Taxonomy term

sam lemonick

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: Earthquakes or Volcanoes?

The name of the Dead Sea’s Mount Sodom comes from the biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Old Testament says God destroyed the cities with fire and “flaming smoke” for the sins of their inhabitants. God allowed Lot and his family to flee the destruction. But Lot’s wife disobeyed God’s orders and was turned into a pillar of salt. Mount Sodom is made almost entirely of halite — sodium chloride — and among the formations near the Dead Sea is a pillar known as Lot’s Wife.

07 May 2011

Getting There and Getting Around Israel

Flights from the United States to Israel arrive in Tel Aviv, a cosmopolitan resort city known for its restaurants, clubs and beaches roughly in the middle of Israel’s Mediterranean coast. From there it is a two-hour drive to the Dead Sea. Renting a car at the airport is the easiest way to get around, but taxis will also take you there. From Jerusalem, you can also catch a bus to the Dead Sea from the central bus station.
07 May 2011

Travels in Geology: Soaking up the Dead Sea: A trip to Israel's salty sea is a geological and historical delight

Almost anywhere you turn in Israel, you’re bound to find fascinating geology or the remnants of ancient human history. Some of the best of both can be found where you might least expect it — near the Dead Sea, one of the least hospitable places on Earth. Located in the western Judean Desert on the border between Israel and Jordan, the sea is an artifact of incredible tectonic activity, which also birthed the jagged mountains that surround one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water.

07 May 2011

Benchmarks: May 31, 1889: Johnstown flood kills thousands

“It seemed to me as if all the destructive elements of the Creator had been turned loose at once in that awful current of water.” That’s how Col. Elias Unger, president of the corporation that maintained a dam and resort property called the South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, described the water unleashed on the afternoon of May 31, 1889, when a dam at the club broke 23 kilometers above Johnstown, Pa. A little more than an hour later, a wall of water reached the town. In all, more than 2,200 people died in what is known as the Johnstown Flood.

02 May 2011

Down to Earth With Richard Prum

Evolutionary ornithologist Richard Prum may be the first person to write a scientific field guide to dinosaur watching. Drawing on years of experience as a bird watcher and field researcher, Prum has made huge advances in our understanding of how feathers evolved and in turn how we view dinosaurs. Last year, Prum’s feather expertise allowed him to describe the dinosaur Anchiornus huxleyi in living color. All of this work on dinosaur feather evolution earned Prum a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, in 2009.
01 Mar 2011

Down to Earth With: Hope Jahren

Hope Jahren is often described as a biogeologist, but that seems too narrow a description. Currently a professor at the University of Hawaii in Manoa, Jahren has studied everything from fossils and french fries to paleoclimate and plants. After graduating from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis in 1991 with a degree in geology, Jahren studied stream chemistry in Norway as a Fulbright scholar. She completed a doctorate in soil science at the University of California at Berkeley in 1996 and taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Md., before moving to Hawaii in 2008. Jahren talked with freelance writer Sam Lemonick about her diverse interests and her return this year to Norway, where she has another Fulbright grant, this time to study how climate affects the growth patterns of plants. 

02 Jan 2011

Down to Earth With: Dr. Jonathan Patz

From stitching up cuts in Missoula, Mont., to authoring parts of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports, Dr. Jonathan Patz has made helping people stay healthy his life’s work. With a joint appointment at the University of Wisconsin at Madison’s School of Medicine and its Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, Patz is in a unique position to explore global climate change as a matter of public health.

25 Sep 2010