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Interesting Current Events


Rocks on Mars
April 24, 2014 | Geology.com

The Mars Rovers have helped identify a number of different types of rock on Mars. Many of the planet’s rocks are similar to the shale, conglomerate, basalt and scoria found on Earth.

Manganese Nodules as a Cover for Stealing a Russian Submarine
April 24, 2014 | io9.com

In the late 1960′s the Russians lost a submarine in the Pacific Ocean in water about 3 miles deep. They searched and searched but could not find it. A few months later the US Navy located the sub and decided to recover it using an enormous ship owned by Howard Hughes. To explain the enormous new ship they fed the media a story about manganese nodule mining – which the media enthusiastically consumed.

Helium and Volcanoes
April 20, 2014 | Eruptions Blog

Helium is one of the most interesting elements. Erik Klemetti explains how helium emissions in volcanic areas might help understand what is happening below.

Related: What is Helium?

Watch out for Ticks!
April 20, 2014 | Geology.com

Spring and early summer are some of the most active times for ticks. Learn how to recognize ticks, how to avoid tick bites and how to remove a tick from your skin.

$700,000 to Prop Up a Small Landslide?
April 20, 2014 | Jackson Hole News and Guide

A landslide in Jackson, Wyoming, that so far has been moving slowly, is threatening a Walgreens, utility service for a large part of the city, and a number of residents. A favored solution to slowing the slide is to place weight on its toe.

Independents Outweigh Majors by 5 to 1
April 20, 2014 | FuelFix.com

An article on the FuelFix website gives examples of how the shale plays have been grabbed and held mainly by small to medium-size oil companies.

Whale Dives 3km Deep and Stays Down for Over 2 Hours
April 6, 2014 | BBC

BBC has a story about beaked whales that reports on one that dove nearly 3 kilometers deep and remained submerged for over two hours.

Stone Spheres of Costa Rica
April 6, 2014 | Weather Channel

In the 1930′s a fruit company was clearing farmland on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. During their work hundreds of stone spheres up to two meters in diameter were discovered. They are thought to have been made over 1000 years ago and their makers and the methods used to make them are unknown. It would be really hard and costly to make spheres like these today. Imagine what it would have been like 1000 years ago.

Insect Camouflage
April 3, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article titled: “Masters of Disguise—Amazing Insect Camouflage“. It is a photo gallery of insects that are so well camouflaged in their surroundings that you might have trouble finding them in the photos.

Most Popular: March 2014
April 2, 2014 |

The items below had the most visitor engagement during March 2014.

An Asteroid with Rings??

Helicopter Videos over the Oso Landslide

Land Below Sea Level

The Puente Hills Fault

World’s Largest Landslides

A New Dwarf Planet?

Pyroclastic Flows and Tornadoes at Sinabung?

Landslide Blog: Washington Landslide

When Trilobites Ruled the World

What is a Maar?

Global Warming Continues
April 1, 2014 | Nature.com Blog

“The past year was the six-warmest year on record since temperature records began in 1850.” The Nature blog.

More Geothermal Homes in Kansas
March 27, 2014 | The Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas Geological Survey reports that the number of homeowners in the state installing geothermal heating and cooling systems is on the rise.

Hunting Honey in Nepal
March 25, 2014 | Weather Channel

The Weather Channel has a photo gallery that shows Nepalese people harvesting honey made by the Himalayan honey bee – the largest bee in the world. They do this using rope ladders dangling from 200-foot high cliffs. You will be amazed!

Landslide Blog: Washington Landslide
March 24, 2014 | The Landslide Blog

Dave Petley has spent a lot of time gathering information about the slope failure near Oso, Washington. It was a reactivation of an existing failure known as the Hazel Landslide that moved in 1988 and 2006.

Eruption At Hekla?
March 23, 2014 | Eruptions Blog

Hekla is a volcano in southern Iceland that has erupted many times, most recently in 2000, 1991, 1981, 1980 and 1970. GPS and strain measurements there have gotten the attention of volcano watchers.

Frac Sand Production Keeps Rising
March 23, 2014 | Geology.com

An estimated 32 million tons of frac sand was produced by United States quarries during 2013. That is over a 300% increase in production over the 2009 tonnage. Frac sand is used as a proppant in the hydraulic fracturing process used to increase the production of oil and gas wells drilled in shale and other tight formations.

More Tumbleweed Problems
March 23, 2014 | Weather Channel

Another Weather Channel video shows how thousands of tumbleweeds are piling up around homes and causing a disposal problem in Colorado.

Time-Lapse Views of Yosemite
March 18, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic shares Yosemite HD II, a four minute video that shows time-lapse night and day views of Yosemite National Park.

Making Drinking Water From a Billboard?
March 18, 2014 | YouTube.com

This video features a demonstration project that produces drinking water from an outdoor advertising sign. Although the volume produced is not impressive, the production occurs in a desert that receives under one inch of rain per year.

