Solving the rock-hard problem of nuclear waste disposal

A tunnel in Finland’s nuclear waste repository.

Enlarge / A tunnel in Finland’s nuclear waste repository. (credit: Posiva)

Even if all nuclear power plants were shut down today, there’s a mountain of radioactive waste waiting to be disposed of. Yet only Finland has an approved solution for nuclear waste disposal, while projects in the US, UK, and Germany have failed for decades, and progress is also slow in other countries. With growing calls to extend the life of existing nuclear power stations and build new ones, that mountain of radioactive waste sitting in temporary, vulnerable, and expensive storage will keep growing.

The challenge is daunting. “High-level” nuclear waste, which includes spent nuclear fuel, stays radioactive for hundreds of millennia, so a waste facility must keep it safely away from aquifers, violent weather, war, plane crashes, sea level rise, future ice sheets, volcanic activity, and even curious future humans for a time span that dwarfs all of previous human history.

Ultimately, it’s the geology of a proposed disposal site that determines if it’s a safe place to entrust nuclear waste for millennia. We talked to people involved in the Finnish, US, and UK programs about what investigations of the rock and groundwater at those sites revealed about their suitability—or lack thereof.

Read 50 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#energy, #geology, #nuclear-power, #nuclear-waste, #science

NASA Will Send More Helicopters to Mars

Instead of sending another rover to help retrieve rock and dirt samples from the red planet and bring them to Earth, the agency will provide the helicopters as a backup option.

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

Driving Iceland’s Overlooked North

For those seeking an alternative to the popular Golden Circle, the Diamond Circle winds through volcanic landscapes featuring powerful waterfalls, misty vistas and sulfurous pools.

#geology, #iceland, #travel-and-vacations

An encyclopedia of geology that’s less a reference than a journey

Image of purple crystals inside a grey shell of rock.

Enlarge / An amethyst may make a good metaphor for geology as a whole. (credit: Getty Images)

To outsiders, geology can seem as dull as a rock, with a lexicon just as opaque, but to insiders, it is a limitless source of wonder. Various authors have used different tools to crack open geology’s dull exterior to show non-geologists the sparkling wonders within: Robert Hazen used color; Jan Zalasiewicz used a pebble; and Richard Fortey used a railway journey, for example.

Marcia Bjornerud uses words to unlock the mysteries of geology the way a video game might use gems to unlock a new level to explore. Her new book is a buffet of bite-size chapters perfect for dipping in and out of, read in no particular order. Geopedia is structured like an encyclopedia to the extent that its topics are arranged alphabetically, but it’s written for enjoyment rather than as a mere fact-reference.

Bjornerud keeps the reading light even when serving up expanses of time and space, and she follows each geological ‘dish’ with a chaser of pointers to other entries that may be related, if only tangentially. After “Amethyst,” for example, she suggests “Kimberlite,” a diamond ore, and “Pedogenesis,” the process by which soil is made.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#book-review, #geology, #science

NASA Sees ‘Otherworldly’ Wreckage on Mars With Ingenuity Helicopter

The debris was part of the equipment that helped the Perseverance mission safely land on the red planet in 2021.

#eclipses, #engineering-and-engineers, #geology, #helicopters, #jet-propulsion-laboratory, #mars-planet, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #research, #rocket-science-and-propulsion, #space-and-astronomy

Backward-Flowing Rivers Can Destabilize Ice Shelves

“Estuaries” from the ocean onto the ice can cause fractures and contribute to sea-level rise

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #environment, #geology

A tsunami wiped out ancient communities the Atacama Desert 3,800 years ago

A tsunami wiped out ancient communities the Atacama Desert 3,800 years ago

Enlarge (credit: Salazar et al. 2022)

A recent study of geological deposits and archaeological remains has identified a massive earthquake and tsunami that wiped out communities along the coastline of Chile’s Atacama Desert around 3,800 years ago. Studying the ancient disaster—and people’s responses to it—could help with modern hazard planning along the seismically active coast.

A long-forgotten disaster

Broken walls and toppled stones reveal the calamity that struck Zapatero, an ancient community in what’s now northern Chile, about 4,000 years ago.

