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  • richardmitnick 7:55 am on July 1, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Shrimps and worms among first animals to recover after largest mass extinction", , , Burrowing animals flourished in this Early Triassic greenhouse world., Coral reefs did not return until much later., Earth Observation, , Elevated temperatures and extended anoxia coincided with low values of behavioural and ecologic diversities across the Permian-Triassic boundary., , Recovery of life on Earth took millions of years for biodiversity to return to pre-extinction levels., The end Permian–Triassic extinction– known as “The Great Dying” which was so devastating to life on Earth – was caused by global warming and ocean acidification., The first animals to recover were deposit feeders such as worms and shrimps., The Great Dying obliterated life on Earth., The Permian–Triassic extinction event 252 million years ago, The recovery of suspension feeders such as brachiopods; bryozoans and many bivalves took much longer., , Why does it matter to understand these great mass extinctions of the geological past?   

    From The University of Bristol (UK): “Shrimps and worms among first animals to recover after largest mass extinction” 

    From The University of Bristol (UK)

    29 June 2022

    Researchers studying ancient sea bed burrows and trails have discovered that bottom burrowing animals were among the first to bounce back after the end-Permian mass extinction.

    The Permian–Triassic extinction event, which happened roughly 252 million years ago, is colloquially known as the Great Dying because of the way it obliterated life on Earth – almost ending it completely. It’s the most severe extinction event in history.

    Reconstructed sea bed scenes (A) Pre-extinction, (B-D) Induan (early Early Triassic), (E) Smithian, (F) Spathian. Credit: Yaqi Jiang.

    In a new study, published today in the journal Science Advances, researchers from China, the USA and the UK, reveal how life in the sea recovered from the event, which killed over 90 percent of species on Earth, from their observations of trace fossils.

    Life was devastated by the end-Permian mass extinction 252 million years ago, and recovery of life on Earth took millions of years for biodiversity to return to pre-extinction levels. But by examining trails and burrows on the South China sea bed, the international team were able to piece together sea life’s revival by pinpointing what animal activity was happening when.

    Professor Michael Benton from the University of Bristol’s School of Earth Sciences, a collaborator on the new paper, said: “The end-Permian mass extinction and the recovery of life in the Early Triassic are very well documented throughout South China.

    “We were able to look at trace fossils from 26 sections through the entire series of events, representing seven million crucial years of time, and showing details at 400 sampling points, we finally reconstructed the recovery stages of all animals including benthos, nekton, as well as these soft-bodied burrowing animals in the ocean.”

    Dr Xueqian Feng from the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan led the study, and his focus was on ancient burrows and trails. He explained: “Trace fossils such as trails and burrows document mostly soft-bodied animals in the sea. Most of these soft-bodied animals had no or poor skeletons.

    “There are some amazing localities in South China where we find huge numbers of beautifully preserved trace fossils, and the details can show infaunal ecosystem engineering behaviours, as well as their feedback effects on biodiversity of skeletonized animals.”

    Professor Zhong-Qiang Chen, director of the study, said: “The trace fossils show us when and where soft-bodied, burrowing animals flourished in this Early Triassic greenhouse world.

    “For example, elevated temperatures and extended anoxia coincided with low values of behavioural and ecologic diversities across the Permian-Triassic boundary, and it took about 3 million years for ecological recovery of soft-bodied animals to match the pre-extinction levels.”

    Professor David Bottjer, a collaborator in the study from the University of Southern California, added: “One of the most remarkable aspects of the South China data is the breadth of ancient environments we could sample.

    “Differential responses of infaunal ecosystems to variable environmental controls may have played a significant but heretofore little appreciated evolutionary and ecologic role in the recovery in the hot Early Triassic ocean.”

    Dr Chunmei Su, another collaborator, said: “The mass extinction killed over 90 percent of species on Earth, and we see that in the catastrophic reduction in ecological function of the surviving animals in the ocean.

    “At first, there were only a few survivors, and recovery began in deeper waters. The recovery of nekton occurred at the same time as the full rebound of infaunal ecosystem engineering activities.”

    Alison Cribb, a collaborator in the study from the University of Southern California, added: “The first animals to recover were deposit feeders such as worms and shrimps. The recovery of suspension feeders such as brachiopods; bryozoans and many bivalves took much longer.

