Taxonomy term

november 2012

The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast, part of the Namib Desert, is named for the whale bones and the hundreds of broken ships that litter its beaches. Many a sailor lost his life after being run aground in the Skeleton Coast’s thick fog. Those who made it to land often succumbed to starvation and exposure in the coast’s harsh climate. 

06 Nov 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Namibia

The best time to visit Namibia is in the dry season, from April to December. In particular, the dry season offers the best game-viewing in Etosha National Park. Water scarcity draws the animals to the park’s springs.

06 Nov 2012

Travels in Geology: The desert geology of Namibia: A writer and her father explore otherworldly dunes, oases and meteorites

Any minute now a giant sandworm will burst out of the ground and devour me, I thought as I collapsed on the sand. Just like in Frank Herbert’s book, “Dune,” about an alien desert planet. 

06 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, day 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He’ll be blogging about interesting talks and activities he attends, so keep checking back to get the scoop. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

GSA’s annual conference got under way in earnest on Sunday with the start of technical sessions, poster displays and more. With major sessions focusing on sea-level rise and anthropogenic effects on the natural landscape, our interaction with Earth and with the climate was already sure to be a big theme.

05 Nov 2012

Benchmarks: November 29, 1991: The Interstate 5 dust storm injures hundreds

It was about 2:30 p.m. on the day after Thanksgiving and traffic was heavy on Interstate 5, which connects Northern and Southern California. A 31-year-old substitute teacher was traveling southbound on I-5 with her husband, 32, and their two sons, ages 4 and 1. They were a little north of Coalinga, a farming town in the San Joaquin Valley about 250 kilometers south of San Francisco. 
01 Nov 2012

Where on Earth? - November 2012

Clues for November 2012:
1. The solitary ridge in the distance is part of a circular ring of rock, 180 meters high and 5 kilometers across, that is thought to be the central part of a crater, originally more than 20 kilometers in diameter, formed when either an asteroid or comet slammed into Earth at the site roughly 142 million years ago.

USArray: Geoscientists' "Earth Telescope"

Big science often requires big tools. Particle physicists use huge particle accelerators. Astronomers need enormous telescopes to peer to the edge of the cosmos. Earth scientists, by contrast, normally probe the planet individually or in small groups using comparatively inexpensive instruments. This “small science” approach has served us well; using it, we have learned a great deal about how Earth works. But now, we have our own big science tool: USArray, a "telescope" for earth scientists to peer deep into the subsurface.

28 Oct 2012

Bigfoot education and outreach

USArray has offered an unprecedented opportunity for earth scientists to explain to the public how we conduct experiments and test hypotheses, and what we aim to learn from the results.

28 Oct 2012

Blame it on the rain: The proposed links between severe storms and earthquakes


The U.S. Geological Survey’s website states it in no uncertain terms: “There is no such thing as ‘earthquake weather.’” Not too surprising, right? After all, how could the seemingly insignificant stresses imposed on the planet’s surface by mere weather instigate seismic shaking far underfoot?  Earthquakes and heavy rainstorms do occasionally produce comparable results on the planet’s surface, devastating landscapes and impacting humans, but it’s hard to imagine any more of a connection between such disparate phenomena. Yet, from at least the time of Aristotle, some people have professed links between atmospheric conditions and seismic shaking. And as the ability to record Earth’s rumblings has continued to improve, efforts to demonstrate such links scientifically have persisted into the present century.

23 Oct 2012