Taxonomy term

sara e. pratt

Rome's lead water pipes likely not a health risk

Ancient Rome was renowned for its vast and advanced plumbing system that brought freshwater to the city through viaducts and distributed it to the population via metal and clay pipes. But Rome’s civil engineers didn’t know about the neurological effects of lead in drinking water as we do today.

15 Nov 2014

Massive icebergs scoured Arctic seafloor

In August 1990, the R/V Polar­stern departed Tromsø, Norway, to investigate the ocean bottom bathymetry of the Fram Strait between Greenland and Svalbard. More than 20 years later, marine geologist Jan Erik Arndt and his colleagues at the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, were reviewing data from the cruise when they discovered something new — the deepest evidence of iceberg scouring ever found.

13 Nov 2014

Down to Earth With: Molecular biologist Sarah L. Anzick

In May 1968, when Sarah L. Anzick was 2 years old, the 12,600-year-old remains of a male toddler were discovered at the base of a bluff on her family’s ranch near Wilsall, Mont. The Anzick infant — one of just a handful of ancient skeletons to have been found in North America and the only known Clovis burial site —  had been carefully buried with more than 100 stone and bone tools.

28 Oct 2014

Methane lingered after Gulf blowout

Between April 20, 2010, when BP’s Macondo oil well blew out, and July 15, when the well was finally capped, more than 4 million barrels of oil were released into the Gulf of Mexico. Along with it came up to 500,000 metric tons of natural gas, mostly methane. Previously, researchers tracking the fate of those chemicals and their impacts on the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem estimated that most of the methane had been consumed by methane-oxidizing bacteria by the end of August 2010.

30 Sep 2014

Seeing beneath Greenland's ice

Save the handful of Vikings who settled an ice-free stretch of Greenland’s southwest coast during the Medieval Warm Period a millennia ago, few humans have ever laid eyes on even a fraction of the land that lies below Greenland’s 1.7-million-square-kilometer ice sheet. Now, courtesy of a new model, scientists are seeing a detailed view of the topography underlying the ice sheet, which is an important control on the flow and discharge of ice into the ocean.

23 Sep 2014

Valley Fever an occupational hazard for geoscientists

Geoscientists should take precautions against contracting Valley Fever — a sometimes-fatal infection with no known cure and no vaccine that is caused by a soilborne fungus, said James A. Jacobs, a California-based consulting hydrogeologist, at the annual meeting of the American Institute of Professional Geologists last year.
 

07 Sep 2014

Valley fever's deadly history

The earliest recorded case of coccidioidomycosis was documented in Argentina in 1892, when a soldier was diagnosed with what was first thought to be an infection of coccidia — parasitic protozoans, like cryptosporidium and toxoplasma, that infect the intestines of animals, including chickens, cows, dogs and cats. The soldier lived with the disease for 11 years, during which time his doctors realized it was not caused by a protozoa but by a fungus. The name, however, stuck.
 

07 Sep 2014

Minimizing the risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for those working in the field or living in the endemic area, it is very difficult to avoid exposure to the Coccidioides fungus, but there are precautions that can be taken.

07 Sep 2014

R.I.P. Nereus

Nereus, the United States’ only full-ocean-depth submersible, was lost at sea on May 10, 2014. The unmanned and remotely operated vehicle was capable of reaching the hadal zone, the ocean region 6 to 11 kilometers deep, and was designed, built and operated by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts. Nereus was at a depth of 9,990 meters in the Kermadec Trench off New Zealand, the fifth-deepest ocean trench in the world, when it lost contact with researchers aboard the R/V Thomas G. Thompson. Debris later surfaced, which was recovered and determined to be the remains of the vessel. The debris indicated a catastrophic implosion, likely of one or more of the vehicle’s ceramic buoyancy spheres.
 

04 Sep 2014

Benchmarks: September 1, 1957: Fossil Cycad National Monument is dissolved

On Sept. 1, 1957, with the stroke of a pen, the U.S. Congress declared Fossil Cycad National Monument in the Black Hills of South Dakota to be no more. At one time, the site held the world’s largest collection of rare fossil cycad-like plants that thrived during the Cretaceous. Over the years, mismanagement, vandalism and theft left the site barren of fossils — the site never had a staff or visitor center, and was never opened to the public. The site’s initial designation as a national monument, in October 1922, had been brought about by the crusading of one man, Yale University paleobotanist George R. Wieland; in the end, he was also responsible for its demise.

01 Sep 2014

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