The people who lived along the coast of the Atacama Desert 5,700 to 4,000 years ago built villages of small stone houses atop massive piles of shells (Zapatero’s shell-filled midden is two meters deep and spans 6 square kilometers). Usually, these houses stood adjacent to each other, opening onto inner patios. People buried their dead beneath the houses’ floors. The cement floors were made from algae ash, seawater, and shells—the same material that held the stone walls together.

Read 21 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#ancient-people-did-stuff, #ancient-south-america, #archaeology, #atacama-desert, #chile, #earthquakes, #geoarchaeology, #geology, #natural-disasters, #pre-columbian-civilizations, #science, #tsunamis

A new picture of the hot water beneath Yellowstone’s geysers

Image of a hot spring with intense colors in the water and surrounding soil.

Enlarge / Grand Prismatic Spring, Midway Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, (credit: Ignacio Palacios / Getty Images)

The vast volcanic caldera at Yellowstone National Park is just the latest in a long string of volcanic sites, all of which seem to be linked to a hot blob of material that may go all the way down to the Earth’s mantle. There’s been a lot of effort put into tracing that hot material, given that some of the earlier eruptions from it have been utterly enormous.

But there’s also a connection between that hot material and the features like geysers and hot springs that make Yellowstone a major tourist destination. And those connections are very difficult to trace. But a new study has proposed a map that shows how the hot water of Yellowstone flows under beneath the feet of visitors and why it reaches the surface at specific sites.

Mapping the plumbing

We tend to talk about water under our feet as traveling through underground rivers, but that creates a misleading image. In reality, water creeps along as a broad flow through permeable materials, its path shifted by things like faults and hard, impermeable rock like granite. Tracking it isn’t the simplest thing.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#geology, #geysers, #science, #volcanoes, #yellowstone

When a seismic network failed, citizen science stepped in

The Raspberry Shake, a simple seismograph based on Raspberry Pi hardware.

Enlarge / The Raspberry Shake, a simple seismograph based on Raspberry Pi hardware. (credit: Mike Hotchkiss, Raspberry Shake)

On the afternoon of January 12, 2010, a magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck about 16 miles west of Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. Among the most significant seismic disasters recorded, more than 100,000 people lost their lives. The damage—costing billions of dollars—rendered more than a million people homeless and destroyed much of the region’s infrastructure. The earth tore at the relatively shallow depth of about 8 miles, toppling poorly constructed buildings.

At the time, Haiti had no national seismic network. After the devastating event, scientists installed expensive seismic stations around the country, but that instrumentation requires funding, care, and expertise; today, those stations are no longer functional. In 2019, seismologists opted to try something different and far less expensive—citizen seismology via Raspberry Shakes.

On the morning of August 14, 2021, amidst a summer of COVID-19 lockdowns and political unrest, another earthquake struck, providing the opportunity to test just how useful these Raspberry-pi powered devices could be. In a paper published on Thursday in Science, researchers described using the Raspberry Shake data to demonstrate that this citizen science network successfully monitored both the mainshock and subsequent aftershocks and provided data integral to untangling what turned out to be a less-than-simple rending of the earth.

Read 23 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#earthquakes, #geology, #haiti, #raspberry-pi, #raspberry-shake, #science, #seismology

How would an Earth-like planet look in Alpha Centauri?

Artist's impression of what an Earth-like planet might look like in a nearby star system.

Enlarge / Artist’s impression of what an Earth-like planet might look like in a nearby star system. (credit: ESO/L. Calçada)

We now know that our nearest neighbor, Proxima Centauri, is host to at least two planets. But we’re not sure if there are any planets near Alpha Centauri, a binary system just beyond that. If there are, however, we now know what they might look like. New research has used modeling and spectroscopic data of the system’s two stars to estimate what a rocky planet in the system’s habitable zone might be made of.

To estimate the composition of this hypothetical planet—dubbed α-Cen-Earth—the team developed what they call a devolatilization model. To start, they looked at the amounts of volatile (hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, etc.) and non-volatile elements (like iron and silicon) in the Sun and the Earth and looked at how they differed.

