Dissolving the Future of Coral Reefs

by | 4.9.2014 at 10:44am
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Coral reefs, some of the planet’s most beautiful and biodiverse ecosystems, face many natural and anthropogenic threats. Tremendous effort has gone into protecting and rehabilitating these reefs worldwide, but the mounting problem of ocean acidification has the potential to obliterate all progress made by marine scientists, conservationists, and policy-makers thus far.

Scientists Speak Out on Climate: Is Anyone Listening?

by | 4.9.2014 at 9:24am
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In the light of recent varied efforts to focus public attention on the risks of climate change, we asked Earth Institute scientists what they want the public to understand about the issue and how they see their roles.

Greenland Ice

by | 4.7.2014 at 11:13am
A Greenland ice core. Photo: Christian Morel (Nature)

If you went to Greenland, almost 80 North,
And drilled your way down … a mile, then more,
You’d find some strange layers, a story’d come forth
A record of ice ages locked in a core.

The Isthmus of Panama: Out of the Deep Earth

by | 3.31.2014 at 3:53pm
Geologists are investigating igneous rocks from the deep earth that helped build the land bridge that joins North and South America. These are most visible along the windswept western coast of Panama. CLICK TO SEE A SLIDESHOW OF THE WORK

The creation of the narrow isthmus that joins North and South America changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and probably global climate. Scientists try to decipher the story behind its formation.

Photo Essay: Exploring the Rocks That Join the Americas

by | 3.31.2014 at 3:49pm
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The formation of the slender land bridge that joins South America and North America was a pivotal event in earth’s history. At its narrowest along the isthmus of Panama, it changed not just the world map, but the circulation of oceans, the course of biologic evolution, and global climate. Cornelia Class, a geochemist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and Esteban Gazel, a Lamont adjunct researcher now based at Virginia Tech, are looking into a key factor: the Galápagos Plume.

Gerry Iturrino: Oceanographer, Engineer, Friend

by | 3.18.2014 at 11:37am
Iturrino aboard the JOIDES Resolution

Gerardo Iturrino, a longtime engineer and ocean explorer at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, passed away unexpectedly on March 12. A resident of nearby Nyack, he was 51; the cause was heart attack, said his family. His incessant curiosity about the structure and origin of the Earth drove his career, the last 18 years of which he spent as a researcher at Lamont. During his time there, he participated in 16 deep-sea expeditions, most of them aboard the JOIDES Resolution, the flagship vessel of the International Ocean Discovery Program, which drills cores from ocean floors around the world.

Did New Zealand Dust Influence the Last Ice Age?

by | 3.13.2014 at 10:57am
Mineral dust plays an important role in regulating earth’s climate.  Some of this dust comes from mountain glaciers grinding up rocks over long periods of time. (Bess Koffman)

Bess Koffman, a postdoctoral researcher at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, recently traveled to New Zealand to collect dust ground-up by glaciers during the last ice age. In this photo essay, she explains how she collected the dust, what analysis looks like in the lab and what she hopes to learn.

Keeping an Eye on Coastal Erosion

by | 3.10.2014 at 3:05pm
Flying a large drone used for monitoring beaches.

Searching for a fast, simple and low-cost way to monitor Earth’s changing coastlines, a team of scientists, including Lamont-Doherty Observatory postdoctoral researcher and marine scientist Alessio Rovere, has found an innovative use for drones.

Bricks, an Archeological Site and Home

by | 3.7.2014 at 8:33am
One of the myriad brick factories in Bangladesh.  The lack of rocks means bricks are widely used for construction.

It was time to pack up and leave. Shofiq, who is from Sylhet, was dropped off near his home and the fellowship of the rocks was broken. We settled in for another long drive. We made an impromptu stop at one of the numerous brick factories scattered across Bangladesh. Here, the workers immediately started snapping pictures of us with their phones.

Field School: Sylhet Tectonics

by | 3.7.2014 at 7:46am
Standing in India by the Dauki River and Shillong Plateau at Jaflong..

Most field trips have a “death march” hiking a long way through forest, swamps, hills or deserts to get to a remote outcrop. We have a “death bus ride” instead.