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30 May 2016

Sol 1355-1357: Coordinating with MRO

Our drive went well and Curiosity is now sitting on a nice patch of the Murray formation, putting us in a good position for a very busy holiday weekend! On Sol 1355, ChemCam has observations of the targets “Auchas,” “Kaisosi,” “Inamagando,” and “Horingbaai.” Mastcam will document those targets and then do some multispectral observations of the targets “Kunjas” and “Navachab,” plus a mosaic of the contact between the Murray and …


Tingmiarmit Glacier Retreat Separates Tributaries, South East Greenland

Tingmiarmit Glacier comparison in 1999 and 2015 Landsat images indicating the separation of tributaries at the terminus. The red arrows indicate the 1999 terminus and the yellow arrows the 2015 terminus location.  Point A is peninsula where the tributaries joined, and Point B is a nunatak just upglacier from the 2015 terminus. Tingmiarmit Glacier (Timmiarmiit also) ends in the Tingmiarmit Kangertivat Fjord in southeast Greenland.  The glacier is just south of …


Communication in Science: Lessons Learned From Improv Theatre

By Joe Townsend One of the most amazing things that I’ve done in preparation for grad school is to proudly state “Extensive experience in improvisation theatre performance” on my CV. There is no question of the importance of science communication to non-scientific a udiences. However, what we are just now learning is exactly how we as scientists can communicate, both with each other and with others outside of the science …


27 May 2016

Hurricane Outlook for 2016 and Tropical Storm Warning For South Carolina

The NOAA Hurricane forecast was released today, and it calls for a 70% chance of 10-16 named storms, which is right around the long-term average of 12 each year. The most important thing to remember with these forecasts, is that the number of storms does not matter much of you get hit by just one, and secondly these type of forecasts are still rather low skill. That said, this forecast …


Eagle Glacier, Alaska Retreat Losing a Wing

Above is a paired Landsat image from 1984 left and 2013 right indicating the 1100 m retreat during this period of Eagle Glacier. My first visit to the Eagle Glacier was in 1982 with the, ongoing and important, Juneau Icefield Research Program, that summer I just skied on the glacier. In 1984 we put a test pit at 5000 feet near the crest of the Eagle Glacier to assess the …


26 May 2016

Sols 1353-1354: Clear sailing

The Sol 1352 post-drive imaging shows that, while there are sandy ripples ahead, there are enough rocky patches that the rover should not have any problem driving toward the southwest.  This is what we were hoping, so we are planning to drive in that direction on Sol 1353.  But first, Mastcam will acquire stereo mosaics of the Murray-Stimson contact and a couple areas toward the west with nodular features.  After …


Tropical Storm For Memorial Day? Maybe

A tropical storm making landfall on the U.S. coast on Memorial Day weekend is almost unheard of, and I think it may have never happened before. It might this year though, and the record warm oceans are playing a role. An area of disturbed weather persists in the western part of the Caribbean Sea and the usually reliable European Center medium range forecast model, is bringing a tropical storm into …


Glaciotectonic thrust at Waubonsee Community College

Glaciers can cause thrust faults! Explore an example from a trench south of Chicago.


New study suggests less snow, earlier snowmelt at higher elevations in warming climate

Spring snowpack, relied on by ski resorts and water managers throughout the Western United States, may be more vulnerable to a warming climate in coming decades, according to a new study.


25 May 2016

Sol 1352: Scouting a path

We’d like to keep driving toward the southwest, but can’t see all of the terrain ahead from our current location.  So the Sol 1352 plan includes a short drive to give us a better view. Before the rover moves, Mastcam will acquire a large stereo mosaic of the “Breckhorn” ridge in front of the vehicle and extend the left Mastcam mosaic of the “Fracture Town” area to the west.  ChemCam …


Flyover Country—The next generation field-based research tool

In December 2015, with the support of a National Science Foundation (NSF) EAGER grant, the Flyover Country (FC) team of Amy Myrbo (University of Minnesota Research Associate), Shane Loeffler (2015 B.S. graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth), Reed McEwan (University of Minnesota M.S. in Geology and Software Engineering) and Sijia Ai (University of Minnesota), launched FC as a geosciences mobile app for air travelers, road warriors and hikers.


TED – an “idea worth spreading” in the classroom

TED talks showcase “ideas worth spreading” through talks that are 18 minutes or less. What can they provide to the Earth science classroom? – an introduction to scientists and a spark for classroom conversation, for starters…


24 May 2016

Warm Atlantic May Start Tropical Cyclone Season Early

While there is uncertainty over the effects that climate change will have on the nature of tropical cyclones, there’s one aspect that seems clear. The warmest oceans ever measured may very well start the season earlier than the traditional first day of June. A disturbance in the Caribbean is being watched a bit more closely today, and there is some possibility that it might develop into a tropical cyclone. It …


Scientific Data Manager: A career deserving of better recognition

Within the scientific data lifecycle, from data acquisition, to publication and preservation, the data manager (also known as a data steward) plays an increasingly important and often unappreciated role. This role is growing in importance due to the rapid growth in the volume of data—unlike the funds to manage it—the need for interoperability of these data, the new regulations regarding open access and long-term preservation. Data managers are driven by the dictum and aspiration that well documented, citable and preserved data is an investment in science, one that is critical to future discoveries.


Watch underwater canyons take shape in real time

Submarine canyons are major underwater routes for transporting rapidly-moving water that is heavy with sediment from the continental shelf to the deep ocean. Here, a group of researchers uses a sandbox experiment to simulate how a fast, sediment-laden current carves these canyons out of the continental slope. They recorded the entire experiment with time-lapse video, shown here.


When science and storytelling collide

Storytelling and science can go hand in hand, especially when talking about lava flows, Dana Scully, and the fire goddess Pele.


Tidal Troubles In The Mid-Atlantic

NOTE: This post is based on some research I did for an on-air story that aired today: Sea level rise is what’s called a slow motion disaster. These kind of events tend to be blamed on the symptoms rather than the cause, and often the preparation/ response to these type of events is inadequate. This is much the case where I live and work here in the Mid-Atlantic, on the …


23 May 2016

Sol 1350: Data processing delay

I’m SOWG Chair again today, and started browsing the latest data from MSL early this morning.  To my dismay, the post-drive images that we expected to receive in time for planning today were not available!  It turned out that the data were received on Earth, but the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter operations team had some problems processing and transferring it to us.  We waited as long as we could for the …


Making the fieldwork count

I’m in the midst of preparing for field work, and it got me to thinking about the public perception of how geologists do research. A lot of us probably extol our chosen profession because of the opportunity for working outside of an office – I know it’s one of the reasons I often bring up when I’m asked why I love volcanology. But I also find that when people follow …


History of Greenland snowfall hidden in ancient leaf waxes

The history of Greenland’s snowfall is chronicled in an unlikely place: the remains of aquatic plants that died long ago, collecting at the bottom of lakes in horizontal layers that document the passing years. Using this ancient record, scientists are attempting to reconstruct how Arctic precipitation fluctuated over the past several millennia, potentially influencing the size of the Greenland Ice Sheet as the Earth warmed and cooled.