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Sexual Dimorphism ~ Another Challenging Variable

This post was prompted by the recent publication of a fascinating article by paleontologist Jordan C. Mallon about our ability or, more specifically, our inability to distinguish between males and females in the available fossils for several prominen...
Categories: dinosaurs; sexual dimorphism; shark teeth;

Heliconia berguidoi: A new species of Lobster-claw from Panama.

Sciency Thoughts | 30 April, 2017
Lobster-claws, Heliconiaceae, are large Banana-like plants closely related to the Bird-of-Paradise Plants, Strelitziaceae, and sometimes known as 'False Bird-of-Paradise Plants'. The family comprises a single genus, Heliconia, found in the American tropics from Mexico through Central America and into the tropical forests of South America, as well as the islands of the Caribbean and Pacific, and parts of Indonesia, and have become naturalised in some other parts of the world, notably Florida, Thailand, and West Africa.
Categories: Biodiversity; Botany; Central America; Chiriqui Province; Chucanti Private Forest Reserve; conservation; Heliconiaceae; Lobster-Claws; Monocotyledons; Panama; Plants; Serranía de Majé; Taxonomy; Tropical Forests;

Detecting the presence of hominins in ancient soil samples

Earth-Pages | 30 April, 2017
Out on the plains countless herbivores fertilise the ground by continual urination and defecation. A friend's sheep are doing just that in the small field that came with my current home while they are keeping the grass under control.  Millions of hectares of prime agricultural land in China are kept fertile through disposal of human night soil from 'honey wagons' every day; it is even fed to fishes in small ponds. Such a nice economy also donates the DNA of the animal and plant inhabitants to the soil system. In 2015 analysis of environmental DNA from permafrost in Siberia and Alaska produced 'bar codes' for the now vanished ecosystems of what was  mammoth steppe during the climate decline to the last glacial maximum and the subsequent warming. The study revealed mammoth and pre-Columbian horse DNA and changes in the steppe vegetation, from which it was concluded that the steppe underwent regional extinction pulses of its megafauna linked to rapid climate ups and downs connected with Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles. It was but a small step to see the potential for studying distribution and timing of various hominins' occupation of caves from the soils preserved within them, without depending on generally very rare occurrences of human skeletal remains.
Categories: Anthropology and Geoarchaeology; Cave soils; Denisovan; DNA; Neanderthal;

To the Land of Volcanic Enchantment (LoVE)

New Mexico's official nickname is "Land of Enchantment"--because of its rich scenery, long record of human history (for the US), and the many diverse cultures. Other nicknames popular enough to appear on license plates reference Cactus, Span...
Categories: Jemez Lineament; New Mexico geology; volcanism;

Spectacular new satellite imagery of severe storms shows the atmosphere as a boiling, roiling cauldron of clouds

ImaGeo | 30 April, 2017
High-resolution animation from GOES-16: massive thunderstorms over southern Illinois, part of a sprawling, dangerous weather system A large swath of the nation's midsection has been hammered with torrential downpours. And the forecast calls for yet...
Categories: None

Magnitude 1.7 Earthquake in Cumbria, northwest England.

Sciency Thoughts | 30 April, 2017
The British Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 1.7 Earthquake at a depth of about 4 km, close to the village of Aspatria, roughly 20 km to the south west of Carlisle in Cumbria, England, slightly before 10.40 am British Summertime (slightly before 9.40 am GMT) on Thursday 27 April 2017. There are no reports of any damage or injuries associated with this event, and nor would they be expected from such a small event, though it is possible it was felt locally.  The approximate location of the 27 April 2017 Aspatria Earthquake. Google Maps. Earthquakes become more common as you travel north and west in Great Britain, with the west coast of Scotland being the most quake-prone part of the island and the northwest of Wales being more prone  to quakes than the rest of Wales or most of England. However, while quakes in southern England are less frequent, they are often larger than events in the north, as tectonic pressures tend to build up for longer periods of time between events, so that when they occur more pressure is released. The precise cause of Earthquakes in the UK can be hard to determine; the country is not close to any obvious single cause of such activity such as a plate margin, but is subject to tectonic pressures from several different sources, with most quakes probably being the result of the interplay between these forces. Britain is being pushed to the east by the expansion of the Atlantic Ocean and to the north by the impact of Africa into Europe from the south. It is also affected by lesser areas of tectonic spreading beneath the North Sea, Rhine Valley and Bay of Biscay. Finally the country is subject to glacial rebound; until about 10 000 years ago much of the north of the country was covered by a thick layer of glacial ice (this is believed to have been thickest on the west coast of Scotland), pushing the rocks of the British lithosphere down into the underlying mantle. This ice is now gone, and the rocks are springing (slowly) back into their original position, causing the occasional Earthquake in the process.     (Top) Simplified diagram showing principle of glacial rebound. Wikipedia. (Bottom) Map showing the rate of glacial rebound in various parts of the UK. Note that some parts of England and Wales show negative values, these areas are being pushed down slightly by uplift in Scotland, as the entire landmass is quite rigid and acts a bit like a see-saw. Climate North East. Witness accounts of Earthquakes can help geologists to understand these events, and the structures that cause them. If you felt this quake, or were in the area but did not (which is also useful information) then you can report it to the British Geological Survey here.   See also...  
Categories: Cumbria; Earthquakes; England; Eurasian Plate; Glacial Rebound; UK;

