From EARTH Magazine -- On March 13, 1989, a geomagnetic storm spawned by a solar outburst struck Earth, triggering instabilities in the electric-power grid that serves much of eastern Canada and the U.S. The storm led to blackouts for more than 6 million customers and caused tens of millions of dollars in damages and economic losses. More than 25 years later, the possibility of another such catastrophe still looms, and the day-to-day effects of space weather on electrical systems remain difficult to quantify.
AGI press release
From Earth Magazine -- Earth's abundant silicate minerals are degraded over time by exposure to water, chemical dissolution, and physical and chemical weathering by tree roots and even insects such as ants and termites. Such weathering plays a significant role in decreasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, as carbon dioxide is consumed in chemical weathering reactions and the resultant carbonate becomes sequestered in the form of limestone and dolomite.
AGI Press Release -- The American Geosciences Institute has released the 2014 Status of Recent Geoscience Graduates, which highlights the impact of booming enrollments and the challenges for students face in matching their education to the demands of the current hiring in the geoscience-related industries.
From EARTH Magazine -- When large earthquakes hit Earth in quick succession, many people wonder if the events are linked. Scientists generally say that such events aren't linked, but the latest research seems to indicate that a large earthquake can potentially trigger another quake hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away in a process called dynamic triggering. However, when it could happen is far from predictable.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano is famously effusive: Low-viscosity lava has been oozing out of the main caldera and two active rift zones along the southern shore of the Big Island since 1983. But scientists suspect that Kilauea's eruptions haven't always been so mild. In the past 2,500 years, at least two cycles of explosive eruptions lasting several centuries each have rocked the island. The switch from effusive to explosive is likely to occur again, scientists say, but probably not anytime soon.
From EARTH Magazine -- When Francisco Pizarro landed in Peru in 1532, his band of Spanish conquistadors set off a chain of far-reaching consequences for the people and economics of western South America. The Chira Beach-Ridge Plain in northwestern Peru is rippled by a set of nine ridges — several meters tall by up to 300 meters wide and 40 kilometers long, and large enough to be visible from space — running parallel to the shoreline. The pattern, observed along at least five other Peruvian beaches, was thought to have formed naturally over the past 5,000 years.
From EARTH Magazine -- If Earth breathes, Santiaguito Volcano in the Western Highlands of Guatemala could be its mouth. Roughly every half hour, like volcanic clockwork, Santiaguito's active Caliente lava dome expands, filling with gas from depressurizing magma below. Then it exhales, often explosively, and deflates. Over the course of a day, you could almost keep time by it.
From EARTH Magazine -- "Virtual water" was coined in 1993 to help explain why long-predicted water wars driven by water and food security had not occurred among the arid nations of the Middle East and North Africa. The virtual water notion refers basically to the total amount of freshwater, either from rainfall or irrigation, used in the production of food commodities, including crops and fodder-fed livestock, or other goods and services - agricultural, industrial or otherwise.
From EARTH Magazine -- The La Brea tar pits in downtown Los Angeles are a famous predator trap. For every herbivore, a dozen or more carnivores - saber-toothed cats and dire wolves chief among them - are pulled from the prolific Pleistocene fossil site. In fact, the remains of more than 4,000 dire wolves have been excavated, along with more than 2,000 saber-toothed cats. The sheer number of fossils allows researchers to ask population-level questions about the climate and environment as well as how these animals evolved.