Experts are little help in the constant struggle in this conversation to separate myth from reality, because they have the same difficulty, and routinely demonstrate it by talking past each other. Respected scientists warn of imminent energy shortages as geologic fuel supplies run out. Wall Street executives dismiss their predictions as myths and call for more drilling. Environmentalists describe the destruction to the earth from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Economists ignore them and describe the danger to the earth of failing to burn coal, oil, and natural gas. Geology researchers report fresh findings about what the earth was like millions of years ago. Creationist researchers report fresh findings that the earth didn’t exist millions of years ago. The only way not to get lost in this awful swamp is to review the basics and decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t.
posted by infinite intimation
on Jun 27, 2010 -
The Polar Discovery
team has documented science in action from pole to pole during the historic 2007-2009 International Polar Year, and covered five scientific expeditions
. The science projects explored a range of topics from climate change and glaciers, to Earth’s geology, biology, ocean chemistry, circulation, and technology at the icy ends of the earth. Through photo essays
and other multimedia
, they explain how scientists collected data and what they discovered about the rapidly changing polar regions. From the awesome folks at WHOI
posted by netbros
on Nov 9, 2009 -
is a new online exhibit from the excellent Burke Museum
at the University of Washington, Seattle. It tells the story of the land underlying Seattle, one of the United States' most geologically active city sites, and of the human attempts to engineer this landform. Closely related are the archaeology of West Point
and Coast Salish Villages
of Puget Sound (e.g., read the story
of North Wind and Storm Wind).
posted by Rumple
on May 2, 2009 -
An erupting stratovolcano poses numerous hazards for nearby habitation, but none nearly so terrifying and deadly as the pyroclastic flow
. Pyroclastic flows
, comprised of tons of superheated sulfuric gases, particulate rock materials and ash, can reach temperatures of 1,830 °F and travel at alarming speeds up to 450mph. Convection of materials within the clouds causes them to become a suspension, fluidizing
noxiously across the surrounding landscape for miles, in some cases even uphill or across open water. Wherever these clouds come in contact with humans the result is catastrophe, as the residents of Herculaneum
and St. Pierre
, Martinique learned within minutes of the eruptions of Vesuvius in 79AD and Pelee in 1902-- both towns were overwhelmed by pyroclastic clouds, igniting all flammable materials and incinerating and suffocating the inhabitants. None survived Herculaneum
, while just two of St. Pierre's
26,000 survived, one of whom was a prisoner condemned to death and awaiting his execution in a dungeon cell. Despite their incredible capacity for violence, pyroclastic flows are also capable of producing mesmerizing
, awe-inspiring beauty
posted by baphomet
on Feb 18, 2009 -
is a unique search engine for science videos focusing on Physics, Chemistry, and Space. For example, things
to do with sulfur hexafluoride
. Still growing, the editors are presently indexing other scientific fields of study including Geology, Psychology, Robotics and Computers. Ever wonder why things go bang
posted by netbros
on Aug 7, 2008 -
is an international initiative of the geological surveys of the world which is taking the data from the individual surveys and combining their data into a consistent format to produce the first digital geological map of the world. [more inside]
posted by shothotbot
on Aug 6, 2008 -
was first observed on November 14, 1963, as a pillar of smoke
on the water some ways south of Iceland. The very next day lava and tephra broke the surface of the Atlantic and by May, 1964 the formation had grown to 2.4 km². Over the next three years lava eruptions continued, coating the loose debris in a hard shell and protecting it from erosion. An island born
. Naturally, Surtsey has been under close scientific observation since its emergence, and courtesy The Surtsey Research Society
you can read published reports on the geology
and biological colonization
of this new earth.
posted by carsonb
on Jul 17, 2008 -
Later this year, geophysicist Dan Lathrop's DIY Planet Earth
will be filled with liquid sodium, weigh in at 26 tons, and will be spun-up to 80mph at its equator in an effort to discover how the earth's magnetic field is generated. Currently undergoing tests, even those can be pretty impressive
posted by Kronos_to_Earth
on Jun 4, 2008 -
In 1987, the Caltech biomagnetist and paleomagnetist Joe Kirschvink gave undergraduate Dawn Sumner a rock sample [from South Australia] to study for her senior thesis.
