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Apr 7 / Dave Schumaker

Yikes – Posting gone awry!

My apologies for those previous posts with no content. I was testing a plugin that would automatically post certain links to articles from an RSS feed I created using Google Reader. Unfortunately, the articles that were posted didn’t extract the link descriptions of the article from the feed reader. Hence all those no-content posts! Once again, my apologies!

Anyway… quite a lot has happened in the world of geology lately! Let’s talk about some of it.

Scientists find caves on Mars. Analysis of photographs from the Mars Odyssey orbiter revealed a series of black spots near a volcano that NAU researchers believe may be caves and offer some of the best hope for looking for life on the red planet.

Global warming on Mars? Scientists have noted that Mars is warming up and believe it is caused by the darkening of many surface regions, diminishing the ability of the surface to reflect sunlight. This is in contrast to global warming that is occurring on Earth, which is primarily driven by an increase in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Climate Change
IPCC releases grim details on climate change. A new study released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has some grim predictions for the future due to climate change. Hundreds of millions of homes lost due to rising sea levels and 20 to 30 percent of all animal species expected to go extinct.

Water Projects in the West try to mitigate potential droughts. $2.5 billion dollars in water projects are underway in the southwest in order to bring more water to arid regions as well as increase the water storage capacity in certain states.

Southwest in danger of another dust bowl. Due to changes in weather patterns and the potential for the southwest to face severe droughts thanks to global warming, some scientists foresee the possibility of another Dust Bowl occurring in this region. Researchers have documented changes in the amount of precipitation that has fallen in the southwest and models show that the amount of average yearly precipitation will fall even further.

Minerals and Resources
The Scramble for Africa’s Oil. The United States imports more oil from Africa than from Saudi Arabia. An excellent article on Slate that details the discovery and exploitation of the resource from the African continent by American companies.

Diamonds are diverse. Admittedly, these press releases are a little light on content, but a research at McGill University analyzed 60 diamonds extracted from the same mine and found that the chemical makeup and properties of the diamonds varied considerably. This may force geologists to rethink how diamonds may form.

Boys contaminate town with mercury. A few fifth graders got their hands on a 4 pounds of mercury from a dentist’s office in a small town in West Virginia. After playing around with it, it was found that they had tracked the potentially poisonous element through their homes, schools and even the public library. Fortunately, no one was harmed.

Quake lifts Soloman Islands by meters. By now, I’m sure most readers have heard of the earthquake this past week in the Soloman Islands and ensuing tsunami. New information out of the Soloman Islands this weekend shows that the earthquake had lifted the islands meters out of the sea, exposing more beaches and reefs that were previously under water.

Media bias distorts details of past earthquakes. Scientists have long used past accounts of earthquakes to model the strength and damage of various historical earthquakes. A new study shows that media bias can distort the details of past earthquakes. By focusing on the most dramatic and damaging results from an earthquake, it can make various temblors appear worse than they actually were.

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