liveonearth: (flower and bird)
Ninety nine million years ago a dinosaur got its tail stuck in the sap. Then, in 2016, someone noticed some interesting stuff in the amber at a Myanmar amber market. The pictures of dinosaur feathers are great--and they show a flowchart of feather evolution, and where these feathers fit in.  So cool.
liveonearth: (moon)
Not a surprise but we are not storing fuel.  We figure the roads will be toast also so who needs it?  Might want to top off our propane tanks for the cookstove, though.

“Is there any worse soil in Portland that we could have built on?” she asked.

Wang, an engineer with Oregon’s Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, known as DOGAMI, wrote a report in 2013 that said an earthquake could cause this ground to liquefy, as she had just now demonstrated.

“The risk here is extreme,” she said. After an earthquake, “within 10, 20 seconds, the sand will turn into a thick, sandy soup.”

And that would be bad.

Soil liquefaction, as it’s known to geologists, can exacerbate shaking and destroy roads, buildings and underground pipes. If that happens in Portland, it could devastate supply lines for fuel, electricity and natural gas. It also could mean a major chemical spill into the Willamette River.

What exactly is the problem?

Oregon’s petroleum reserves, along with substations, key pipelines and natural gas storage, are highly concentrated in one stretch along the Willamette River. Scientists now know that stretch of land poses a higher seismic risk than other parts of the city.

DOGAMI modeling for a magnitude-9 earthquake shows most of the petroleum tanks in that area sit on soils the agency considers to have a medium to high probability of liquefaction. The area also is predicted to have very strong shaking.

Read all about it here:
liveonearth: (moon)

Kayaking on this class V section will be permitted, and the management team there sounds quite reasonable about letting management evolve along with use. The use of this river section can be revoked if there is any paddling on Hetch Hetchy Reservoir, where boating is banned.

The run will start at Pothole Dome below Tuolumne Meadows and end at Pate Valley. Exact details about put-in, take-out, portage trails and landing/no-landing zone locations will be determined in the near future in consultation with the boating community, tribal interests and National Park Service resource experts. Boaters making the run will be required to carry their boats 3 miles to the put-in, and carry them 8 miles from the take-out at Pate Valley to the White Wolf trailhead.

Carrying your kayak 11 miles is hard. The info does not indicate that this section of river is a series of long slides over domes of granite. I do not know if anyone has been running it lately, but I do remember that Lars Holbek carried his boat most of the way and didn't want to do it again. I have HIKED down the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne on a 3 day backpacking trip, and it was spectacular. A backpack trip might be a good way to scout the whitewater before committing in a boat. Though it is possible that those California boaters think nothing of this stuff. Looks hair to me.

liveonearth: (head in pattern)

Nice illustration of where a day falls in the scheme of things. I enjoyed it.
liveonearth: (Default)
This 60 minutes program is from last November, but it's a good overview of what's happening.
liveonearth: (Default)
A recent amber discovery in India contains over 700 kinds of arthropods including bees, ants, termites, crustaceans and spiders. Apparently the amber was from a Gujarat province open pit mining operation, and contains at least 100 previously unknown species of insects. The history recorded in this batch of amber is from approximately 53 million years ago---just before India, which had broken off from the subcontinent called Gondwana, collided with Asia. That collision was supposed to have happened about 50 million years ago, and formed the Tibetan plateau. About 150 million years ago, the Indian tectonic plate separated from the African plate and began its 100 million year journey to Asia. During that long journey the subcontinent was isolated from all other continents, giving its wildlife the chance to evolve in distinctly different ways (much like the evolution of marsupials in Australia). So this data is a sample suspended in geological time, before the species on one floating block of land merged with the established biome of Asia. As such it is much more important that just being a bunch of bugs in pretty yellow stone. It helps us further map the biological history of many species.
links, sources )
liveonearth: (Default)

I landed in Portland today, went to a farmer's market to visit a friend who's getting hours for her Master Gardner certification--and to learn a thing or two about local plants and gardening. Meanwhile I was invited on a sea kayaking trip, so I rented a sea kayak, and got camping food. Sorted a few papers, prioritized. Felt glad to be getting out again. I'm not ready to go back into academic mole mode just yet. I feel more at home in my truck than I do in this office. But I will get this office working again soon.
more )
liveonearth: (Default)
There's a cynic in me that rears higher when I hear a report about "SOS" signs showing up along the roads in Haiti. The closer to the airport the signs are, the more likely they are to be scams. With loaded humanitarians pouring in, everybody will be trying to get in on the do-gooding action. And it is so much easier to do-good if you have someone local who knows the ropes. Why do your homework when someone there says they will take the money and do good with it in your name? Where money goes, greed awaits. The opportunists will make good on this crisis. I hope that people who are NOT putting up desperation shingles on the road from the airport aren't forgotten.
liveonearth: (Default)
Geology is a slow subject, until something like this happens.

assorted slow-loading photos behind cut )
liveonearth: (Default)


My birth town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee has a special (guilty but forgiven) connection to Japan. The laboratories in Oak Ridge were where the nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were created. When I visited the front page of the hometown paper this evening, there was this news from Japan )
liveonearth: (bridge shaking (earthquake))
Check it out, fascinating article:,1518,405947,00.html ... Three tectonic plates meet in a place called the Afar Triangle in Africa. The triangle is in Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Dijbouti, across the mouth of the Red Sea from Yemen. The plates are pulling apart, fissures are opening, and the triangle is already over 100 meters below sea level. Eventually the Red Sea will cross a high bit of land and fill it up, and we'll have one more sea on Planet Earth.


liveonearth: (Default)

October 2017



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