The apparent glacial origin of this rock lead directly to the theory that periodically the Earth has been thoroughly glaciated from the poles to the Equator: the so-called Snowball Earth
events. A website
dedicated to this theory includes detailed teaching slides
, a FAQ
, and many other resources on this interesting period in Earth's history.
posted by Rumple
on Apr 21, 2008 -
The Mystery of the Sliding Rocks of Racetrack Playa
. One of the most interesting mysteries of Death Valley National Park is the sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa (a playa is a dry lake bed). These rocks can be found on the floor of the playa with long trails behind them. Somehow these rocks slide across the playa, cutting a furrow in the sediment as they move. Some of these rocks weigh several hundred pounds. That makes the question: "How do they move?" a very challenging one. [Via].
For more in-depth information, including maps and additional pictures, see Paula Messina's website about the Sliding Rocks
posted by amyms
on Dec 2, 2007 -
"You live in the big here.
Wherever you live, your tiny spot is deeply intertwined within a larger place, imbedded fractal-like into a whole system called a watershed, which is itself integrated with other watersheds into a tightly interdependent biome. At the ultimate level, your home is a cell in an organism called a planet. All these levels interconnect. What do you know about the dynamics of this larger system around you?
30 questions to elevate your awareness (and literacy) of the greater place in which you live.
posted by Hartster
on Jul 13, 2006 -
What Aren't We Seeing? Panoramic (high-res) Photographs of Profound Geological Erosion.
When we're in Monument Valley
, it's tempting to say that we're looking at monuments - large hunks of stone scattered across the landscapes like statues to honor past heroes, or tombstones to honor the dead.
A closer look
tells us there's more to it than that. As we scan from one "monument" to the next, we can see in each monument a sloping base of roughly uniform vertical thickness and then straightsided rock of very uniform thickness. The rock is the same in all of them, suggesting that they were all part of two (or many more) uniform layers of stone that extended across the entire region.
And how about here
, where the Front Range and the Great Plains meet. Do you see a fault? An experienced geological observer would see a high ridge to the left with at most a few scattered ragged exposures of rock, whereas a prominent ridge of sedimentary rock juts up in the middle but is nowhere to be seen to the left. The road that we see going away from us on the left side of the image seems to separate two rather different areas. That observation provides us with a hypothesis: maybe there's a fault between two different kinds of rock. (more discussion here
, and don't miss the Virtual Field Trip to a Major Unconformity
posted by derangedlarid
on Sep 10, 2005 -
was the 17th century's Jesuit version
of the über
geek. His scholarly attentions were drawn to egyptology, astronomy, magnetism, languages, optics, music, geology, mathematics and many many other pursuits. The "dude of wonders"
invented novel machines such as the mathematical organ
and magnetic clock
, established one of the first museums, published about 40 academic works (with beautiful accompanying illustrations
) and was globally revered as one of his time's greatest intellectuals. He is also the main link in the Voynich manuscript mystery
posted by peacay
on Aug 7, 2005 -
More than 16,000 photos
related to the USGS from the years 1868 through 1992 are now available online where they may be easily searched, viewed, and downloaded free of charge.
These are old stereo pairs, sites drowned by dams, geologists and surveyers in horse drawn wagons, petroglyphs, national parks, Mount St. Helens, John Wesley
Powell, hoodoos, arches, ruins, mines...
posted by the Real Dan
on Apr 14, 2005 -
Instead of liquid water, Titan
has liquid methane. Instead of silicate rocks, Titan has frozen water ice. Instead of dirt, Titan has hydrocarbon particles settling out of the atmosphere, and instead of lava, Titanian volcanoes spew very cold ice.
posted by Pretty_Generic
on Jan 21, 2005 -