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Join the Club – How Ankylosaurs Evolved Their Formidable Tails

Laelaps | 3 September, 2015
Everyone knows Ankylosaurus. It's the epitome of the titular group of highly-armored herbivores to which it belonged, and there's even a case to be made that it's the best dinosaur. The living tank's tail club certainly plays into that. It's difficult to look at that knob of bone and not imagine it smacking into the leg of an attacking tyrannosaur or battering the side of another ankylosaur in a territorial dispute. But how did this famous piece of the dinosaur armament evolve?
Categories: Anatomy; Animals; Dinosaurs; Evolution; Fossils; Paleontology; ankylosaur; Arbour; club; Currie; osteoderm; tail;

Chang'e 5 test vehicle maps future sample return site

Planetary Society Weblog | 3 September, 2015
This summer the Chinese space agency has been making progress toward its planned 2017 launch of the Chang'e 5 robotic sample return mission, performing low-altitude imaging of the future landing site....
Categories: None

Water markets: “a servant of sound governance, not the master”

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 3 September, 2015
Some useful insights from Dustin Garrick on water management lessons the western United States can learn from Australia:
Categories: economics; water;

MARCI weather report, August 24-30, 2015

Red Planet Report | 3 September, 2015
Sporadic storm activity continued in the southern mid-to-high latitudes of Mars last week. In the low latitudes, condensate water-ice clouds were prevalent over eastern Meridiani, Elysium, and the Tharsis bulge. To the north, fleeting dust storms and...
Categories: Reports; atmosphere; clouds; dust; Malin Space Science Systems; MARCI; Mars Color Imager; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; MRO; MSSS; NASA; storms; weather; wind;

Arctic Sea Ice May Reach Second-Lowest Extent on Record This Month

Dr. Jeff Masters' WunderBlog | 3 September, 2015
A burst of late-season loss over the last several weeks has put the Arctic Ocean's ice cover within reach of the lowest extent observed in any year except 2012. The extent values tracked by the National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC (see Figur...
Categories: None

Drilling into the Bowland Joe Emmings

Joe Emmings is a field geologist and a first year PhD student at the University of Leicester and the BGS. Joe's PhD research is on the Carboniferous-aged Bowland Shale in the UK. The Bowland shale is a target for shale gas generation through hydraulic fracturing. Joe's research is not concerned with hydraulic fracturing but he does want to understand more about the origin and type of organic matter contained within the shales, here he tells us more about his project...
Categories: borehole; Bowland Shale; carbon cycle; Carboniferous; drill core; hydraulic fracturing; organic matter; shale gas; University of Leicester;

New research calls for rethinking of New Zealand’s Alpine Fault

Geospace | 3 September, 2015
By Ian Letham This satellite image shows the aftermath of a severe blizzard that hit the South Island of New Zealand in July 2003. Higher regions are draped in snow, clearly delineating the escarpment northwest of the Southern Alps, formed by the 600...
Categories: earthquake; Geohazards; Geology; Uncategorized; featured;

Mars Exploration Rovers Update: Opportunity Digs Marathon Valley Walkabout

Planetary Society Weblog | 3 September, 2015
Opportunity drove farther into Marathon Valley in August, dug into what appears to be a water-altered rock, and took a lot of picture postcards in what is turning out to be a distinctively different site from any that the mission has found since the ...
Categories: None

Ocean spin cycle traps hapless pufferfish.

Deep Sea News | 3 September, 2015
Oh little pufferfish. Your tiny little fins are no match for a mini-ocean maelstrom. You and your buddy are trapped in a small ocean vortex that keeps spinning you around and around. Other fish just idly swim by watching your sad little tumbles. ...
Categories: Biology; Coral Reef; Currents; Environmental Sciences; Fluid Dynamics; Turbulence; Isla Socorro; maelstrom; pufferfish; Socorro Island; vortex;

Just write the Archbishop description already!

Here I am at SVPCA in 2015. I am haunted by the fact that ten years ago at SVPCA 2005, I gave a talk about the NHM's Tendaguru brachiosaurid, NHMUK R5937. And the description is still not done and submitted a full decade later. Even though it's objectively one of the most beautiful specimens in the world:
Categories: brachiosaurids; I'm stupid; The Archbishop;

What Dr Shepherd Said…

Meteorologists, and climate researchers, meet a lot of folks who live on the left side of the diagram above. Click the image below to read this "spot on" commentary by Dr. Marshal Shepherd, who is both, and past President of the American Meteorol...
Categories: Uncategorized; featured; science education;

California names someone to solve the Salton Sea mess

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 2 September, 2015
Imperial County 2014 land cover, via Cropscape
Categories: California; cawater; water;

