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This is an archive of AGU's GeoSpace blog through 1 July 2020. New content about AGU research can be found on Eos and the AGU newsroom.

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15 December 2015

Restoring white Arctic will fall to future generations who never knew it

Scientists and policymakers have discussed for decades how to slow the rate of global warming and melting Arctic ice—most recently at the Paris talks—but few have discussed how to restore the ice after it is lost. That task will likely fall to future generations who not only grew up without a white Arctic but may have conflicting interests in keeping it blue, according to an analysis presented on Monday by scientists at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

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9 December 2015

Making Earth and Space Science Data Matter

This is part of a new series of posts that highlight the importance of Earth and space science data and its contributions to society. Posts in this series showcase data facilities and data scientists; explain how Earth and space science data is collected, managed and used; explore what this data tells us about the planet; and delve into the challenges and issues involved in managing and using data. This series is intended to demystify Earth and space science data, and share how this data shapes our understanding of the world.

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4 December 2015

Dinosaur-killing asteroid may have caused global algal bloom, marine extinction

The asteroid impact suspected of killing the dinosaurs may also have triggered a global algal bloom that contributed to a massive marine extinction more than 60 million years ago, according to a new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

Around 66 million years ago, an asteroid 10 kilometers (six miles) in diameter slammed into the Yucatan peninsula, creating a crater 180 kilometers (110 miles) across and 20 kilometers (12 miles) deep. The Chicxulub impact sent tiny spheres of material up into the atmosphere where they became super-heated. Approximately 1023 of these microscopic spherules were ejected and re-entered the atmosphere to create a global carpet of silica glass 3-millimeters (0.19-inches) thick, known geologically as the Cretaceous-Paleogene layer.

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2 December 2015

Hydrothermal Hunt: How to recover an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

The Sentry Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) can reach depths of 6,000 m (or about 3.73 miles) below sea level. It is one the best tools for detailed mapping of the water column and deep ocean floor. But even if your instrument has survived the crushing hydrostatic pressures at the bottom of the ocean, you will find another kind of pressure waiting back up on deck. Recovering unique and precious scientific equipment out of the swelling ocean and putting it back onto a moving ship is an intimidating prospect. Here AUV Program manager, Carl Kaiser, gives us his key tips for ensuring a smooth AUV recovery and how to cope when things start to go wrong.

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25 November 2015

Tracking Down Hydrothermal Vents

Scattered along the barren ocean floor lie uncounted hydrothermal vent sites—oases of hot, chemical-rich, life-nurturing fluids. These oases are a submarine version of Yellowstone National Park.

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24 November 2015

Mariana: The Tectonic Neighborhood

This is the latest in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. This November, scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor will aim to shed light on the Mariana Back-arc, which is expected to be teeming with activity and life. Over the course of their 27 day mission at sea they will explore the back-arc spreading center to find new sites of hydrothermal activity and to better understand the physical, chemical, and geological forces that shape biodiversity in these unique ecosystems. Read more posts here, and track the Falkor’s progress here.

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More about the Mariana Hydrothermal Hunt

This is the latest in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. This November, scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor will aim to shed light on the Mariana Back-arc, which is expected to be teeming with activity and life. Over the course of their 27 day mission at sea they will explore the back-arc spreading center to find new sites of hydrothermal activity and to better understand the physical, chemical, and geological forces that shape biodiversity in these unique ecosystems. Read more posts here, and track the Falkor’s progress here.

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23 November 2015

Hydrothermal Hunt at Mariana

This is the first in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. This November, scientists aboard the research vessel Falkor will aim to shed light on the Mariana Back-arc, which is expected to be teeming with activity and life. Over the course of their over the course of their 27 day mission at sea they will explore the back-arc spreading center to find new sites of hydro-thermal activity and to better understand the physical, chemical, and geological forces that shape biodiversity in these unique ecosystems. Read more posts here.

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17 November 2015

Rotation an important factor in Earth’s evolution

Around 4.5 billion years ago, shortly after the solar system was formed, an object roughly the size of Mars smashed into Earth. The energy of this impact sheared off enough material to create the Moon and melt the young Earth’s mantle into a giant ocean of magma roughly 1,000 kilometers (approximately 621 miles) deep. This magma ocean set the stage for the evolution of the Earth’s rocky mantle and could have created Earth’s early magnetic field which shielded the planet from the solar wind and facilitated the evolution of life on Earth.

Now, a new study proposes that Earth’s rotation – previously assumed to be unimportant in the evolution of the magma ocean – could have influenced how the hot liquid rock solidified.

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9 November 2015

Tamu Massif: Closing thoughts from Chief Scientist Dr. William Sager

This is the last post in a series of dispatches from scientists and education officers aboard the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s R/V Falkor. The crew is on 36-day research trip to study Tamu Massif, a massive underwater volcano, located 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) east of Japan in the Shatsky Rise.

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