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Dressing for (Interview) Success

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 12:57pm
Earth and space scientists have a style all their own, and without getting judgmental, let’s just agree that it is not the right style for most interviews. It is important to wear the right clothing for the situation. For example, in the photo below, Dr. Mae Jemison looks great in orange; however, while a space suit is appropriate for a trip into space and broken-in blue jeans might be the …

To the opposite end of the Earth

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 9:00am
Joanna Young does not seem to fear change very much. The spunky redhead first came to Fairbanks from Egypt, where her parents were teaching English and running a school. Raised in Toronto, she knew what cold was. But this was January 2010, a colder-than-average month. The temperature bottomed out at minus 41 F as she arrived.

Friday fold: Dalradian kinks, crenulations, and folded crenulations on Arran

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 7:45am
For the Friday fold, let’s travel to the northern edge of the Isle of Arran in southwestern Scotland, where near the town of Lochranza, you can find Dalradian metagraywackes that display a lovely suite of folds. There are kink bands, like this one: And this one: And these en echelon kink bands: And these: But there’s also a more pervasive structural fabric to be seen: symmetrical crenulations: And in places …

The North Canterbury Landslide Dams website

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 3:05am
Canterbury Maps has created the North Canterbury Landslide Dams portal to provide information about valley blocking landslides after the Kaikoura Earthquake

We’ve Been Waiting for this Whopper, and It Has Arrived!

Fri, 12/02/2016 - 1:52am
We all knew it was coming, and this week it was delivered, just in time for Christmas. It’s the post El Nino, “The globe is cooling and climate change has stopped” myth.  First an explanation: During an El Nino event, very warm water covers much of the Equatorial Pacific, warming the air while cooling the oceans. Because of this, the hottest years globally are almost always El Nino years, and …

Sol 1537: Drill fault

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 11:00pm
The drill failed, so onto other science while the drill fault is studied.

Novels by Ernest Cline

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 5:01pm
In the past couple of months I listened to the audiobook versions of Ernest Cline’s two novels. They are of a common piece, and so I opt to review them in tandem. There is a feeling I have that I am increasingly at odds with the students I teach in terms of cultural references and common interests. On a field trip recently, I made a joke that referenced Indiana Jones …

Getting Sexual Harassment Out of the Field

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 3:30pm
By Mary Anne Holmes I took field camp back in 1983 and had a pretty unhappy experience. This was one of those “sink or swim” models of teaching, with some pretty blatant sexual misconduct of the instructor and a female student. I came away from the experience having learned little. Sexual harassment and misconduct on the part of instructors, faculty, staff, and teaching assistants no doubt drives great people away …

Semienova Glacier, Kyrgyzstan Area, Volume, Velocity Decline

Thu, 12/01/2016 - 10:06am
Landsat comparison of Semenova Glacier in 1998 and 2016.  Red arrow is the 1998 terminus, yellow arrow is the 2016 terminus and purple are locations where tributaries are separating from each other or disconnecting from the main glacier. Semienova Glacier is a valley glacier in the northeast corner of Kyrgyzstan draining into the Sary Dzhaz (Aksu) River which then flows into the Tarim Basin, China. Farinotti et al. (2015) used three approaches …

Sol 1536: Drilling "Precipice"

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 11:00pm
We expect that the Precipice target is soft enough that the experiment will go well, but of course we won't know until we try! Drilling and associated imaging will require enough power and time that additional observations could not be added to the plan.

Suomi Satellite Sees the Gatlinburg Fire through Thick Cloud

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 6:52pm
The VIRRS instrument on the Suomi Satellite saw the Gatlinburg fire Monday night very clearly, through a thick deck of clouds. The image below is a day-night channel. We can often see clouds at night, especially when there is a bright Moon. This data is also useful to see growth patterns of cities, and even to estimate population changes in towns and cities.

The Warm November May Be Setting Us Up For a Cold Winter

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 6:00pm
The Arctic Sea ice continues to run at record lows, and this has potentially large implications on the winter ahead. Instead of white ice reflecting what little sunlight is available north of 60 degrees, we have ocean water rapidly losing its heat into the atmosphere of the High Arctic. The ice that’s usually there now acts as an insulator to hold in the heat, but not this year! How all …

Setting sail on the Hydrothermal Hunt

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 1:12pm
The truth is that we have barely scratched the seafloor; making this trip a real adventure into the unknown. We do know that chemosynthetic life loves to gather around energy-producing vents, but what organisms are there in this back-arc area? How are they distributed? How do they travel, survive, and evolve? In order to find out, the research vessel Falkor is loaded with a crack team of scientists and a brand new Remotely Operated Vehicle – SuBastian.

Permafrost loss dramatically changes Yukon River chemistry

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 12:06pm
Permafrost loss due to a warming Alaska is leading to changes in the chemistry of the Yukon River Basin with potential global climate implications. This is the first time a Yukon River study has been able to use long-term continuous water chemistry data to document hydrological changes over such an enormous geographic area and long time span.

Little mine in Big Sur: Perpetuating mercury contamination in California’s Central Coast

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 10:00am
Wildfires can perpetuate mercury contamination by releasing it from soil and plants and spreading it through smoke and ash. It doesn’t take much heat to convert mercury to a gas.

“Drumsticks” of Islay tillite

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 8:26am
One fun thing about examining the Port Askaig Tillite in the field is to find odd-shaped exemplars of the unit lying on Islay’s beaches. My favorites were shaped like wands, or antennae, or perhaps the drumsticks freshly detached from a Thanksgiving turkey… a big clast at one end and then a thin septum of the finer-grained matrix to hang on to: Here’s an example: The shape results from differential weathering …

Take-home final exam – Earth Science for Future Presidents

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 7:09am
The book that has yet to be written is "Earth Science for Future Presidents," to make sure every President is prepared when it comes to Earth science and Earth issues. For your take-home exam, you are writing a nonfiction book proposal titled "Earth Science for Future Presidents"...

Earthquake induced landslides in the Himalayan mountains – new evidence for earthquake potential in Bhutan

Wed, 11/30/2016 - 4:35am
A recently-published paper suggests that the Himalayan country of Bhutan suffered a major (approx M=8.0) earthquake in 1714, emphasing the potential for a future event that would probably lead to extensive landsliding.

Sol 1535: Cross-contamination experiment

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 11:00pm
It’s a “cross-contamination experiment” designed to see if the vibration didn’t do a complete job back when we first drilled Sebina. Lots of images of the sieve and other parts of CHIMRA will be taken to verify that the system is clean. These activities will take a fair amount of time and power, but we were able to squeeze a few remote science observations into the plan...

Islay’s Port Askaig tillite

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 8:32am
The Port Askaig Tillite is a Neoproterozoic diamictite on the eastern shore of Islay (Scotland) that may record a "Snowball Earth" glaciation.