Taxonomy term

october 2015

Step one: Soil testing

The first step in planning a community or backyard garden should always be to get the soil tested, getting a read on not only pH and nutrient levels, but possible contaminants like lead and arsenic. “Some cities have public health programs to help residents get their gardens tested for low or no cost, but it’s kind of hit or miss,” says Gabriel Filippelli, a biogeochemist at Indiana University in Indianapolis. Some cities such as Philadelphia have also held one-day “soil kitchen” workshops where people can bring in samples of soil for immediate testing with an X-ray fluorescence instrument. 
 
11 Oct 2015

Ancient asteroids boiled Earth's oceans

The asteroid that wiped out the remaining dinosaurs — save for the avian variety — 66 million years ago was roughly 10 kilometers wide. Long before that, however, early Earth was bombarded by many larger impactors, which pulverized Earth’s surface time and again. Now, a new study published in Geology suggests that two asteroids, dating to Archean times and estimated to be 50 to 100 kilometers in diameter, released enough energy to boil the oceans and reduce sea level by as much as 100 meters or more.
 
10 Oct 2015

Source of Red Sea's mysterious cannon earthquakes revealed

For decades, people living along Egypt’s Red Sea coast have reported hearing loud blasts accompanying the small earthquakes that regularly jolt the Abu Dabbab region. And there is evidence the sounds have been occurring for much longer: Abu Dabbab means “the Father of Knock” in Arabic, hinting at a tectonic mystery at least as ancient as the name of the long-inhabited coastal region. Now, scientists are offering a novel explanation for the uniquely noisy seismic events, and their discovery is revealing new information about the underlying structure of the Red Sea region. 
 
08 Oct 2015

Geologic Column: The 'impact factor' of potholes

Bumpily driving along one day last spring on a road that had been battered by a snowy winter in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic left the author pondering potholes — from a geologic perspective.

07 Oct 2015

Sculpting the Alps

Mountains typically get steeper the higher you climb. The European Alps are an exception: Beginning at altitudes between about 1,500 and 2,000 meters, most slopes in the range tend to become less steep with increased elevation. This is largely caused by ancient glaciers, which scoured away much of the rock from the tops of the Alps. However, the steepness of alpine slopes also decreases in areas beyond the reach of glaciers, although the reasons why have remained elusive. New research is revealing how tectonic and fluvial forces have also helped shape the Alps’ unusual topography.
 
04 Oct 2015

Benchmarks: October 4, 1915: Dinosaur National Monument Founded

While moving across the country from California to Michigan two years ago, I stopped at Dinosaur National Monument, or “Dinosaur,” which today covers 85,000 hectares and straddles the northern portion of the border between Colorado and Utah. I camped at the Green River Campground on the Utah side, and from there, Split Mountain, on the western margin of the east-west-trending Uinta Mountains, glowed violet-pink in the sunset light. 
 
04 Oct 2015

Jelly volcano reveals eruption trigger

What makes a volcano erupt? Over the years, scientists have proposed a litany of potential triggers, but there’s always room for one more. With help from dyed water, a laser and a tank of clear jelly, researchers have proposed a new mechanism that might push loaded volcanoes toward eruption.
 
03 Oct 2015

Geomedia: Film: 'The Martian' puts the magnificence and messiness of science at the fore

“The Martian,” in both movie and book form, is all about elevating science — with all its attendant magnificence and messiness — as well as the best of the collective human spirit. In this, it succeeds mightily.

02 Oct 2015

Geomedia: Documentaries: Bearded ladies doing paleontology

A paleontologist at a dig site wipes sweat from her brow, drinks from a water bottle and scratches her beard before peeling it off to expose her bare face to the cool air. If that sounds odd to you, it is meant to be. This is the Bearded Lady Project (BLP), a new documentary film project headed by filmmaker Lexi Jamieson Marsh and University of Wyoming paleontologist Ellen Currano. BLP, which launched in summer 2014 with funding from Currano’s National Science Foundation early career development grant, aims to highlight geoscience gender stereotypes, which include bearded men in plaid shirts doing dangerous fieldwork that women cannot or should not do, the filmmakers say.
 
02 Oct 2015

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