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The Influence of Bedrock on Vegetation
April 15, 2014 | National Science Foundation

“Scientists investigated the factors that influence forest cover in California’s Sierra Nevada. Bedrock may be as important as temperature and moisture, they found, in regulating the distribution of trees and other vegetation across mountain slopes.” Quoted from the National Science Foundation press release.

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UN Climate Assessment Published
April 1, 2014 | United Nations

The United Nations Climate Panel has published an assessment of the impacts of climate change.

White House Targets Methane
March 31, 2014 | The White House

As a greenhouse gas, methane can trap about 20 times more heat than carbon dioxide. The White House announced a climate action plan to reduce methane emissions by targeting emissions from the oil and gas, waste disposal, coal mining, farming and other methane producing industries.

Related: Night Time Maps of Natural Gas Flaring

Green Fracking?
March 23, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article titled: “Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy”. It explains five methods that are being employed to reduce the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing.

Private Funding for Science?
March 23, 2014 | New York Times

An article in the New York Times explores how billionaire supporters are funding many types of science.

Protecting the Sargasso Sea
March 18, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an interesting article that will introduce you to the Sargasso Sea and explain why five countries signed an agreement last week to protect it.

Image by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Flooding in New Zealand
March 13, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting satellite image pair of a coastline in New Zealand. It shows coastal waters discolored by suspended sediment after heavy rains.

Global Forest Watch
February 27, 2014 | Global Forest Watch has an interactive Google map that allows you to explore where tree cover loss and gain is occurring – on a time line – throughout the world.

See article here.

February 11, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article reporting that urine is just 1 percent of domestic waste water, but it contains 80 percent of the nitrogen and 55 percent of the phosphorus. Methods of separating it from the waste stream and utilizing as a resource rather than a waste might be possible.

Bat Recovery in Europe?
February 6, 2014 | National Geographic

Over the past several years, white-nose syndrome has been killing tremendous numbers of bats in the United States. However, a new study in Europe shows several species experiencing a rise in population.

Evapotranspiration Measured from Space
January 28, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting image that demonstrates how they are able to measure geographic variations in evapotranspiration using satellite data. (Image of irrigated land from Idaho’s Snake River floodplain.

Global Temperature Trends
January 26, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has published a pair of maps that show global temperature trends. The map below shows the average change in temperature in degrees Celsius per decade between 1950 and 2013.

Drought in California
January 21, 2014 | San Jose Mercury News

California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a drought emergency for his state. Reservoir levels are at extremely low levels and mountain snowpack is only 17% of normal.

A Loss of Large Carnivores?
January 12, 2014 | Oregon State University

“In ecosystems around the world, the decline of large predators such as lions, dingoes, wolves, otters, and bears is [occurring in response to] habitat loss, persecution by humans and loss of prey combine to create global hotspots of carnivore decline.” Quoted from the Oregon State press release.

Connected Consequences of River Dams
January 12, 2014 | USGS

“In a case study of dams on the upper Missouri River, USGS researchers have demonstrated that an upstream dam is still a major control of river dynamics where the backwater effects of a downstream reservoir begin. In light of this finding, the conventional understanding of how a dam can influence a river may have to be adjusted to account for the fact that effects of river dams can interact with one another.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

The Greenland Ice Sheet Holds an Unusual Aquifer
January 1, 2014 | The University of Utah

“Researchers have discovered a new aquifer in the Greenland Ice Sheet that holds liquid water all year long in the otherwise perpetually frozen winter landscape. [...] The reservoir is known as a “perennial firn aquifer” because water persists within the firn – layers of snow and ice that don’t melt for at least one season.” Quoted from The University of Utah press release.

Message in a Bottle in the Canadian Arctic
December 29, 2013 | The Chronicle Herald

Messages in a bottle are usually found at beaches, however, one was recently found in a rock cairn on Ward Hunt Island, the closest land point in Canada to the North Pole. The message was dated 1959 and asked the finder to help document evidence of climate change.

The Importance of Streams to Drinking Water
December 5, 2013 | EPA

Did you know that approximately 117 million people – over one-third of the total U.S. population – get some or all of their drinking water from public systems that rely in part on headwater, seasonal or rain-dependent streams?

