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terri cook

Down to Earth With: Planetary scientist Steven Squyres

By age 6, Steven Squyres already considered himself a scientist, and, with his father’s help, would conduct rudimentary experiments with a chemistry kit. By the time he was 10, he had become fascinated by meteorology and erected a weather station in his backyard. He vividly remembers building an anemometer out of funnels, and realizing that his device would need to be calibrated in order to accurately measure wind speed. So, he asked his father to drive the family car up and down their street. While perplexed neighbors looked on, Squyres excitedly hung the instrument out the window, shouting to his dad to drive 5 miles per hour as he counted how many times the kitchen funnels spun around. Next, Squyres asked his dad to drive 10 miles per hour, and then even faster, repeating his counts at each speed until the calibration was complete.

28 Jun 2016

Travels in Geology: Turkey's storied Turquoise Coast

Turkey’s Turquoise Coast — where the rugged Taurus Mountains meet the Mediterranean Sea — owes its breathtaking scenery to tectonic contortions that have created a landscape that is both spectacular and geographically complex. The many Mediterranean civilizations that have inhabited this coastline left behind an impressive legacy of ruins.
09 Jun 2016

Getting there and getting around Turkey

Turkey has two major airports — Istanbul and Ankara — and many smaller regional ones. Istanbul Ataturk Airport offers nonstop flights on Turkish Airlines from several U.S. cities, including New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles and San Francisco. To enter the country, Americans need a visa; these can be quickly obtained online.

09 Jun 2016

Down to Earth With: Ethnogeologist Steven Semken

As a boy growing up in New Jersey, Steven Semken was fascinated by rocks and minerals. His father, a banker, and his mother, a municipal tax collector, loved to travel and frequently indulged their son’s yen for sparkling specimens. They also bought Semken numerous books about geography and geology, including “The Big Golden Book of Geology,” which made such an impression that his childhood copy still sits on his office shelf. Semken vividly remembers staring at the book’s picture of Ship Rock, a towering volcanic neck on the Navajo Nation in northwestern New Mexico. Little did he know that he would later spend 15 years living and teaching geology with that Ship Rock as a backdrop.

06 May 2016

Travels in Geology: Discovering Denver's dinosaurs

A rich paleontological legacy makes Denver, Colo., one of the best places in the world to learn about dinosaurs, with numerous fossils and trackways at sites nearby.

04 May 2016

Getting there and getting around Denver

Denver International Airport is the best arrival point for exploring Denver and the surrounding area. A car is necessary to see many of the attractions described here. If you fly in, you can rent a vehicle at the airport or take the new light rail into town and rent a car as needed. Although all of these sites are open year-round, snow sometimes obscures the tracks during winter and early spring, and trails can be muddy. May through October is an ideal time to visit the region.

04 May 2016

Down to Earth With: Tectonicist Eldridge Moores

When Eldridge Moores was 10 years old, his family lived in Crown King, Ariz., a tiny, remote mining settlement high in the rugged Yavapai Mountains northwest of Phoenix. Money was tight and his family rarely traveled, so Moores vividly remembers a holiday road trip to visit his father’s relatives near San Francisco. The Bay Area left a deep impression on Moores, and, at the end of the journey, upon reaching the first of four switchbacks on the narrow dirt track that led up to Crown King, Moores vehemently pronounced that he would do everything he could to get out of there.

15 Apr 2016

Crippling heat stress projected by midcentury in densely populated regions

Extreme heat is the world’s top weather-related killer. Exposure to extreme heat caused more than 7,800 fatalities in the U.S. from 1999 to 2009, according to a 2013 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a single heat wave last summer killed at least 2,300 people in India, according to NOAA.

05 Apr 2016

Protracted drought threatens California levees

Levee failures are most often associated with the onslaught of water from large storms, such as Hurricane Katrina, whose landfall in 2005 caused more than 50 floodwalls and levees around New Orleans to fail.

But the lack of water can also weaken these critical earthen structures, according to recent research presented last December at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. 

15 Mar 2016

Down to Earth With: Glaciologist Ted Scambos

As a young boy, Ted Scambos was fascinated by space and technology, and spent many hours watching aircraft take off and land at the Air Force bases where his father, a pilot, was stationed. For his birthday or Christmas, he says he would often ask for a new telescope or a book about the planets. By sixth grade, Scambos had decided to become an astronomer. But by high school, his attention shifted from outer space to chemistry, and he set up an elaborate chemistry set in his parents’ basement. As Scambos’ interests evolved, he gradually realized that although astronomy and chemistry were both very hands-on disciplines at first, the deeper he delved, the more esoteric they became. Instead, he found himself drawn to geology, especially after discovering how much he enjoyed fieldwork.

11 Mar 2016

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