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California ag showing remarkable resilience

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 24 May, 2015
Amid the rhetoric of doom, California agriculture has so far been growing its way through drought:
Categories: adaptation; agriculture; California; cawater; climate variability; economics; water;

Real-time sunset on Mars

Pause your life for six minutes and watch the Sun set....on Mars. Thank you, Glen Nagle, for this awe-inspiring simulation based on Curiosity's sol 956 sunset images....
Categories: None

Is the slowdown in productivity growth a result of energy costs?

Resource Insights | 24 May, 2015
Slowing productivity growth in the United States has been in the news in recent months. It has become a concern to policymakers because they believe it is one of the primary contributors to a middle-class economic squeeze according to the annual report of the White House Council of Economic Advisors.
Categories: None

Tales from IODP Expedition 353: reconstructing the ancient Indian Monsoon with Kate Littler | JOIDES

Kate is a lecturer in Geology at the Camborne School of Mines, University of Exeter. She is interested in applying both organic and inorganic proxies, (such as TEX86, compound-specific techniques, and stable isotopes) to various paleoclimate conundrums from the Cretaceous to the Pliocene. She has sailed twice with IODP, so is now officially a salty old sea-dog. She loves mud, foraminifera, and international geologising. You can follow her on Twitter @Kate_Littler and read more about her research here.
Categories: Kate Littler; Recent; Andaman; Indian Ocean; JOIDES; paleoclimate;

Asteroid 2015 KG passes the Earth.

Sciency Thoughts | 24 May, 2015
Asteroid 2015 KG passed by the Earth at a distance of 5 510 000 km (14.3 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 3.68% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 4.55 am GMT on Monday 18 May 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 KG has an estimated equivalent diameter of 7-24 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 7-24  m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere between 36 and 20 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface.
Categories: 2015 KG; Amor Group Asteroids; Asteroids; Near Earth Asteroids; Solar System;

Birds: Iconic Emissaries of Urban Nature

The Nature of Cities | 24 May, 2015
Among the many lessons learned over my decades-long career in urban conservation is that iconography matters. Icons have proven to be powerful catalysts in the conservation arena, particularly in the urban context. Salmon, for example, are the quint...
Categories: Art & Awareness; Essay; People & Communities; Art; Awareness; Birds; North America;

Plant Fossils at Mesa Verde

This plant fossils are on display at the Mesa Verde National Park as of August 2014. The area is rich in geological history going back 2 billion years. The national park was founded in 1906 to protect the Anasazi Native American sites found ...
Categories: Mesa Verde National Park; plant;

Eruptions on Piton de la Fournaise.

Sciency Thoughts | 24 May, 2015
The Observatoire Volcanologique du Piton de la Fournaise reported a sharp rise in sulphur dioxide emissions from Piton de la Fournaise, a shield volcano which forms much of the eastern part of Réunion Island, an island in the western Indian Ocean which forms a department of France, on 3 May 2015, followed by a similar rise in hydrogen sulphide emissions on 5 May. From 4 May onwards a rise in Earthquake activity beneath the mountain, which often signifies magma moving through chambers beneath a volcano, was detected, combined with inflation of the base of the summit cone. This seismic activity climbed steadily till 17 May, when about 200 events were recorded over a period of about 90 minutes, between 11.00 am local time and 12.30 pm. A second burst of intense seismic activity began at about 12.50 pm, followed by an eruption from a new fissure to the southeast of Dolomieu Crater. A total of three new fissures were detected in the area that afternoon, all producing lava fountains, and tw lava flows were also observed, and a gas plume which rose about 4 km over the summit of the volcano and drifted to the northwest. The most westerly of the new fissures stopped emitting lava before midnight, and by morning on 18 may only a single fissure was active, producing a lava fountain reaching 40-50 m in height and a flow that travelled 4 km from the opening, as well as a smaller gas plume, with a high hydrogen sulphide and carbon dioxide content. On 19 May the fissure activity had subsided, with fountains reaching at most 20-30 m in height, and the lava flow proceeding only another 750 m during the day.
Categories: Earthquake; France; Hotspot Volcanism; Indian Ocean; Lava Flows; Piton de la Fournaise; Réunion Hotspot; Réunion Island; Volcano; Vulcanology;

Forest Service says no revision needed to Rosemont Copper FEIS

Arizona Geology | 23 May, 2015
Coronado National Forest Acting Forest Supervisor Jamie Kingsbury issued a determination opn Friday that the Rosemont copper mine Supplemental Information Report "did not result in major changes to any of the impacts disclosed in the FEIS."
Categories: None

ExoWorld Naming Suggestion Posted!!