The Arctic Ocean as a Carbon Sink and Carbon Dioxide Source
December 4, 2013 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“While the Arctic Ocean is largely a carbon sink, researchers find parts are also a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Quoted from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology article.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explores
NASA's new Images of Change iPad application.
Image credit: NASA/JPL
NASA Launches Changing Earth iPad App
December 3, 2013 | NASA

“Human activities, a changing climate and natural disasters are rapidly altering the face of our planet. Now, with NASA’s Images of Change iPad application, users can get an interactive before-and-after view of these changes.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Carbon Dioxide Storage Potential in Sedimentary Basins
December 2, 2013 | USGS

“The U.S. Geological Survey recently completed an evaluation of the technically accessible storage resource for carbon dioxide for 36 sedimentary basins in the onshore areas and State waters of the United States.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Permian Extinction Caused by Acid Rain?
November 25, 2013 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“Rain as acidic as undiluted lemon juice may have played a part in killing off plants and organisms around the world during the most severe mass extinction in Earth’s history.” Quoted from the MIT press release.

More Landscape Disturbance Maps Over the Marcellus
November 24, 2013 | USGS

“Landscape change in Pennsylvania’s Sullivan, Wyoming, Armstrong and Indiana counties resulting from construction of well pads, new roads and pipelines for natural gas and coalbed methane exploration is being documented by the United States Geological Survey.” Quoted from the USGS announcement.

United Nations to the Coal Industry
November 21, 2013 | United Nations News Center

Christina Figueres, Executive Director of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, said… “It is abundantly clear that further capital expenditures on coal can only go ahead if they are compatible with the 2 degree Celsius limit.” Quoted from the United Nations News Center.

Recycling Hydraulic Fracturing Water
November 13, 2013 |

The Texas drought caused many drillers to reevaluate their sources of water. Many of them are now processing their water to remove dissolved and suspended materials and reusing it to fracture their next well.

Climate Change and the Behavior of Mercury in the Environment
November 6, 2013 | USGS

“Rising global temperatures and changing human actions will significantly affect the behavior and distribution of mercury worldwide, according to a recent article by the U.S. Geological Survey and Harvard University.” Quoted from the USGS press release.

Studying Diatoms in the Lakes of Southwestern Greenland
November 6, 2013 | National Science Foundation

Diatom populations in the lakes of southwestern Greenland are different from those in other parts of the Arctic in that they were rich in ‘warmer’ water diatoms throughout the Holocene.

Glen Canyon Dam High Flow Next Week
November 6, 2013 | Arizona Daily Sun

On Monday, the Glen Canyon Dam is scheduled to start releasing up to 37,200 cubic feet of water per second – that is an Olympic-sized swimming pool worth of water into the Colorado River every two minutes. The goal is to imitate a natural flood that will deliver sand to beaches and refresh river habitats.

Pennsylvania Groundwater
November 5, 2013 | iConservePA

A quick video review of ground water in Pennsylvania.

The Government Shutdown and Geology
October 15, 2013 | American Geophysical Union

The American Geophysical Union has a short article that explains why the “Government Shutdown Affects More Than Jobs“.

The Impact of Fragmenting a Forest Environment
October 2, 2013 | New York Times

In 1987, Thailand built a dam on the Khlong Saeng river. As the reservoir filled it transformed over 100 forested hilltops into islands. Now each island, along with its plant and animal inhabitants, is an experiment to test what happens with a forest environment is fragmented.

Peruvian Cloud Forests in Jeopardy
September 24, 2013 | Wake Forest University

“Peru’s cloud forests are some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world. Researchers have new evidence that shows rapid 21st century warming may spell doom for tree species in Peruvian cloud forests, with species losing 53 to 96 percent of their populations.” Quoted from the Wake Forest University press release.

Rapid Ocean Acidification in the Arctic
September 17, 2013 | USGS

“Acidification of the Arctic Ocean is occurring faster than projected. The increase in rate is being blamed on rapidly melting sea ice, a process that may have important consequences for health of the Arctic ecosystem.” Quoted from the USGS Newsroom.

Take a Look at Groundwater
September 17, 2013 | Pennsylvania Bureau of Topographic & Geologic Survey

Take a look at groundwater with DCNR’s Bureau of Topographic & Geologic Survey’s Stuart Reese as he looks at how much groundwater Pennsylvania has, where it comes from, and why it’s so important to the water cycle.” Quoted from the iConservePA press release.