Armed with this data, the team then looked at high-resolution spectroscopy data about the elements in the α Centauri A and α Centauri B stars—which provided them information about 22 elements. From their model and this data, they could estimate possible compositions of a hypothetical rocky planet in the system’s habitable zone. “You get a model of the chemical composition of rocky planets that would be in the habitable zone,” Charley Lineweaver, one of the paper’s authors, told Ars.

Read 5 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#alpha-centauri, #astrogeology, #astrophysics, #elements, #geology, #modelling, #planets, #science, #solar-systems, #stars

Utah’s red rock towers shake and shimmy to a predictable beat

Eagle Plume Tower in Bears Ears, Utah. Geologists at the University of Utah have developed a mathematical model to predict the fundamental resonant frequencies of this and similar formations based on the formations' geometry and material properties.

Enlarge / Eagle Plume Tower in Bears Ears, Utah. Geologists at the University of Utah have developed a mathematical model to predict the fundamental resonant frequencies of this and similar formations based on the formations’ geometry and material properties. (credit: Geohazards Research Group)

The striking red rock towers and arch formations peppered throughout Southern Utah and the Colorado Plateau are known to shake and sway in response to earthquakes, high winds, thermal stresses, and other sources of vibration, such as those from helicopters, trains, passing vehicles, and blasts. Being able to assess the stability of these structures, and detect any damage from vibrations, can be challenging. That’s why geologists have been measuring the natural frequencies of these towers for several years now.

Led by University of Utah geologist Jeff Moore, the group of geologists maintains an entire webpage devoted to its seismic recordings of the natural resonances (vibrations) that come out of the Utah red rock towers and arches. The geologists have now used that data set to develop a theory that can predict the frequencies at which these formations vibrate and deform, described in a recent paper published in the journal Seismological Research Letters.

Overcoming hurdles

As we’ve reported previously, understanding those dynamics is crucial to being able to predict how the structures will respond in the event of an earthquake or similar disruption. Yet, there haven’t been many ongoing efforts to do so over the years, despite a great deal of research on manmade civil structures. One of the major challenges has been gaining the access necessary to make those vibrational measurements in the first place. Either the formations are restricted (the better to preserve them for posterity), or it’s simply too difficult to place sensors in hard-to-reach spots on the formations.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#geohazards, #geology, #geophysics, #red-rock-towers, #resonant-frequency, #science, #seismology

On Mars, a NASA Rover and Helicopter’s Year of Surprise and Discovery

The past 12 months on Mars have been both “exciting” and “exhausting” for scientists and engineers minding Perseverance and Ingenuity. And the mission is only really getting started.

#engineering-and-engineers, #geology, #ingenuity-mars-helicopter, #mars-planet, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #robots-and-robotics, #rock-and-stone, #space-and-astronomy

The Tsunami Could Kill Thousands. Can They Build An Escape?

A major quake in the Pacific Northwest, expected sooner or later, will most likely create waves big enough to wipe out entire towns. Evacuation towers may be the only hope, if they ever get built.

#earthquakes, #evacuations-and-evacuees, #geology, #oceans-and-seas, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #washington-state

Dissolving in Toxic Oceans: How an Ancient Extinction Happened

Scientists say rocks on the English coast contain clues of the processes that drove the end-Triassic event that killed as much as a quarter of all life on Earth.

#carbon-dioxide, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #fish-and-other-marine-life, #fossils, #geology, #geology-journal, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oceans-and-seas, #paleontology, #volcanoes, #your-feed-animals, #your-feed-science

Did a large impact remix the Moon’s interior?

Image of a red and green sphere with a large blue oval in the center.

Enlarge / The blue area is the basin formed by the largest impact on the Moon. Additional craters have formed by subsequent impacts. (credit: NASA/GSFC/University of Arizona)

As the Moon coalesced from the debris of an impact early in the Solar System’s history, the steady stream of orbital impacts is thought to have formed a magma ocean, leaving the body liquid. That should have allowed its components to mix evenly, creating a roughly uniform body. But with the onset of space exploration, we were finally able to get our first good look at the far side of the Moon.

It turned out to look quite different from the side we were familiar with, with very little in the way of the dark regions, called mare, that dominate the side facing Earth. These differences are also reflected in the chemical composition of the rocks on the different sides. If the whole Moon was once a well-mixed blob of magma, how did it end up with such a major difference between two of its faces? A new study links this difference to the Moon’s largest impact crater.

