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Geoblogospheric community: what is it good for?

Cross-posted at Highly Allochthonous

In recent weeks as science blogs have gone careening across the URLs, new blog networks have formed, and bloggers hint about more changes to come, navel-gazing on the role of science blogging has become almost a full-time preoccupation for some of us. Even my non-blogger friends have been asking me about what is happening in the science blogosphere these days. This month’s Accretionary Wedge geoblog carnival topic seems particularly well-timed to turn some of this navel-gazing into writing, and maybe some of the writing into action.

Right now, I feel like geobloggers do a great job of connecting to each other, through reading and commenting on posts, sharing information and building camraderie on Twitter, and through combined feeds like Chris’s all-geo feed (see his post for more awesomeness to come). Geo Girl of Eat. Sleep. Geology. did a fantastic job of describing what it is like to be a member of this community.

I am awestruck by the level of camaraderie and openness that exists in the geoblogosphere and how it allows for communication of real geologic wonderment. The vast expanse of specialties, geographic representations, and experience available at your fingertips as part of the geoblogosphere is unfathomable. True geology is shared en masse and those of us with desk jobs in cube farms bask in the joys shared by the offshore and overseas bloggers, the field geologists, and the twittering TA’s. Perhaps the reverse is true, as the field geos are fighting off the cactus and the mosquitos. The opportunity to learn, share, and experience things beyond your own surroundings is a rich opportunity that shouldn’t be skipped.

But, as Geo Girl goes on to say, “the value of the geoblogosphere is greatly unrealized by those who are not a part of it.” One way to share the value of the geoblogosphere is to proselytize to anyone will listen about how their life would be so much richer if they just took up twitter and blogging….but I don’t think that’s necessarily the most effective way to expand our reach. Instead, I see ways that we can expand what we are doing, to make our community bolder, more inclusive, and more outwardly focused. Building that sort of community allows us not just to provide camaraderie and support for one another, but also to act as agents of change beyond the borders of the internet.

Let me use three examples to explain what I mean, by showcasing what we are already doing and where I think we can go from here.

The ability of the geoblogospheric community to affect geoscience issues in the real world, by raising awareness and promoting action has recently been demonstrated with the California state rock, when what began as a blog and Twitter groundswell expanded to op-ed pages throughout the state and news stories in media outlets around the country. When the next challenge comes along, whether it’s in the form of ridiculous rumours about methane tsunamis, lack of reporting on an unfolding natural disaster, or construing volcano monitoring as political pork, will the geoblogospheric community draw on the strategies and resources it has developed to effectively work together to get the word out beyond our blog readers? Should we each be developing continuing relationships with science journalists at our local papers or is there some collective form of action that is more effective for countering geologic misinformation? Will developing alliances with our professional organizations like AGU and GSA enhance the credibility of the geoblogosphere when we do raise our voices? Of course, we might want to make a difference beyond just countering geologic misinformation. Jess Ball at Magma Cum Laude has partnered with the International Volcano Monitoring Fund to raise money for badly-needed instrumentation at Santiaguito in Guatemala. What can the rest of us being doing to help her efforts, and what other ways can we use our blogs to directly impact the collection of geologic data? Is there a geoscience equivalent of things like Project Budbreak, a citizen science phenology project and CoCoRaHS, the community collaborative rain, hail, and snow network, that we could engage with, encourage our readers to participate in, or even dream up and create ourselves? (Yes, there’s Did You Feel It? but some of us don’t live on active plate boundaries.)

For the past few years, science bloggers have participated in the DonorsChoose social media challenge. Last year, a combined geoblogger effort netted $9663 for earth science education in US public schools. Science blogging participation in that drive has been spearheaded on ScienceBlogs by the indefatigable Janet Stemwedel, but as the ocean bloggers showed us last year, you don’t have to have a brand name attached to your blog in order to participate and make an impact. For American geo-types, the DonorsChoose challenge is perfectly timed to coincide with Earth Science Week, making October a perfect month to catalyze our on-line and off-line outreach and education efforts aimed at the next generation of earth scientists. I’m willing to organize a DonorsChoose challenge this October, but I’d love to have help from other geobloggers in making it a success. But DonorsChoose, with its explicitly US focus, leaves out a lot of our community. What are the opportunities to engage with global earth science education efforts? Can we use something like the UK’s National Science and Engineering Week in March or the European Geosciences Union meeting in April to create a time to focus on earth science education outside the US? Is using our bloggy megaphones to raise money even the best use of our collective resources, or is there a more effective strategy to use our internet presence and community to make an on-the-ground, in-the-classroom difference in earth science education?

