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18 December 2014

Amazing but watch with caution: camera phone footage of the deadly Banjarnegara district landslide in Indonesia

There is a video on Youtube that apparently shows the moment that the Banjarnegara district landslide in Indonesia occurred, killing over 100 people

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Lightning Bolts May have Jolted Life on Earth

Michael Wong wants to understand how life could evolve on other worlds. A graduate student in planetary sciences at the California Institute of Technology, he usually focuses on planetary atmospheres. But recently, his quest took Wong to a strange, hostile setting: the bottom of an acidic ocean on Earth, 4 billion years ago.

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17 December 2014

New computer system predicts malaria outbreaks in Ethiopia

Scientists have created a computer system that will help predict malaria outbreaks in northwestern Ethiopia. The advance warning system, which uses local epidemiological information and real-time environmental data, will allow public health officials to transport resources to high-risk areas and contain outbreaks early, explained ecologist Chris Merkord from South Dakota State University.

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Unmarked burial sites: where history and geophysics team up

Located about 25 miles north of Houston, Mueschke Cemetery is a historical burial ground. With its oldest headstone dating back to 1849, the cemetery is the resting place for close to 150 people, many of them soldiers killed in 150 years of American wars. But the cemetery is also known to contain dozens of unmarked graves, their locations lost over time. Now, a tool used by geologists and engineers is helping to find them: radar.

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AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 2

Tuesday I spent most of my time in the poster hall – a full day on my feet, in fact, which I’m regretting slightly today. In the morning I was learning about fluids and mineralization in hydrothermal systems in a number of places – Iceland, Chile, mid-ocean ridges, among others – and in the afternoon I saw some presentations on eruptive dynamics, particularly at my old field area of the Santiaguito lava domes in Guatemala.

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New evidence for a massive flood on the Mackenzie River 13,000 years ago

The Northern Hemisphere suddenly cooled about 12,800 years ago in an event named the Younger Dryas. Scientists have debated the cause for many years. One widely-believed explanation is that the massive but long gone Lake Agassiz in central Canada rapidly flooded fresh water east down the St. Lawrence River into the northern Atlantic Ocean. That pulse of fresh water interfered with warm ocean currents and triggered the cooling.

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An updated geological timeline for the extinction of the dinosaurs

The asteroid that smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula a little more than 66 million years ago left behind the Chicxulub crater, but it also left behind something else: iridium, a rare element, which settled in a fine layer all over the world. When scientists discovered this layer between rock strata in the 1980s, it eventually led them to the crater as well, and an explanation for the disappearance of the dinosaurs. But on either side of that layer, which serves as a geological boundary between the Cretaceous and the Paleogene, determining the age of rock is more difficult. This fuzziness makes it harder for paleontologists to piece together the timeline of life’s evolution after the mass extinction, which included the emergence of humans and all other mammals.

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Landslides from the 2010 Mw=7.2 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah, Mexico

In our latest paper, just published, we have mapped and analysed landslides triggered by the 2010 earthquake in the Sierra Cucapah range in Mexico

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Dr. G’s #AGU14 Spotlight – Mentoring Undergraduate Researchers

To support our undergraduate student researchers and presenters, the AGU Fall Meeting offers sessions on best mentoring practices for faculty

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16 December 2014

Can You See Holiday Lights From Space? Yes!

NASA’s Suomi Satellite has an amazing sensor that can see the Earth at night very well. The pics below are a comparison of normal city lights from space, and the green shows the added lights from all the holiday decorations! Pretty cool ay! NASA has a video here and the pics of our region are below. Here are further details from NASA: With a new look at daily data from …

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Scientists use satellites to monitor volcano risks

A NASA team utilized satellite data to create a map of past volcanic deposits and modeled the risk to nearby towns. They found one town on a potential lava flow path and a second town at risk for mud flows. The results were presented at Monday’s poster session at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting. The group’s methodology using satellite images can serve as a template for remotely assessing volcano risk, according to the researchers.

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Researchers keep an eye on walrus ice preferences

To walruses, ice means life. It’s their home base, their mating ground, and their transportation. As climate change threatens the extent of ocean ice, a new study takes a first step at determining how changing ice conditions are influencing walrus dynamics.

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Scientists use drones to monitor surf zone

When ocean scientists visit the beach they pack more than sunscreen and a towel – they pack drones. Researchers show in a new study that drones can be used to cheaply and accurately monitor the movement of water in the surf zone in the Gulf of Mexico. The drones provide a new way of documenting the movement of plant and animal plankton, sediments and pollutants, including spilled oil, near the shore.

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Scientists trying to create “exoplanet zoo”

Scientists are working to simulate and catalogue the properties of Earth-like planets to create an “exoplanet zoo,”—a collection of worlds with similar compositions but different levels of habitability. That’s the goal of a new modeling approach presented by Cayman Unterborn during a poster session Monday morning at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

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AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 1

And we’re off! Monday was a mixed bag of service and science for me – I started off as a panelist for the first-ever workshop on Honors nominations, talking about the successful nominations I’ve seen while serving on the Science For Solutions committe

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Oso: The SR 530 Landslide Commission report

The Commission set up to investigate the Oso / SR 530 landslide released its report yesterday. The recommendations include a proper hazard mapping program, the formation of a geological hazards institute and forensic investigations of this and other large landslide events in the state

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Growing forests with fire

In the summer of 2012, Heather Alexander traveled to a remote larch forest in eastern Siberia, gathered together piles of dry twigs and branches, and lit a match. Alexander, a biologist at the University of Texas at Brownsville, is a fire starter. Her work aims to understand whether increasingly common fires in the boreal larch forests of north-eastern Siberia are unleashing more carbon into the atmosphere or, paradoxically, helping the forests capture and store atmospheric carbon by promoting the growth of new stands of trees.

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15 December 2014

The Banjarnegara landslide in Central Java, Indonesia: 32 dead, 76 missing

Late of Friday night a landslide in Banjarnegara, Central Java, Indonesia killed 32 people, with an estimated 76 people still missing.

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Social Media Roundup: AGU Fall Meeting 2014

It’s that time of year again! Time for frantic poster-printing, rearranging your talk slides for the third or fourth (or dozenth) time, hoping your flight into SFO will actually land on time and wondering whether you’ll need to pack short sleeves, a wool coat or rain boots. (Right now, I’d recommend the rain boots.)

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Cool Science Pics

Thought I’d share some cool pics taken from Space today. The first one below is from the past week, and is a great view from the ISS courtesy of Astronaut Barry Wilmore. Notice the city lights shining through the clouds. I forecasted a sunny Sunday in Maryland and Delaware today. Missed it by THAT much! Severe storms hit Oklahoma Sunday evening ahead of a powerful tropospheric low pressure system. The …

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