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april 2009

Geoscientists Without Borders: Geologists Lend a Hand

Craig Beasley’s one-year term as president of the Society for Exploration Geophysicists had a challenging start. After about two months in office, a magnitude-9-plus earthquake struck off the coast of Sumatra on Dec. 26, 2004, triggering a powerful tsunami that killed more than 225,000 people and left hundreds of thousands homeless.

SEG members wanted to help, but did not know how to contribute their expertise. “I could encourage members to donate money and time, but how does that distinguish a contribution from SEG from what people would normally do?” Beasley says.

08 May 2009

Iron fertilization foiled by "shrimp"

The argument over whether ocean iron fertilization is a good way to sequester carbon dioxide may be coming to an end. Last month, a group of researchers seeded 300 square kilometers of the southwestern Atlantic Ocean with six metric tons of dissolved iron. Just as researchers hoped, algae bloomed, doubling in biomass within the first two weeks of the fertilization. But then, an unexpected guest showed up: tiny shrimp-like crustaceans that dined on the algae.

01 Apr 2009

Jupiter breaks out in spots

Like any aging planet, Jupiter’s face has undergone a few changes over time. And even as the gas giant’s most famous feature — the colossal storm known as the Great Red Spot — appears to be shrinking, other spots have appeared.

02 Apr 2009

Earthquake rocks central Italy

Updated on April 7:

As of April 7, the death toll from the magnitude-6.3 earthquake that struck central Italy on April 6 has risen to more than 200 people. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi declared a state of emergency on Monday. On Tuesday, he told reporters that rescue efforts would continue for two more days.

06 Apr 2009

Earthquake prediction: Gone and back again

The 1990s and early 2000s were hard times for earthquake prediction research. “For 10 years, there was limited funding in the U.S.,” says Dimitar Ouzounov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif. That changed in 2004, Ouzounov says, after a magnitude-9-plus quake struck off the coast of Sumatra and set off a tsunami, killing more than 225,000 people in 11 countries.

07 Apr 2009

Coal-to-liquids: Can fuel made from coal replace gasoline?

Amid all the attention to the converging of three energy-related crises — climate change, resource depletion and international extremism funded by the energy trade — a surprising energy choice keeps rearing its head: coal. That especially includes liquid fuels made from coal, which can be a substitute for gasoline, jet fuel and just about any other transportation fuel on which we currently rely.

08 Apr 2009

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