Taxonomy term

november 2010

Benchmarks: November 27, 1873: Red River logjam removed for good

Throughout the 1800s, America’s eastern and southeastern coastal rivers acted as highways for shipping. Generally winding with shallow slopes, the rivers could be plied easily by barges and steamboats, but one particular water body — the main channel of the Red River that runs from Arkansas through Louisiana — thwarted the plans of shippers for much of the 19th century. A massive entanglement of logs, stumps and branches, known as the Great Raft, blocked the Red from Fulton, Ark, to about Shreveport, La. But on Nov. 27, 1873, after more than 40 years of trying, the raft was destroyed and boats could travel unimpeded down the main channel of the Red River.
05 Nov 2010

Elemental Traces in the Atlantic: An encouraging start, an inauspicious end

Follow my blog at EARTH online, "Elemental Traces in the Atlantic," over the next couple of months, where I’ll be writing from the ship and detailing the scientific journey. And stay tuned early next year, when EARTH and I will bring you a wrap-up of the cruise. Read the original story here.
03 Nov 2010

Merapi continues to erupt

Indonesia's Mount Merapi sent another powerful blast of searing ash and rock into the sky again on Wednesday, marking the volcano's most powerful eruptions since it began erupting again on Oct. 26.

03 Nov 2010

Greening the friendly skies

If you’re a frequent flyer, the script of plane travel is probably so familiar you may mumble it along with the flight attendant: “Please raise your tray tables and return your seatbacks to their full upright position. We’re beginning our descent.” The sounds of that descent are probably just as familiar: The whir of landing gear descending, the loud drone of engine power rising and falling as the plane makes a series of stair-step descents to lower and lower altitudes before landing on the runway.

02 Nov 2010

Human migration: How sustainable is it?

The largest migration of megafauna the world has ever experienced is under way — but it is going unnoticed. The reason? We’re too involved: The massive migration is that of humans moving from the countryside to cities. In 2008, for the first time in history, more than half the world’s people lived in cities, and the United Nations projects that percentage to grow to 60 percent by 2030. The pace of urbanization has been rapid and steeply climbing: In 1800, 3 percent of people lived in cities; in 1900, it was 13 percent; in 1950, it was 29 percent; and in 2005, it was 49 percent.

01 Nov 2010

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

Where on Earth? - November 2010

Clues for November 2010:
1. These “towers” at the center of a 760,000-year-old saline lake were formed by the precipitation of carbonates. The lake contains hundreds of millions of tons of dissolved salts.
2. The lake is an important ecosystem but contains no fish; instead it has brine shrimp and alkali flies, and is visited by millions of migratory birds each year.

Mineral Resource of the Month: Lead

Lead is a corrosion-resistant, dense, ductile and malleable blue-gray metal that has been used by humans for more than 5,000 years. Humans first used it in decorative fixtures, roofs, pipes and windows. Today, its primary use is in lead-acid batteries.

14 Oct 2010