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8 December 2011
Breaking the hydro-illogical cycle
The news about drought is that – compared to other natural hazards like earthquakes and hurricanes – it doesn’t make the news that often. Droughts are the “Rodney Dangerfield of natural hazards,” said Don Wilhite of the University of Nebraska. “They get no respect.”
Drilling to tell a tsunami tale
With several talks at the American Geophysical Union’s Fall Meeting focused on recent tsunamis and earthquakes, it’s easy to believe the next big one is headed towards the California coast RIGHT NOW – even though it probably isn’t. But according to models, an earthquake originating within Alaska’s Aleutian island chain could propel 7-10 meter (20-30 feet) tsunami waves to the California coast. With that possibility looming, a collaborative team is …
Japanese megaquake triggered tiny California tremors
As southern Californians absorbed the news of the devastating March 11 earthquake in Japan, seismic instruments under their feet sensed the shocks as well.
Scientists simulate explosive volcanic eruptions in the lab
Recipe for a volcano: take some rock powder from a recent eruption (basaltic-andesite works best), combine with some limestone in a small capsule, and cook in a pressure-cooker at 1200 degrees Celsius (2200 Fahrenheit) until gas bubbles form. Serve warm.
Extreme-living microbes take carbon from the air
Blazing orange and yellow mats of microbial communities layer the beds of Yellowstone’s springs. They’re clearly using up the environment’s iron and sulfur for their energy needs, he said. But they also need carbon and no one understood how the carbon was swirling into the mix.
7 December 2011
Doubling virtual carbon dioxide provides insight into atmospheric interactions
It’s an environmentalist’s nightmare: What would happen if the amount of carbon dioxide doubled overnight? Yutian Wu asked just that question.
Dino eggshells crack the case of a Cretaceous environment
Though long-gone, dinosaurs can help paint a picture of what the environment was like more than 65 million years ago. Oxygen and carbon from the food they ate and the water they drank left telltale signatures in their teeth and eggshells.
Antarctic ice streams start and stop as they slide
Glacier motion is not always graceful motion. Some glaciers are downright jerky, slipping along in fitful bursts. To better understand the process, scientists are studying ice streams: regions of ice that move faster than their surroundings.
Volcanic bridges across the abyss
A 200 nautical mile zone surrounds the United States, starting from three miles off U.S. shores, called the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Within the EEZ everything between the ocean surface and below the seafloor falls under U.S. jurisdiction – including fisheries or seafloor minerals. Proving that the continental shelf naturally extends past 200 nautical miles would allow the United States control of what is found on the seafloor and beneath it.
Growing with the flow: Stream currents shape microbial communities
To avoid getting flushed down streams, microbes form clingy communities called biofilms along aquatic thoroughfares. The resulting slippery sheets lining the streambed are in charge of many stream’s ecosystem processes. New data suggests how the microbes actually stick to and grow along channels – they let the water current shape them.