A big crash

The South Pole-Aitken Basin is one of the largest impact craters in the Solar System, but again, we didn’t realize it was there until after we put a craft in orbit around the Moon. All we can see from Earth are some of the ridges that are part of the outer crater wall. Most of the 2,500 kilometers of the crater itself extend into the far side of the Moon.

Read 9 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#astronomy, #geology, #impact-crater, #moon, #planetary-science, #science

Cliff Collapses on Boaters in Brazil, Killing 10

The tragedy in Minas Gerais state gripped the nation because it was captured on videos that showed an immense slab of rock smashing into pleasure boats.

#boats-and-boating, #brazil, #deaths-fatalities, #geology, #minas-gerais-brazil

Chinese Rover Finds Moon Cube Is Just Rabbit-Like Rock

A blurry image that China’s space program had called the “mystery hut” was a result of camera angle, light and shadow.

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

New Technology Monitors Collapsing Glaciers

Deep vibrations called infrasound can provide an early warning of ice avalanches’ speed and trajectory

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #environment, #geology

Virtual 3D models of ammonite fossils show their muscles for first time

Stylized image of nautilus-style creature.

Enlarge (credit: Lesley Cherns et al.)

Researchers created a highly detailed 3D model of a 365-million-year-old ammonite fossil from the Jurassic period by combining advanced imaging techniques, revealing internal muscles that have never been previously observed, according to a paper published last month in the journal Geology. Another paper published last month in the journal Papers in Paleontology reported on the creation of 3D virtual models of the armored plates from fossilized skeletons of two new species of ancient worms, dating from 400 million years ago.

The ammonite fossil used in the Geology study was discovered in 1998 at the Claydon Pike pit site in Gloucestershire, England, which mostly comprises poorly cemented sands, sandstone, and limestone. Plenty of fragmented mollusk shells are scattered throughout the site, but this particular specimen was remarkably intact, showing no signs of prolonged exposure via scavenging, shell encrustation, or of being exhumed from elsewhere and redeposited. The fossil is currently housed at the National Museum Wales, Cardiff.

“When I found the fossil, I immediately knew it was something special,” said co-author Neville Hollingworth, public engagement manager at the Science and Technology Facilities Council. “The shell split in two and the body of the fossil fell out revealing what looked like soft tissues. It is wonderful to finally know what these are through the use of state-of-the-art imaging techniques.”

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#12-days-of-christmas, #3d-virtual-models, #biology, #fossils, #geology, #micro-ct-imaging, #neutron-imaging, #paleobiology, #paleontology, #science

Noblewoman’s tomb reveals new secrets of ancient Rome’s highly durable concrete

The Tomb of Caecilia Metella is a mausoleum located just outside Rome at the three mile marker of the Via Appia.

Enlarge / The Tomb of Caecilia Metella is a mausoleum located just outside Rome at the three mile marker of the Via Appia. (credit: ivioandronico2013/CC BY-SA 4.0)

Among the many popular tourist sites in Rome is an impressive 2000-year-old mausoleum along the Via Appia known as the Tomb of Caecilia Metella, a noblewoman who lived in the first century CE. Lord Byron was among those who marveled at the structure, even referencing it in his epic poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage  (1812-1818). Now scientists have analyzed samples of the ancient concrete used to build the tomb, describing their findings in a paper published in October in the Journal of the American Ceramic Society.

“The construction of this very innovative and robust monument and landmark on the Via Appia Antica indicates that [Caecilia Metella] was held in high respect,” said co-author Marie Jackson, a geophysicist at the University of Utah.  “And the concrete fabric 2,050 years later reflects a strong and resilient presence.”

Like today’s Portland cement (a basic ingredient of modern concrete), ancient Roman concrete was basically a mix of a semi-liquid mortar and aggregate. Portland cement is typically made by heating limestone and clay (as well as sandstone, ash, chalk, and iron) in a kiln. The resulting clinker is then ground into a fine powder, with just a touch of added gypsum—the better to achieve a smooth, flat surface. But the aggregate used to make Roman concrete was made up fist-size pieces of stone or bricks

Read 16 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#12-days-of-christmas, #ancient-rome, #archaeology, #biz-it, #gaming-culture, #geology, #geophysics, #history, #materials-science, #roman-concrete, #science

Rainy years can’t make up for California’s groundwater use

Image of a canal running through very dry terrain.

