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voices

Creationism creeps into mainstream geology

It was easy to miss the part where the field trip leader said the outcrop formed during Noah’s Flood. After all, “During these catastrophic flood flows, turbulent, hyperconcentrated suspensions were observed to transform laminar mudflows” sounds like a reasonable description of alluvial fan processes. And “massive marine transgression” sounds scientific enough. But when creationist geologists use those phrases, they take on a very different meaning.

10 Jun 2011

Voices: Nuclear plants and natural disasters: Fukushima's fallout

Before it happened, it was hard to imagine that a combined megaquake and tsunami in Japan could cascade to a nuclear disaster. Yet that’s exactly what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi (Number 1) nuclear power plant, 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, last month. This incident has put Japan’s nuclear policy in the spotlight, but its implications go far beyond a single country.

31 May 2011

Gauging nuclear disasters

A nuclear accident is defined by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as an incident in which people died or property damage topped $50,000. In 1990, IAEA introduced the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) to rate and rank nuclear accidents. INES is a logarithmic scale that consists of seven levels: 0 (Deviation, no safety significance), 1 (Anomaly), 2 (Incident), 3 (Serious incident), 4 (Accident with local consequences), 5 (Accident with wider consequences), 6 (Serious accident) and 7 (Major accident).

31 May 2011

Hazardous Living: Italian seismologists on trial for manslaughter

Last June, EARTH reported that seven Italian scientists were under investigation and might be charged with manslaughter for not predicting (and warning the public about) the magnitude-6.3 earthquake that struck L’Aquila, Italy, in April 2009. By last fall, it looked like the charges might be dropped – with the support of many of the world’s seismologists.

26 May 2011

Voices: The confounding economics of natural disasters

In the hours (not days) after the enormous earthquake hit Japan on March 11, before it was even known that the Fukushima power plant had been badly disabled and well before the scope of the mortality and damage had been assessed, the Japanese yen rapidly appreciated in value. The G7 nations moved to quickly stabilize the yen — not to prevent it from falling, but to prevent it from further appreciating.

28 Apr 2011

Science and the social media

How blogs, Twitter and other social media tools are changing conversations about scientific research

28 Apr 2011

Blogging on EARTH: EGU: Geologists help law enforcement

EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is in Vienna, Austria, at the European Geophysical Union meeting this week. One session in particular caught her attention this week — how geoscientists are creating new maps and tracking mechanisms to help law enforcement officials. For more from the meeting, see her first and second dispatches.

08 Apr 2011

Blogging on EARTH: Second dispatches from EGU

EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is in Vienna, Austria, at the European Geophysical Union meeting this week. Here are a few more sessions that she has found interesting (for more from the meeting, see her first “Dispatches”).

07 Apr 2011

Voices: What happened at Fukushima?

The Fukushima Daiichi power plant located in the port town of Okuma in the Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan, has six boiling-water-type nuclear reactors supplied by General Electric (units 1, 2 and 3), Toshiba (units 3 and 5) and Hitachi (unit 4) for

06 Apr 2011

Blogging on EARTH: First dispatches from EGU

EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is taking in the European Geophysical Union meeting this week in Vienna, Austria. Here are some of the sessions that have caught her interest so far.

05 Apr 2011

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