Oil production cuts: Fool me, make that any number of times

Resource Insights | 30 April, 2017
The jawboning of oil prices by the Saudi Arabian/Russian tag team should be wearing off after more than a year of actions that don't measure up to the words. Oil prices slumped recently, dropping from around $54 per barrel to just below $50 as of Friday's close.
Categories: None

Re-Wilding: Cities by Nature

The Nature of Cities | 30 April, 2017
The historic gardens of Western civilization typically include segments that were municipal areas, hunting grounds, or, on occasion, fragments of the region's original forest. Many of the Italian, French, and English gardens that establish the history of landscape gardening were interventions added within or onto lands that, originally, were uncultivated royal reserves. While the architectural ... Continue reading Re-Wilding: Cities by Nature '
Categories: Essay; Place & Design; Science & Tools; Architecture; Culture; Design; Ecosystem services; Resilience; Suburbs; What is urban nature?; Wildlife People Interactions;

Asteroid 2017 GK4 passes the Earth.

Sciency Thoughts | 30 April, 2017
Asteroid 2017 GK4 passed by the Earth at a distance of about 13 800 000 km (35.9 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon, or 9.2% of the distance between the Earth and the Sun), slightly after 9.00 am GMT on Sunday 23 April 2017. There was no danger of the asteroid hitting us, though were it to do so it would have presented a considerable threat. 2017 GK4 has an estimated equivalent diameter of 90-280 m (i.e. it is estimated that a spherical object with the same volume would be 90-280 m in diameter), and an object towards the upper end of this size range would be predicted to be capable of passing through the Earth's atmosphere relatively intact, impacting the ground directly with an explosion that would be 60 000 times as powerful as the Hiroshima bomb. Such an impact would result in an impact crater about 4 km in diameter and devastation on a global scale, as well as climatic effects that would last decades or even centuries.
Categories: 2017 GK4; Apollo Group Asteroids; Asteroids; Near Earth Asteroids; Potentially Hazardous Asteroids; Solar System;

Highway 101, Vietnam, Turkey and others: a selection of new landslide videos

The Landslide Blog | 30 April, 2017
In the last two weeks a range of landslide videos have appeared on Youtube, including examples from Highway 101, Vietnam, India and Turkey.  This is a summary:
Categories: landslide video; california; featured; India; Turkey; video; Vietnam;

A columnist makes asinine arguments on climate change, prompting scientists to cut their noses, spiting our faces

ImaGeo | 30 April, 2017
The cure for false speech is more truth telling -- not less speech. In his first piece as an op ed columnist for the N.Y. Times, Bret Stephens rightly decries hyperbole in discussion about climate change. Then he makes seemingly reasonable argu...
Categories: None

Gone Hiking! Panchchuli Glacier And Beyond- Kumaon Himalaya

Reporting on a Revolution | 30 April, 2017
I'm leaving today for a trek in the Kumaon Himalaya, Uttarakhand. The destination is Panchchuli Glacier in the Darma Valley. We will also be going over on to the next ridge to the east and hiking toward the village of Tidang and finally Sipu in the Lasser Yankti river valley, gateway to Ralam Glacier.
Categories: field trips; geology; himalayas; trekking;

Dinosaur Island

Letters from Gondwana | 30 April, 2017
  Batman #1, New 52 In Batman #1 in the New 52, we see a giant animatronic dinosaur kept in the Batcave as a trophy. The T. rex is a reminder from an early adventure on Dinosaur Island (Batman #35, from June 1946). In that story, Murray Wilson Hart,...
Categories: Uncategorized; Batman; Earth Sciences; History of Science; Journey to the Centre of the Earth; Science Fiction; The Land That Time Forgot; The Lost World;

Landslide kills 24 in Osh Region of Kyrgyzstan.