    “Maybe the deposit feeders were making such a mess of the seafloor that the water was polluted with mud, the churned mud meant suspension feeders could not properly settle on the seafloor, or the muddy water produced by those deposit feeders just clogged the filtering structures of suspension feeders and prohibited them from feeding efficiently.”

    Professor Chen added: “And some animals, such as corals, had disappeared completely. Coral reefs did not return until much later.”

    Dr Feng concludes: “Why does it matter to understand these great mass extinctions of the geological past?”

    “The answer is that the end-Permian crisis – which was so devastating to life on Earth – was caused by global warming and ocean acidification, but trace-making animals may be selected against by the environment in a way that skeletal organisms were not.

    “Our trace fossil data reveals soft-bodied animals’ resilience to high CO2 and warming. These ecosystem engineers may have played a role in benthic ecosystem recovery after severe mass extinctions, potentially, for example, triggering the evolutionary innovations and radiations in the Early Triassic.”

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

    The University of Bristol (UK) is one of the most popular and successful universities in the UK and was ranked within the top 50 universities in the world in the QS World University Rankings 2018.

    The U Bristol (UK) is at the cutting edge of global research. We have made innovations in areas ranging from cot death prevention to nanotechnology.

    The University has had a reputation for innovation since its founding in 1876. Our research tackles some of the world’s most pressing issues in areas as diverse as infection and immunity, human rights, climate change, and cryptography and information security.

    The University currently has 40 Fellows of the Royal Society and 15 of the British Academy – a remarkable achievement for a relatively small institution.

    We aim to bring together the best minds in individual fields, and encourage researchers from different disciplines and institutions to work together to find lasting solutions to society’s pressing problems.

    We are involved in numerous international research collaborations and integrate practical experience in our curriculum, so that students work on real-life projects in partnership with business, government and community sectors.

  • richardmitnick 4:47 pm on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "A landslide and a tsunami and then a flood:: the massive hazard cascade that shook the world", A signal comparable to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake emanated from deep within the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia., , , British Columbia’s mountainous terrain is no stranger to landslides or floods and tsunamis., , Earth Observation, , New research reveals the intensity of British Columbia’s 2020 hazard cascade as members of the Homalco First Nation continue to pick up the pieces., , Recovery could take decades., , The fifth largest landslide on record in British Columbia., The sheer scale of the cascade can be hard to comprehend even when viewing the valley from a helicopter.,   

    From temblor : “A landslide and a tsunami and then a flood:: the massive hazard cascade that shook the world” 


    From temblor

    June 30, 2022
    Lauren A. Koenig, Ph.D.

    New research reveals the intensity of British Columbia’s 2020 hazard cascade as members of the Homalco First Nation continue to pick up the pieces.

    In late November, 2020 a geological mystery appeared on seismographs around the world. A signal comparable to a magnitude-5.0 earthquake emanated from deep within the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia (B.C.), Canada.

    The cause of this ground-shaking event remained unknown for two weeks, until forestry workers passing through traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation happened upon its aftermath in the Elliot Creek watershed. The glacier-carved valley, narrowly framed by mile-high rocky walls, was decimated by a massive hazard cascade — a chain reaction of geological events — involving a landslide, tsunami, outburst flood and sediment plume. What was once a verdant environment for the region’s famed salmon is now an ashen alley that fans out into a sea of debris.

    The sheer scale of the cascade can be hard to comprehend even when viewing the valley from a helicopter, said Marten Geertsema, a research geomorphologist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests and the lead author of a new study that describes the events [Geophysical Research Letters].

    British Columbia 2020 hazard cascade aftermath.

    “It’s staggering when you just stand there,” said Geertsema. “It’s kind of hard to wrap your head around how powerful that all was.”

    Homalco First Nation and researchers from the B.C.-based Hakai Institute are assessing the long-term ecological impacts on the region, especially for fisheries. Ongoing unstable conditions in the valley suggest that recovery could take decades. Moreover, Elliot Creek has erratically changed course numerous times in the past year, which can make restoration plans irrelevant essentially overnight.

    “If we get a massive rain event like last year, the whole river could change again and it’s not money well spent,” said Erik Blaney, an environmental technical of the Tla’amin Nation who was contracted by the Homalco Nation to lead assessment and recovery efforts. “You’re playing with mother nature.”

