News aggregator

Small Earthquake Rattles New Jersey - ABC News

Featured News - Fri, 08/14/2015 - 07:00
Won-Young-Kim, who heads the seismic network for Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, discusses the size and location of the earthquake.

By 2100, Earth Will Have an Entirely Different Ocean - Motherboard

Featured News - Thu, 08/13/2015 - 12:00
As the oceans acidify, shellfish and many creatures whose exoskeletons are made of calcium carbonate will be in trouble, and with them, the marine food chain, Lamont-Doherty's Taro Takahashi tells Motherboard.

Glacial Earthquakes May Help Forecast Sea-Level Rise - Phys.org

Featured News - Wed, 08/12/2015 - 12:00
Meredith Nettles explains how monitoring the earthquakes created by calving glaciers in Greenland could be used to forecast sea-level rise.

Report Recommends New Goals for U.S. Antarctic Program - Science

Featured News - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 12:00
A National Academies committee co-chaired by Lamont's Robin Bell proposed a new vision for the U.S. Antarctic Program, focusing on the study of ice loss, genomics, and radiation from the beginning of the universe.

NYC High School Students Team with Lamont Researchers to Study the Environment - NY1

Featured News - Tue, 08/11/2015 - 08:00
Dozens of New York City high school students are attending a different kind of summer school. They're working with researchers at Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute to study changes in the Hudson River environment.

The Plundering of the Poor After Natural Disasters - WNYC Leonard Lopate Show

Featured News - Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:00
Lamont's John Mutter writes in his new book "The Disaster Profiteers" about how the rich exploit natural disasters and can end up profiting off the poor.

‘Dzud’ Years for Mongolian Herders Linked to Climate - Environmental Research Web

Featured News - Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:00
Lamont's Mukund Palat Rao discusses a new study on the connection between climate and the deadly dzud years for livestock in Mongolia.

A Huge Algae Bloom Off the Pacific Coast Is Poisoning Shellfish and Sea Lions - Vice News

Featured News - Mon, 08/10/2015 - 12:00
Lamont-Doherty's Joaquim Goes explains how the combination of especially warm ocean temperatures and agricultural runoff are contributing to a large — and toxic — algae bloom.

More updates from our field teams...

Sugar - Sun, 08/09/2015 - 12:35

Seventeen teams are rounding up 1953 small seismic stations along our 350-mile-long line across eastern Georgia, and they continue to send texts and pictures with updates on their work…

“21757. Still kickin”
Kevin hunts for missing texans with the metal detector....
“Team 11 is all done and headed home to the mother ship”

“We’re not coming back unless we have all of them!”

“We had a helper at site 20431!”

“Hello Donna Rach and I are crushing it right now”

“Daily check in, we’re making good time so we should see the puppies soon enough”


Making metadata...
“Recovered a Texan at stop 20858. This one doesn’t seem to be working correctly, whenever I press it it just tells me things like “The Cowboys are America’s team” and “Bush was an American hero”. Weird.



“We got to 20170 the one with the ant colony”

Loaded up with Texans and geophones
“Stop 20804. Everything’s fine, except some guy came out of the woods and bit Brent. All he’s saying now is “brains” and is acting super creepy. I’ll keep an eye on it and only use the shovel if necessary”




“Will do! I will let you know if we become stuck… Looks likely”

Unearthing another Texan

“Just beat the downpour and headed for base”

“Stop 20879. Found the Texan disconnected from the geophone on top of where we buried it with pieces of bag around it, looked everywhere for the geophone. Found it about 5 m down the hill near the tree line with bite marks all along it. Either an animal dug it up or a very hungry confused thief”



Picking up litter?
“Found 2 dollars at 21058! Who says geology doesn’t pay well?”

Was not seen on the line...
Was seen on the line... yikes.

Timing Volcanoes: Tiny Crystals in Magma Hold Clues to its Speed - Academic Minute

Featured News - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 11:00
Lamont's Philipp Ruprecht explains how tiny crystals in magma can be used to measure how long the magma took to travel from mantle to surface.