K-9 Search and Rescue
March 13, 2014 | Oregon Public Broadcasting

The Oregon Public Broadcasting website has an article about volunteer’s with their highly trained dogs in search and rescue.

“Dogs’ noses are 40 to 100 times more powerful than humans’ -– and they’re usually right when they signal that they smell someone.”

Disintegration of an Asteroid Images
March 11, 2014 | NASA

“NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has recorded the never-before-seen break-up of an asteroid into as many as 10 smaller pieces.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Roadside Geology of New Jersey
March 11, 2014 | Geology.com Store

Another state has been added to the Roadside Geology Series by Mountain Press. This one is the Roadside Geology of New Jersey by David Harper.

It provides an overview of New Jersey Geology with an emphasis on geology that can be observed along roads and highways. It is a 6″x9″ paperback with 345 pages.

Spamming Scientific Publishers?
March 9, 2014 | Scientific American

A researcher identified over 100 phony papers that made it through “editorial review” and appeared in the conference proceedings of major publishers. These phony papers had been generated by computer programs that grab existing documents and mash/spin them into phony works.

What is a Maar?
March 6, 2014 | Geology.com

Maars are the second most common volcanic feature on Earth.

The largest maars are found on the Seward Peninsula of Alaska. Do you know what they are and how they form?

Most Popular News Items – February 2014
March 3, 2014 | Geology.com

So, You Think Yellowstone Is About to Erupt?

Moving at 2.5 Million MPH

The Strangest Volcanic Landscape

Underwater Eruption from Space

Geology of Diamonds

Blue Flames at an Indonesian Volcano

How Stars Explode

Eight Corvettes Swallowed by a Sinkhole??

Measuring Wind With Microphones?
March 2, 2014 | University of Colorado Boulder

“We have demonstrated for the first time that we can use ambient noise to measure wind speeds. [...] Eventually, the method could be used to cheaply measure wind speed and direction in the atmosphere, critical information for weather forecasts, or even to study the rotation of Earth’s core.” Quoted from the University of Colorado Boulder press release.

Rock Bags
March 2, 2014 | Geology.com Store

The Geology.com store has a great selection of field bags, backpacks, beltpacks, and cases to carry your gear in the field (or to the office).

Volcanic Lightning
February 25, 2014 | MagmaCumLaude

Jessica Ball has a post titled: “Volcanic lightning in the lab and in the ‘wild’“. The “in the lab” part of the post explains how the lightning might be formed.

Related: Brentwood Higman describes volcanic lightning at Redoubt

The Previous Life of the Hope Diamond
February 20, 2014 | Smithsonian.com

Smithsonian.com has an interesting article that traces the history of the Hope Diamond, the famous blue stone that is one of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. The article focuses on how the Hope Diamond was once (in the late 17th century) a larger stone with a very different cut and known as the “French Blue”, a gem in the personal collection of King Louis XIV of France.

What is the Bermuda Triangle?
February 20, 2014 | NOAA

“The Bermuda Triangle is a region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean in which ships, planes, and people are alleged to have mysteriously vanished.” NOTE: This article is by NOAA.

X-Ray Art
February 20, 2014 | Smithsonian.com

Smithsonian.com has an article that is not “geology”, however, it takes an x-ray look at a number of familiar objects.

Salmon Sense Magnetic Field When Migrating?
February 18, 2014 | Oregon State University

“A team of scientists last year presented evidence of a correlation between the migration patterns of ocean salmon and the Earth’s magnetic field, suggesting it may help explain how the fish can navigate across thousands of miles of water to find their river of origin.” Quoted from the Oregon State University press release.

Experimental Studies in Sediment Transport
February 18, 2014 | Caltech

Caltech has an interesting article on their website about experimental sediment transport. The links in the article are also interesting because they show the tilting flume used to investigate fluvial bedrock erosion and the initiation of debris flows.

EarthCaching
February 16, 2014 | EarthCache.org

“An EarthCache site is a special place that people can visit to learn about a unique geoscience feature or aspect of our Earth. Visitors to EarthCache sites can see how our planet has been shaped by geological processes, how we manage the resources and how scientists gather evidence to learn about the Earth.” Learn more about EarthCaching.

Rogue Asteroids
February 13, 2014 | Harvard Center for Astrophysics

New research may revise the theory that the asteroids in the gap between Jupiter and Mars originated there from a failed planet. Instead they may be a diverse group with origins from many parts of the solar system.

Scientists Reading Fewer Papers These Days
February 11, 2014 | Nature.com

The average scientist is reading fewer research papers these days according to a study summarized on Nature.com. Although digital consumption surpassed print consumption, the total number of papers read declined.

At Least 15 Killed at Sinabung
February 2, 2014 | New York Times

The eruption of Mount Sinabung on the Indonesian island of Sumatra has killed at least 15 people.

