Geology in the News:

Seasonal carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached 400 ppm in May 2013. This represents a high point for the year
(just before the northern hemisphere "breathes" in carbon dioxide. The annual average is due to hit 400 ppm in 2014. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are very well known, carefully measured, and increasing rapidly due to burning fossil fuels, and greenhouse effect is one of the best understood aspects of climate science (and has been known for over 100 years).

 

Moving backward in two cultures:

Government science funding agency in
Turkey eliminates books about evolution
.

Missouri legislature introduces a bill to give "Intelligent Design" equal time to evolution in public schools.

 

December 1, 2012.

A recent study suggests that the Grand Canyon may be much older than previously thought. Previous studies, based on ages of sediment eroded and redeposited, was 6-7 million years before present. The new study suggests that the canyon may have began forming 60-70 million years ago.

red sandstone outcrop
   
Forbes Magazine has recently rated Geology as one of the top 15 college majors: photo of geologist

Petroleum geologists salaries rise again: 8% in 2011:

Geology Salaries

From AAPG Explorer (August 2011)

 

Arctic Sea ice reached the second lowest level on record in 2011. The lowest amount of Arctic Sea ice was in 2007. Here is a short story on NPR.

Sea ice melting is the result of global warming, but there are critical positive feedbacks involved. Sea ice reflects almost 90% of the suns energy, whereas seawater absorbs almost 90%, so as warming melts more ice, the oceans get warmer -- melting more sea ice.

These are complex feedback systems, because as sea ice melts, more clouds form over the arctic, and clouds also reflect sunlight. The amount of sunlight reflected back into space is called the albedo.

Labrador Sea. Photo by Eric Hiatt
 

Labrador Sea with scattered icebergs in distance. Photo by Eric Hiatt

 

Information on the earthquake that struck the east coast of the U.S. August 23, 2011:
USGS earthquake map

Go to this site by the US Geological Survey to see the latest earthquakes in the U.S. and around the world.

Earthquakes are mostly distributed around the edge of the Earth's plates, but this one appears to have been due to movement on an intra-plate fault. This fault was likely a much older fault that was reactivated due to stress on the North American Plate. The mid-ocean ridge in the Atlantic is spreading and pushing North America to the west at about 2-3 cm per year. On the west coast, the Pacific Plate is moving to the northwest at about 5 cm per year. These forces exert a great deal of stress on the North American Plate.

 

Here is a short story (with audio) from NPR's Science Friday about the earthquake.

Go to this US Geological Survey site to find out about earthquakes in your state.
This US Geological Survey site provides resources and links to understand earthquakes and plate tectonics.
The New Madrid Fault system is the best known and most dangerous intra-plate fault system in North America, Here is a brief story (with audio option) from NPR.

 

Information on the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11:

** Here is an excellent NOVA documentary about the earthquake and tsunami on PBS called "Japan's Killer Quake" Watch the full episode. See more NOVA.

 

 

 

 

Dr. Tim Paulsen of the UW-Oshkosh Geology Department was recently interviewed by NBC 26 News in Green Bay about the likelihood that Wisconsin could be hit by a major earthquake.

  Here is a great video about tsunamis from the National Geographic Magazine.

 

Climate and Environment:

 

 

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