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13 April 2015

Review of a paper: progressive failure leading to a rockfall in Catalonia, Spain

An important new paper by Royan et al (2015) has used terrestrial LiDAR to examine progressive failure of a rockslope in Spain.


7 April 2015

Why I study soggy volcanoes

One of my New Year’s resolutions was to talk more about my research, and I thought it would be good to start with my basic elevator speech: I study how water and heat interact in stratovolcanoes, and how that can make them unstable even if they’re not erupting.


10 March 2015

Review of a paper – the 27th February 2014 San Leo landslide in northern Italy

In a newly published paper, Lisa Borgatti and colleagues describe the February 2014 landslide that affected the historical town of San Leo in northern Italy, providing both a description of the event and a historical context. Landslides will be a major threat to this historical site in the coming decades


9 February 2015

Simulating submarine landslides

Joris Eggenhuisen has published a fascinating video on Youtube showing a simulation of submarine landslides using the Eurotank Flume at Utrecht University


4 January 2015

Punctuated equilibrium of the career

Happy New Year! 2014 was full of big, rapid changes for me, which is what prompted me to think about the punctuated equilibrium concept.


6 November 2014

Getting sketchy (when it comes to geology)

I was inspired to think about the topic of drawing (and markerboards) by the great post by Miles Traer on using stick figure animations to explain complex science concepts. I don’t know if geoscientists are a special breed in that they often default toward drawing out their ideas and thoughts, but I’ve always found it to be an invaluable part of my research process.


16 April 2014

Arroumd – an interesting rock avalanche in Morocco

In a new paper, Hughes et al. (2014) have shown that there is a the remains of a large rock avalanche at Arroumd in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Dating suggests that this might have been triggered by an earrthquake on a nearby fault about 4500 years ago.


6 January 2014

New paper review – seismic data generated by the Bingham Canyon landslide

A new paper examines the geophysical data generated by the Bingham Canyon landslide, showing the rock avalanches induced tectonic aftershocks.


11 December 2013

AGU Fall Meeting 2013: Wednesday

Another busy day in the works! Today I’ll be checking out a new form of talks, the “Water Sciences Pop-Ups” (ED31F, 8-10AM in Moscone South 301). They’re five-minute student discussions about the future of water sciences, without the formality of a powerpoint, and I’m hoping they’ll be exciting and fast-paced.


16 January 2013

New research: extreme precipitation and landslides in 2010

A review of a paper examining the linkages between high levels of landslides in 2010 and large scale rainfall patterns


5 December 2012

AGU 2012 Days 1 – 3

I’m forgoing my day-by-day posting this year because my schedule has been nuts – I’m hardly able to finish a meeting before I have to move on to something else!

On Sunday afteernoon I arrived to happily clear skies and a relaxing ride into San Francisco. Naturally, this meant I had to immediately start going to meetitngs – training for moderrating my first oral session, and our annual student representative meeting. (Students, watch out for new developments in your sections, including webinars, mentoring programs, and new volunteer opportunities throughout AGU! The Union Council has already added three studeent and three early-career seats, and they’re looking to get students involvedd in even more ways.)


26 September 2012

Download a free copy of my Geology paper “Global Patterns of Loss of Life from Landslides”

A free download is now available of my recent paper in Geology about global fatalities from landslides


16 August 2012

Global patterns of loss of life from landslides – my new paper in the journal Geology

My paper on landslide impacts on human life worldwide has just been published in Nature. This post briefly review the results.


4 June 2012

Landslides and Engineered Slopes: Protecting Society Through Improved Understanding

This is the powerpoint presentation of my opening keynote address at the 11th International Symposium on Landslides and Engineered Slopes


28 March 2012

If you were to wander into my office this afternoon…

…this is the scene you’d see playing out.


4 January 2012

Science Resolutions -or- Grad School Lessons Learned

Now that I have finished graduate school and am an older, wiser “post-doctoral fellow”, I was planning to put together a post containing advice on grad school. But then as I thought about it, I realized that the bulk of my advice fell into the “do as I say, not as I do” category. That, combined with the new year and accompanying new job, led me to re-tool my advice …


23 October 2011

Cell Phone Spectrometer

Working with light and spectrometers is a part of my job. I worked with lab-built spectrometers and tunable lasers as a grad student at Montana State. At Los Alamos I worked with a mock-up of the ChemCam spectrometers and laser system. I still work with spectrometers at Apogee Instruments. I am also a smart-phone nerd. Recently, I stumbled onto an article about research using a modified cell-phone to enable doctors to perform in-situ analysis by turning the phone into a microscope or spectrometer.


22 June 2011

Archival Gold: USGS National Geologic Map Database

Time for another of these, since I haven’t done one in a while! This Archival Gold post departs a bit from the photo theme, but it’s no less useful – in fact, it was one of the most useful websites I ever encountered as an undergrad. The U. S. Geological Survey’s National Geologic Map Database contains records of, and often links to, more than 85,000 maps related to a variety of subjects: geology, hazards, earth resources, geophysics, geochemistry, geochronology, paleontology, and marine geology.


5 February 2011

Archival Gold: National Resources Conservation Service Photo Gallery

Following up on my last post, in which I mentioned volcanic soils (and the plants that can be found in volcanic settings), I thought I’d feature a photo gallery that highlights some of those same things. The National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is part of the Department of Agriculture, and is responsible for helping to improve, protect, and conserve natural resources on private lands through a cooperative partnership with local and state agencies. (It used to be known as the Soil Conservation Service, but its mission has expanded beyond soil to other natural resources.) The NRCS Photo Gallery features photos of natural resources and conservation activities in the United States, as well as images of NRCS activities and employees


12 January 2011

Archival Gold: The NOAA Photo Library

The next feature for “Archival Gold”, posts featuring public-domain Earth science images, is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Photo Library. Here’s a bit about it from their site:

The NOAA Photo Library has been built so as to capture the work, observations, and studies that are carried on by the scientists, engineers, commissioned officers, and administrative personnel that make up this complex and scientifically diverse agency. It also has been built in an attempt to capture NOAA’s scientific heritage, which is in fact a heritage shared by much of the physical and environmental science communities in the United States today.