Critical Minerals
February 2, 2014 | Geological Society of America

“A critical mineral is one that is both essential in use and subject to the risk of supply restriction.” This definition accompanies a short article and position statement on the Geological Society of America website.

Frog-Hunting Bats?
January 28, 2014 | National Geographic

A species of bat that lives in parts of Central and South America has an echolocation sense that gives it the ability to detect water ripples from a croaking frog and swoop in for a kill.

Exploring the Farthest Reaches
January 26, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has a small photo collection titled: “Exploring the Farthest Reaches“. It contains spectacular photographs from blue holes, Arctic ice, Antarctic caves, Kenyan mudflats, the deepest cave in the world, blackwater swamps, space and more.

The Loss of Scientific Data
January 21, 2014 | University of British Columbia

“Eighty per cent of scientific data are lost within two decades [...] the current system of leaving data with authors means that almost all of it is lost over time.” Quoted from the University of British Columbia media release.

Solar Energy at Night?
January 16, 2014 | University of North Carolina

“Solar energy has long been used as a clean alternative to fossil fuels such as coal and oil, but it could only be harnessed during the day when the sun’s rays were strongest. Researchers led by Tom Meyer at the Energy Frontier Research Center at UNC-Chapel Hill have built a system that converts the sun’s energy not into electricity but hydrogen fuel and stores it for later use, allowing us to power our devices long after the sun goes down.” Quoted from the UNC press release.

Hydrophobic Surfaces and Magnetic Liquids
January 16, 2014 | YouTube

The Slow Mo Guys are at the General Electric Global Research lab filming slow motion videos of hydrophobic surfaces and magnetic liquids.

Lift the Ban on Exporting Crude Oil?
January 12, 2014 | Wall Street Journal

The United States currently has local surpluses of crude oil. This crude could be exported at a significant profit but an export ban prevents that. However, some refined products are currentlyl exported to fetch higher prices in other countries. The debate on allowing the export of crude oil is becoming stronger.

The Science Behind Olympic Sports
January 12, 2014 | National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation has a collection of videos that explain the role of science in skiing, snowboarding, figure skating, speed skating, bobsledding and more.

Deepwater Soloing
January 1, 2014 | National Geographic

National Geographic has an article about “deepwater soloing”. A variety of rock climbing in which the climber ventures without a rope or protection. When a fall occurs the plunge is into deep water. Some climbers say that it allows they to climb routes that are beyond their potential.

Neanderthals Could Speak Like Humans?
December 29, 2013 | BBC

Researchers have studied a well-preserved hyoid bone from a Neanderthal and have determined that the bone functioned like the hyoid bone of modern humans – meaning that Neanderthals had the ability to make a wide range of sounds similar to modern humans.

The Next Energy Game Changer
December 26, 2013 | Geology.com

As natural gas from shale becomes a global energy “game changer,” oil and gas researchers are working to develop new technologies to produce natural gas from methane hydrate deposits.

The Utah Supervolcano
December 15, 2013 | Brigham Young University

“Brigham Young University geologists found evidence of some of the largest volcanic eruptions in earth’s history right in their own backyard. These supervolcanoes aren’t active today, but 30 million years ago more than 5,500 cubic kilometers of magma erupted during a one-week period near a place called Wah Wah Springs.” Quoted from the Brigham Young University press release.

Related: Volcanic Explosivity Index

Rough Diamond Exports from Russia
December 12, 2013 | The Israeli Diamond Industry

The Russian government has decided to allow rough diamonds to be exported from any part of the country. Until now, only rough stones from the Republic of Yakutia could be exported.

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.





Homeowners InsuranceHomeowners Insurance usually does not cover damage caused by floods, landslides, earthquakes and other geohazards.
frac sandFrac Sand is a high-purity silica sand used in hydraulic fracturing to enhance the flow of oil and gas from tight rock units.
Diamond formationDiamonds from Coal? Diamonds form under a variety of conditions that rarely involve coal as a source of carbon.
fluorescent mineralsFluorescent Minerals glow with spectacular colors when illuminated in the dark with an ultraviolet lamp.
Uses of heliumHelium is a byproduct of the natural gas industry. Its most important use is in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.
Canada diamond minesCanada Diamond Mines: Canada is the third largest producer of gem-quality diamonds in the world.
Utica shaleUtica Shale: New wells in eastern Ohio prove that the Utica Shale will be a major source of natural gas and natural gas liquids.
Green River fossilsSpectacular Fossils of the Green River Formation. Some of the world's best-preserved fossil fish from an intermountain lake.
OpalOpals: Gem quality opal is one of the most spectacular gemstones. A single stone can flash with every color of the spectrum.
NovaruptaMost Powerful Eruption of the 20th Century: People in Juneau heard the volcanic blast - over one hour after it occurred.


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