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4 May 2016

Imaging the Deep Sea

Thanks to the fast advances in technology, we have now the ability to take very high definition photos in the deep sea. The quality of these images is so high that it is possible to identify any organism big enough to be visible to the naked eye. Therefore, these images can be used identify species assemblages on hydrothermal vent and document changes in their composition over time.

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There’s the CV, then there’s the shadow CV (a document of failures)

No scientist enjoys failures, but too often, we hide them. Explore the world of a CV of failures, or shadow CV’s.

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3rd North American Symposium on Landslides (NASL) 2017

The 3rd North American Symposium on Landslides will be held in Roanake, Virginia in June 2017, hosted by the AEG and the Canadian Geotechnical Society

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Chesapeake Bay Grasses Making a Comeback

My colleague Ty Butler did an excellent piece on our air (WBOC TV Eastern Shore of Maryland/Delaware) tonight about the recovery of the Chesapeake Bay grasses. This is really good news, and a sign that the health of the Bay is indeed improving. Ty has some great underwater photography in his piece, and it’s an exc. example of really good environmental science reporting. Call me impressed. Click the image below …

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3 May 2016

Kudos to Jimmy Kimmel For Supporting Reason over Myth

Warning for semi-strong language, but well worth watching.   An education teaches you how much you do not know. Unfortunately, Mrs. Palin does not seem to have a clue about that. Read this to understand how much heat energy the CO2 is trapping.

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Scientists find likely cause for recent southeast U.S. earthquakes

The southeastern United States should has seen some notable seismic events – most recently, the 2011 magnitude-5.8 earthquake near Mineral, Virginia that shook the nation’s capital. Now, scientists report in a new study a likely explanation for this unusual activity: pieces of the mantle under this region have been periodically breaking off and sinking down into the Earth.

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Sols 1330-1331: Characterizing the next drill site

Over the weekend, Curiosity completed the drilling investigation at Lubango, and we drove ~13 m to the “Ovitoto” area (note that this area is only ~4 m away from Cubango as the crow flies, but it took some maneuvering to get there).  This area is composed of typical unaltered Stimson bedrock, which we’ll use to compare to the altered bedrock at Lubango.  I was on duty as GSTL today, and …

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2 May 2016

The location of the Kyrgyzstan loess landslide, as caught on that amazing video

Using Google Earth it is possible to track down the location of the Kyrgyzstan loess landslide. This is an area with many similar landslides, some of which have also displayed high levels of mobility.

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Songs of the Earth: Using music to connect students to the geosciences

By Jennifer Beauregard I distinctly remember a conversation I had as a graduate student. It was with a faculty member in my department and he was lamenting about how scientifically illiterate his undergraduate students were. I asked him why he did not include certain topics in his classes to address this issue. His response was that he was only going to talk about his area of expertise, not geosciences in …

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1 May 2016

Sols 1326-1329: Wrapping Up at Lubango

After a nice rest on Sol 1325, Curiosity was charged up and ready for lots of science! On Sol 1326, we started off with multispectral Mastcam observations of the pile of dumped powder from the “Lubango” drill target and the targets “Rubikon” and “Ebony.” Then ChemCam had a passive observation of the dump pile, followed by active observations using the laser on Rubikon as well as “Ida” and “Lorelei.” Mastcam …

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North Fork Grand Plateau Glacier, Alaska-Spectacular 3 km Retreat 2013-15

North Fork Grand Plateau Glacier comparison in 2013 and 2015 Landsat images.  Illustrating the rapid retreat and lake expansion in just two years. Pink arrow is 1984 terminus, red arrow is the 2013 terminus and yellow arrow 2015 terminus. The orange dots are the 2013 terminus.  The Alsek Glacier is a large glacier draining into Alsek Lake and the Alsek River in southeast Alaska  Its neighbor the Grand Plateau Glacier has one fork  flows north and …

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29 April 2016

April Data Digest

Three stories published during April describe the ways remotely sensed data and machine learning are changing how Earth is studied and understood; while a fourth shows the beauty of our planet through images captured by one of the satellites imaging the Earth.

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Too Hot To Handle?

There’s a reason why people are hesitant to walk over burning coals. Barring those who have congenital analgesia, everyone can feel heat, and unless you live above the Arctic Circle like me, it is not a feeling we often relish. In fact, heat sensitivity can invoke serious fear and has fueled mankind’s most sadistic tortures and punishments. Nonetheless, it is vital for survival. Because we can sense heat, we can avoid it and prevent harming our bodies.

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The Consensus on the Consensus Is Itself Overwhelming

My friend Ed Maibach at George Mason Univ. emailed me some interesting abstracts today that show how overwhelming the consensus is on climate change among scientists working in the field. Researchers like Ed and Dr. Oreskes (among others) have shown that the consensus now is nearly unanimous among those in the field. The belief that scientists are divided over the question must be the greatest scientific myth in the United …

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28 April 2016

New study explains source of mysterious radar echoes

After 50 years, scientists think they may have cracked one of atmospheric science’s most persistent mysteries. Every day at dawn, an unknown phenomenon appears. Radar waves bounce off of it and return to radar receivers like an echo. Now, a pair of researchers at Boston University hypothesize that the sun could be causing the inexplicable echoes.

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Forecasting the time of failure: the Preonzo rockslide

In a wonderful new paper in the journal Landslides, Simon Loew and collagues describe the use of monitoring data to forecast the failure of the 2012 Preonzo rockslide in Switzerland

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Krayniy Glacier Retreat, Novaya Zemlya

Krayniy Glacier (Ky) comparison in 1990 and 2015 Landsat images.  Red arrow is 1990 terminus and yellow arrow is the 2015 terminus.  Purple arrows indicate upglacier thinning and green arrow a location of a glacier dammed lake. Krayniy Glacier is an outlet glacier that drains the northern side of the Novaya Zemlya Ice Cap into the Barents Sea. This outlet glacier is just southwest of Tasija Glacier (T) and like that glacier …

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27 April 2016

Sol 1325: Taking it Easy

It’s been a busy few days of drilling and related activities, so the plan for sol 1325 is a pretty simple one to allow the rover’s batteries to recharge. There is a short science block with a ChemCam observation of the drill tailings at “Lubango” along with Mastcam documentation. After that, MAHLI will take a closer look at the targets “Lianshulu” and “Rubikon.” Other than routine environmental monitoring measurements by …

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All Aboard!

Much like the deep sea hydrothermal vents we study, no light penetrates into the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) control room. Here, the ROPOS team operates the submersible, helping scientists collect samples and conduct analyses. Working 12-hour shifts, a ROPOS pilot may spend a full day in this room, lit only by glow of ~22 computer screens showing video feeds of all the cameras mounted on ROPOS used to navigate and observe the deep sea.

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Oceans, policy, and high school students

By Shane M Hanlon & Lexi Shultz “Our Changing Ocean: Science for Strong Coastal Communities.” That was the theme this year for the Finals of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl (NOSB), an “education competition that tests students’ knowledge of ocean-related topics, which include cross-disciplines of biology, chemistry, policy, physics, and geology.“ NOSB fills a gap that exists in many schools across the nation as ocean sciences are not a core part of many high …

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