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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

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

The Moon Men: "Rocket Men" and "Voices from the Moon"

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the first step taken on the moon on July 20, 1969. Since that historic small step — which 600 million people around the world watched breathlessly — other space missions have captured headlines: NASA’s Space Shuttle program, the International Space Station, the intrepid Mars rovers. But none, perhaps, has had quite the impact on our imagination as the giant leap that Neil Armstrong took for mankind.

16 Jul 2009

Raindrop study splashes old assumptions

Predicting the weather has been central to human civilization since the Babylonians started studying cloud patterns in 650 B.C. The key to weather predictions is making correct assumptions. Today, instruments like Doppler radar that measure rainfall work under the assumption that raindrops fall at their terminal velocity. A new study, however, shows that some raindrops fall faster than they should, indicating rainfall instruments — and by extension, weather forecasts — may need some tweaking.

23 Jul 2009

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

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