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Getting there and getting around Tibet

Tibet is a long way from most everywhere. There are no direct flights from North America, so it’s usually cheapest and most convenient to fly into a major Chinese city such as Beijing and then catch the next flight to Lhasa Gonggar Airport (LXA). Air China, Tibet Airlines, Sichuan Airlines and China Southern are among the carriers offering direct and connecting flights to Lhasa from most major Chinese cities. Sichuan Airlines and Air China also provide nonstop service from Kathmandu, Nepal. The Lhasa airport is located 65 kilometers south of the city center and takes about an hour to reach.

17 Jan 2019

Our top tips for adding storytelling to your repertoire

(from Green et al., Facets, February 2018)

  • Identify your take-home message first. Start with the end in mind.
  • Remember the shape of your story. Tracking the main character’s fortune over time moves the story forward.
  • Consider the scale and timing of your story. Cut irrelevant background, processes and methods if they don’t move the story forward in a compelling way.
  • Use vivid language. Help the reader feel like he or she is there.
  • Get feedback. Pause. Reflect. Try again. Find someone you trust to give you constructive, supportive criticism.
  • Embrace discomfort and transformation. Practice makes perfect.
08 Jan 2019

Getting There and Getting Around Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., is served by three major airports: Ronald Reagan National Airport (DCA), Dulles International Airport (IAD) and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI). Reagan National is closest to downtown and is conveniently served by the Metro subway system. For those with window seats, flights in and out of DCA offer views of the Piedmont-Coastal Plain boundary along the Potomac River, in addition to exciting views of the National Mall. Dulles is a roughly 45-kilometer drive west of downtown D.C. in the exurbs of Northern Virginia. Window-seaters approaching IAD can spy quarries excavating rocks from the Culpeper Basin, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. Flights to BWI, about 50 kilometers north of downtown D.C., offer views of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries draining the Coastal Plain. The airport is served by a commuter train that runs to Union Station, Washington’s downtown rail hub adjacent to the U.S. Capitol. Automobile traffic in and around the city is often heavy, and a cab or rideshare from IAD or BWI into the city can take upwards of an hour. Rail service aboard Amtrak into Union Station, which is on Metro’s Red Line, may be a convenient option for some visitors to D.C.

11 Dec 2018

Science by floats

The Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling project (SOCCOM) set out four years ago to study the Southern Ocean and its role and influence on global climate. The main mission of the project was to increase Southern Ocean observations, especially during the frigid winter months, to better understand climate change and biogeochemistry.

10 Dec 2018

Getting There & Getting Getting Around Monti Sibillini National Park

For those traveling internationally by air to Italy to visit Monti Sibillini National Park, flying into Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino Airport (FCO) is likely the best option. Florence is another option, but Rome is closer and hosts more flights. There are several routes into the park from different directions; all the entrance points on the western side of the park are a two-and-a-half- to three-hour drive east of Rome. Bus tour services run out of Rome, but the best way to reach the park is via rental car. Rental cars are plentiful, and the good news is that, unlike driving in some parts of Italy such as around Naples or in Sicily (which is not for the faint of heart), driving in the Apennines is much more like driving in the U.S. In this part of Italy, drivers are more courteous and generally adhere to road signage and lane guidelines. All countries have driving norms that are not immediately clear to foreign drivers, however. In Italy, to avoid scorn from your fellow drivers, it’s important to remember to never pass another car on the right. Italians consider it a severe breach of driving etiquette.

14 Nov 2018

Getting There And Getting Around Rocky Mountain National Park

Denver International Airport (DEN) is the best arrival point for exploring Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), and a car is the most convenient way to see Trail Ridge Road and the park’s many other attractions. If you fly in, you can rent a vehicle at the airport and drive to Estes Park, the eastern gateway town, which is roughly 1.5 hours from the airport, or to Grand Lake at the west end of Trail Ridge, about a three-hour drive.

04 Oct 2018

Diamonds and the Eocene climate of the Bell River Basin

Diamonds mined from the kimberlite pipes of the Lac de Gras diamond field in Northwest Territories, Canada, are among the world’s youngest known diamonds, dating from 75 million to 45 million years ago. In some cases, when the magmas that carried these diamonds to Earth’s surface encountered water-saturated rock at shallow depths, violent steam explosions called phreatomagmatic eruptions resulted. Such explosions can form volcanic craters known as maars, which often fill with water and accumulate lake sediment, along with soil and vegetation that collapse into them from their margins. In the case of the Panda kimberlite pipe at the Ekati Mine in the Lac de Gras area, maar sediments accumulated far below the surrounding terrain, such that they were later buried under glacial deposits rather than being eroded away by ice sheets during the past million years. Wood and other organic materials were entombed and preserved in their natural state, thereby preserving shreds of the Paleo-Bell River Basin.

25 Jul 2018

Saglek Basin sediments suggest a Grand Canyon connection

Pollen makes an ideal fossil. Pollen grains — each only a few tens of microns in diameter — are produced in astronomical quantities by plants and record information about the ecosystem from which they came, thus providing a way to reconstruct past environments. Additionally, pollen is composed of a highly stable organic substance, sporopollenin, which resists decay as well as the high heat and pressure associated with deep burial, lithification and tectonism. It is so resistant, in fact, that it can be eroded from rock and recycled into younger sediments, a process recognized in the 1980s by V. Eileen Williams of the University of British Columbia in her studies of Paleo-Bell River sediments deposited in the Labrador Sea.

25 Jul 2018

Getting There And Getting Around Vancouver

Most visitors to Vancouver and the surrounding area arrive via Vancouver International Airport (YVR) or by road, approaching the city from the east along the Trans-Canada Highway or from a U.S. border post to the south. Although flights into YVR are often good value, especially as a stopover for trans-Pacific flights, it’s often cheaper for U.S. travelers to fly into Seattle, as we did, and then drive across the border. 

16 Jul 2018

"Greening" stormwater in Philadelphia

When environmental geologist David Wilcots joined Sci-Tek Consultants in 2014, he became involved with the Philadelphia Water Department’s Green Stormwater Infrastructure project. Sci-Tek’s goal was to redesign certain areas of the city’s urban landscape so that “less stormwater goes into the sewage system” and more goes into the ground, explains Wilcots. 

29 May 2018

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