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meg marquardt

Deadly tornadoes

Even with improved warning technology, tornadoes remain a deadly threat. Below is a list of some of the deadliest storms throughout the 20th century.
02 Mar 2011

Benchmarks: January 23, 1960: Humans reach the deepest point on Earth

More than 9,000 meters underwater, a window buckles, sending a spider web of cracks across the glass. The entire submersible shakes, but no water rushes into the Trieste. Out of vocal contact with the main ship on the surface above them, Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard and U.S. Navy Lt. Don Walsh decide to continue their descent despite the new danger. After all, at more than nine kilometers below the sea surface, the explorers were too close to their goal to turn around. They were only 2,000 meters away from the deepest spot on Earth: Challenger Deep. On Jan. 23, 1960, they reached that fabled point 10,916 meters below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
03 Jan 2011

Down to Earth With: Jeffrey Post

The gems and minerals exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., has more than 3,000 pieces; the entire collection has more than 360,000 pieces. From slabs of granite to the ultimate gem, the Hope Diamond, the collection is one of the finest displays of geology in the world. And one person, Jeffrey Post, oversees the entire collection. As the curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection for the past 20 years, Post has helped obtain some of the collection’s most stunning pieces as well as pursued research behind the scenes. Post sat down with Meg Marquardt, an intern at EARTH, to talk about his path to the Smithsonian, the charm of the collection and his research into environmentally important minerals.

01 Nov 2010

Down to Earth With: Matthew Parker

Matthew Parker In 1985, the television show NOVA dedicated an entire hour to the pioneers of tornado research, the men and women who first spent their summers crisscrossing the central United States in pursuit of data on the perfect tornado. Long before the blockbuster movie “Twister” sparked an entire legion of amateur storm chasers looking for a thrill, that NOVA documentary gave rise to Matthew Parker’s lifelong drive to understand the science behind one of Mother Nature’s deadliest weapons. Now an atmospheric scientist, Parker heads the convective storm research group at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Among other projects, Parker is involved with VORTEX2 (Verification of the Origins of Rotation in Tornadoes Experiment 2), a descendant of the TOTO (Totable Tornado Observatory) system used in the NOVA documentary. As VORTEX2 closes out its last season of gathering data, Parker spoke with Meg Marquardt, an intern at EARTH magazine, about what sparked his interested in severe weather and how far tornado observation has come since those early days. 

06 Oct 2010

Benchmarks: October 13, 1947: A disaster with Project Cirrus

Two days after clipping Cuba and Florida, a hurricane was drifting out into the Atlantic. All predictions had it remaining at sea without further landfall, making it the perfect test subject for the newly minted Project Cirrus, a U.S. government- backed project bent on discovering a way to disable deadly hurricanes. The researchers planned to seed the hurricane’s clouds with dry ice, hoping that the ice would interact with the clouds and disrupt the cyclone’s internal structure, thus weakening it. So on Oct. 13, 1947, a plane flew over the storm and dumped 80 kilograms of dry ice into the storm’s swirling clouds.
04 Oct 2010

From science to science fiction

Project Cirrus may have flopped in the meteorology world, but its research left an indelible impression on the literary world.
04 Oct 2010

Blogging on EARTH: Climate change threatens Virginia's vacation spots

Each year, millions of visitors flock to Virginia’s natural wonders, such as Shenandoah National Park, and to historical landmarks, like Jamestown, one of America’s earliest colonies. But a new report by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) states that many of Virginia’s landmarks are jeopardized by climate change.

03 Sep 2010