Earth Sciences

Meltwater rivers on the greenland ice sheet. M. Tedesco/Columbia University

In Greenland, Exactly Where Meltwater Enters the Ocean Matters

In southern Greenland in summer, rivers have been streaming off the ice sheet, pouring cold fresh water into the fjords. A new study tracks where that meltwater goes—with surprising results.

by |April 25, 2016
The Leafsnap app helps users identify trees from photographs of leaves—an example of a growing number of science and environment-related apps.

Citizen Science, Smartphone Apps and a $10,000 Prize

If you think you can combine an interest in the environment with a little savvy about smartphone apps, listen up. You could win $10,000.

by |April 20, 2016
Modern mapping shows a mid-ocean ridge running from the top of the image to the bottom, with two transform faults perpendicular to the ridge. Via GeoMapApp

Walter Pitman and the Smoking Gun of Plate Tectonics

“We had this magic key, this magic magnetic profile,” Pitman said. “We were able to date it and eventually use it not only as a tool that proved continental drift but a tool by which we could actually reconstruct the pattern of drift, that is the relative position of the continents, and the actual timing of the separation of the continents.”

by |April 20, 2016
Christopher Scholz

Top Seismology Award Goes to Pioneer in Rock Mechanics: Christopher Scholz

For his pioneering work in rock mechanics and his skill at communicating earthquake science, Scholz is being honored on April 20 by the Seismological Society of America with its top award, the Harry Fielding Reid Medal.

by |April 20, 2016
Bathymetry from the Kilo Moana vent field, mapped in 2005. Each grid cell in this image is 25 cm. Image: SOI/Dr. V. Ferrini

Zeroing in on Life Around a Hydrothermal Vent

Vicki Ferrini has spent a lot of time working on mapping the ocean floor, and now she’s sailing in the South Pacific to get a closer look.

by |April 13, 2016
The crew and scientists of Expedition 361. Photo: Tim Fulton/IODP

Almost Home, with Another 7 Million Years of Climate History

Science at sea isn’t easy, but the benefits are huge, writes Sidney Hemming in her final post from a two-month expedition that collected millions of years of climate history in the deep-sea sediment from off southern Africa.

by |March 25, 2016
The Alvin submersible, courtesy of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

‘Popping Rocks’ and Robots

It turns out that studying lava flows at the bottom of the ocean uses many of the same methods as studying lava flows on other planets, writes Lamont’s Elise Rumpf.

by |March 24, 2016
Expedition 361’s nannofossil experts with their specialties: Top, left to right: Margit Simon, Thiago Pereira dos Santos, Luna Brentegani and Deborah Tangunan. Bottom left to right: Dick Norris and Jason Coenen. All associated with a fossil of their speciality (not quite to scale…). Illustration by Deborah Tangunan

Finding Microfossils off Southern Africa

Expedition 361’s newest sediment cores brought up spectacular foraminifera—translucent, glassy and “very pretty” throughout the ocean sediment.

by |March 19, 2016
Alexis Armstrong and Beth Novak of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) prepare a core for laser engraving aboard the JOIDES Resolution. Photo: Tim Fulton/IODP

A Surprise from the Zambezi River

Sidney Hemming and her team aboard the JOIDES Resolution got a surprise when they began taking sediment cores from their first river site off southern Africa—about 10 times more sediment than expected.

by |March 16, 2016
Scientists crowd around the stratigraphic correlators' screens. Co-chief scientists Sidney Hemming and Ian Hall are on the right. Photo: Tim Fulton/IODP

Mozambique Core Brings Up 7 Million Years of Climate History

With calm seas, the JOIDES Resolution’s latest sediment core comes up with what appears to be a fantastic, cyclic climate signal that is continuous back 7 million years, writes Sidney Hemming.

by |March 11, 2016