Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Exhuma, Bahamas, geology

Head for the Hills

While we spent much of our time examining corals and swamps, studying sea level and storms, we became fascinated by a simple question: How did the hills of Exuma form?

by |July 21, 2015
Geochemist James Ross of Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory installs an air-quality monitor in a home neighboring a hydraulic-fracturing drill pad. CLICK FOR A SLIDESHOW

Hospitalizations Increase Near Fracking Sites, Study Shows

People living in areas of Pennsylvania where hydraulic fracturing is booming are suffering increasing rates of hospitalization, a new study says. The study is one of a small but growing number suggesting that the practice could be affecting human health.

by |July 16, 2015
Arsenic in Bangladesh resides in the sediments washed down from the Himalayas by rivers like the Brahmaputra and Ganges over many thousands of years. Water pumped up for irrigation is affecting rice crops. Photo: David Funkhouser

Battling ‘the Largest Mass Poisoning in History’

As many as one in five deaths in Bangladesh may be tied to naturally occurring arsenic in the drinking water; it is the epicenter of a worldwide problem that is affecting tens of millions of people. For two decades, health specialists and earth scientists from Columbia University have been trying to understand the problem, and how to solve it.

by |July 13, 2015
Noctiluca_Omani_400[1]

An Algorithm to Investigate Unwelcome Plankton

Computer scientists at Columbia University will work with oceanographers to understand what has caused an unusual plankton-like species to rapidly invade the Arabian Sea food chain, threatening fisheries that sustain more than 100 million people.

by |July 7, 2015
The Vetlessen Prize 6-24-15

Vetlesen Science Prize Celebrated at Columbia Gala

Stephen Sparks, one of the world’s foremost experts on volcanoes, received the Vetlesen Prize for his groundbreaking scientific work at a ceremony held June 24 at Columbia University. Two-hundred-fifty people attended the formal gathering in the Low Library Rotunda.

by |June 30, 2015
glacier-hss

Glacial Earthquakes May Help Forecast Sea-Level Rise

Glacial earthquakes are produced as massive ice chunks fall off the fronts of advancing glaciers into the ocean. A new study of the quakes’ mechanics may give scientists a way to measure ice loss remotely and refine predictions of sea-level rise.

by |June 25, 2015
esp class

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Hosts New MPA Students

On Monday, June 22, the newest Master of Public Administration in Environmental Science & Policy (MPA-ESP) candidates spent a beautiful, sunny day touring Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, just a short bus ride away in Palisades, NY. Led by Environmental Chemistry professor Benjamin Bostick and Climatology professor Jason Smerdon, the students were exposed to many different areas of groundbreaking research that the world-class facility has to offer.

by |June 23, 2015
Photo: Marcus Oh

Is City Biking Hazardous to Your Health?

As more and more people take to biking in the city, a new study will look at how much pollution bikers are exposed to, and what effects it might be having on their health.

by |June 16, 2015
Christine-w-chrystal-600x401

Viewing Melting Glaciers, Via Microscope and Moving Images

Two women investigating climate change from different perspectives—Christine McCarthy, a geophysicist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Denise Iris, a multimedia artist from Brooklyn—had a chance to spend several days together recently. In the Rock Mechanics Lab at Lamont, where McCarthy works, and a nearby “cold room” chilled to the climate of an industrial freezer, they exchanged notes on two ways of looking at ice.

by |June 11, 2015
The state of the Equatorial Pacific has influenced global climate throughout Earth history. Interpretation of past trends can lend insight into the future of our planet. 
Source: NASA Earth Observatory

Tapping into Earth’s Secret History

In a study published last week, Lamont post-doctoral scholar Heather Ford and coauthors used 4 million-year-old fossils from the Pliocene to reconstruct the physical features of the Pacific Ocean that would have shaped the environment during a critical juncture in Earth history.

by |June 2, 2015