Airplane Debris from Indian Ocean Raises More Questions - Huffington Post Live

Featured News - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 09:00
Lamont-Doherty's Vicki Ferrini talks with Huffington Post Live about ocean currents and the challenges of locating the wreckage of missing airliners on the ocean floor.

Best texts from the field (so far...)

Sugar - Thu, 08/06/2015 - 07:43
Seventeen teams have been out deploying small seismographs and geophones along a 300-mile-long profile across eastern Georgia, and they have been checking in with me regularly by text message. Some highlights from texts and pictures from our groups:



“Team4 is Done! I repeat again, 4 is done! Heading back to the sweet onion city! ☺”

“Still alive”



“Team gruesome twosome on our way back to the hub”

“We are gonna skip installing 21520 because both sides of the streets are well maintained yards and there’s not a great place to put a Texan”

“We’re done! Just kidding haha. We’re on our second!”

“We’re in the zone”

“All geophones buried --- I am beat. Where’s a can of spinach when ya need one, lol”

“It's a long way to the top if you want to study rocks”
"Sunrise at station 21779"
“We’re dirty but doing well!”


“Still digging. Still have not reached China. Will attempt again on next hole”


“On 20186 and we lost our bubble level. We even dug up the last geophone to see if I accidentally buried it”

“We just deployed our last station, 20224. Can we go to Jekyll Island?”



Donna Shillington, LDEO

New Expedition Heads for the Aleutian Islands - National Science Foundation

Featured News - Wed, 08/05/2015 - 12:00
Lamont's Peter Kelemen, Steven Goldstein and Merry Cai are headed for the Aleutian Islands to study lava and the origins of the continental crust. Terry Plank is working with another team on the expedition studying how water affects where and for how long magma is stored in Earth's crust.

Digging Holes and Filling Batteries -- A party in Vidalia, Georgia

Sugar - Tue, 08/04/2015 - 07:52

The SUGAR deployment team arrived en-masse on Saturday bringing the Line 2 personnel total to a whopping 45! The day started off with science and overview lectures by the SUGAR principle investigators Donna Shillington and Dan Lizarralde.  Students diligently rearranged the ten’s of Texan boxes into a makeshift lecture hall, complete with a projector and a Bluetooth sound system. 

With the science lecture complete and stomachs full of pizza, the entire group ventured out to conduct a practice deployment under the watchful eyes of the PASSCAL instrument team.  All 17 teams participated in the activity, standing in a single file line in front of our hotel digging practice holes, connecting the Texans to the geophones, and mindfully orientating them with their handy-dandy bubble levels. 

After a sweat filled hour under the Georgia sun, we caravanned back to the instrument center for a “battery party”. I call it a battery party in honor of the “streamer parties” that students will often participate in on active source seismic research cruises in which kilometers of cable need to be reeled off and rearranged.  In our case a battery party consisted of the 32 students placing 2 D-cell batteries inside each of the 2,000 Texans.  The instrument center quickly transformed from an orderly lecture hall into a mass of empty battery boxes and disassembled Texans though despite the apparent chaos, we got the job complete and the Texans filled in only a few short hours. 

Next up will be flagging the instrument locations and the actual deployment.  We have our fingers and toes crossed for dry weather and safe road conditions as the student teams prepare to set off on their flagging and deployment expeditions. 

Natalie Accardo - Columbia University, LDEO


The SUGAR2 deployment team hails from all across the United States
covering more than 15 states and 21 different universities/institutions.   

The deployment team sits with rapt attention listening to
the science and overview lecture.

Students practice digging holes and deploying Texans
near our hotel in Vidalia, Georgia.
Students and PASSCAL personnel take over the instrument center
filling 2,000 Texans with D-cell batteries.
The "battery party" comes to an end as the last Texans are filled and
the boxes are rearranged for easy late-night programming by the PASSCAL team.  



Dry Days Bring Ferocious Start to Fire Season - The New York Times

Featured News - Sun, 08/02/2015 - 12:00
Another summer of record-breaking drought and heat has seized the western U.S., setting off costly and destructive wildfires. Lamont-Doherty's Park Williams explains that despite rain some in areas, heat and evaporation is leaving too little moisture to meet the demand.

