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New AGU Senior Management Structure Will Support Better Program Integration

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 11:47am
On Thursday, 18 January, we announced a restructuring of AGU’s senior staff team, which is responsible for working in partnership with volunteer leaders and members to advance AGU’s mission, vision and strategic goals. This new structure serves three strategic imperatives that have emerged from my extensive review of AGU’s needs, both now and in the future, as well as my in-depth conversations with the AGU Board: 1) Strengthen our science: …

A kid and his slicks

Tue, 01/23/2018 - 7:51am
On a family hike, Callan's son finds some interesting smooth lines on a rock. What are they? What do they tell us? Tune in for a brief history of Appalachian geology.

Sol 1943: From the South Rim of Vera Rubin Ridge

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 7:00pm
Having spent 1943 sols on the surface of Mars, Curiosity is in its 6th Earth year on Mars, but it is in its 3rd Mars year of exploration. That means Curiosity has encountered this season of the year twice before.

Monday Geology Picture: Pele’s Hair

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 4:17pm
For this week’s post, here’s a picture showing a lovely example of Pele’s Hair, which is a type of volcanic glass that consists of fibers or thin strands. Although I’ve visited many volcanoes (including a few active ones) over the years, I’ve never seen Pele’s Hair in the field. So, I was quite happy to see this excellent example in the volcano museum on Réunion Island. I visited the museum during …

American lobsters feeling the heat in the northwest Atlantic

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 2:52pm
Rising temperatures along the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean will force American lobsters farther offshore and into more northern waters, a new study finds. Climate models project that ocean bottom temperatures in the Atlantic along the U.S. East Coast may rise by up to 4.3 degrees Celsius (7.7 degrees Fahrenehit) by the end of the century. The new study’s results show these rising temperatures will likely make conditions in the American lobster’s southernmost range—less hospitable in the future for juveniles, pushing them farther north and into habitats farther offshore.

Dickson Glacier, Argentina/Chile Retreat, Separation &Lake Opening

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 11:39am
Dickson Glacier (D) retreat illustrated by 1985 and 2017 Landsat images. Red arrows the 1985 terminus position, yellow arrows the 2017 terminus position, C=Cubo Glacier, A=Island, pink arrow indicates where islands form, purple dots indicate snowline and LD=Lago Dickson. Dickson Glacier is located in Southern Patagonian Icefield (SPI) in Torres del Paine National Park straddling the Argentina and Chile border.  The glacier in 1985 had both an eastern and southern terminus, the …

The risk of landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 2:31am
Many of the Rohingya people, forced to leave Myanmar / Burma by ethnic cleansing, are now living in landslide prone locations in Bangladesh. Dramatic satellite images from Planet Labs illustrate the magnitude of the threat.

Government Shutdown (2018)

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 7:00pm
We're sorry, but we will not be posting updates to this blog during the government shutdown.

Sols 1940-1942: Studying a bedrock transition

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 7:00pm
The Sol 1939 drive went well, placing Curiosity next to the bright/dark transition seen at the right side of this image.

Visitors to Our National Parks Deserve the Unvarnished Truth about History and Science

Sun, 01/21/2018 - 1:05am
Note: The following is a guest post by Brian Ettling. It’s from his own blog, and I’m indebted to him for allowing me to share it here. I met Brian briefly at the AGU Science meeting in San Francisco a few years ago, and what he has to say is important. “A man or woman could hardly ask for a better way to make a living than as a seasonal …

2018 Government Shutdown: The Second in Five Years

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 8:15am
For the second time in five years, congressional and presidential impasses have resulted in a shutdown of the federal government. The repercussions of this shutdown destabilize scientific federal agencies that are essential to the nation’s economic stability, public health, and national security. The far-reaching costs of such a shutdown are very real. For example, in 2017 alone, the United States experienced 16 major weather and climate disaster events, resulting in …

Your hair knows where you’ve been

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 5:22pm
Sprouting from your head at the rate of more than three inches a year, hair is a recorder of the things you eat and drink and where you ate and drank them.

Friday fold: crumpled quartz vein from VGFC

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 7:48am
Remember the Virginia Geological Field Conference from back in October? Well here’s a folded quartz vein we observed along a small shear zone in the Blue Ridge basement complex. There are two views of it, from approximately perpendicular points of view: These rocks are Mesoproterozoic, but the vein would obviously be younger than that, and the deformation is likely Alleghanian in age (late Paleozoic). Annotated copies of the photos:

Sols 1938-1939: It’s all about the details

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 7:00pm
At location 'e' we have been focused on understanding small-scale features, like the tiny crystals and veins seen in the above ChemCam RMI image.

2017 Was Another Year of Amazing Heat. It’s not Natural, and It IS the Greenhouse Gases

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 5:36pm
NASA and NOAA both announced their global temperature results for 2017 today. NASA says it was the second warmest year on record and NOAA which does the analysis slightly differently came up with the 3rd hottest. Interestingly, if you remove the impacts of El Nino and La Nina, 2017 was THE hottest on record (see below). Forest Vs. Trees There are only three things that affect Earth’s temperature: Incoming radiation …

Two Steps to Triton Bay

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:50am
In this video, Phil recreates two stages of the geologic history of Triton Bay, West Papua (northwest New Guinea).

Surviving AI, by Calum Chase

Thu, 01/18/2018 - 7:10am
I know what you’re thinking: another book about AI, Callan? Really? Yes, really. I don’t know what compelled me – but perhaps that the author’s name was so similar to my own spurred me onward. Surviving AI is Calum Chase’s summary of the current state of affairs with AI risk management (specifically, of course, relative to artificial superintelligence). It’s a well balanced book in that it plainly states where there …

GOES-16 Lightning Detector Spots Michigan Meteor

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 5:45pm
My friend and superb meteorologist Paul Gross at WDIV has just posted some new info on the meteor last night in lower Michigan. It was loud, it rocked seismograms and it was even seen by an instrument on the GOES-16 weather satellite! Paul has a piece just posted with some cool info about this. My first thought last night was if the Geostationary Lightning Mapper on the GOES-16 might have spotted it, …

Konig Glacier, South Georgia Separates from Neumayer Glacier in 2017

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 3:58pm
Konig Glacier (K) terminus retreat compared in 1999 and 2017 Landsat images.  The red arrow indicate the 1999 terminus location, yellow arrows 2017 terminus location and blue arrows the surface movement. The southern terminus formerly connected with Neumayer Glacier (N) is now separate. Konig Glacier is a land terminating glacier just north of the Neumayer Glacier, on the northwest coast of South Georgia.  The glacier has a split terminus, a northern …

A New Year….and Old Nominations?

Wed, 01/17/2018 - 1:27pm
2017 was a whirlwind of a year. With a new President came new nominees to be the heads of our federal science agencies. As 2017 ended, some nominees were confirmed – Rear Admirable Tim Gallaudet became the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, Rep. Ryan Zinke became the head of the Department of Interior, and former Governor Rick Perry became the Secretary of Energy. However, not all of …