AGU 2011 Archives - State of the Planet

Sediment cores taken from the Dead Sea indicate the area has dried up almost completely, probably in conjunction with the recession of glaciers. In the middle of a relatively dry period, the lake is under additional stress now from human consumption. (Photo: Adi Torfstein)

Earth Institute Science in Spotlight

Research presented by Earth Institute scientists at the 2011 American Geophysical Union fall conference generated a lot of attention from the media. Much of it came from a press conference held to discuss findings by Steve Goldstein from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and his colleagues on the potential for future drying up of the Dead Sea.

by |December 13, 2011
A core section shows shells of foraminifera, and reduced carbonate preservation, at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum. During the period, researchers believe up to half of deep-sea benthic foraminifer species suffered extinction. Photo: Laura Foster, University of Bristol

From Distant Past, Lessons on Ocean Acidification

Oceans turned more acidic during a period of great warming some 56 million years ago, causing an extinction of bottom-dwelling marine species known as foraminifera, a scenario that may be happening again now, only much more quickly.

by |December 8, 2011
Robin Bell

AGU Honors Scientists from Lamont-Doherty

A half-dozen Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory scientists were to be honored by the American Geophysical Union at its annual fall conference in San Francisco tonight.

by |December 7, 2011
Map shows locations of seismometers deployed to study movements of the earth around eastern Papua New Guinea.

Where Continents Divide, and Rocks Rise from the Deep

Along the Woodlark Rift in eastern Papua New Guinea, continents are breaking apart, “like a snake opening its mouth.” Geologic processes that are still a mystery are actively stretching the crust and pushing huge masses of rock, formed under immense pressures as deep as 100 kilometers below, to the surface.

by |December 6, 2011

Natural Disasters: The Upside

Floods, volcanoes, earthquakes–really, very little good news comes out of this sort of thing. Maybe the occasional feel-good story about, say, a child miraculously dug from the rubble days later, tired but unharmed and in good spirits, having survived on a cache of crackers and Coke. Actually, says John Mutter, an Earth Institute professor of sustainability studies, disasters can sometimes… read more

by |December 6, 2011

Ancient Dry Spells, Future Risk?

The last major drought to hit the northeastern U.S. lasted three years and shrunk New York City’s reservoirs by nearly three quarters. But as bad as that drought was, the region has seen at least three dry spells in the last 6,000 years that were far worse, says Dorothy Peteet, a climate scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Peteet presented new results from her Hudson River work Monday at a press conference at the AGU’s fall meeting in San Francisco.

by |December 5, 2011

Under the Dead Sea, Warnings on Climate and Earthquakes

      An international team of scientists drilling deep under the bed of the Dead Sea has found evidence that the sea may have dried up during a past warm period analogous to scenarios for climate change in coming decades. With nations in the volatile region already running short on water, the finding could be a… read more

by |December 5, 2011