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2 May 2017

Leafing out to bring down CO2

It’s getting green outside – what’s it mean for the planet? Find out in this blog post contemplating the relationship between spring leaves and atmospheric CO2.


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16 May 2012

Contemplating the IARC-JAXA graph

One of the ~350 or so blogs I subscribe to is Arctic Sea Ice by Neven. Today, he put up a post highlighting new daily data from IARC-JAXA, a collaboration between the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).  Check it out. Here’s a couple of things I was struck by: The annual variation between summer and winter ice cover …


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7 February 2012

I have no idea

This image has been in my “to blog” folder for more than a year: But here’s the thing – I can’t think of what I was going for when I drew this. The closest I can figure is that I was trying to illustrate conceptually what differentiates diamictites from other poorly sorted sedimentary rocks. Any other ideas what I might have been thinking? Notice how small it is (only 468 …


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2 December 2011


From “Volcanic Versus Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide” by Terry Gerlach in the June 14, 2011 issue of EOS: Human activities emit ~135 times as much carbon dioxide as the world’s volcanoes? Holy cow.


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16 October 2011

A graphical dalliance

I read an article in the current issue of Physics Today with interest. It deals with the nature of scientific controversies, as percieved by the public and by specialists in the field in question. The author, Steven Sherwood, compares the origin of the ideas of a heliocentric solar system, general relativity, and human influence on the Earth’s climate. Each of them follows a similar pattern, he argues, with the initial …


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7 September 2011

Another updated aftershock plot…

A up-to-date tally of the aftershocks from the Mineral, Virginia earthquake is presented as a time vs. magnitude plot.


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30 August 2011

Updated aftershock plot

The USGS reports more aftershocks, so your humble graphing servant has responded with a plot that updates the images I showed you last week. Here you go: Embiggable, via a simple click. Again, the “decay” pattern jumps out at us. One thing that I’m also noticing is how there are no events below 2.0 magnitude. What’s up with that? Simply not detectable? …or not worth bothering with? By the way, …


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27 August 2011

Animated GIF of Virginia quake aftershocks

So last Tuesday we had an earthquake, and we expected some aftershocks as the crust in the Mineral, Virginia, area adjusted to the new stress regime. We expected those aftershocks to be lesser in magnitude, and to take place after the main shock. In other words, we would predict the following: And, indeed, over the past several days, that’s actually what happened:


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25 August 2011


Since Tuesday’s big earthquake, we’ve had 5* aftershocks in the same area (and possibly on the same fault). The most recent one popped off last night at 1am. Here’s a plot showing the size of the events (moment magnitude) relative to the passing of time: Note that the quakes that came after “the big one” are smaller in their size (the amount of energy that they release into the surrounding …


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10 June 2010

Graph beauty: T vs. viscosity for lavas

I spent the day lazily reading the igneous petrology chapters of Petrology by Blatt, Tracy, and Owens (third edition, 2006). Last time I read it, I didn’t get all that much from the igneous section, but this time around that’s the thing that motivated me to delve into it again. I don’t remember enough about igneous petrology from my school days, and while I have a little breathing room this …


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