Sciency Thoughts | 29 April, 2017
Twenty four people, including nine children,are believed to have been killed when a landslide hit a village in the Osh Region of Kyrgyzstan on Saturday 29 April 2017. The landslip hit the village of Ayu in the Uzgen District at about 6.40 am local time, burying seven buildings beneath about a million cubic meters of mud and rubble. A further forty families living close to the area have been evacuated following the incident, and over 250 rescue workers are searching the area, but there is not thought to be any hope of recovering any of the victims alive.
Categories: Central Asia; Geohazards; Kyrgyzstan; Landslips; Osh; Uzgen District;

Smart People Listen to Those Who Dwell in Facts, Even When They Are Uncomfortable!

I was invited to a seminar at NASA Goddard last week which combined some top climate experts with meteorologists who work in media, both print and on air. We shared ideas on how to better communicate science, but the highlight was getting an update f...
Categories: Uncategorized; Climate Change; featured; science education;

EAVP 2016 at Haarlem’s Teylers Museum (2)

dinosaurpalaeo | 29 April, 2017
In the first post of this series I gave a short introduction to the town of Haarlem (NL), because although it is not very dinosaurian or otherwise palaeontological, and thus should not get a post of its own, it does play an important role for the experience of visiting Teylers Museum. This post I'll show you the museum building inside and out, and tell you a bit of its history. In the first post, the museum's front showed up already, and now let's start this post with a closer look at it.
Categories: FUN!!!; historical buildings etc.; history of science; Mammalia; non-palaeo; raves; Travels;

Göbekli Tepe: Does an ancient Anatolian stone carving depict a cometary impact at the onset of the Younger Dryas.

Sciency Thoughts | 29 April, 2017
The Younger Dryas is the name given to a period of abrupt cooling at the end of the last ice age, when temperatures, which had been rising for several thousand years, abruptly dropped for about a thousand years, and glaciers spread back into many are...
Categories: Anatolia; Archaeology; Bolide Impact; Comets; Göbekli Tepe; Holocene; Pleistocene; Solar System; Turkey; Younger Dryas;

Three-year-old boy rescued from sinkhole on Exmouth Beach, southwest England.

Sciency Thoughts | 29 April, 2017
A three-year-old boy was rescued by his father after falling into a sinkhole in the sand at Orcombe Point on Exmouth Beach in Devon, southwest England on Wednesday 26 April 2017. The sinkhole is described as measuring 1.2 m across, and swallowed the boy up to his waist before he was pulled out. The incident could potentially have been more serious had not the boy's father, who is a structural engineer and quickly recognised the nature of the problem, acted promptly. The area around the sinkhole has been cordoned off by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
Categories: Devon; England; Geohazards; Sinkhole; UK;

Hamilton Iron

Geology is very often a study of deep history. The more recent geology history intersects human history. In doing some research on one bit of recent geology history, I came across this map which had some other geology/human history that distracted me for a bit..
Categories: geology; history;

Redux: George Lucas Had It Wrong. A Day of Fierce Pride at Modesto Junior College

Geotripper | 29 April, 2017
It's funny how the same thoughts can move through one's head during an event, even when the events are separated by years. My mind wandered just a little bit during our graduation ceremony tonight, because that can happen while 700-800 names are read...
Categories: American Graffiti; George Lucas; Graduation; Modesto Junior College;

we have a Deputy Interior Secretary nominee

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 28 April, 2017
McClatchy's Stuart Leavenworth has details on the nominee to be of Deputy Interior Secretary, one of the key positions top the federal bureaucracy that helps manage western water:
Categories: water;

Geosonnet 49

Lounge of the Lab Lemming | 28 April, 2017
From gutters, one can't always see the stars...
Categories: None

Costs, benefits of direct and indirect potable reuse

Inkstain (John Fleck) | 28 April, 2017
My UNM faculty colleague Caroline Scruggs and soon-to-be-graduate of both Community and Regional Planning and the Water Resources Program Jason Herman have a new paper on the costs of treating and reusing wastewater. Caroline and her students have been looking closely at the issue in the context of small inland communities, which are increasingly eyeing both direct and indirect potable reuse as a supply option:
Categories: water;

What A Wonderful World: Ice on Ellesmere Island

Earth Matters | 28 April, 2017
On top of all the great science they make possible, satellites often produce imagery that is simply beautiful.
Categories: Uncategorized; Arctic; ASTER; Ellesmere Island; piedmont glacier; Terra;

The Best of in April

geoliterate | 28 April, 2017
You're off to a strong creative start in 2017! Here are a few recent updates and stories from the community in April that we wanted to share with you.
Categories: Design; Discover; Themes;; best of wordpress;

Latest: #365climateimpacts: A crazy February heatwave and a tornado warning on March 1 (February 16-March 3)

Latest: Unifying Theory of Geology Class

Latest: Recommended sources of information on Katla volcano

Latest: Speed of metamorphism: heating up

- The new timelapse timesink

- Are geologists mostly lefties?