Category: Earth Sciences

Lamont-Doherty Strategic Plan

by | 4.17.2015 at 10:58am
Lamont Strategic Plan

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory has been a leader in the study of our planet since its founding 65 years ago. Today, Observatory scientists continue the institution’s long tradition of addressing important questions in the Earth and planetary sciences. 

Photo Essay: Iceland at the Cutting Edge of Climate Change

by | 4.13.2015 at 4:21pm
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Iceland has a complicated relationship with climate change. As in much of the far north, global warming is already exerting many effects here–arguably both good and bad. Yet the country contributes relatively little to the warming, since most of its energy comes from geothermal and hydro plants, which produce little carbon dioxide. Now, it is on the scientific cutting edge of the issue.

An Earth Epic

by | 4.10.2015 at 10:30am
Photo: Ricardo Ramalho

I hear that the Archean Earth
Spewed lava and was hot,
(While much later, “Snowball Earth,”
Apparently was not),
Some have said that life sprung out of
Spreading-ridge-type stew,
Photosynthesis seems likely
Based on carbon records, too.

In the Ice

by | 4.10.2015 at 9:12am
Some examples of the sea ice that we have encountered so far. Top left: bands of grease ice, Top right: small pancake ice merged together; bottom left: larger pancake ice; bottom right: The Nathaniel B. Palmer steaming through dense sea ice cover.

Several days ago we reached our main work areas along the margin of East Antarctica. Our expedition is relatively late in the season and the seas around Antarctica are starting to freeze.

Earth Institute Summer 2015 Internships

by | 4.7.2015 at 3:00pm
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This summer, the Earth Institute is offering Columbia students opportunities to intern within various departments and research centers at the institute. All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply. These internships are funded at a rate of $15 an hour for 20 hours per week and up to a maximum of 120 hours for summer 2015.

Closing in on Antarctica

by | 4.6.2015 at 11:29am
During our transit south to Antarctica we deployed seven ARGO floats (yellow device in picture) for the University of Washington. They drift with the currents in the oceans, measure profiles of salinity and temperature and send those via satellite to researchers on land. They are part of an international effort to better monitor the conditions of the oceans.

We are less than a day away from our first study area on the continental shelf in front of the Dibble Glacier. As we approach Antarctica we are starting our science program with a 4500 meter deep CTD and multibeam acquisition.

Indian Sundarban

by | 3.30.2015 at 1:34pm
Overhanging rooks and slumps reveal the much larger amount of erosion and land loss in the Indian Sundarban

We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.

On Our Way: Avoiding the Storm

by | 3.30.2015 at 10:24am
Map showing the planned track of our expedition with the modifications made due to the storm systems. Our main study areas are on the continental shelf in front of some major East Antarctic glaciers.

We are now aboard the R/V Palmer and on our way to East Antarctica. Due to two storms in our direct way we are heading west first to go around the storms and we’ll then head south on their backside.

Geology and Filming in Mizoram

by | 3.27.2015 at 2:08pm
A small boat sailing up a scenic river in Mizoram.

In the small town of Kolasib, we stayed in Hotel Cloud 9. I had been told since I was a child that I was always off on Cloud 9 and now I was actually here. However, the electricity wasn’t for the first few hours, so showers were cold, but the dinner was hot.

Soon-to-End Mercury Mission May Hold Clues to Earth’s Evolution

by | 3.27.2015 at 11:58am
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NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury for the last four years, giving scientists an unprecedented look at our solar system’s innermost planet. But now the craft’s fuel supply is exhausted; inexorably drawn in by Mercury’s gravity, it is scheduled to crash in April. Sean Solomon, director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has been leading the mission, and in this video, he talks about its implications.