Enlarge / When the California aqueducts can’t carry enough water, many areas of the state turn to groundwater. (credit: Steve Proehl)

Over a third of American vegetables are grown in California, largely in the state’s Central Valley. The region also produces two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts. These crops—and the many Americans who produce and consume them—are heavily reliant on California’s water supply. But, given recurrent and severe droughts, the state’s groundwater supply has been strained.

When surface water supplies run low, most arid regions worldwide turn instead to their groundwater. But past mismanagement of the groundwater in California has caused parts of the state to sink as much as 30 feet and has also increased the frequency of earthquakes along the San Andreas fault.

Just as importantly, the state’s groundwater storage may have been depleted to a point where recovery may take many decades. But, given that this supply is—as its name suggests—in the ground, changes to groundwater aren’t the easiest to measure; the available approaches each have advantages and disadvantages. A new study uses a combination of four of the leading methods to show that California’s aquifers haven’t been recovering from overdrafts during the droughts over the last two decades—and they’re unlikely to do so unless policymakers put more limits in place soon.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#geology, #ground-water, #science, #water

A sublime landscape: New model explains Pluto’s lumpy plains

Greyscale image of topographic features.

Enlarge / The polygons of Sputnik Planitium. (credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI)

Expectations for active geology on Pluto were pretty low prior to the arrival of the New Horizons probe. But the photos that came back from the dwarf planet revealed a world of mountains, ridges, and… strange lumpy things that don’t have an obvious Earthly analog. One of the more prominent oddities was the plain of Sputnik Planitia, filled with nitrogen ice that was divided into polygonal shapes separated by gullies that were tens of meters deep.

Scientists quickly came up with a partial explanation for these structures: convection, where heat differences cause deeper, warmer nitrogen ices to bubble through the soft material toward the surface. The problem is that the planet has no obvious sources of heat deep inside. Now, however, a group of European researchers is suggesting that the convection could be driven by surface cooling, rather than heat from the planet’s interior. The secret is the sublimation of nitrogen ices directly into vapors.

Lacking heat

Explaining the formations on small, icy bodies like Pluto is difficult because scientists expect that they lack the heat sources that drive plate tectonics, like those on Earth. These icy bodies are small enough that any heat generated by the collisions that built them, and the dwarf planet, dissipated long ago. And they don’t have enough metallic materials for radioisotopes to provide ongoing heat generation. The few exceptions to this, like Europa and Enceladus, are heated by gravitational interactions with the giant planets they orbit, but that’s not an option for Pluto, either.

Read 10 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#chemistry, #geology, #planetary-science, #science

Being LGBT in Geoscience Is like Being Invisible

For a field of science long recognizing the need for diversity, geoscience has moved at a glacial pace to achieve it

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #geology

Dozens of Earthquakes Strike Off Oregon Coast, but Experts Say Not to Worry

At least 66 earthquakes rattled the Blanco Fracture Zone from Tuesday into Wednesday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

#blanco-fracture-zone, #don-blakeman, #douglas-toomey, #earth, #earthquakes, #geology, #hough-susan, #national-earthquake-information-center, #national-weather-service, #oregon, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #san-andreas-fault-calif, #tidal-waves-and-tsunamis, #united-states-geological-survey

Scientists use seismic noise to image first hundred meters of Mars

InSight places a wind shield over its seismometer.

Enlarge / InSight places a wind shield over its seismometer. (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight lander installed a seismograph on Mars, and the marsquakes it detected have helped us map the planet’s interior. This data provides the big picture of Mars’ internals—how big the core is, whether anything is molten, and so on. But it doesn’t capture the small details, like what the ground immediately below InSight looks like.

This week, researchers described how they’ve managed to find quiet periods on Mars that lets them image closer to the surface. The results, combined with some nearby surface features, reveal that InSight is likely above two large lava flows, separated by layers of sediment.

