todd Hoefen

On any given day, you might find Todd Hoefen studying the material properties of other planets, building remote sensing applications, sampling dust from the rubble of natural and human-made disasters, or playing drums with the members of his former rock band, Oakhurst.

22 May 2010

Energy Notes: January 2008-2009

Oil and petroleum imports data are preliminary numbers taken from the American Petroleum Institute’s Monthly Statistical Report. For more information visit www.api.org.

 
20 May 2010

Voices: Must we capture and store carbon from coal to meet emission-reduction targets?

Last Wednesday, Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman unveiled a comprehensive energy bill (PDF) called the American Power Act. The central purpose of the proposed legislation (along with a similar bill passed by the House of Representatives in June 2009) is to significantly curb the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions.

18 May 2010

Benchmarks: May 18, 1952: Stonehenge's age solved with Carbon-14

Like sentinels standing guard over a millennia-old secret, the 8-meter-tall stones of Stonehenge rise above the rolling green hills of England’s Salisbury Plain. The origin, date and purpose of the arrangement of the giant standing stones, located about 145 kilometers west of London, have puzzled people for thousands of years. But in 1952, physical chemist Willard Libby, a professor at the University of Chicago in Illinois, finally provided a concrete answer to one of the site’s most enduring questions: when it was built. To do this, Libby used a brand-new geochemical technique that he had been developing based on the radioactive isotope carbon-14. Only a few years later, his work on this groundbreaking technique earned him a Nobel Prize for Chemistry.

18 May 2010

Nuclear Fallout

Willard Libby, who won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1960, was a prominent advocate of nuclear weapons testing, and worked on the Manhattan Project to help develop an atomic bomb during World War II. During the late 1950s, chemist Linus Pauling, a peace activist who won Nobel Prizes for both Chemistry and Peace, presented the United Nations with a petition signed by more than 11,000 scientists that called for an end to nuclear weapons testing. In particular, Pauling cited a 1958 speech on carbon-14 by Libby that suggested nuclear tests would produce large amounts of the radioactive isotope. 
 
18 May 2010

Science and soccer: They're both child's play

It’s late in the afternoon, and by now, 9-year-old Claire Dworsky has already answered questions like mine many times over. But, when I approach the crowd of people standing by her poster at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) annual meeting in San Francisco, Calif., she jumps up from her chair and politely gives me her full attention. I ask her to explain her project, and she launches into her explanation, never turning to look at the poster behind her for backup, or at the adults nearby who are watching her with pride.

13 May 2010

Natural gas production linked to earthquakes in Texas

A saltwater disposal well, a part of the natural gas production process, may have been responsible for triggering a series of minor earthquakes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in 2008, according to a recent study.

11 May 2010

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