Venus Will Have a Fleet of Spacecraft as Europe Adds Orbiter Mission

The EnVision spacecraft will complement two NASA missions announced last week, ending the relative loneliness of a planet sometimes thought of as Earth’s twin.

#european-space-agency, #geology, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy, #venus-planet, #volcanoes, #water

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These Rocks Made a 1,000-Mile Trek. Did Dinosaurs Carry Them?

Researchers suggest a collection of prehistoric stones found in Wyoming journeyed from Wisconsin in the bellies of very large beasts.

#dinosaurs, #geology, #paleontology, #research, #rock-and-stone, #terra-nova-journal, #wisconsin, #wyoming, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

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The Water on Mars Vanished. This Might Be Where It Went.

Mars once had rivers, lakes and seas. Although the planet is now desert dry, scientists say most of the water is still there, just locked up in rocks.

#geology, #mars-planet, #oceans-and-seas, #research, #science-journal, #space-and-astronomy, #water

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New Zealand Faces Tsunami Threat After 8.1-Magnitude South Pacific Earthquake

The temblor was one of three powerful earthquakes that were recorded within eight hours off New Zealand, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

#auckland-new-zealand, #coast-erosion, #earthquakes, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #geology, #hawaii, #ige-david, #new-zealand, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #tonga, #united-states-geological-survey

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NASA Will Listen for Thumps on Mars From Perseverance Rover’s Arrival

Parts of the new visitor will make large impacts that could be picked up by the InSight spacecraft’s seismometer.

#earthquakes, #geology, #mars-planet, #mars-insight-spacecraft, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #space-and-astronomy

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Meet America’s 63rd National Park

The New River Gorge in West Virginia got the federal government’s highest protection, thanks, in part, to the latest pandemic relief bill.

#capito-shelley-moore, #coal, #geology, #hunting-and-trapping, #land-use-policies, #mines-and-mining, #national-park-service, #national-parks-monuments-and-seashores, #parachutes-and-parachute-jumping, #parks-and-other-recreation-areas, #travel-and-vacations, #west-virginia

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Whale Songs Could Reveal Deep Secrets Beneath the Oceans

The aquatic mammals’ sound waves penetrate into the rocks under the waves, which could assist seismologists’ surveys.

#earthquakes, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #geology, #noise, #oceans-and-seas, #pacific-ocean, #science-journal, #whales-and-whaling, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

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Watch This Billion-Year Journey of Earth’s Tectonic Plates

A new simulation offers a different view of how the continents we live on drifted into their current configuration.

#earth, #earth-science-reviews, #geology, #oceans-and-seas, #research, #your-feed-science

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The Cold Case of What’s Heating Up Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser

Scientists ruled out earthquakes and excessive snowfall as culprits in the series of outbursts from the world’s tallest active geyser.

#earthquakes, #geology, #geysers, #proceedings-of-the-national-academy-of-sciences, #rain, #research, #volcanoes, #water, #yellowstone-national-park, #your-feed-science

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‘A Slap in the Face’: The Pandemic Disrupts Young Oil Careers

Students and recent graduates struggle to get hired as the oil industry cuts tens of thousands of jobs, some of which may never come back.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #careers-and-professions, #colleges-and-universities, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #engineering-and-engineers, #geology, #labor-and-jobs, #layoffs-and-job-reductions, #natural-gas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #rice-university, #texas, #university-of-texas-at-austin

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China Moon Mission: Watch Chang’e-5 Launch From the Lunar Surface

Chang’e-5 will soon attempt to dock in lunar orbit with another spacecraft, ahead of returning a cache of moon rocks and dirt to scientists on our planet.

#china, #geology, #moon, #research, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy

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Watch the Moon Landing of China’s Chang’e-5 Spacecraft

Within hours of arriving, it started drilling and scooping lunar rocks and soil to bring back to Earth.

#china, #geology, #moon, #research, #space-and-astronomy

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Hawaii’s Fresh Water Leaks to the Ocean Through Underground Rivers

If the water could be pumped to the surface, it could help alleviate shortages on the island.

#aquifers, #geology, #hawaii-the-big-island, #islands, #oceans-and-seas, #research, #rivers, #science-advances-journal, #water, #your-feed-science

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China to Collect Moon Rocks in a Mission Launching Soon

It has been four decades since lunar samples were brought to Earth, and the Chang’e-5 spacecraft’s bounty could have great scientific value.