I think the geoblogospheric community is a largely untapped resource for recruiting, mentoring, and retaining a diverse geoscience profession. We have now voices of women and men from around the world, in industry, academia, and government. We have people who write about rocks, sediments, tectonics, and floods. If we strengthened our ties with climate, meteorology, ocean, and space bloggers we could truly span the range of earth sciences. Put all of that together, and our community provides a fantastic window into the geoscience profession. Even though I’m a water person, I can learn a bit about what it’s like to work in exploration geology or what paleontologists are getting excited about these days. And, as someone who advises undergraduate and graduate students with a range of professional aspirations, I can point students blogs relevant to their interests. Considering going to grad school? Check out Magma Cum Laude, Harmonic Tremors, or Musings of a Life-long Scholar. Thinking about environmental consulting? Check out Accidental Remediation. From those blogs, students can get far more insight into what their potential futures might look like than they can from my cloistered academic self. I think it would be even better if there were more choices out there for my students to read about careers outside academia. I know that there are, understandably, restrictions on what government and industry employees can blog about and that because of those fears there is a higher barrier to entry for potential geobloggers beyond grad school and academia. In some ways, its an incredibly difficult problem to cultivate blogs that show the geoscience profession in industry and government in a meaningful and transparent fashion, but I am (naively?) optimistic that as the geoblogosphere continues to develop and engage with real-world efforts like citizen science and education projects, more employers will see the potential value of letting geoscientists blog. I guess I’m adopting a sort of “build it and they will come” approach, but I’d love to hear other suggestions. Beyond just diversity in employment sector, I think future geoscientists, and the geoblogospheric community itself, would benefit from greater diversity in faces – gender, ethnicity, nationality, and ability. Increasing diversity, without putting undue burden on minority geoscientists to add blogging to their already long list of obligations, is certainly a challenge, but as the geoblogospheric community finds ways to maximize its real-world impact and lower its barrier to entry, I am hopeful that our community will grow and diversify. Finally, I’d like to challenge those of us who write mostly about geoscience news and research, to dip our toes a bit more into the water of writing about the practice of geoscience and our lives as geoscientists. There is an incredibly wealth of blogging going on about lives in science (e.g., as aggregated in the Scientiae carnival), but much of it is heavily oriented towards the biomedical science fields. People contemplating careers in geosciences, looking for solidarity as they write their theses, or seeking advice as they write their first grant can benefit tremendously from this sort of blog reading (I know. I have.), but it’s harder to see the applicability when such writing tends about the intricacies of NIH scoring or experiments in neuropharmacology. It might be much scarier to write about the practice of science than to describe a pretty outcrop, but it does have value. One idea might be to describe what a typical work day is like for you, an idea which would actually be exhuming a long-buried geoblogospheric meme. I’ll commit to doing that in a few weeks when my fall classes begin. Will any of you join me? What else can we be doing to genuinely promote an inclusive and diverse geoblogospheric community?

As I see it, what we have in the geoblogosphere is an opportunity to create a really incredible community. We’ve got the seeds of it now, but I’d like to challenge us to make it more focused on using our talents, interests, and resources beyond the existing community of geobloggers and geoblog readers. If we do that, I think the geoblogospheric community can become an agent of change for our profession and make the sort of real-world difference that motivates many of us in our day-to-day actions.

Women geo-types on Twitter

This page is an archived version of the women geo-types list that I maintain on Twitter. Women geo-types lists the Twitter accounts of women who tweet about the geosciences or identify as geoscientists in their Twitter bios. The list was originally compiled using the AGU-maintained list of geo-space-ocean scientists on Twitter, which I supplemented with other women tweeting about the geosciences or identifying themselves as geoscientists. The list below was current as of 26 June 2010, but the list on Twitter itself is continually updated as I discover accounts for inclusion.

