LDEO Research Blogs

  • From a ship in remote Pacific waters, a team of researchers is plumbing the mysteries of what drives and defines the giant tectonic plates that make up the ocean floors and continents. Join Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory seismologist James Gaherty aboard the R/V Marcus G. Langseth, as he and colleagues peer up to 400 kilometers beneath one of earth’s oldest, deepest sections of seafloor.

  • The 2011 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union, from December 5-9 in San Francisco, is the world's largest gathering of earth and space scientists. Scores of researchers from the Earth Institute will give presentations. Read about it here.

  • The El Niño weather pattern in the tropical Pacific influences weather across the planet. As the planet warms, it is unclear if El Niño will grow stronger, bringing more extreme floods and droughts to some regions, or if El Niño will slacken, creating more uniform weather. Scientists aboard the Lamont-Doherty ship, R/V Langseth, will sample ancient sediments from the central Pacific Ocean to see how El Niño and climate varied in the past, and how they may change again in the future.

  • Many tropical mountains have the same shape—steep, rugged slopes capped by wide, flat summits. Were these landscapes shaped by tectonic forces from below? Or by intense glacial erosion from above? Graduate student Maxwell Cunningham and scientist Mike Kaplan are collecting glacial debris from Costa Rica’s 12,000-foot Cerro Chirripó to test their idea that mountain glaciers carved Chirripó’s peak into the shape we see today, similar to beveled summits in Taiwan, Papua New Guinea and Uganda.

  • Driven by processes in the deep earth over millions of years, the East African Rift is slowly tearing the continent apart, producing earthquakes and volcanoes along its 2,400-mile track. A scientific team including Donna Shillington, James Gaherty and Cornelia Class of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory is working in Malawi and Tanzania to understand the causes, the long-term evolution, and the real-time hazards.

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