From EARTH Magazine, 03/18/2016 -- We're most accustomed to flooding causing levees to fail, like they did in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. So although the El Nino-induced floods are making the most news in California right now, it's not actually the floods that are threatening some California levees the most. Instead it's the severe drought over the last four years that has taken its toll on thousands of kilometers of century-old earthen levees.
From EARTH Magazine, 03/08/2016 -- A magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck Chile on Jan. 2, 2011, or so scientists thought. Now, with increasing sensor sensitivity and advances in the quantitative analysis of earthquakes, scientists have revealed that this quake was actually a doublet. This meant that instead of just one massive quake, two similarly large earthquakes struck very near to one another within seconds.
From EARTH Magazine, 03/01/2016 -- More than half of the total human population on Earth lives in urban areas, where, like rural areas, geology affects us every day. Yet when we think about "geology," most of us think of the hinterlands. That needs to change, argue the authors of a new feature in EARTH Magazine discussing what the role of urban geology is, what it can be and the potential role geoscience organizations can play in curating the geologic data revealed during construction, excavations and surveys.
From EARTH Magazine, 02/22/2016 -- As skiers hit the slopes this winter, EARTH Magazine explores the science of how to keep them and other winter explorers safe. Every year, hundreds of people are killed by avalanches. Understanding the science of the frozen environment is only part of this story; communicating the risk is a field as dynamic as the weather systems and terrains that foster avalanches.
From EARTH Magazine, 02/17/2016 -- Tsunami hazard maps exist for California coastlines, but recent geological studies indicated some faults may be capable of unleashing more powerful quakes than previously thought. Given this new information, researchers at the University of California Riverside wondered if the current tsunami hazard maps adequately predict inundation zones, or if they need to be updated.
From EARTH Magazine, 02/04/2016 -- The largest mass extinction - on land or sea - occurred some 252 million years ago at the end of the Permian Period. Generally attributed to extensive flood basalt volcanism in Siberia, the extinction event nearly eradicated life on Earth. New research looking at rocks associated with the terrestrial extinction suggests that the terrestrial extinction started prior to the marine extinction. If true, Siberian volcanism alone could not account for the extinctions.
From EARTH Magazine, 01/26/2016 -- The challenge of feeding our planet's growing population is one of critical importance - it will perhaps be the most important challenge of the 21st century. As the human population continues to rise, geoscience is informimg experts, suggesting major shifts in agriculture must be taken to prevent rampant food insecurity by the year 2050.
From EARTH Magazine, 01/15/2016 -- Toba volcano erupted 74,000 years ago, and is thought to have been the largest eruption in the last 2.5 million years. Some scientists have thought the fallout from the eruption caused a volcanic winter so catastrophic it almost drove humans to extinction. A new high-resolution study of lake sediments from East Africa disputes that idea, however, suggesting that the early humans in the area probably experienced little or no cooling following the massive eruption.
From EARTH Magazine -- While expanding a reservoir in Snowmass Village, Colorado, workers stumbled upon a big bone. And then another, and another, and another. Realizing they found something special, the workers called in the experts at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS), who drove several hours to examine the site. Scientists quickly realized that this was no ordinary boneyard. Work on the reservoir halted, as DMNS scientists called in dozens of volunteers and experts from around the country to help excavate the site before construction continued.
From EARTH Magazine, 12/22/2015 -- Do mantle plumes exist? EARTH Magazine explores one of the most hotly debated topics within the geoscience community. From the origin of plate tectonic theory to the results of the most recent experiments using techniques like isotope geochemistry and seismic tomography, the results of mantle studies are often contradictory, giving rise to the longstanding debate.