Mining and ag industries in Arizona file suit over EPA rule on 'waters of the United States'

Arizona Geology | 2 September, 2015
The Arizona Mining Association passed along this announcement. This is a complex debate with dramatically different interpretations and claims of what the rule means.   Farmers are convinced EPA will regulate water in man-made ditches in their fiel...
Categories: None

expired sunscreen use

Accidental Remediation | 2 September, 2015
As I mentioned a while back, I use a ton of sunscreen. I am also a bit scatterbrained and tend to lose things like sunscreen, so over the years, I have bought and squirreled away innumerable bottles of both "regular" and "face" sunscreen (critical to prevent serious pain from sweat + sunscreen running into my eyes).
Categories: field rants; gear;

Devonian Sponge Fossil

Louisville Fossils and Beyond | 2 September, 2015
This is a picture of an unidentified sponge fossil. The fossil was found in the Jeffersonville Limestone of Clark County, Indiana, USA. It dates to the Eifelian, Middle Devonian Period. Thanks to Kenny for the picture....
Categories: devonian; eifelian; Jeffersonville Limestone; sponge;

A Plume, a Blob, a Volcano

Seismo Blog | 2 September, 2015
Categories: Earthquake special reports;

HiRISE: Polygonal fracturing on crater ejecta

Red Planet Report | 2 September, 2015
Polygonal fracturing on ejecta from a crater in the Arabia region. Beautiful Mars series....
Categories: Reports; Arabia Terra; Beautiful Mars; crater ejecta; High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment; HiRISE; Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; MRO; NASA; polygonal terrain; University of Arizona;


Inkstain (John Fleck) | 2 September, 2015
There is some irony in my daughter's latest digital art project being written up in Slate. I know that. But proud dad's gotta blog, right?
Categories: family;

General relativity @ 100

Seismos | 2 September, 2015
November 2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Einstein's theory of general relativity (GR). Actually, he published four papers on the subject in November of 1915. Remarkable. The first two papers lead to the field equations of GR while the other two lay out vital consequences of the theory, including the anomalous precession of the perihelion of Mercury (unexplained since 1859) and the gravitational bending of light. The latter phenomenon was famously confirmed by Eddington's 1919 observation of a total solar eclipse and the shift of apparent position for stars whose light passed very near the sun. Einstein, already famous, became a household name -- an early 20th century super star.
Categories: None

Scenes from the August 10 Vermilion Cliffs Flood Event

Earthly Musings | 2 September, 2015
On August 10 of this year, a large storm cell dumped significant moisture on the south facing Vermilion Cliffs near the small settlement of Cliff Dwellers. A passing motorist shot this video which shows huge rooster-tail waves running over the highway. A local news report had this to say about the large runoff event.
Categories: None

MAVEN: Mapping atmosphere by watching stars set

Red Planet Report | 2 September, 2015
High above the thin Martian skies, NASA's MAVEN spacecraft is carrying out a mission: determine how Mars lost its early atmosphere, and with it, its water. While previous Mars orbiters have peered down at the planet's surface, MAVEN is spending ...
Categories: Reports; atmosphere; Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph; IUVS; Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN; MAVEN; NASA; University of Colorado;

Internships: Work with NASA Scientists on Climate Change

State of the Planet | 2 September, 2015
An internship program at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York is offering graduate students a chance to work with NASA scientists on climate change research....
Categories: Education; Climate Science; internships; nasa goddard institute for space studies; NASA-GISS;

A New Urban Paradigm: Our Way of Looking at Cities Needs to Be Turned Inside-Out

The Nature of Cities | 2 September, 2015
According to the old urban paradigm, cities are crime-ridden, car-infested, unhealthy and over-crowded centers of humanity. Could we conceivably cherish nature, respect others, grow our own food, earn a reasonable living, and enjoy a healthy and equi...
Categories: Essay; People & Communities; Place & Design; Corridors; Livability; Parks; Participation/Democracy; Policy; Sustainability; What is urban nature?;

Sol 1093: Leaving the Williams area

The Martian Chronicles | 2 September, 2015
After successful contact science on the Stimson unit in the Williams area, it's time to get back on the road.  In today's plan we'll finish up a few activities at the Williams area, and then continue on our drive towards Bridger Basin and eve...
Categories: Curiosity; Featured; ChemCam; featured; mars;

Competition – be on the cover of the Journal of the Geological Society!

It's photo competitions galore in the geological world just now! If you've ever fancied being a cover star, our flagship journal is currently running a competition for images to feature on its cover.
Categories: Miscellaneous; Science communication; competition; geology; geoscience; journal of the geological society; photography;

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