Taxonomy term

september 2008

Mineral Resource of the Month: Antimony

Today, antimony is used in everything from flame retardants, batteries, ceramics and glass. About 40 percent of the primary antimony consumed in the United States goes into flame retardants, chemicals that when applied to or coated on a variety of materials (such as aircraft, automotive seat covers and children’s clothing and toys) make them more resistant to combustion. The remainder is used primarily in glass for television picture tubes and computer monitors, in pigments, in stabilizers and catalysts for plastics, and in ammunition, cable coverings, friction bearings, lead-acid batteries, pewter and solders. 

12 Sep 2008

Large earthquake rocks Iran oil port

Wednesday, Sept. 10, 12:30 p.m. EDT — At 3:30 p.m. local time, a magnitude-6.0 earthquake struck Iran near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. Tremors from the quake were felt as far away as the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

USGS detected a magnitude-4.8 aftershock about 30 minutes after the quake, although John Bellini, a geophysicist at the National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colo., says that many other aftershocks have and will bypass U.S. detection.

10 Sep 2008

The Big Turn-On

Tuesday, Sept. 9, 11:30 a.m. EDT — Fourteen years in the making, the $8 billion Large Hadron Collider comes online Wednesday at last (although, when you think about it, that's not really that long to wait for a machine that may reveal some of the mysteries of the universe).

The switch-on is provoking strong public reaction: Scientists are excited and eager to see what the LHC can do; alarmists are worried about the end of the world. And one person made a funny rap.

09 Sep 2008

NASA's hurricane pages updated

Friday, Sept. 5, 10:30 a.m. EDT — All of a sudden it's really busy out there: There are four storms currently spinning in the Atlantic: Gustav (whose remnants are on their way to the northeastern U.S.), Hanna, Ike and Josephine. As Tropical Storm Hanna bears down on the Carolinas (expected to make landfall later today), Tropical Storm Josephine has set its sights on Florida, and is expected to collide somewhere along the coast early next week. Ike (currently a Category-4 hurricane) is on its way to the Bahamas this weekend.

05 Sep 2008

Trial by Fire

What makes a fire burn? In addition to fuel (such as wood or paper) and heat, fires need oxygen. If there isn’t enough oxygen in the atmosphere, combustion simply won’t happen.

That was as true hundreds of millions of years ago as it is today. So wildfires, scientists say, can provide a unique way to estimate how much oxygen was in Earth’s atmosphere throughout its history.

04 Sep 2008

Down to Earth With: Award-winning sci-fi novelist Kim Stanley Robinson

Don’t let Kim Stanley Robinson fool you. He may know a lot about the geography of Mars and ocean acidification, but he’s no scientist. He’s an award-winning science fiction novelist. Yet the science in his books is so convincing that many fans can’t help but be duped.
03 Sep 2008

Where on Earth? - September 2008

Clues for September 2008:
1. Familiar to many a geology student, this river takes a series of sharp curves (named for part of a bird’s anatomy) through this deep canyon.
2. Millions of years ago, the region began to uplift slowly. The rise in elevation caused the silt-laden river to cut straight downward as it flowed, preserving its meanders as it slowly carved more than 300 meters into the 300-million-year-old rocks.

Creeping faults warn of impending earthquakes?

Earthquakes strike out of nowhere — one minute everything is perfectly calm, and the next minute, the ground shakes violently and buildings crumple. However, many seemingly sudden seismic events are actually preceded by a multitude of creeping changes underground. Detecting and interpreting these changes would help forecast earthquakes, but that detection has proven difficult, partly because scientists don’t yet fully understand the complex chain of events that precipitates a quake.

29 Aug 2008

Toxic tide

In the Gulf of Mexico lurk menacing masses of single-celled organisms known as red tides. Scientists have long known that the potent toxin they produce can kill fish and birds, wreak havoc on the human nervous system and cause wheezing, sneezing and asthma flare-ups. But new research suggests that it can also damage DNA, which could lead to more subtle, longer-term health consequences.

29 Aug 2008