Be very quiet

Marsquakes aren’t useful for sorting out local features. If their seismic waves arrive from far enough away, then their behavior is mostly influenced by the materials they spent most of their time traveling through. If the marsquake happens nearby, then things are too energetic to make out the fine details caused by local features. So, in order to look at the local geology, you need to look at the background seismic noise that’s constantly being picked up by InSight.

Read 8 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#geology, #insight, #mars, #planetary-science, #science, #seismology

New Mineral Discovered in Deep-Earth Diamond

The surprising find has never shown up in nature before, and reveals secrets about Earth’s mantle

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #geology

Scientists extend and straighten iconic climate “hockey stick”

Image of the globe, with colors overlayered to represent temperatures.

Enlarge / The ice age climate (left) gave way to one that slowly warmed until industrial times. (credit: Matthew Osman)

The climate “hockey stick” refers to a reconstruction of temperatures over the past 1,000 years. The data shows flattish temperatures over the last millennium, like the handle of a Hockey stick, ending in a “blade” of rapidly rising temperatures since the industrial revolution. The idea first appeared in a paper by Michael Mann and Raymond Bradley of the University of Massachusetts and Malcolm Hughes of the University of Arizona. The work became famous after appearing in a UN climate report, after which it was the focus of climate denial, hacking, defamation, and disinformation, all of which was dramatized in a recent BBC TV drama called “The Trick.”

Today, in a paper published by Nature, scientists show that the “handle” of the “hockey stick” extends back 9,500 years, while its “blade” is taller—the last decade was 1.5° C hotter than the average temperature over the last 11,700 years. “Human-caused global temperature change during the last century was likely faster than any changes during the last 24,000 years,” said lead author Dr. Matt Osman of the University of Arizona.

An animation showing the warming that ended the last ice age.

An animation showing the warming that ended the last ice age. (credit: Matthew Osman)

Taking the temperature of times before thermometers

To measure temperatures at times long before the invention of thermometers, scientists must use indirect proxies. For the new study, scientists carefully vetted over 500 proxy records from oceans around the world; the data shows the fossilized remains of plankton and microbes in sediments where the age is known from radiocarbon dating.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#climate-change, #climate-science, #geology, #global-warming, #paleoclimate, #science

When Kilauea Erupted, a New Volcanic Playbook Was Written

Scientists learned lessons from the 2018 outburst on the island of Hawaii that are changing how responders prepare for eruptions in other places.

#disasters-and-emergencies, #drones-pilotless-planes, #geology, #hawaii, #kilauea-volcano-hawaii, #mount-baker-wash, #mount-hood-ore, #mount-rainier-wash, #mount-shasta-volcano-calif, #mount-st-helens-wash, #pacific-northwestern-states-us, #social-media, #united-states, #united-states-geological-survey, #volcanoes, #western-states-us, #your-feed-science

Thousands of Tiny ‘Ice Needles’ May Explain Mysterious Stone Patterns on Earth … and Mars

These stunning patterns have an unlikely designer

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #geology

Early Earth’s Slowing Rotation Helped Oxygen Build Up

The planet’s spin may have mediated critical atmospheric oxygen

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #environment, #geology

Largest Known Undersea Volcanic Eruption Explains Odd Seismic Waves 

Researchers tie the event to “swarm quakes” off the French island of Mayotte

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #geology

The World Wants Greenland’s Minerals, but Greenlanders Are Wary

The island has rare elements needed for electric cars and wind turbines. But protesters are blocking one project, signaling that mining companies must tread carefully.

#anglo-american-corp, #arctic-regions, #bezos-jeffrey-p, #gates-bill, #geology, #global-warming, #greenland, #indigenous-people, #mines-and-mining, #nuuk-greenland, #rare-earths, #uranium

Ancient Footprints Push Back Date of Human Arrival in the Americas

Human footprints found in New Mexico are about 23,000 years old, a study reported, suggesting that people may have arrived long before the Ice Age’s glaciers melted.

#archaeology-and-anthropology, #geology, #glaciers, #ice-age, #new-mexico, #north-america, #paleontology, #research, #science-journal, #white-sands-national-monument-nm, #your-feed-science

The Rock That Ended the Dinosaurs Was Much More Than a Dino Killer

In seeking the origin story of the Chicxulub impactor, scientists hope to also unlock secrets about the origin of life itself.