    A cascade of unfortunate events

    The hazard cascade began with the fifth largest landslide on record in British Columbia, involving, according to study co-author Göran Ekström, the equivalent of the combined mass of Canada’s 25 million cars. Ekström is a seismologist at Columbia University. Nearly half of the debris crashed onto the toe of West Grenville glacier, near the base of the valley. The rest ran up the opposite wall of the valley before gravity carried it down once again. Traveling at more than 100 miles per hour (170 kilometers per hour), the landslide plunged into an alpine lake left behind by the glacier during its retreat over the last century.

    Like the splash after a jump off a high-dive, the landslide’s impact was fast and violent: the rockfall catapulted enough water out of the lake to reduce its area by nearly 20%, creating islands in its newly shallow depths. In just over a minute, a tsunami wave towering more than 330 feet (100 meters) high sped across the lake before cresting the opposite shore, creating what is known as a glacial lake outburst flood.

    The view down valley showing the eroded creek bed and lack of vegetation. Credit: Briar Stewart/CBC.

    The water was then forcefully channeled down the confines of the valley like a marble in a Rube Goldberg machine. Though it generally takes millennia for water to steadily erode deep ravines, the flood gouged out a groove 160 feet (50 meters) deep in the stream bed within minutes.

    As the creek bank gave way and trees were mowed down, the flood became a thick soup of debris that left an enormous fan of sand, mud and wood extending from the mouth of the valley. It contaminated local fresh and marine waterways, creating a sediment plume — suspended organic materials — that destroyed water quality.

    “You need certain elements in place to create these massive domino effects,” said Geerstema. “This goes to show us the damaging footprint of these events when you have water in the right place.”

    Looking with LiDAR

    The landslide’s remote location meant that fortunately no one was around when the hazard cascade took place. To map out what happened, Geertsema, who regularly scours satellite imagery for evidence of landslides in high-mountain areas, worked with members of Canada’s First Nations, the Hakai Institute and other institutions around the world to simulate the events using numerical modeling and LiDAR — a survey method that pulses lasers from an airplane to create 3D representations of the surface.

    Geertsema, who compared post-landslide images with those taken only one year prior, said the team was very lucky to have such detailed imagery. “We wouldn’t have been able to produce these models without that input data,” he said.

    The view of the lake looking towards West Grenville glacier and the sheer vertical slide face. Credit: Brian Menounos.

    Fewer glaciers, more hazards

    British Columbia’s mountainous terrain is no stranger to landslides or floods and tsunamis. Climate change, however, has exacerbated the impacts and frequency of these hazards — especially as warming temperatures cause ground-stabilizing permafrost and glaciers to melt away.

    As glaciers retreat, weak bedrock loses the support that prevents its collapse, said Tom Millard, a research geomorphologist with the B.C. Ministry of Forests and co-author of the study. The meltwater lakes left in their wake, such as at Elliot Creek, also tend to get larger, which ratchets up the hazard of a potential tsunami or outburst flood.

    Living with the consequences

    The chain reaction of geological events created a cascade of ecological effects that will linger for decades. The flood destroyed most of the salmon population, as well as the spawning habitat that they return to each year. The fish are unable to survive current turbidity levels, which remain more than 25 times higher than normal (especially after a rainstorm), said Blaney.

    More than food, salmon are an important part of the Homalco First Nation’s culture and livelihood. Grizzly bears’ annual feasting on salmon draws in tourism that helps the community thrive. But this past year, low salmon numbers meant the bears went hungry.

    As recovery effort coordinator, Blaney has ideas for sustainable ways to help the ecosystem return to some semblance of normal. One solution is to prune crab apple trees as another source of food for the bears.

    “It’s something that our people did before,” said Blaney.

    Blaney is also considering installing a platform that would provide a safer way for researchers to monitor the salmon population, diverting the creek through a more stable area with remaining trees, and planting native vegetation to control for erosion.

    Finding funding for these projects, however, is only one obstacle that is part of an even greater challenge: living with the increasingly stark effects of climate change. Severe wildfires in summer 2021 burned across B.C., and the Coast Mountains are experiencing some of the highest rates of glacier loss on earth, meaning hazard cascades like the one at Elliot Creek could become more frequent.

