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Travels in Geology: Easter Island's enduring enigmas

Easter Island, a lonely island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is steeped in mystique — and not just for its famous, perplexing statues and controversial story of societal collapse. How the island formed has also baffled geologists for decades.

27 Mar 2017

Getting there and getting around Easter Island

Easter Island has just one gateway, tiny Mataveri International Airport (IPC), to which only one airline, the Chilean carrier LATAM, offers regular service. This includes one flight weekly from Tahiti, as well as daily service from Santiago, a five-hour flight. Airfares are high, ranging from about $400 to $1,500 round trip. The island’s unusually long runway once served as an emergency U.S. space shuttle landing site; today, it allows LATAM to land large Boeing 787s there, a rarity among small islands.

27 Mar 2017

Travels in Geology: The Dead Sea Rift: Salty soaks and ancient earthquakes in a storied land

The Dead Sea and the surrounding area boast impressive geology — from ancient earthquake records to pillars of salt — that bears witness to civilization-shaping stories.

09 Feb 2017

Getting there and getting around the Dead Sea rift

Most flights into Israel from the U.S. and Europe go through Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), located 19 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. The most flexible and convenient option for getting to and from the airport and for exploring the region is to rent a vehicle; the airport and downtown Tel Aviv offer many rental options. Cars drive on the right, and road signs are marked in Hebrew and English. From the airport, the Dead Sea is about a three-hour drive (170 kilometers).

09 Feb 2017

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

Southern Chile has two main gateways, the homey town of Puerto Natales, a 1.5-hour drive from the national park, and Punta Arenas, a small city about 4 hours’ drive to the south. Of the two, Punta Arenas (PUQ) has the larger airport, which hosts regular year-round flights from Santiago on LATAM and Sky Airline, an efficient regional carrier, plus occasional flights from Puerto Montt in Chile’s beautiful Lake District. Flights to Puerto Natales (PNT) only operate during the summer season. There are no direct flights from the U.S. to this region.

30 Nov 2016

Travels in Geology: Exploring an icon of Patagonia: Chile's Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine may be off the beaten path near the bottom of South America, but the peaks in the heart of Patagonia are magnets for tourists and rock climbers from around the world.

 
30 Nov 2016

Down to Earth With: Hydrogeologist Shemin Ge

When Shemin Ge graduated from high school in China, the country was still in the throes of the Cultural Revolution. During this movement, which lasted from 1966 to 1976, many colleges and universities were closed, and Ge, like most teenagers from urban areas, was sent to work in the countryside. She was assigned to a brick-making factory, where she had to haul heavy, machine-molded bricks outside so they would dry in the sun. Unless the forecast called for good weather, the teens also had to cover the bricks each evening to prevent them from cracking in the rain.

14 Sep 2016

Travels in Geology: Limestone and legends in Northern Vietnam

The stunning jade islands, turquoise bays and rugged spires of Northern Vietnam are one of the world's best places to explore karst topography.

07 Sep 2016

Getting there and getting around Northern Vietnam

Northern Vietnam has two international airports, Hanoi and Da Nang. Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport is the main gateway, offering service to most major Asian cities, including Hong Kong, Bangkok and Tokyo, but no direct service to the U.S. The airport is located 30 kilometers north of the city center and is best accessed by taxi. Many Hanoi hotels will arrange airport pickup or dropoff for you.

07 Sep 2016

Down to Earth With: National Park Service Geologic Resources Division chief David Steensen

When David Steensen started working in Redwood National Park in 1986, he did not think he’d be working for the National Park Service for more than a few years. He had been hired into a four-year fixed-term position to help restore the local watershed from the destabilizing effects of logging that occurred prior to the park’s establishment, and he knew that the park service rarely hired geologists into permanent positions.

05 Aug 2016

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