#asteroids, #dinosaurs, #endangered-and-extinct-species, #geology, #icarus-journal, #research, #solar-system, #space-and-astronomy

Unraveling the Mysteries Hidden in Vast Glacier Caves

A group of scientists and adventure athletes are venturing into icy labyrinths to study their relationships with glacial melting and climate change.

#alaska, #caves-and-caverns, #geography, #geology, #glaciers, #global-warming, #greenland, #ice, #mount-everest, #mountaineering, #nepal, #svalbard-and-jan-mayen-norway

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Stashes First Mars Rock Sample

The rock, sealed in a tube, is the first of many the robotic explorer will collect to one day send back to Earth for scientists to study.

#china, #geology, #mars-planet, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #space-and-astronomy

NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover Drills Rock Samples Successfully

After an earlier drilling attempt mysteriously failed, the robotic mission collected the first tube of samples that may one day help scientists understand the red planet.

#geology, #mars-planet, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #perseverance-mars-rover, #research, #rock-and-stone, #space-and-astronomy

The True Haiti Earthquake Death Toll Is Much Worse Than Early Official Counts

A tool built by the U.S. Geological Survey suggests that the number of fatalities may range from 10,000 to 100,000 or more

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#environment, #geology, #health, #natural-disasters

Ugly Diamonds Hold a Billion-Plus Years of Earth History

Tiny pockets of fluid inside imperfect diamonds show how Earth changed

— Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

#advances, #chemistry, #geology

Apollo 15 Anniversary: 50 Years Ago, NASA Put a Car on the Moon

The lunar rovers of Apollo 15, 16 and 17 parked American automotive culture on the lunar surface, and expanded the scientific range of the missions’ astronaut explorers.

#apollo-project, #automobiles, #boeing-company, #engineering-and-engineers, #general-motors, #geology, #moon, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #space-and-astronomy

Red planet has a big core, complex crust

Image of a cutaway showing the martian interior, including its core.

Enlarge / Some seismic waves bounce off Mars’ core before reaching the InSight lander. (credit: Chris Bickel / Science)

We’ve learned a lot about our planet’s interior simply by tracking how the seismic energy released by earthquakes moves through or reflects off the different layers present beneath Earth’s surface. For over a Martian year, we’ve had a seismograph on Mars in the hope that it would help us to figure out the red planet’s interior.

But Mars is relatively quiet seismically, and we’ve only got a single seismograph instead of an entire network. Still, with records of a handful of significant marsquakes, we now have some sense of what Mars’ interior looks like. And a set of new studies indicates that it’s pretty weird, with a large, light core and an unexpectedly warm crust.

It’s complicated

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments

#geology, #insight, #mars, #marsquakes, #planetary-science, #science

Inside Mars, NASA’s InSight Mission Mapped Surprises Down to the Core

NASA’s InSight mission revealed Mars’s inner workings down to its core, highlighting great differences of the red planet from our blue world.

#earthquakes, #geology, #mars-planet, #mars-insight-spacecraft, #national-aeronautics-and-space-administration, #research, #science-journal, #space-and-astronomy

Peering Under Vermeers Without Peeling Off the Paint

High-tech scanning techniques used by geologists, planetary scientists, drug companies and the military are revealing secrets of how artists created their masterpieces.

#art, #cameras, #computers-and-the-internet, #geology, #getty-j-paul-museum, #laser-light-amplification-by-stimulated-emission-of-radiation, #light, #museums, #national-gallery-of-art, #research, #scanning-devices, #van-gogh-vincent, #van-rijn-rembrandt-harmenszoon, #vermeer-jan

Why Geology Is Our Destiny

A visit to the renovated hall of gems and minerals at the American Museum of Natural History reveals how the cosmos works in the real world.

#american-museum-of-natural-history, #geology, #jewels-and-jewelry, #mines-and-mining, #museums, #rock-and-stone, #space-and-astronomy, #your-feed-science

A Mysterious Crater’s Age May Add Clues to the Dinosaur Extinction

Boltysh crater in Ukraine formed around the same time as the Chicxulub event, raising questions about its role in this tumultuous era.

#asteroids, #dinosaurs, #earth, #geology, #research, #science-advances-journal, #ukraine, #your-feed-science

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

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

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

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

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