Ordinarily, losing almost all of one's instruments would be considered a severe setback to any scientist. But when Maya Tolstoy, a marine geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Earth Institute at Columbia University, recently learned that two-thirds of the seismometers she placed on the floor of the Pacific Ocean were trapped more than 8,000 feet (2500 meters) underwater, it turned out to be an extremely good sign.
Research News from 2006
November 20, 2006
November 15, 2006
What’s in an isotope? Quite a lot, as it turns out. A new technique developed by researchers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory now allows scientists to use an isotope of manganese not abundant on Earth to understand the record of millions of years of changes to the Earth’s surface. According to the study's lead scientists, the new technique relies on measuring extremely small amounts of the nuclide that accumulates as cosmic rays strike exposed rock surfaces over long periods of time. This will allow scientists to track processes such as erosion and glaciation that shaped the landscape over millions of years.
October 28, 2006
For several decades, geologists have thought the western North American tectonic plate was riddled with a type of fault that permitted the continent to expand over the past several million years. However, a new study published in the November issues of The Journal of Geology challenges that assumption and suggests that these faults are actually the remains of massive, gravity-driven rock slides and not tectonically active features of the Earth's crust.
August 23, 2006
Marie Tharp, a pathbreaking oceanographic cartographer at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, co-creator of the first global map of the ocean floor and co-discoverer of the central rift valley that runs through the Mid-Atlantic Ridge died Wednesday August 23 in Nyack Hospital. She was 86.
August 07, 2006
Each year nearly 40,000 tons of cosmic dust fall to Earth from outer space. Now, the first successful chronological study of extraterrestrial dust in Antarctic ice has shown that this amount has remained largely constant over the past 30,000 years, a finding that could help refine efforts to understand the timing and effects of changes in the Earth's past climate.
Columbia University Receives $16.9 Million Award from National Institute of Environmental Health SciencesJuly 26, 2006
Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Center for International Earth Science Information Network announced that they have been awarded a five-year, $16.9 million grant renewal from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP).
June 28, 2006
The destruction caused by natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and human activities such as mountaintop removal mining are powerful examples of how the environment and society are tightly interwoven. But to what extent do, or should, state science curricula in the U.S. seek to investigate or influence the nature of this interaction?
June 22, 2006
Mikah McCabe wanted "some serious research experience" on global warming or climate change. Hagar ElBishlawi wanted to work in a program affiliated with The Earth Institute. Michael Silberman wanted to work at Lamont because the people there work on the "interesting and important problems."
Each of the undergraduate interns welcomed by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory this summer may have had their own reason for applying, but they all have one thing in common: they are some of the best and brightest.
New Study of Glacial Retreat Shows that Much of the World Emerged from Last Ice Age at Nearly the Same TimeJune 08, 2006
The end of the recurring, 100,000-year glacial cycles is one of the most prominent and readily identifiable features in records of the Earth's recent climate history. Yet one of the most puzzling questions in climate science has been why different parts of the world, most notably Greenland, appear to have warmed at different times and at different rates after the end of the last Ice Age.
May 12, 2006
With the summer approaching, new research has shown that recent water emergencies in the Northeast have resulted from more than just dry weather
April 14, 2006
Despite concerns over global warming, scientists have discovered something that may have actually limited the impact of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere in recent years by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth. Global dimming was the subject of a recent special on the PBS science series NOVA featuring Beate Liepert.
March 23, 2006
Seismologists at Columbia University and Harvard University have found a new indicator that the Earth is warming: "glacial earthquakes" caused when the rivers of ice lurch unexpectedly and produce temblors as strong as magnitude 5.1 on the moment-magnitude scale, which is similar to the Richter scale. Glacial earthquakes in Greenland, the researchers found, are most common in July and August, and have more than doubled in number since 2002.
March 14, 2006
The retreat of a massive ice sheet that once covered much of northern Europe has been described for the first time, and researchers believe it may provide a sneak preview of how present-day ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will act in the face of global warming.
January 25, 2006
Lying beneath more than two miles of Antarctic ice, Lake Vostok may be the best-known and largest subglacial lake in the world, but it is not alone down there. Scientists have identified more than 145 other lakes trapped under the ice. Until now, however, none have approached Vostok’s size or depth.