Planet Hunters | 23 May, 2015
Thank you to everyone who has participated up to this point! The votes have been counted and Planet Hunters has submitted the following naming suggestion to the IAU ExoWorld naming contest:
Categories: Site News;

Geo 1095: May 23, Day 873: Upper Proxy Plunge Pool

This is far from an ideal panorama; the left photo has too much motion blur, the center one is fine, and the right photo is overexposed in comparison to the other two. Nevertheless, it's the best I have to capture the "rather unique twist" I mentioned in yesterday's post. That photo was facing toward the falls; this one is taken standing a bit to the west, looking back toward the base of the falls. You can see the run-out coming in from the right side, flowing into the pool at the base. Given the amount of talus and downed logs at the bottom of the falls, this isn't technically a "plunge pool," but for the title, I liked the alliteration. The trees and their roots on the left pretty well obscure the fact that the slope there is the southern margin of the Collier Cone Lava Flow. Can you spot what's missing?
Categories: Earth; Geo 1095; Geology; Oregon; Volcanoes;

Giant sinkholes appear at Missouri golf course.

Sciency Thoughts | 23 May, 2015
A pair of giant sinkholes have appeared at the Top of the Rock Golf Course in Taney County, Missouri, on Friday 22 May 2014. The larger of the two sinkholes measures 25 m across by 10 m deep, while the smaller is 8 m wide and 6 m deep. Nobody has been hurt by the appearance of the holes, but they have caused considerable damage to the course, which regularly hosts major tournaments.
Categories: Erosion; Geohazards; Karstification; Limestone; Missouri; North America; Sinkhole; Taney County; US;

Asteroid 2015 KM18 passes the Earth.

Sciency Thoughts | 23 May, 2015
Asteroid 2015 KM18 passed by the Earth at a distance of 8 760 000 km (22.8 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 5.86% of the average distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly before 7.55 am GMT on Sunday 17 May 2015. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though had it done so it would have presented only a minor threat. 2015 KM18 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 24-75 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 24-75 m in diameter), and an object of this size would be expected to explode in an airburst (an explosion caused by superheating from friction with the Earth's atmosphere, which is greater than that caused by simply falling, due to the orbital momentum of the asteroid) in the atmosphere between 20 and 2 km above the ground, with only fragmentary material reaching the Earth's surface, although since an object at the upper end of this range would be expected to release an amount of energy equivalent to about 20 megatons of TNT (roughly 1200 times the energy released by the Hiroshima bomb), then being directly underneath it might be fairly unpleasant.
Categories: 2015 KM18; Amor Group Asteroids; Asteroids; Near Earth Asteroids; Solar System;

Volcanic activity on Mount Etna.

Sciency Thoughts | 23 May, 2015
The Osservatorio Etneo at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia reported the beggining of a new phase of volcanic activity on Mount Etna, an active volcano on the island of Sicily beginning on Tuesday 12 May 2015 with a series of Earth tremors beneath the mountain. At about 4.10 am local time on Wednesday 13 May an east-west fracture appeared beneath the east rim of the volcano's New Southeast Crater, revealing a series of vents, one of which produced a small lava flow. At about 8.00 am the fracture began to spead again, reaching about 200 m from the rim of the cone in under 10 minutes. This was accompanied by further rim collapses and the ejection of a quantity of incandescent ash around the summit of the volcano and down its southern flank.This activity continued till 16 May, though it began to die of on the 15th. Further small lava eruptions ashfalls occured around the south and northeast of the volcano; a lava flow was reported which trended northeast then split in two flowing to the west and east, the western flow reaching 5 km from the vent.
Categories: African Plate; Eurasian Plate; Geohazards; Italy; Mount Etna; Sicily; Subductive Plate Margin; Volcano;