  • mineralphys. Mineral briefs from a UCLA professor
  • GeologyStudent. I’m a grad student studying geosciences
  • MTHellfire. geophysicist. ranchgirl. antiwar. slave to dogs. music wonk. realist. tweets are mine.
  • perrykid. M.S. student in contaminant hydrogeology, native New Mexican, easily distracted by bright shiny things.
  • stardiver. the geo-scientist as hero
  • highlyanne. Hydrologist, geomorphologist, hydrophillic geologist, whathaveyou.
  • sarahkendrew. postdoc astronomer
  • lunarkatz. Earth-scientist-turned-educator: Sharing Earth and space science with the universe … one child (or inquisitive adult) at a time …
  • mactavish. Love: Astronomy, all aspects of physical geography, and finding ways to be happy.
  • BraveBluewords. Oceanographer, writer, educator, advocate. Focus: oceans, climate change. Writing science and sci-fi. Love books, veggie gardening, yoga, & eating gluten-free!
  • martian1113. I am a Space Station Training Lead at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
  • kaylai. PhD student at Cambridge University. Experimental petrologist/volcanologist studying Mt. Erebus, Antarctica. Science writer for @TrekMovie
  • robinbell. Geek, Scholar, Advocate, Mom, Sailor
  • absolutspacegrl. Space Shuttle Mission Control worker bee until Shuttle goes away. Mechanical Engineer. Geek. Star Wars fangirl. Skeptic. My views are my own.
  • khoney. Marine biologist & interdisciplinary environmentalist. Originally from Maine, now NorCal. Stanford PhD Candidate. Work hard-play hard: sail,surf,ski,trek,travel
  • DrLucyRogers. Author of It’s ONLY Rocket Science – An Introduction in Plain English. Also Engineer, Astronomer and Freelance Science Writer.
  • naoshin. Doing my PhD in plasma physics and intl scientific and humanitarian outreach projects on the side.
  • thevolcanolady. Volcano Hunter,National Geographic Photographer/Explorer, Devoted Wife, If I was a drink I’d be a peppermint hot chocolate.
  • Ele_Willoughby. Marine geophysics Research Associate at the University of Toronto
  • geosteph. science educator, geologist, NASA geek, softball player, aunt, mom to Logan (dog) and Kinsey (cat)
  • sandrift. Planetary geologist, photo hobbyist (Flickr: sandrift)
  • Charlotte_Hird. Graphic Designer Geologist Astronomer Chook fancier Cook Bottlewasher
  • geokaren. amateur foodie, longtime geospatial geek – ok, not so geeky anymore but still a fan!
  • Gabrielse11. UCLA Space Physics grad student always up for adventure!
  • simX. Geologist, Wannabe Bigwig Mac App Programmer, ClickToFlash Developer (one of many)
  • missyleone. This is ponderous, man, really ponderous.
  • bethannbell. I’m a geochemistry PhD student studying the early era of Earth’s history.
  • Monkeyskunk. Figuring out where to go in life….perhaps an active volcano?
  • betsymason. Science editor for, geologist, beer snob, calm assertive pack leader.
  • weimang.
  • pehGU.
  • lizzieday. Geophysics PhD student
  • marssciencegrad. I’m a recent PhD in transition between grad school and the real world! I study Mars using visible and near-IR spectroscopy and will soon be working on MSL.
  • kennicosmith. Currently, a NASA scientist…
  • IntrplnetSarah. Lunar geologist
  • CatherineQ. Astrophysicist, over-thinker, autoimmune illness girl, lover of beautiful things in all forms. Kiwi in US. NASA supporter. Dogs rule.
  • h0mes1ice.
  • littlejillyyy. Happy.
  • MeaganMcGrath.
  • iescience. Freelance science writer and editor, non-practicing oceanographer, one-time Alvin diver, hiker, kayaker, crossword puzzler, candy eater
  • hfe.
  • Felsic. Geology student, mountain biker, nature lover, music enthusiast and micro blogger.
  • Geol_G_Arguello. Geóloga de profesión, loca por vocación
  • veronicaholton. I study geology at the College of Charleston.
  • Cannibal_Panda. Geology
  • amandacolosimo. Assistant Professor of Geosciences, Monroe Community College
  • BenderRobot. Oceanography graduate student. Aspiring scientific communicator. Fun times enthusiast. Lover of most things NJ.
  • leanne_erica. I enjoy reading and writing about rocks. Well.. I do most of the time.
  • AnjiSeth. Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.
  • NerdyChristie. A marine scientist with an urge to write that turned into all kinds of things…
  • bgrassbluecrab.
  • lyndellmbade. Ecologist, Educator, Grad Student. Researching cownose ray migration, movement, & life history. Model. SCUBA diver. Traveler.
  • blueacoustic. Geology Ph.D. student. If you want to talk tv, I’m your girl (e.g., Buffy, Supernatural, True Blood, Office, Glee, 30 Rock, Greek, Dexter.. oh so many more)
  • MaureenMcCann8. Meteorologist at News 8 Austin; Weather Consultant; Grad Student at UT; Bar Crawl for Scoliosis Founder; Dedicated member of Red Sox Nation; Huey Lewis’ #1 Fan
  • geogjen.
  • sdbikegirl. I love Earth Sciences, Sun, Sand and Snow. Geospatial stuff, minerals and rocks. I am passionate about cycling.
  • SabeanPagan. All-round science nerd. Love to chat about anything and everything. Blog enquiries please contact me on
  • rockstarscience. Female graduate student in astrophysics, apprentice rocket scientist, rebel without a solution set.
  • lizzy_t. I love rocks and rock climbing, especially trad climbing. 1st yr geology grad student at stanford!
  • tigermouse88. Geologist, Germanist, Globetrotter, Musician, Translator.
  • tanyaofmars.
