Taxonomy term

september 2014

Of char and carbon: The story of a buried soil

The so-called Brady soil — a dark horizon up to a meter thick that underlies much of Kansas and Nebraska — is widespread but often unseen. The layer is a paleosol, or fossil soil, that formed about 15,500 to 13,500 years ago when the region was a stable grassland built atop dunes of thick, wind-blown loess. That changed when the Laurentide Ice Sheet retreated and dunes swallowed the grasslands.

22 Sep 2014

Virtual water: Tracking the unseen water in goods and resources

Trading in “virtual water” — rainfall and irrigation water used in the production of food commodities or other goods and services, but that isn’t part of the final product — between water-rich and water-poor regions has been suggested as a means to allay water scarcity. And recently, the virtual water concept has gained a foothold among a number of governments and multinational businesses, potentially shaping approaches to water sustainability in the future.

21 Sep 2014

Students send experiments to the International Space Station

As Orb-2, the latest mission to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), lifted off on July 13, no one at NASA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport on Wallops Island, Va., was more thrilled than 16 elementary and high school students whose scientific experiments were on board the Cygnus spacecraft. The fifth through 12th graders represented 15 teams totaling 99 students from across the United States whose proposals had survived a rigorous screening program.

19 Sep 2014

Geologic Column: Combining art and geology in the sand

Once upon a time, sand sculptures made of sand were mostly castles, built by children and families on a summer vacation to the beach. Today, sand sculpting is also a serious business. But it all starts with the sand — which starts with geology.

18 Sep 2014

Comment: Building sanctuaries to increase civilization's resilience

Asteroid impacts, supervolcano eruptions, global pandemics, nuclear war and cyberterrorism: Each could cripple or destroy the foundations of civilization. Perhaps humanity should invest in its future by building archival sanctuaries to safeguard civilization in the event of catastrophe.

17 Sep 2014

Mineral Resource of the Month: Vermiculite

Vermiculite comprises a group of hydrated, laminar magnesium-aluminum-iron silicate minerals resembling mica. They are secondary minerals, typically altered biotite, iron-rich phlogopite or other micas or clay-like minerals that are themselves sometimes alteration products of amphibole, chlorite, olivine and pyroxene. Vermiculite deposits are associated with volcanic ultramafic rocks rich in magnesium silicate minerals, and flakes of the mineral range in color from black to shades of brown and yellow. The crystal structure of vermiculite contains water molecules, a property that is critical to its processing for common uses.

16 Sep 2014

Energy Notes: April 2013 - 2014

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

 

16 Sep 2014

Travels in Geology: Winter sun and tectonic tales in Tucson

Late last March, seeking warm sun and a verdant landscape after a cold, snowy Colorado winter, our family headed south during the spring school break to the lowest-elevation place we could easily drive to in a day or two: Tucson. Hosting Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the largest concentration of astronomical observatories in the country, Tucson has the grand vistas, great hikes and learning opportunities we wanted.
 

15 Sep 2014

Searching the stars

Thanks to its dry climate and soaring peaks, the Tucson region offers some of the best night-sky viewing in the world.

15 Sep 2014

Getting there and getting around in Tucson

Both Phoenix and Tucson are good arrival points for exploring southeastern Arizona, but it’s best to base yourself in Tucson to visit the attractions described here. You will need a car to get around the area; if you choose to fly in, you can rent a vehicle at either city’s airport. Tucson is located about 180 kilometers south of Phoenix on Interstate 10.

15 Sep 2014

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