Earth Sciences


Photo Essay: Rising Islands, Monster Wave

Researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have published a new study showing that a tsunami of unimaginable size swept over the Cape Verde Islands some 73,000 years ago. The discovery may have implications for the potential for modern hazards.  READ THE FULL SCIENTIFIC STORY

by |October 2, 2015
Tree ring research was a young field in 1975 when Ed Cook (above, in Nepal) and Gordon Jacoby founded the Tree Ring Lab at Lamont. The Lab would become a world leader in tree ring sampling and analysis and a source of technology and training for dendrochronologists around the world. Photo by Paul Krusic

Translating Nature’s Historians: The Tree Ring Lab Turns 40

In its first 40 years, the Lamont Tree Ring Lab tracked changing climates around the world, building an international reputation as a global leader in research, training and technology.

by |September 16, 2015
Gathered at the North Pole are the crew of U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy and the GEOTRACES science team.  On Sept. 5th at 7:47 AM the ship reached the North Pole, becoming the 1st U.S. surface vessel to do so unaccompanied. (photo U.S. COAST GUARD)

A Week of Firsts for This Arctic Nation

We are closing in on a week of intense focus and excitement for GEOTRACES and for the United States around the Arctic. President Obama became the first sitting president to visit Alaska, the US Coast Guard Cutter Healy with US GEOTRACES scientists completed the first unaccompanied US surface vessel transit to the North Pole, and the first group ever to collect trace metals at the North Pole! You might assume these three items are unrelated, but they are in fact tightly linked.

by |September 11, 2015
A research vessel plows through the Southern Ocean, who rough waters play an outsize role in absorbing carbon dioxide from the air. (Nicolas Metzl, LOCEAN/IPSL Laboratory)

The Southern Ocean Is Breathing in Carbon Dioxide at a Healthy Rate

“In the last 10 years, we were afraid that the Southern Ocean was going to quit giving us a break from climate change. This study shows that it’s recovered its ability to take up carbon dioxide, and that’s good news.”

by |September 10, 2015
An aerial photo shows the edge of the Holuhraun lava flow (blue line), where the lava went over a combination of sand and bedrock. Two types of lava appear on either side of the red line: smooth pahoehoe on the right and rubbly a’a on the left.

From the Field: Mapping Lava Flows in Iceland

Lamont’s Einat Lev and Elise Rumpf write about their expedition to the lava fields of Iceland, where the two volcanologists and a drone named Buzz studied how lava flows and what happens to rivers, rocks and old lava in its path.

by |September 9, 2015
core repository

It’s as Clear as Mud

For the sampling GEOTRACES is doing in the Arctic there is a specific goal of collecting just the top few dozen centimeters of sediment and the water just above it. Although the plan was good, things don’t always go perfectly.

by |September 6, 2015

Scouring Arctic for Traces of Fukushima and Cosmic Rays

Sounds like the basis for a great scifi thriller…”scientists scour Arctic, hunting for traces of nuclear fallout and ejections from cosmic ray impacts”. In reality this thriller theme is the actual core of the GEOTRACES mission.

Polar Bear takes a drink (Photo credit Tim Kenna)

Moving into the Realm of the Polar Bear

When we venture into the Arctic for research for most of us there is the lingering hope that a polar bear will appear on our watch; at least as long as we are safely outside of its reach.

by |August 24, 2015
In 1980s and 1990s, prospecting teams worked their way northward through remote terrains, including the Canadian Rockies, where this crew member was landed by helicopter.  (Courtesy Paul Derkson)

Photo Essay: The Mystery of North American Diamonds

People have been finding loose diamonds across the United States and Canada since the early 1800s, but for the most part, no one knows where they came from. It was not until the 1990s that geologists tracked down the first commercial deposits, on the remote tundra of Canada’s Northwest Territories. Yaakov Weiss, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is investigating the origins of these rich diamond mines.

by |August 24, 2015

Cracking Open Diamonds for Messages From the Deep Earth

“After a diamond captures something, from that moment until millions of years later in my lab, that material stays the same. We can look at diamonds as time capsules, as messengers from a place we have no other way of seeing.”

by |August 24, 2015