Research News from 2010

38 news release for this year.

  • December 22, 2010

    In the first project of its kind, scientists are drilling deep into the bed of the fast-shrinking Dead Sea, searching for clues to past climate changes and other events that may have affected human history back through Biblical times and before.

  • December 08, 2010
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    The Dec. 13-17 meeting of the American Geophysical Union, the world’s largest gathering of earth scientists, includes many important talks from scientists at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Below: a small selection that has been flagged to the many reporters attending the meeting.

  • November 24, 2010
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    Charts, graphs and maps representing natural phenomena can be a challenge to anyone trying to extract something meaningful from them. A new book, Earth Science Puzzles: Making Meaning From Data, aims to help students of earth and environmental sciences decode images by presenting practice puzzles consisting of real-world scientific data.

  • November 03, 2010
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    Scientists have long known that large volcanic explosions can affect the weather by spewing particles that block solar energy and cool the air. Some suspect that extended “volcanic winters” from gigantic blowups helped kill off dinosaurs and Neanderthals...

  • October 27, 2010
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    Each year, dozens of small, mostly harmless earthquakes quakes rattle the northeastern United States and southern Canada, and one quite active area runs along the shores of lakes Erie and Ontario, in western New York. In order to learn more about what generates these, and the possible threat of something bigger, scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have installed a new seismometer at the West Valley Central School, southeast of Buffalo.

  • October 08, 2010

    On a crisp autumn Saturday, Oct. 2, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory opened its doors to the community for its annual Open House: a day of free lectures, demonstrations and workshops for adults and children.

  • September 30, 2010
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    We are proud to announce that in the new rankings of 140 Earth Science Ph.D. programs by the National Research Council (NRC), our program is ranked at the very top!

  • September 23, 2010
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    BP’s leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico was conclusively sealed this week, but even now questions remain about the amount of oil that actually came out of it. Now, in the first independent, peer-reviewed paper on the leak’s volume, scientists have affirmed heightened estimates of what is now acknowledged as the largest marine oil accident ever.

  • September 08, 2010
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    As the last ice age was ending, about 13,000 years ago, a final blast of cold hit Europe, and for a thousand years or more, it felt like the ice age had returned. But oddly, despite bitter cold winters in the north, Antarctica was heating up. For the two decades since ice core records revealed that Europe was cooling at the same time Antarctica was warming over this thousand-year period, scientists have looked for an explanation.

  • September 07, 2010
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    Expanded irrigation has made it possible to feed the world’s growing billions—and it may also temporarily be counteracting the effects of climate change in some regions, say scientists in a new study. But some major groundwater aquifers, a source of irrigation water, are projected to dry up in coming decades from continuing overuse, and when they do, people may face the double whammy of food shortages and higher temperatures.

  • August 19, 2010
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    Scientists are in the early stages of building a fiber optic network on the seafloor for observing, in real time, deep-sea hydrothermal vents---places where super-heated water and minerals spew from Earth's crust offering clues about how life on the planet may have began.

  • July 26, 2010
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    The memory of last winter’s blizzards may be fading in this summer’s searing heat, but scientists studying them have detected a perfect storm of converging weather patterns that had little relation to climate change. The extraordinarily cold, snowy weather that hit parts of the U.S. East Coast ...

  • July 06, 2010

    John Diebold, a marine scientist who sailed the world’s oceans for more than four decades using sound waves to study earthquake faults, underwater volcanoes and other normally hidden features of the seabed, died on July 1 at his home in Nyack, N.Y. The apparent cause was a heart attack, his family said; he was 66.

  • June 25, 2010

    Scientists still puzzle over how Earth emerged from its last ice age, an event that ushered in a warmer climate and the birth of human civilization. In the geological blink of an eye, ice sheets in the northern hemisphere began to collapse and warming spread quickly to the south. Most scientists say that the trigger...

  • June 23, 2010
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    An earthquake with the following parameters has occurred:

    Time: Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 17:41:42 UTC, 13:41:42 EDT (1:42 PM in NY)

    Location: 45.862 °N, 75.457 °W (Southern Ontario), approximately 53 KM (33 mi) NNE from Ottawa

    Depth: 18 km (11.2 mi) set by location program

    Magnitude 5.0

  • June 21, 2010

    Satellite tracking has shown that the Pine Island Glacier, one of Antarctica's largest ice streams, is accelerating and thus contributing a growing share of the melt water raising sea levels worldwide. A team of scientists visiting the region last year discovered one reason for the speed-up...

  • June 18, 2010
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    In nature, random signals often fall mysteriously in step. Fireflies flashing sporadically in early evening soon flash together, and the same harmonic behavior can be seen in chirping crickets, firing neurons, swinging clock pendulums and now, it turns out, rupturing earthquake faults.

  • June 09, 2010
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    With so many questions still unanswered about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Lamont Doherty scientists have been providing perspective to the public and press on many aspects, from the spill’s magnitude and spread, to the technologies available to abate it, and its long-term policy implications.

  • May 28, 2010
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    After years of preparation, scientists are about to ascend Indonesia’s 4,884-meter (16,000-foot) Puncak Jaya, earth’s highest mountain between the Andes and the Himalayas, to drill samples of some of the last, fast-dwindling glacial ice in the tropics...

