Taxonomy term

october 2010

Earth science rocks at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

A jazz-improvising robot; an Einstein impersonator; Van de Graaff generators that make your hair stand on end: These were just some of the attractions at the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival, which included an expo held on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 23 and 24, 2010.This celebration of science, where NASA astronauts mingled with awestruck kids and families competed in robotic soccer tournaments, featured 1,500 hands-on activities and attracted 500,000 visitors.

09 Nov 2010

Elemental Traces in the Atlantic: The art of clean sampling

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.

Think of the cleanest, most meticulous person you know and multiply that attention to detail by about an order of magnitude. That’s what it takes to be considered trace-metal “clean.”

27 Oct 2010

Tsunami kills hundreds in Indonesia

Updated on Oct. 28, 2010:

The death toll has continued to rise from the natural disasters that struck Indonesia Monday and Tuesday. Currently, officials are reporting 343 people dead with 338 still missing from the earthquake and tsunami. Meanwhile, the eruption of Mount Merapi has killed 33 so far; after a brief lull, the eruption began again on Thursday.

26 Oct 2010

Where on Earth? - October 2010

Clues for October 2010:
1. This former open pit mine is more than 1.5 kilometers across and more than 500 meters deep, and has become a tourist attraction.
2. After mining activity was suspended in 1982 and pumps were turned off, the pit began to flood from natural groundwater seeps. It now contains a pool of highly acidic water laden with heavy metals — the largest pit of contaminated water in its host country.

Cruising the Atlantic to trace elemental movements

When it comes to the science of climate change, one of the least understood issues is the oceans’ future in a changing global environment. Measurements over the past two decades show that the oceans’ surface waters have been warming since the 1950s, and that large influxes of carbon dioxide have already made the oceans more acidic.

20 Oct 2010

Energy Notes: June 2009-2010

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

20 Oct 2010

Mineral Resource of the Month: Silicon

Silicon is classified as a metalloid element because it has properties of both metals and nonmetals. As the second-most abundant element in Earth’s crust — second only to oxygen — it accounts for more than 25 percent of the crust by weight. By mass, silicon is the eighth-most common element in the universe. Yet it is rarely found free in nature. Rather, it occurs chiefly in silicate minerals, such as feldspars, hornblendes, phyllosilicates, the serpentine group of minerals and micas, and in quartz and microcrystalline forms of quartz, such as agate and flint. These minerals are found in many different rocks, including granites and schists. Sand is commonly composed of small particles of quartz. 

14 Oct 2010

Getting There And Getting Around Michigan

Part of the Upper Peninsula’s appeal is its inaccessibility. The U.P. boasts a few small airports with service from Detroit and Chicago, but they have limited car rentals, so driving up from Michigan’s lower mitt or from Wisconsin or Ontario (across the Sault Ste. Marie International Bridge) is probably your best bet. Fortunately for travelers, much of the region’s economy is tourism-based and even the smallest waypoints offer cozy cabins and bed and breakfasts. Campsites are also plentiful throughout the U.P. 

12 Oct 2010

Travels in Geology: Up to Michigan's U.P.

You have to be tough to be a Yooper. Between the epic lake-effect snow, ship-sinking storms and summertime swarms of black flies, Michigan’s remote and rugged Upper Peninsula is one of the last true wild outposts in the lower 48 states. But while living in the U.P. may not be for everybody, a visit in any season will delight rock hounds, beachcombers, wildlife watchers, storm seekers and fall colors enthusiasts. 

12 Oct 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