#apollo-project, #china, #geology, #moon, #research, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #solar-system, #space-and-astronomy

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Burning Fossil Fuels Helped Drive Earth’s Most Massive Extinction

Massive volcanic eruptions ignited oil and coal deposits in Siberia in the events that led to the Permian-Triassic “Great Dying” event.

#carbon-dioxide, #coal, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #nature-geoscience-journal, #oceans-and-seas, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

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Earthquake Rattles Parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island

The quake, which had a preliminary magnitude of 4.0, was also felt in the Long Island Sound, the United States Geological Survey said.

#connecticut, #earthquakes, #geology, #long-island-sound, #massachusetts, #rhode-island

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Grief and Geology Both Take Time in ‘The Book of Unconformities’

When the anthropologist Hugh Raffles lost two sisters within months, he looked to rocks and stones for a sense of perspective and stability.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #books-and-literature, #geology, #raffles-hugh, #rock-and-stone, #the-book-of-unconformities-speculations-on-lost-time-book

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Augmented reality could be the geology classroom’s killer app

Fancy a tabletop Meteor Crater, anyone?

Enlarge / Fancy a tabletop Meteor Crater, anyone? (credit: Scott K. Johnson)

One of the most important challenges in teaching geology is bringing the outside world into the classroom. During a pandemic, obviously, an inability to safely bring students into the classroom doesn’t make that any easier. Fortunately, digital tools can provide new ways to access the world beyond whichever room you find yourself in.

Geology is a very spatial science and can require a lot of 3-D visualization. Simple physical models (not to mention rocks) have long been used to aid teaching about things like faults or crystalline mineral structure. But these things can be surprisingly costly and occupy a surprising amount of storage space. This is an obvious place where technology can come in, serving up an endless variety of objects, simulations, and real-world data—if there’s an easy way for students to access it.

Augmented reality (AR) visualizations are increasingly capable of delivering on that promise. Ars talked to Martin Pratt about his work as part of a Washington University in St. Louis group that is developing apps for classes, both for specialized devices like Microsoft’s HoloLens and for the phones most students already have.

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#augmented-reality, #geology, #science, #science-education

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Did Something Burp? It Was an Earthquake

Years of observations in central Italy show that more carbon dioxide percolates through Earth’s crust during periods of strong seismic activity.

#carbon-dioxide, #earthquakes, #geology, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #italy, #research, #science-advances-journal, #your-feed-science

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When the Bronx Was a Forest: Stroll Through the Centuries

Yankee Stadium was the site of a salt marsh. Concourse Plaza was a valley. Our critic walks with Eric W. Sanderson, a conservation ecologist.

#architecture, #bronx-nyc, #bronx-zoo-wildlife-conservation-park, #forests-and-forestry, #geology, #new-york-botanical-garden, #sanderson-eric-w, #yankee-stadium-nyc

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Whence Came Stonehenge’s Stones? Now We Know

Last year archaeologists pinpointed the origin of many of the ancient monument’s massive stones. A new study identifies the source of the rest.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #geology, #monuments-and-memorials-structures, #rock-and-stone, #stonehenge-england, #your-feed-science

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These Microbes May Have Survived 100 Million Years Beneath the Seafloor

Rescued from their cold, cramped and nutrient-poor homes, the bacteria awoke in the lab and grew.

#bacteria, #extraterrestrial-life, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #geology, #microbiology, #nature-communications-journal, #oceans-and-seas, #pacific-ocean, #research, #your-feed-science

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Why NASA Picked Jezero Crater for the Perseverance Rover

Jezero crater, the destination of the Perseverance rover, is a promising place to look for evidence of extinct Martian life.

#bosnia-and-herzegovina, #geology, #grotzinger-john-p, #jet-propulsion-laboratory, #mars-planet, #names-geographical, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #nevada, #perseverance-mars-rover, #research, #science-and-technology, #smith-bradford-a, #space-and-astronomy

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Bringing Mars Rocks to Earth: Our Greatest Interplanetary Circus Act

NASA and the European Space Agency plan to toss rocks from one spacecraft to another before the samples finally land on Earth in 2031.

