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july 2009

Saving Afghanistan: Redevelopment one resource at a time

In his campaign and early in his presidency, U.S. President Barack Obama has said he plans to make Afghanistan a priority, calling the resurgence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan “the greatest threat to [U.S.] security.” Fortunately, military might isn’t the only focus of Obama’s plan; he also intends to dedicate more resources to revitalize Afghanistan’s economic development. Finally!

14 Jun 2010

Travels in Geology: Exploring mountains and eating llama in Northern Argentina

From cactus-covered deserts to cloud forests to the sky-scraping Andes Mountains, northwestern Argentina promises contrasting landscapes, astounding geological formations and natural beauty — and a chance to eat llama. So with no disrespect to the more geologically famous ice fields and mountains of the Argentine Patagonia to the south, I suggest heading north from Buenos Aires if you get a chance to explore the country.

27 Jul 2009

Afghanistan's mineral wealth

Blogging on EARTH

On Monday, a spokesman for Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai, Waheed Omar, told reporters that the USGS survey of Afghanistan's mineral resources found they are worth about $1 trillion. And on Wednesday, USGS will host a press conference in which scientists will discuss water issues in Afghanistan.

14 Jun 2010

Finding water in the heart of darkness: Afghanistan's ongoing water challenges

Fieldwork in Afghanistan is not like most geology fieldwork. “When I landed, the first thing I had to do was to put on a bulletproof vest,” says Tom Mack. He was part of a U.S. Geological Survey team that evaluated water resources in the Kabul Basin, in the north-central part of eastern Afghanistan, a couple of years ago. “It was strange to wear the vest, but eventually you get used to it.” There was a lot to get used to, he says. No matter where Mack went, he had to get special permission to be there.

14 Jun 2010

Soft tissue preserved in 80-million-year-old dino fossil

A two-year-old debate is back in the flesh — literally.

Molecular paleontologist Mary Schweitzer of North Carolina State University in Raleigh and colleagues presented evidence this week in Science that they had successfully recovered and identified collagen, a type of protein, from the femur of an 80-million-year-old hadrosaur, a duck-billed dinosaur.

30 Apr 2009

Rebuilding Afghanistan

Ravaged by war, drought and natural hazards such as earthquakes and landslides, Afghanistan’s people face many challenges. But the country also has untapped resources — great natural beauty , deep supplies of groundwater and a vast mineral wealth, including coal, gems like emeralds and metals like copper and iron.

02 Jul 2009

Canyonlands National Park: The Southwest's best-kept secret

Ditch the city for a week and enjoy the forgotten natural landscape of America at Canyonlands National Park, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in southeastern Utah. Canyonlands offers ample opportunity to hike, camp, rock climb, drive, canoe, swim and much more, all while exploring a range of geological features in its three distinct districts: Island in the Sky, the Needles and the Maze.

10 Jul 2009

New USGS chief appointed

Blogging on EARTH

It looks like the next head of the U.S. Geological Survey will be the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's current president and CEO, marine geophysicist Marcia McNutt.

EARTH/Geotimes did a profile of her back in 2005 - it's here.

13 Jul 2009

When and why L'Aquila came tumbling down

Early on the morning of April 6, 2009, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake rocked the Apennine region of central Italy, killing more than 290 people and leaving at least 30,000 homeless. Some 15,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed in L’Aquila, the largest city in the region. Although strong, the earthquake was not powerful enough to easily account for the high loss of life in a developed country. The devastation has prompted some researchers to investigate Italy’s seismic safety codes for new construction — but the problem may have more to do with retrofitting older buildings.

14 Jul 2009

Earthquake shakes southern New Zealand

A magnitude-7.6 earthquake rattled the South Island of New Zealand at 8:22 p.m. local time Wednesday. No serious injuries or damages have been reported.

The quake's epicenter was 150 kilometers west of Invercargill, off the coast of New Zealand's South Island at a depth of 12 kilometers, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program. Subsequent to the major tremor, the region has experienced several aftershocks ranging in magnitude from 5 to 5.8.

15 Jul 2009

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