The Felch Quarry brachiosaur skull

A couple of months ago, Darren (the silent partner in the SV-POW! organisation) tweeted this photo ...
Categories: brachiosaurids; Brachiosaurus; museums; stinkin' heads;

Silver Lake’s Adorable Baby Duckies

En Tequila Es Verdad | 23 May, 2015
Y'know, if it wasn't for the occasional devastating eruption and house-eating lahar, I think I'd actually love living down by Silver Lake. B and I took a walk there near sunset on our last trip, and in the slanting reddish-gold rays of the lowering sun, it was about the most peaceful and beautiful place on Earth. I could spend hours just sitting on a boardwalk and watching the wildlife, from the insects to the birds and beyond.
Categories: bit o' fun; science;

My Inner Geek

We have a popular local program where I work at (WBOC in Salisbury Maryland) called Delmarva Life and reporter Sean Streicher asked me to sit down and talk about myself. Sean explored my inner geek and I thought I'd share it here....
Categories: Uncategorized; featured; science education;

Geo 1095: May 22, Day 872: Upper Proxy Falls

Upper Proxy Falls is smaller than Lower Proxy (shown in yesterday's post), both in terms of height, about a hundred feet shorter, and flow rate. This one appears to be two streams converging in a waterfall, while the other appears to be a single stream splitting in a fall; in that sense, they're kind of opposites of each other. This one, though, has a rather unique twist to it, which I'll get to tomorrow.
Categories: Earth; Geo 1095; Geology; Oregon; Volcanoes;

Tons of fun with the latest Ceres image releases from Dawn

Fantastic new images of Ceres continue to spill out of the Dawn mission, and armchair scientists all over the world are zooming into them, exploring them, and trying to solve the puzzles that they contain....
Categories: None

All Walrus. All the time.

Deep Sea News | 22 May, 2015
It's Friday and who doesn't need a little more Walrus in their lives? I certainly do. Streaming live 24-7 from Round Island, Alaska (in the aptly named Walrus Islands) is the Walrus Cam. You can watch the walrus in the waves. Walrus laying on t...
Categories: Biology; Mammals; Organisms; Polar; Alaska; haulout; round island; Walrus; walrus island;

My awesome digiS project: mass digitizing sauropod bones

dinosaurpalaeo | 22 May, 2015
Last year I applied for a grant from the Senatskanzlei Berlin for the 2015 digiS funding programme. digiS is a state-wide (i.e. Berlin-wide) programme intended to coordinate and support digitizing efforts.They have an about page on their website that is in English, all the rest is in German (sorry!).
Categories: Berlin; Dicraeosaurus; digiS; Digitizing; Dinosauria; Giraffatitan; Kentrosaurus; Ornithischa; photogrammetry; Sauropoda; Sauropodomorpha; Stegosauria;

In 1973, Mexico worried U.S. would slip radioactive waste into Colorado River drain water?

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 22 May, 2015
Minute 242, an addenda to the U.S.-Mexico Colorado River Treaty, (pdf) contemplated construction of a drain to safely carry high salinity U.S. drainage past municipal and agricultural intakes and dump it into a slough near the Sea of Cortez.
Categories: Colorado River; water;

Monsoon brewing

The clear sunrises that we have been enjoying for most of the expedition have suddenly become rather rare. Instead the sun arises into a bank of clouds which yesterday had a rather dark and menacing look about them. As you can see in this photograph the clouds are black and low and full of rain.
Categories: None

Summer Weather Watch: Keep an Eye on These Five Possibilities

It's Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start of the U.S. summer season, and millions are wondering what kind of weather the next three months will bring. Seasonal predictions have their limits any time of year, and that's especially true in s...
Categories: None

Q&A: Life in the Field with SMAPEx-4

Notes from the field | 22 May, 2015
Researcher Amy McNally spent two weeks in Yanco, Australia to participate in three week Soil Moisture Active Passive Experiments-4 (SMAPEx-4) field campaign in May. The field campaign measures soil moisture and related data using ground and airborne instruments. The data is then used to validate actual data and algorithms from the SMAP satellite. In the following Q&A, McNally shares her experience on the SMAPEx-4 ground validation team and her first impressions of Australia.
Categories: Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP); smapex-4;

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