  • Epsigon. Geophysicist/Geodynamicist, Welsh-Londoner, sleepy, loves Vinyl Toys, graphic novels and diet coke
  • sharonkae. Hi! I write specfic, I sniff out earthquakes in the Rhineland. I garden. That’s it.
  • DelphineAby. Oceanographer and modeler in environment. Manager in Natural Risks
  • Julierific. Wife, Mom, Scientist, PhD Candidate, Avid Reader, NPR Junky, Runner, Gardener, GF Cook, Meteorologist, Environmentalist, Baseball Addict
  • kejames. Natural History Museum scientist—Beagle Project directrix (@beagleproject)—Darwin groupie—space geek—telemark skier—teapot agnostic. Tweets are mine all mine.
  • mtkr. Photographer, geophysicist, and NYC girl
  • christierowe.
  • ugrandite. hard rock geology prof currently at University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown
  • Chanitacr. Geology student
  • altmenn. Mix of Physics & Music, space based instruments, Earth’s atmosphere observations
  • delenn77. New mom, field geologist, failing optimist
  • snowflyzone. designer, strategist, awkwardness enthusiast, geologist, sneaker aficionado, map maker
  • GeoEntelechy. Geospatial research and development • GIS • I’m passionate about analysis, visualization, and interdisciplinary synergies. Opinions are my own. 
  • maitri. Spoken here: geoscience, tech geekery, new orleans, packer football, wisconsin, project gutenberg, 3.14 and pie
  • inadraw. Urban community environmental planner
  • hanhanbanans. I love animals, geology, GIS, mapping, my Mini Cooper, and geocaching.
  • HeidiHutner. Writer, Professor, Environmentalist
  • GemKeeper. Environmental geologist and mother of two young children.
  • KHayhoe. climate scientist living in a heathen land where no one puts any milk in their tea
  • mcmoots. Geo-interdisciplinary freak, environmental consultant, scavenger, pie fiend.
  • stressrelated. Structural geology professor, mountain enthusiast
  • DNAPL. Scientist, Associate Professor, working on tracking contaminants in the environment, forensic geoscience and general earth science
  • geogirldi. Mother, Geologist, and Music Fanatic. I am a rock, I work with and study rock, I listen to rock. But you can just say I rock.
  • cynthiabarnett. Senior writer, Florida Trend magazine. Water-beat geek. Author, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.
  • aggieastronaut. PhD student in atmospheric science at Texas A&M, Aggie sports fan, Martian by trade, dating @JeffAMcGee, Pastafarian priestess
  • squawky. Planetary scientist at a small univ., teaching geology & astronomy, trying to do research, and keeping sane.
  • morphosaurus. Lecturer, palaeontologist, gardener, wife of the best man in the world, owned by a furious leopard gecko, and mother of none – EVER.
  • coconinoite. Woman geoscientist in the wetland arena living and working in the southwest, with 5-year-old child and SO.
  • Tuff_Cookie. I’m currently a grad student in a volcanology research group at SUNY Buffalo, studying lava dome collapses and pyroclastic flow formation.
  • Colo_kea. Comm. Editor, Geol. Soc. of America. Engaged to Bear. Goals: skydive, photog, blog ( kea icon ©
  • sfoxx. Geologist, meanderer, explorationist
  • geologyclare. Metamorphic geologist, geochronologist, postdoctoral researcher
  • spacegiraffe. UC Davis geology 4th year, rafting guide, interested in hydrogeology, fluvial geomorphology, remote sensing, arm waving at outcrops.
  • oystersgarter. Marine biologist and science blogger
  • NotanEster. Deaf nerd of many trades, but mainly Anthropology and Geology. Also moonlight as certified instructor of Cued Speech.
  • meagenpollock. Geologist, geochemist, basalt-lover, professor
  • Astro_chick.
  • mjvinas. Once veterinarian, now science writer. Expat. Work & tweet @theAGU but thoughts in here are my own. Interested in (surprise!) science and science communication.
  • geographile. I mostly retweet geography-related news and chat about geography.
  • mareserinitatis. Working on PhD in geophysics, also an electrical engineer, sci-fi nut, now with kids and cats!
  • WomenPlanetSci. Women make up half the bodies in the solar system — why not half the scientists?
  • DoodleMommy. Mother. Wife. Geologist. Doodler.
  • geobacka. Geology and astronomy nerd. B)
  • mihaela4021. I am passionate about three things: my family, science and the humanity. I twitter, therefore I am.
  • KatherineBaylor.
  • deepseadawn. Oregon State University GIS prof, cyclist, ocean mapper, geek, Lego maniac
  • mousereusch. Seismologist with interests in earth structure, climate and glaciology. Cyclist & huge tree-hugger.
  • loverivers. Focus on restoring the health of the Penobscot River … also writer, poet, photographer, and all-around nature lover.
  • BoreholeGroup. The Borehole Research Group conducts scientific research by lowering tools into oceanic boreholes.
  • JacquelynGill. PhD candidate studying paleoecology, climate change, and biogeography at UW Madison. Feminist, geek, bibliophile, foodie.
  • rivrchik. Biogeog and fluvial geomorph researcher, science blogger and retweeter of all things eco, bio, geo or fluvio
  • volcanojw. rocks, film, and fine tequila.
  • River_Restore. A NEW online hub for the river restoration community
  • Mary_H. I’m a geographer at Miami University.
  • RockDocWSU. I write the RockDoc syndicated newspaper column and am Director of Major Grant Development for the Agricultural Research Center at Washington State University.