Fukushima and the Ocean
September 16, 2013 |

The Spring 2013 issue of Oceanus Magazine, published by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is titled Fukushima and the Ocean. It looks at the triple disaster that hit Japan with an earthquake, a tsunami and a power plant failure.

Micronutrient Plumes from Hydrothermal Vents
September 16, 2013 | Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

“Scientists have discovered a vast plume of iron and other micronutrients more than 1,000 km long billowing from hydrothermal vents in the South Atlantic Ocean. The finding [...] calls past estimates of iron abundances into question, and may challenge researchers’ assumptions about iron sources in the world’s seas.” Quoted from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution press release.

Natural Gas and the Endangered Species List?
September 15, 2013 | National Public Radio

Natural gas drillers in Pennsylvania are supporting proposed legislation that would revise how the state’s endangered species list is managed.

Tundra Recovering from a Massive Fire
September 15, 2013 | University of Alaska Fairbanks

“Despite the size and severity of the massive 2007 Anaktuvuk River fire on Alaska’s North Slope, much of the arctic vegetation has recovered and the tundra is likely to return to its pre-fire condition.” Quoted from the University of Alaska Fairbanks press release.

Links Between Tectonics and Invasive Species
September 12, 2013 | Ohio University

A new study from Ohio University investigates links between Appalachian tectonics and how invasive species disrupted the Ordovician fossil record of what is now eastern North America.

Coral Dispersion Simulation
September 11, 2013 | University of Miami

“A new computer simulation has revealed the epic, ocean-spanning journeys traveled by millimeter-sized coral larvae through the world’s seas. It is the first to recreate the oceanic paths along which corals disperse globally, and will eventually aid predictions of how coral reef distributions may shift with climate change.” Quoted from the University of Miami press release.

Life Found in an Antarctic Subglacial Lake
September 11, 2013 | British Antarctic Survey

“What was surprising was the high biomass and diversity we found. This is the first time microbes have been identified living in the sediments of a subglacial Antarctic lake and indicates that life can exist and potentially thrive in environments we would consider too extreme.” Quoted from the British Antarctic Survey press release.

Fracking Does Not Cause Earthquakes
September 10, 2013 |

Human activity associated with natural gas production has been shown to cause earthquakes, an example is the disposal of waste liquids in high volume injection wells. So far there has not been a connection between human-induced earthquakes and the hydraulic fracturing process – yet many people make that association.

Related: What is Hydraulic Fracturing?

Tree Rings and Rio Grande Stream Flow
September 3, 2013 | New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources

The most recent edition of New Mexico Earth Matters has an article titled: “Tree-ring insights on New Mexico’s Monsoon and Rio Grande Stream Flow”.

Plankton Bloom in Lake Ontario
September 2, 2013 | NASA Earth Observatory

“This photograph taken by an astronaut on the International Space Station highlights a late summer plankton bloom across much of Lake Ontario, one of North America’s Great Lakes. Microscopic cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, can reach such large concentrations and color the water to such an extent that the change is visible from orbit.” Quoted from the Earth Observatory website.

Naturally Occurring Methane in Household Water Wells
August 30, 2013 | United States Geological Survey

USGS tested twenty household water wells in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania for methane. Seven of the wells contained detectable amounts of dissolved methane and two wells were considered to have an “elevated” methane content. None of the wells tested were located near currently producing natural gas wells.

A CO2 Pipeline for an Aging Montana Oil Field
August 28, 2013 | Fort Mills Times

A company in Montana built a pipeline that carries carbon dioxide 232 miles, where it is then pumped into the ground to increase the production rate of an aging oil field.

Rate of Temperature Change in the USA
August 26, 2013 | Blog

Average temperatures in the U.S. are changing. Since 1901, the average surface temperature across the contiguous 48 states has risen at an average rate of 0.14°F per decade.

Image by NOAA

40 Maps that Explain the World
August 22, 2013 | Washington Post

The Washington Post has an interesting article titled “40 Maps that Explain the World”. Most of these are demographic maps that

The Many Uses of Marble
August 21, 2013 |

From monuments to crushed stone to cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, very few rocks have as many uses as marble.

Related: Limestone, the Marble Protolith.

We are constantly looking for interesting items related to geology and general science. When we find something interesting we share it here. Bookmark this page and visit often. You can also receive our news for free by RSS feed or email. We publish updates three or four days per week.

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NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.

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