#european-space-agency, #geology, #mars-planet, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #research, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy

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Coming of Age on Mars

In a new book, planetary scientist Sarah Stewart Johnson recalls how the Red Planet drew her to become a scientist.

#books-and-literature, #curiosity-mars-rover, #deserts, #earth, #extraterrestrial-life, #geology, #johnson-sarah-stewart, #mars-planet, #microbiology, #planets, #science-and-technology, #solar-system, #space-and-astronomy, #the-sirens-of-mars-searching-for-life-on-another-world-book

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With Covid-19, a Seismic Quiet Like No Other

Coronavirus shutdowns led to “the longest and most coherent global seismic noise reduction in recorded history,” scientists report.

#barbados, #central-park-manhattan-ny, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #earthquakes, #geology, #noise, #research, #science-journal, #your-feed-science

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Scientists Find an Earthquake’s Toll in an Organism’s DNA

Along a coastline in New Zealand, kelp seems to contain a genetic record of the planet’s geological upheaval.

#dna-deoxyribonucleic-acid, #earthquakes, #genetics-and-heredity, #geology, #new-zealand, #proceedings-of-the-royal-society-b-journal, #research, #seaweed, #your-feed-science

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Yellowstone’s Supervolcano Is a Hot Spot, but It May Be Calming Down

Some researchers interpret a new timeline of some of the formation’s biggest eruptions as evidence that its activity is waning.

#geology, #geology-journal, #idaho, #knott-thomas, #research, #volcanoes, #yellowstone-national-park, #your-feed-science

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Plate tectonics vs. erosion—what sets the height of a mountain range?

The Andes along the border of Bolivia and Chile, as seen from the International Space Station.

Enlarge / The Andes along the border of Bolivia and Chile, as seen from the International Space Station. (credit: NASA EO)

If you think about mountain ranges like the Andes or the Himalayas, you can come up with multiple factors that must affect their size and shape. There’s the collision of tectonic plates that squeezes them up into the air, of course. At a subduction zone where oceanic crust sinks downward beneath the continent, you can also sprout volcanos that grow skyward. On the other side of the ledger, various weathering and erosional processes sculpt the peaks. Streams cut sharp V-shaped valleys, while glaciers scrape out broad U-shaped ones instead. Either way, the end result is that the high places are gradually worn down, their rock scattered into the lowlands.

So what, exactly, is the primary control on the range’s height? Is it just a function of the plate tectonic forces? Or does climate dictate things by setting the rate at which the peaks are consumed?

This is an actual topic of considerable debate in geology, with arguments going both ways. A team led by Armin Dielforder at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences wanted to test these hypotheses in a new way. The researchers set out to calculate the theoretical height of mountain ranges based purely on the tectonic forces. If erosion is dominant, you would see big mismatches between theoretical and actual heights—hopefully varying along with factors that influence erosion, like the climate.

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#geology, #plate-tectonics, #science

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Culprit for Mass Extinction 445 Million Years Ago? Global Warming

A planet heated by giant volcanic eruptions drove the earliest known wipeout of life on Earth.

#bond-david, #carbon-dioxide, #earth, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #geology, #geology-journal, #grasby-stephen, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #scotland, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

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New data indicates the Mississippi Delta is on borrowed time

The drowning of Louisiana's wetlands is "inevitable."

Enlarge / The drowning of Louisiana’s wetlands is “inevitable.” (credit: Louisiana Sierra Club)

Since 1932, coastal wetlands in Louisiana have declined by about 25 percent. At its fastest, the decline was around one football field lost every 34 minutes; at its slowest, every 100 minutes. The Pelican State is losing ground faster than any other state in the contiguous United States. And those losses reach far beyond its borders: coastal Louisiana plays a crucial role in fisheries, shipping, and oil and gas production.

In recent years, the wetlands have been faring better than in previous decades, possibly because there hasn’t been a Katrina-level storm in that time. But a study published last week in Science Advances suggests that this is a temporary reprieve. With sea levels rising as rapidly as they are, the wetlands, including the famed Mississippi Delta, are likely to be gone in a matter of decades—or, at most, centuries.

Tipping point

Coastal Louisiana is currently home to 15,000 square kilometers of marshland, a critical ecosystem held together by a complex, interlocking set of processes. The tide washes in; plants grow and die; sediment is brought in by rivers and builds up. If the system changes—for instance, if sea levels rise rapidly—the marsh changes, too.