  • May 27, 2010
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    Some of the worst droughts to hit North Africa in the last 900 years have occurred recently—in the late 20th century—according to an analysis of tree rings that has provided the most lengthy and detailed climate record yet for this sub-tropical region on the Mediterranean.

  • May 06, 2010
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    Every day since Jan. 1, 1896, an observer has hiked up a grey outcrop of rock to a spot at The Mohonk Preserve, a resort and nature area some 90 miles north of New York City, to record daily temperature and other conditions there.

  • May 04, 2010
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    New results from a drilling expedition off Antarctica may help scientists learn more about a dramatic turn in climate 34 million years ago, when the planet cooled from a “greenhouse” to an “icehouse” state. In just 400,000 years – a blink of an eye in geologic time – carbon dioxide levels dropped, temperatures plunged and ice sheets formed over what was then the lush continent of Antarctica.

  • April 22, 2010
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    The United Nations has awarded Taro Takahashi, a geochemist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, its highest honor for environmental leadership, the Champions of the Earth award, for his research on the oceans’ uptake of carbon dioxide and its implications for global warming. He was presented with a trophy and a $40,000 prize on Thursday, April 22, in a ceremony in South Korea.

  • April 21, 2010

    The seasonal monsoon rains in Asia feed nearly half the world’s population, and when the rains fail to come, people can go hungry, or worse. A new study of tree rings provides the most detailed record yet of at least four epic droughts that have shaken Asia over the last thousand years..

  • April 16, 2010
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    In a research career spanning more than four decades, Paul Richards, a seismologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, has helped uncover Earth’s inner structure and advanced techniques for detecting nuclear explosions to ensure that bans on nuclear testing can be enforced. Richards will receive the Seismological Society of America’s Harry Fielding Reid medal at its annual luncheon on Wednesday, April 21.

  • April 14, 2010
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    Since arriving at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 1952, for a college summer internship, Wally Broecker has come up with some of the most important ideas in modern climate science. He was one of the first researchers to recognize the potential for human-influenced climate change, and to testify before Congress about its dangers..

  • March 29, 2010
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    Decades of drought, interspersed with intense monsoon rains, may have helped bring about the fall of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization at Angkor nearly 600 years ago, according to an analysis of tree rings, archeological remains and other evidence.

  • March 29, 2010
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    The European Geosciences Union (EGU) has awarded the 2010 Milutin Milankovitch Medal to Professor Emeritus Jim Hays "for his pioneering, fundamental and continuous work on the reconstruction of Cenozoic climates and for his Science 1976 seminal paper on the astronomical theory of palaeoclimates." In the latter, Hays, along with colleagues John Imbrie and Nick Shackelton, proved that the timing of major ice ages is controlled by variations in Earth's orbit around the sun.

  • March 03, 2010
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    Scientists at Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory have found evidence of hydrothermal vents on the seafloor near Antarctica, formerly a blank spot on the map for researchers wanting to learn more about seafloor formation and the bizarre life forms drawn to these extreme environments.

  • March 01, 2010
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    Scientists broadly agree that global warming may threaten the survival of many plant and animal species; but global warming did not kill the Monteverde golden toad, an often cited example of climate-triggered extinction, says a new study.

  • February 22, 2010
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    This week U.S. and Haitian scientists will start a 20-day research cruise off Haiti to address urgent questions about the workings of the great Jan. 12 earthquake, and the possibility of continuing threats. They hope to gather sonar images, sediments and other evidence from the seafloor that might reveal hidden structures...

  • February 19, 2010
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    Natalie Boelman is an ecologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who studies the effects of climate change on organisms throughout the food chain. She first visited the Alaskan Arctic in 2001, and will return to the North Slope this spring and summer to continue a wildfire-mapping project and to set up a field study that will look at how warming-induced changes are affecting migratory songbirds that breed on the tundra each summer.

  • February 12, 2010
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    The Earth Institute is soliciting proposals from Columbia University faculty and research staff for two seed funding competitions this year as part of the Cross-Cutting Initiative (CCI) and the Earth Clinic. Proposals for both competitions are due by April 30, 2010, and should be e-mailed to Adrian Hill at ahill@ei.columbia.edu.

  • February 04, 2010
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    Scientists aboard the research ship the JOIDES Resolution recently drilled two kilometers into Earth’s crust, setting a new record for the deepest hole drilled through the seafloor on a single expedition.

  • January 26, 2010

    O. Roger Anderson is a microbiologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who studies bacteria, amoebas, fungi and other microorganisms. Lately he has been thinking about how tiny organisms that inhabit the vast northern tundra regions could contribute to changing climate, since, like humans, they breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide.

  • January 22, 2010
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    The earthquake that struck Haiti took place along what is called a strike-slip fault—a place where tectonic plates on each side of a fault line are moving horizontally in opposite directions, like hands rubbing together. When these plates lock together, stress builds; eventually they slip; and this produces shaking.

     
  • January 12, 2010
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    New York subway commuters may worry more about rats and rising fares than dust floating through the system, but for the workers who spend their whole shift below ground, air quality has long been a concern. Results from a new pilot study using miniaturized air samplers to look at steel dust exposure may help them breathe easier.

  • January 04, 2010

    Scientists say buried volcanic rocks along the heavily populated coasts of New York, New Jersey and New England, as well as further south, might be ideal reservoirs to lock away carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and other industrial sources.

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