2000 “Texans” with all the fixin’s….

Sugar - Sun, 08/02/2015 - 09:21
During our project, we plan to record sound waves generated by a series of controlled blasts on two profiles, one with 2000 instruments (“Texans”) deployed along a 350-mile-long profile across Georgia and another with 700 Texans deployed along an 80-mile-long profile.  In total, that’s 2000 instruments and 2700 deployments!! Lot of instruments means lots of stuff.   The basic components of the instruments themselves were shipped in ~160 big plastic boxes arranged into ~18 pallets.  Each of these instruments will be powered by two D-cell batteries. To power the instruments for both lines, we needed 5500 D-cell batteries.  We picked them up from the Lowes in Vidalia as a 2000-lb pallet.  For each station, we also need flags to mark the locations, and bags and tape to protect the data recorder.  We very quickly filled up our 1800-square-foot field center in Lyons, GA with all these goodies…

Donna Shillington,  LDEO

Freshly delivered pallets of boxes holding all the science equipment
The PASSCAL team re-arranged the boxes into a T for their own devious reasons :)The trusty Silverado loaded down with 2000 pounds of batteries! (Dan for scale).



Drill, Baby Drill! Drilling and filling for the SUGAR seismic shots

Sugar - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:14
We are using sound waves to image the subsurface of Georgia along two long transects.  It is like creating a huge x-ray of the geology in the region. Thousands of instruments (termed “Texans”) will record sound waves that are generated from a series of controlled seismic sources (“shots”) that we will set off along the line. 

For the last few weeks, the seismic source team, based at the University of Texas – El Paso, and the drillers have been hard at work drilling twenty-six 60- to 100-foot-deep holes that will contain the explosives used to create the sound waves.  Once the holes are drilled (the first stage of which is termed spudding), emulsion explosives with boosters and caps are carefully installed in the base of the hole and the remaining height is filled in with dirt and gravel (“stemming”). 

Now with the 26 shots drilled and patiently waiting for the electronic signal to blow, all we have left to do is deploy the 2,000 instruments that will record the sound waves … An easy feat for the 50+ scientists, students, and engineers descending on Vidalia, GA over the next few days.  Stay tuned for our progress and adventures as we continue on this epic scientific undertaking.

Natalie Accardo - LDEO

The SUGAR seismic source and science team from left to right:
Steve Harder, Dan Lizarralde, Ashley Nauer, and Galen Kaip
The drill rig set up and drilling a shot on SUGAR Line 2.

Galen Kaip prepares the source charges (white tubes) on the truck bed as
the drillers complete a shot hole.
The source team carefully lowers the prepared seismic charges into the complete shot hole.
Ashley Nauer (red hat) stands waiting with shovel in hand to fill the remaining height of
the hole with sand and gravel.   
The drill team monitors the process of spudding, the very first stage of drilling the
shot hole, for SUGAR line 2.
The source team and drill team push on late into the night to ensure the completion of the
final shot for the entire SUGAR experiment.  

Ocean Currents Could Shed Light on Flight 370 Mystery - Business Insider

Featured News - Fri, 07/31/2015 - 12:00
Ocean currents could have carried debris from a missing Malaysia Airlines flight around the Indian Ocean to Reunion Island, says Lamont's Arnold Gordon.

Study Finds Drought Impacts Forests More than Previously Thought - Deseret News

Featured News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:00
A study of drought and its effects on the growth of forests finds that it is taking longer for the trees to recover than previously thought, with an impact on carbon sinks. The study's authors include Lamont-Doherty's Park Williams.

Ocean Currents Suggest Plane Debris Could Be from Missing Airliner MH370 - Mashable

Featured News - Thu, 07/30/2015 - 12:00
Lamont-Doherty's Arnold Gordon explains how currents in the Indian Ocean could have carried debris from the area off Australia where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is believed to have disappeared to Reunion Island, where a part from a large plane was found on a beach.

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