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13 October 2015

New research identifies areas of global ocean most vulnerable to ocean acidification

New research maps the distribution of aragonite saturation state in both surface and subsurface waters of the global ocean and provides further evidence that ocean acidification is happening on a global scale. The study identifies the Arctic and Antarctic oceans, and the upwelling ocean waters off the west coasts of North America, South America and Africa as regions that are especially vulnerable to ocean acidification.


The Deep Lake landslide in Montana

The Deep Lake landslide in Montana is a giant prehistoric rockslide that has created a large lake in the Beartooth Mountains


Colonia Glacier, Chile Retreat and Periodic Lake Outbursts

  Comparison of 1987 and 2015 Landsat images indicating retreat from red arrows to yellow arrows of 2.5 km and development of a new lake at the terminus. orange arrow indicates glacier dammed lake that fills and empties periodically.  Colonia Glacier drains east from the Northern Patagonia Icefield feeding the Baker River, Chile. It is the largest glacier draining east from the NPI.  A comparison of the 1987  and 2015 images indicate …


12 October 2015

Flowing water on Mars: What that means for ‘The Martian’

Faced with a sudden and urgent need for food, Mark Watney did what any astronaut stranded on Mars would do: he filled his living quarters with Martian soil, fertilized it with his own waste, built a contraption to chemically create water, and grew some potatoes.


Riding a “Roller Coaster” at National Geographic

“Is that it?” I ask the security guard at the desk.

“That’s it,” he says.

That moment marked the end of my roller coaster ride in a fellowship program with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in which scientists work summer stints as reporters in news outlets across the country.


11 October 2015

El Cambray II: 264 killed, 40 still missing

A new, high quality video shows the recovery operations at the El Cambray II landslide in Guatemala, shich is now known to have killed at least 264 people.


10 October 2015

Sol 1128: Twenty Minutes to Mars

I got up before dawn again today, and was treated to a beautiful view of the crescent Moon, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter in the eastern sky.  I hadn’t seen Mars since it emerged from behind the Sun following solar conjunction last June (it was cloudy yesterday morning), and its dimness reminded me of how far away Mars is right now:  351 million kilometers or 218 million miles.  It takes 20 …


New landslide video: excavator earth slide

A new video has appeared on Youtube showing an excavator earth slide


8 October 2015

Yoho Glacier, British Columbia Accumulation Zone Woes

Yoho Glacier in 2005 no accumulation zone in sight. Yoho Glacier is the largest southern outflow draining the south from the Wapta Icefield in the Kootenay region of British Columbia. It flows 6.5 km from the 3125 m to a terminus at 2200 m. The glacier terminus reach is thin, gently sloping  and uncrevassed poised for continued retreat. An exploration of Mount Balfour in 1898 a party led by Professor …


An account of the El Cambray landslide in Guatemala

Losses from the El Cambray landslide in Guatemala have now reached 220, with a further 150 people thought to be still missing


7 October 2015

Sol 1127: Full MAHLI wheel imaging and bump

Planning is no longer restricted, but to ensure that Sol 1127 commands are ready to be sent to the rover on time, we had to start planning 1.5 hours earlier than usual this morning.  The Sol 1126 images show that the APXS was well centered over the pre-sieve dump pile, so we are ready to move on.  It’s time for a full set of MAHLI wheel images, which dominate the …


Start Talking Science – a Philly #scicomm event

Start Talking Science is a free public event where STEM researchers present posters detailing their research to a general audience, hoping to foster insightful conversations and connections, and increase public interest in the cutting-edge research taking place in Philadelphia


Science on a budget

One thing that’s been taking up an inordinate amount of my time lately is the suspense about whether I’ll be allowed to do my job (aka the Congressional budget process). As a postdoc on a limited-term position at the USGS, I lose valuable time if the government shuts down, and I don’t get it back. The same is true of any employee, but it’s especially rough on the ones who are working on fixed-duration projects or term hires.


6 October 2015

Two Incredible Images

These two images speak for themselves. One is from the Suomi satellite, which can take images of the Earth lit by moonlight alone. and the second image needs little or no explanation…


Ozone destroyer drops mysteriously

By Larry O’Hanlon Something strange has happened to the atmospheric concentration of a newly discovered, human-made, ozone-destroying gas: it has suddenly dropped and nobody knows why. The gas, HCFC-133a, is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon, ozone-destroying compounds used in some industrial processes, including the manufacturing of refrigerants. The use of HCFCs, which are also powerful greenhouse gases, is restricted under the Montreal Protocol. A study last year first identified HCFC-133a as …


Fingers Glacier, Alaska loses a finger to melting

Landsat comparison of terminus area of Fingers Glacier 1986 and 2015 Fingers Glacier flows from the southern end of the Fairweather Range to the coastal plain, where is expands into a segmented piedmont lobe. The southernmost finger is heavily debris covered. In the Mount Fairweather B-4 quadrangle USGS map based on 1951 aerial photographs the glacier has four prominent fingers each eroding its own basin.  Here we examine Landsat imagery to …


5 October 2015

Incredible Rainfall In South Carolina, and Yes Climate Played A Role

Make no mistake, this was a flood event unlike any other in South Carolina and while Hurricane Joaquin never hit the coast, it holds a smoking gun. This flood was the result of several factors, an upper level low over the Southeast U.S. along with a large Canadian High over Eastern Canada, and climate change is in the mix as well since the oceans over this region (and globally) were …


Sol 1126: MAHLI selfie

The Mars Science Laboratory did well last weekend, but the Sol 1124 MAHLI images of the unsieved part of the drill sample showed that the APXS was not perfectly centered on the dump pile.  Therefore, the Sol 1126 plan includes new MAHLI images and APXS measurements, better centered on the dump pile.  Before the arm activities, ChemCam will acquire passive spectra of part of Mt. Sharp, a 5×1 LIBS raster …


The seismically triggered landslide dam in Honshiyan, Yunnan, China: a review of a new paper

In a just published paper, Zhang et al. 2015 describe the emergency works undertaken to mitigate the seismically triggered landslide dam at Honshiyan, Yunnan in China in 2014.


4 October 2015

Sols 1123-1125: Drill hole and tailings

This composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp was taken on September 9, 2015, by NASA’s Curiosity rover. In the foreground — about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover — is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals. The …