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#climate-change, #earth-science, #geology, #science

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The Mount St. Helens Eruption Was the Volcanic Warning We Needed

It’s been 40 years since the sideways explosion that changed volcanology forever.

#geology, #mount-st-helens-wash, #volcanoes, #washington-state, #your-feed-science

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When Manhattan Was Mannahatta: A Stroll Through the Centuries

From lush forest to metropolis, the evolution of Lower Manhattan. Our critic walks with Eric W. Sanderson of the Wildlife Conservation Society.

#architecture, #battery-park-manhattan-ny, #ellis-island-nyc, #geology, #governors-island-manhattan-ny, #hudson-henry, #lenape, #mannahatta-a-natural-history-of-new-york-city-book, #new-york-harbor, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #rivers, #sanderson-eric-w, #todt-hill-staten-island-ny, #wildlife-conservation-society

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We’re making garbage patches on the ocean floor, too

Microplastics are transported in the deep sea by turbidity currents and bottom currents, which concentrate them in hotspots known as sediment drifts.

Enlarge / Microplastics are transported in the deep sea by turbidity currents and bottom currents, which concentrate them in hotspots known as sediment drifts. (credit: I. Kane et al. (2020))

Every year, millions of tonnes of plastic enter the oceans. If they’re buoyant, they get swept by surface currents into massive “garbage patches” like the famous ones in the North Pacific Ocean. But the tiny fragments and fibers of microplastics are harder to trace. As researchers have built up more evidence of their distribution, it’s becoming clearer that they may have a tendency to accumulate in particularly unfortunate places, like the surface currents where prey is plentiful and juvenile fish do a lot of feeding.

A paper in Science today reports a new hotspot: regions of the seafloor where sediments, swept along by deep currents, accumulate. Those same currents transport oxygen and nutrients to deep-sea ecosystems, meaning that the microplastics are probably accumulating in some of the most biodiverse spots of the seafloor.

Buried plastic

Much like weather on land, ocean currents are a morass of complex, interconnected systems, affected by local physical features. This makes it difficult to understand where plastics might end up. But we do know there’s a lot to track. Right now, only around one percent of the plastic in the oceans seems to accumulate on the surface; much of the rest probably settles in the depths.

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#geology, #microplastics, #oceans, #science

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Did Heavy Rain Make Hawaii’s Kilauea Volcano Erupt?

Two earth scientists offered a new model to explain destructive activity in 2018, but a number of their colleagues aren’t buying it.

#amelung-falk, #farquharson-jamie, #geology, #hawaii, #kilauea-volcano-hawaii, #nature-journal, #rain, #research, #volcanoes, #your-feed-science

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Volcanoes where they shouldn’t be? Maybe it’s a mantle sponge

Volcanoes where they shouldn’t be? Maybe it’s a mantle sponge

Enlarge (credit: Google Earth)

The location and characteristics of most of the world’s volcanoes can be explained with just two recipes for magma production. The melting point of rock depends on pressure, so hot mantle rock flowing up toward the surface can melt as the pressure drops. The addition of water lowers the melting point, too, so water-laden seafloor plates can trigger melt as they sink down into the Earth at subduction zones. These two facts generally explain both volcanoes along plate boundaries—like the Pacific Ring of Fire or the mid-ocean ridges—and those at hot spots like Hawaii and Yellowstone.

But when looking back through Earth’s history, there are plenty of volcanic weirdos that don’t seem to line up with the figures in a textbook. There are volcanoes in the interior of the Western US, for example, far from any relevant plate boundary or hotspot. A new study by Jianfeng Yang and Manuele Faccenda of the University of Padua examines another difficult-to-explain set of past eruptions, both east and west of Japan.

Oddities near Japan

Japan sits on a subduction zone, with the Pacific seafloor sinking downward beneath the island. That’s the cause of both Japan’s dangerous earthquakes and its volcanic peaks like Mt. Fuji. But a thousand kilometers to the west, in northeast China, there are remnants of old volcanism. And 600 kilometers to the east, there are more recent basalt seamounts at the bottom of the ocean.

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#geology, #plate-tectonics, #science, #volcanoes

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