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National Weather Service introduces impact-based warnings for tornadoes

Tornado damage threat: considerable or catastrophic?

On May 22, 2011, a column of rotating air spawned a massive EF-5 tornado, with wind speeds greater than 200 miles per hour, over the city of Joplin, Mo. The twister caught the city off guard, leaving 158 people dead and injuring more than 1,000 people, making it the deadliest tornado in the United States since record-keeping began in 1950. As the National Weather Service (NWS) surveyed the city following the tornado, they began considering ideas on how to better alert the public to the risks of dangerous weather events. After a successful test phase of one such idea, the agency is now expanding on its so-called “Impact Based Warnings” experiment.

15 Apr 2013

Bare Earth Elements: Mars-Observing Fleet Set to Face Silent Treatment

Outbound communications from NASA to its group of Mars-observing orbiters and rovers will be curtailed starting April 4. And as of April 9, no commands will be sent in the Red Planet’s direction. Lest anyone worry that this radio silence has to do with sequester-related budgetary constraints affecting the space agency, don’t fret, it’s only temporary and it has more to do with orbital, rather than fiscal, dynamics. The planned break in communication is a result of an impending planetary configuration, known as a solar conjunction, that will put the sun directly between Earth and Mars.

03 Apr 2013

Bare Earth Elements: Voices from GSA 2012

Glimpsing the lighter side of a conference

Last November, EARTH's Tim Oleson attended the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting in Charlotte, N.C. To get a different perspective on the conference, he talked to some of the assorted geoscientists there about their experience: why they had come, if they were enjoying themselves and, because it was a gathering of geoscientists, how the beer was. It was a chance to catch attendees while they simply enjoyed the occasion and the company of kindred spirits while away from the rapid-fire schedules of the technical sessions and academic lifestyles.

14 Feb 2013

Bare Earth Elements: A geo-themed pop quiz in honor of 12/12/12

Think you have your geo-vocabulary down, or want to test your geo-jargon chops? Be our guest!

Rearrange twelve 12-letter words using 12-word definitions as clues. Some are a little easier, some are a little harder. All are geo-fantabulous!

Email us your name and answers by 11:59 p.m. EST on Dec. 14, 2012, for a chance to win an EARTH Magazine T-shirt.

12 Dec 2012

Simple organic compounds detected by Curiosity on Mars

Too early to tell if findings are evidence of biological activity, scientists say

NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) rover, Curiosity, has detected evidence of simple, chlorinated organic compounds in soil sampled recently from the red planet, project scientists announced Monday from the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The scientists characterized the finding as very exciting, but they stressed that the results do not provide “definitive" evidence of past or present life on Mars.

03 Dec 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, days 2 and 3

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte, N.C., this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He is blogging about interesting talks and activities he’s attended, so keep checking back to get the scoop. Read his first report from the conference here. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

Monday and Tuesday at GSA are in the books here in Charlotte. Naturally, there were too many interesting presentations to attend, but that’s the beauty of conferences. What’s another great thing about them?  You can listen to undergraduate, graduate and seasoned researchers alike discuss their research, all in the same day and in the same place.

06 Nov 2012

Bare Earth Elements: GSA highlights, day 1

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — EARTH’s Tim Oleson is in Charlotte this week for the Geological Society of America’s (GSA) annual conference. He’ll be blogging about interesting talks and activities he attends, so keep checking back to get the scoop. You can also follow the action by following @earthmagazine on Twitter.

GSA’s annual conference got under way in earnest on Sunday with the start of technical sessions, poster displays and more. With major sessions focusing on sea-level rise and anthropogenic effects on the natural landscape, our interaction with Earth and with the climate was already sure to be a big theme.

05 Nov 2012

Hazardous Living: Italian seismologists tragically convicted of manslaughter

Today, six seismologists and one government official were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to six years in prison. The seismologists and official had been on trial for not adequately warning the public about the danger of a potential earthquake prior to the L'Aquila earthquake in April 2009 that killed 309 people.

22 Oct 2012

Bare Earth Elements: Let the real Curiosity begin

This has been a year of scientific milestones. In just the last few months, we have witnessed the first successful launch of a privately built spacecraft — SpaceX’s Dragon capsule — which docked with the International Space Station in May, as well as the announcement in July that the Higgs Boson, the lynchpin particle in the Standard Model of physics, had at last been confidently detected. And by now, you have surely heard that Curiosity — the latest model in NASA’s lineage of robotic Mars-exploring rovers — has successfully landed on the red planet. In case you hadn’t, here is your official notice:

CURIOSITY HAS LANDED ON MARS!

06 Aug 2012

Hazardous Living: Watching Curiosity land safely was exhilarating

Sometimes humanity accomplishes something absolutely awesome. Tonight was one of those nights. We put another rover on Mars — by far the most advanced rover yet. Curiosity is now out exploring Gale Crater and much is expected of her.

06 Aug 2012

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