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23 September 2016

Friday fold: Shetland geopark rock wall at Northmavine

Can a Friday fold be a work of art as well as a source of geologic insight? The answer can be found as you enter Shetland’s Northmavine region.

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Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom: The Underwater Flying Glider

What’s a glider? It is an underwater robot that “flies” around the sea going from the surface to the bottom of the seafloor collecting different types of science data.

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22 September 2016

Eyes on some augens in a nice gneiss

Take a look at these gorgeous exposures of augen gneiss in eastern “mainland” Shetland, U.K. Includes 3 GigaPans of the site.

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Porcupine Glacier, BC 1.2km2 Calving Event Marks Rapid Retreat

Landsat images from Sept. 2015 and Sept. 2016.  Red arrow is the 1988 terminus and the yellow arrow the 2016 terminus.  I marks an icefall location and point A marks the large iceberg.  Porcupine Glacier is a 20 km long outlet glacier of an icefield in the Hoodoo Mountains of Northern British Columbia that terminates in an expanding proglacial lake. During 2016 the glacier had a 1.2 square kilometer iceberg …

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Wye River: landslides in the aftermath of a forest fire in Australia

The small town of Wye River in Australia, which was devastated by a forest fire in December 2015, is being affected by many rainfall triggered landslides

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This Photo Speaks Volumes and Gives Me Hope For A Better World

The state of science literacy in America is frankly abysmal. Yes, I could write paragraphs about the chemtrail folks; those who think the world is 6,000 years old, and the 6% of the population who are convinced that the Moon landing was a hoax. Then I could start with the climate scientists I know who get death threats.   BUT THIS PHOTO GIVES ME HOPE.   It’s a photo of …

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21 September 2016

Sols 1467-1468: Finishing up at Quela

The activities planned for Sol 1466 are going well so far–the only problem is that the ChemCam observation of the Quela drill hole wall is slightly out of focus. So we’ll try again on Sol 1467 with slightly modified ChemCam command parameters.  We’re planning two sols today, and our top priority is to finish up our investigation of the Quela drill hole and tailings before driving away.  There are a …

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Stađarbjargavík

Based on this photo, what do you think Stađarbjargavík might have to offer? If you guessed columnar jointing in basalt, you’d be right! Looking down the fjord, south of Hofsós (in Iceland): The place is basically a series of miniature Giant’s Causeways, full of unpopulated exemplars of cooling columns! Little coves separate the small peninsulas, each filled with rounded column bits: Here’s a spot where one more is about to …

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Sikuliaq week 2 recap

We’ve done a lot of science this week! Since the last update, we’ve successfully towed the super sucker, started multi-coring, and upped our CTD tally to a whopping 87 casts, plus all the continuous surface underway data we’ve collected while steaming between sites. The scientists have some preliminary results and ideas about where they’d like to visit again (the beginning of the Wainwright line is of particular interest).

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Human activities rattle natural rock of Utah’s Rainbow Bridge

Utah’s iconic Rainbow Bridge hums with natural and man-made vibrations, according to a new study accepted for publication today in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The study found both natural waves in Lake Powell and induced earthquakes in Oklahoma cause the rock bridge to vibrate at different resonant frequencies.

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Introducing students to geoheritage during Earth Science Week 2016

Do your students know about “geoheritage”? Perhaps engage them with an exercise on the relevance of geoheritage, while teaching about Creative Commons images and the Earth Science Literacy Principles.

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From Scientific Skepticism to Conspiracy Theory

Science is all about skepticism. We demand data, and ANY theory must be able to submit itself to an experiment that could possibly disprove it. If it cannot, then it is NOT science. If an experiment disproves it, then the theory is wrong, period. However, when you reach a mountain of well understood evidence, those who refuse to believe it are no longer skeptics. Some folks call them conspiracy theorists or …

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20 September 2016

NOAA: Earth Has 16th Record Hot Month in a Row

From NOAA today: Global highlights: August 2016 The August temperature across global land and ocean surfaces was 1.66°F above the 20th century average of 60.1°F. This was the highest for August in the 1880–2016 record, surpassing the previous record set in 2015 by 0.09°F. August 2016 was the highest monthly temperature departure since April 2016 and tied with September 2015 as the eighth highest monthly temperature departure among all months …

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A virtual field trip to examine the Peninsula Sandstone on Table Mountain

Take a virtual field trip to Table Mountain, near Cape Town, South Africa. Digital media to explore from the site include: a 3D model, 3 GigaPans, and a 360° spherical photo!

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South Sawyer Glacier Retreat and Separation, Alaska

Comparison of South Sawyer Terminus position and unnamed glacier just to the south.  Red arrows are the 1985 terminus and yellow arrows the 2016 position of each terminus.  South Sawyer Glacier is a 50 km long tidewater glacier terminating at the head of Tracy Arm fjord in Southeast Alaska.  The winding fjord surrounded by steep mountains is fed by Sawyer and South Sawyer Glacier is home to stellar sea lions, humpback …

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A science story that just won’t die: the Canary Island Megatsunami scare rears its head once more

Like a zombie that refuses to die, the Canary Islands megatsunami scare story has once again re-emerged to the normal hysterical headlines

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19 September 2016

Sol 1466: A new drill hole

The second attempt to drill into Quela was successful, but there was a timing issue during sample manipulation in CHIMRA that resulted in premature halting of the Sol 1465 sequence.  So on Sol 1466 we’ll pick up where MSL stopped and sieve the new sample, dump the unsieved fraction, and drop some of the sieved sample into CheMin.  But first, ChemCam will acquire passive spectra of the Quela drill tailings …

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Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom: Multi-coring

It was so cool to watch pieces of ice float by as we were working on deck! I’m standing next to the hose because we wash off the utensils (the metal sheet for cutting, the spatula used for scraping it into the bag, and the plastic ring) in between samples so that we don’t contaminate one layer with mud from another!

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New study “reels in” data on Utah’s winter ozone problem

A deep sea fishing rod is probably not the first tool that comes to mind when thinking about how to study air pollution in a remote inland desert, but it’s the heart of a new system that has given scientists a minute-by-minute look at how quickly the sun can convert oil and gas emissions to harmful ground-level ozone.

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Plainspoken statistics

Sense About Science is helping journalists learn about statistics to better convey relevance and importance to the general public.

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