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timothy oleson

First all-digital geologic map of Alaska released

When it comes to natural beauty, Alaska’s rugged, massive landscape is an embarrassment of riches, with towering mountains and lush forests, countless islands and a seemingly endless coastline. Below the surface, it features a wealth of interesting geology and abundant resources. Now, policymakers, land managers, scientists and the public can all explore Alaska a little more deeply with the recent release of the first-ever fully digital geologic map of the entire state.

27 Apr 2016

The softer side of hydrothermal vents

Seafloor chimneys belching dark plumes of superheated, acidic fluids into the ocean, called “black smokers,” are the most common kind of submarine hydrothermal vent known. But recently scientists discovered a vent system, of a seemingly gentler nature, unlike any observed before.

21 Apr 2016

Ice (Re)Cap: April 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

13 Apr 2016

Mass measured for smallest exoplanet yet

By the late 19th century, astronomers had calculated correctly that Mars — about half the diameter of Earth — holds roughly one-tenth the mass of Earth, whereas its density is about 71 percent that of our planet. These fundamental planetary traits have also long been known for Mercury and Venus. But measuring the masses and densities of the many roughly Earth-sized exoplanets discovered lately — which, to space telescopes, appear as mere specks as they pass in front of, or transit, their home stars — has proved challenging.

22 Mar 2016

The ups and downs of an island

In 1835, Captain Robert FitzRoy and the crew of the HMS Beagle — who were exploring and studying the Chilean coast with Charles Darwin in tow — arrived at Isla Santa Mariá near the city of Concepción six weeks after a magnitude-8.5 earthquake jolted the region. Along with scenes of dried seaweed and dead mussels lining the island’s shores well above the high-tide line, comparison of a bathymetric survey of a shallow bay adjacent to Santa Mariá to one conducted the previous year suggested to FitzRoy that the earthquake had thrust the island 2.4 to 3 meters out of the water.

18 Mar 2016

Red Planet Roundup: March 2016

With two rovers patrolling the surface of Mars, five spacecraft orbiting above it, and scientists here on Earth studying the Red Planet from afar, new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.

08 Mar 2016

Ice (Re)Cap: February 2016

From Antarctica to the Arctic; from polar caps, permafrost and glaciers to ocean-rafted sea ice; and from burly bears to cold-loving microbes, fascinating science is found in every nook and crevasse of Earth’s cryosphere, and new findings are announced often. Here are a few of the latest updates.
 
11 Feb 2016

Irrigation drives rain away in East Africa

Researchers have found that large-scale agricultural irrigation, intended to supplement precipitation, may actually drive rainfall away, potentially exacerbating conditions in some areas while improving them in nonirrigated lands. 
 
28 Jan 2016

Impact or eruptions: Are both to blame in the great end-Cretaceous whodunit?

Few episodes in geologic history are as widely recognized — and debated — as the end-Cretaceous extinction. For several decades, the Chicxulub impact has been the primary suspect. But new research suggests the impact wasn’t solely responsible for the extinctions; widespread volcanism in India seemed to play a role as well.

25 Jan 2016

Widespread malaria risk from African dams

Large dams cause more than 1 million cases of malaria annually in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the authors of a new study published in Malaria Journal.
 
17 Jan 2016

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