Thanks to Chris Rowan for exporting and formatting this archival list.

CUAHSI's Spring 2010 Hydrology Cyberseminars

The excellent series of hydrological cyber-seminars continues this spring, as listed below. UNC Charlotte folks: please note that the March 12th seminar focuses on the isotope analyzer that we have in my lab. If after a few days of spring break, you find yourself yearning for some science, tune in to the seminar.

We are pleased to announce a great line-up of six cyberseminar presentations for the Spring seminar. Instructions on how to attend these online webinars will be distributed via the listservs approximately one week prior to each event. As usual, if you are unable to attend a live seminar, a recording will be made available for later viewing. Included here is a link to a downloadable 8”x11” PDF poster that we encourage you to display prominently on your campuses.

Spring 2010 Schedule
February 26, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Jared Abraham, USGS (Denver) & James Cannia, USGS (Lincoln)
Title: Using airborne geophysical surveys to improve groundwater resource management models

March 12, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Manish Gupta, Oregon State University
Title: High-frequency field-deployable isotope analyzer for hydrological applications

March 19, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Brian Waldron & Beatrice Magnani, University of Memphis
Title: Applications of geophysical prospecting in hydrology

April 2, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Jeanne VanBriesen, Carnegie Mellon University
Title: The River Alert Information Network (RAIN): A wet-weather sensor network for water quality in Pittsburgh

April 16, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Bridget Scanlon, Laurent Longuevergne & Clark Wilson, University of Texas at Austin
Title: Advances in Ground-based Gravity for Hydrologic Studies

April 30, 2010; 3:00pm ET
• Jim Heffernan, Florida International University & Matt Cohen, University of Florida
Title: Inferring biogeochemical processes from high-frequency nitrate measurements in flowing waters

Cyberseminars web page:

Redoubt erupts and we can watch safely from the web

Though born and raised in the craton of North America, my PhD field work looked at the interplay between volcanism, hydrology, and geomorphology in the Oregon Cascades. I’ll admit that I’ve become a bit of a volcano geek, and the last few weeks have provided some really spectacular eruptions to watch safely from my non-volcanically active perch in North Carolina.

First up, we had the undersea eruption and emergence of a new island near Tonga. Intrepid locals and airline passengers snapped some amazing pictures, best showcased on the Boston Globe’s Big Picture site. The eruption was a textbook example of a Surtseyan eruption, well, if Surtsey itself hadn’t already coined the phrase.

Just when we thought it would never happen, Alaska’s Redoubt Volcano decided to put on a good show for us. The eruption started on March 22nd, but the biggest eruption so far occurred this morning at 9:24 am Alaska time. The ash column reached 20 km into the atmosphere.  Images of the volcano also show new lahar deposits going down the Drift River valley.

One of the cool features of these eruptions has been the ability of even armchair volcano enthusiasts to watch the events unfold in near real-time. The Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) has a webcam with a nice view of Redoubt’s summit (image below is from this evening), you can follow the course of the eruption on AVO’s twitter feed,  and there are some excellent volcano-centric bloggers who are doing a commendable job  of providing commentary on the eruptions. Of the volcano bloggers, I’d have to say my favorite is Erik Klemetti of Eruptions. Erik is an igneous petrologist, and a fellow OSU Geosciences alum.

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View of Redoubt from AVO’s Hut webcam as of 26 March 2009, 17:50 Alaska Daylight Time.