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timothy oleson

Seeing the seafloor in high definition: Modern mapping offers increasing clarity on Earth's vast underwater landscape

Advancements in seafloor mapping technology have allowed us to see through the water with increasing coverage and resolution. But only a tiny fraction of the seafloor has ben mapped in high resolution, leaving vast expanses of the deep ocean virtually uncharted. 

31 May 2016

Radar reveals unmarked graves

The occasional excursion to Death Valley or mineralogical study of bloodstone notwithstanding, geoscientists don’t often delve into the macabre in the course of their work. But when the administrators of two cemeteries in western New York came calling in 2014, researchers from Buffalo State College ended up using their geophysical field skills to hunt for centuries-old graves.

23 May 2016

Buried sands tell of tsunami hazard from creeping megathrust fault

A slow-moving portion of the Alaska-Aleutian Mega­thrust Fault near Alaska’s Dutch Harbor appears more capable of generating sizable tsunamis than previously thought, according to a new study.

20 May 2016

Red Planet Roundup: May 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.

10 May 2016

'Hot Jupiter' atmospheres come into focus

Imagine the planetary lovechild of Jupiter and Mercury — but even larger than the former (usually) and much closer to the sun than the latter — and a picture will emerge of so-called “hot Jupiters,” a class of huge, sizzling exoplanets that typically take just a few Earth days to orbit their parent stars. Not much is known about these mysterious worlds, only recognized since the mid-1990s, but new research is helping improve our understanding.

06 May 2016

Turtle finds lower Altiplano elevation estimate

Rare turtle fossils uncovered in Bolivia suggest that, about 13 million years ago, the southern portion of South America’s Altiplano — the arid, high-elevation plateau immediately west of the Andes — was far lower than previously thought.

29 Apr 2016

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

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