LDEO Research Blogs

  • A major tectonic boundary on the seafloor off Alaska has produced fatal earthquakes and tsunamis similar to the recent one in Japan. In 1964, the second largest quake ever recorded happened here, and other parts of the fault may be building energy for another event. Scientists from Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are aboard the research vessel Marcus G. Langseth to better understand what causes these quakes, which will help assess the hazard for Alaska and beyond. Follow Lamont seismologist Donna Shillington from the field.

  • From the Himalayas to the Alps and Rockies, mountain glaciers are rapidly melting. A sign of a warming climate, their retreat may also threaten hydropower and water supplies for cities below. To put current trends in context, scientists at Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory are studying rocks that record the ebb and flow of ice since the last ice age, over the past 20,000 years. They will travel the high peaks of the Peruvian Andes, including Nevado Coropuna, a 22,000 foot volcano. Other scientists will study pre-Columbian remains on the mountains. Geologist Gordon Bromley reports from Peru, while geochemist Gisela Winckler writes from the Lamont campus.

  • Arctic ice is declining rapidly—a trend with enormous implications for global weather and climate. Freshwater pours into the Arctic Ocean from the ice sheets and glaciers, and sea ice over the ocean itself is declining. Ocean Channels and currents there act as a kind of switchyard, sending fresh water into the North Atlantic, and small changes here may have larger impacts on climate downstream. To understand these processes, scientists are landing in small aircraft on the floating sea ice, and drilling down to study the water and currents below. Lamont-Doherty researchers Bill Smethie, Ronny Friedrich, Dale Chayes and Richard Perry report on their work here.

  • Earthquakes, floods, sea-level rise and sudden shifts in river courses threaten many of the 150 million Bangladeshis living in the low-lying Brahmaputra River delta. Scientists from Lamont-Doherty, Dhaka University and other institutions have begun a five-year project to understand the hazards and the possible hidden links among them. Lamont seismologist Michael Steckler keeps us up to date on the work.

  • Scientists from Lamont-Doherty and Indiana University-Purdue are camping by the Transantarctic Mountains, studying exposed rocks near the edge of the Antarctic ice sheet for clues to how the ice shifted in the past. They hope the geological record will help us understand the effects of a warming planet today. Mike Kaplan, Kathy Licht and others report from the field, and answer readers‚ questions, with help from Gisela Winckler at Lamont.