EARTH: The Geology of Middle-earth

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  The vaguely familiar, yet primeval landscape of New Zealand served as the backdrop for the blockbuster film adaptations of the entire "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "The Hobbit" trilogy, the third and final installment of which opens widely this week. The geology that created this landscape is front and center in EARTH's February cover story, "The Geology of Middle-earth."

EARTH: Hundreds of Methane Seeps Discovered Along the U.S. East Coast

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  Methane is often found naturally leaking from the seafloor, particularly in petroleum basins like the Gulf of Mexico or along tectonically active continental margins like the U.S. West Coast, but such plumes were not expected along passive margins, like the East Coast of North America. Now, however, the discovery of hundreds of methane seeps on the seafloor along the U.S. East Coast suggests that such reservoirs may be more common along passive margins than previously thought.

EARTH: How Much Natural Hazard Mitigation Is Enough?

EARTH Magazine

From EARTH Magazine  --  Hurricane Sandy struck the U.S. East Coast in October 2012, leaving about $65 billion of damage in its wake and raising the question of how to mitigate the damage from future storms. It's a question that arises in the wake of most natural disasters: What steps can society take to protect itself from storms, floods, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis or volcanic eruptions? But the question itself illustrates the complexity of preparing for natural disasters.

AGI Accepting Applications for 2015 Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching

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Deadline: January 10, 2015

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is accepting applications for the Edward C. Roy Award for Excellence in Earth Science Teaching. Given annually, this award is presented to one full-time K-8 teacher in the U.S. or U.K. whose excellence and innovation in the classroom elevates students' understanding of the Earth and its many processes.

EARTH: Solar Storms Cause Spike in Insurance Claims

EARTH Magazine

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.

EARTH: Tiny Ants Are Heroic Weathering Agents

EARTH Magazine

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.

EARTH: We're All Living in the Aftershock Zone

EARTH Magazine

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.

EARTH: Kilauea eruptions could shift from mild to wild

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.