    “I don’t think the average person living in a city can really understand or see the changes that we’re seeing and the devastation that they’re having on salmon and other important pieces of our survival and our culture,” said Blaney. “We’re seeing change, and it’s happening fast and it’s beyond any scope we could have imagined.”

    Further Reading

    For the full multimedia feature by the Hakai Institute — which includes video, interactive maps, and more — click here.

    Geertsema, M., Menounos, B., Bullard, G., Carrivick, J. L., Clague, J. J., Dai, C., … & Sharp, M. A. (2022). The 28 November 2020 landslide, tsunami, and outburst flood–a hazard cascade associated with rapid deglaciation at Elliot Creek, British Columbia, Canada. Geophysical research letters, 49(6), e2021GL096716.

    Menounos, B., Hugonnet, R., Shean, D., Gardner, A., Howat, I., Berthier, E., … & Dehecq, A. (2019). Heterogeneous changes in western North American glaciers linked to decadal variability in zonal wind strength. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(1), 200-209.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition


    Earthquake Alert


    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network projectEarthquake Network is a research project which aims at developing and maintaining a crowdsourced smartphone-based earthquake warning system at a global level. Smartphones made available by the population are used to detect the earthquake waves using the on-board accelerometers. When an earthquake is detected, an earthquake warning is issued in order to alert the population not yet reached by the damaging waves of the earthquake.

    The project started on January 1, 2013 with the release of the homonymous Android application Earthquake Network. The author of the research project and developer of the smartphone application is Francesco Finazzi of the University of Bergamo, Italy.

    Get the app in the Google Play store.

    Smartphone network spatial distribution (green and red dots) on December 4, 2015

    Meet The Quake-Catcher Network

    QCN bloc

    Quake-Catcher Network

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world’s largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors in and attached to internet-connected computers. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach about earthquakes and earthquake hazards.

    After almost eight years at Stanford, and a year at CalTech, the QCN project is moving to the University of Southern California Dept. of Earth Sciences. QCN will be sponsored by the Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology (IRIS) and the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC).

    The Quake-Catcher Network is a distributed computing network that links volunteer hosted computers into a real-time motion sensing network. QCN is one of many scientific computing projects that runs on the world-renowned distributed computing platform Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing (BOINC).

    The volunteer computers monitor vibrational sensors called MEMS accelerometers, and digitally transmit “triggers” to QCN’s servers whenever strong new motions are observed. QCN’s servers sift through these signals, and determine which ones represent earthquakes, and which ones represent cultural noise (like doors slamming, or trucks driving by).

    There are two categories of sensors used by QCN: 1) internal mobile device sensors, and 2) external USB sensors.

    Mobile Devices: MEMS sensors are often included in laptops, games, cell phones, and other electronic devices for hardware protection, navigation, and game control. When these devices are still and connected to QCN, QCN software monitors the internal accelerometer for strong new shaking. Unfortunately, these devices are rarely secured to the floor, so they may bounce around when a large earthquake occurs. While this is less than ideal for characterizing the regional ground shaking, many such sensors can still provide useful information about earthquake locations and magnitudes.

    USB Sensors: MEMS sensors can be mounted to the floor and connected to a desktop computer via a USB cable. These sensors have several advantages over mobile device sensors. 1) By mounting them to the floor, they measure more reliable shaking than mobile devices. 2) These sensors typically have lower noise and better resolution of 3D motion. 3) Desktops are often left on and do not move. 4) The USB sensor is physically removed from the game, phone, or laptop, so human interaction with the device doesn’t reduce the sensors’ performance. 5) USB sensors can be aligned to North, so we know what direction the horizontal “X” and “Y” axes correspond to.

    If you are a science teacher at a K-12 school, please apply for a free USB sensor and accompanying QCN software. QCN has been able to purchase sensors to donate to schools in need. If you are interested in donating to the program or requesting a sensor, click here.

    BOINC is a leader in the field(s) of Distributed Computing, Grid Computing and Citizen Cyberscience.BOINC is more properly the Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing, developed at UC Berkeley.

    Earthquake safety is a responsibility shared by billions worldwide. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) provides software so that individuals can join together to improve earthquake monitoring, earthquake awareness, and the science of earthquakes. The Quake-Catcher Network (QCN) links existing networked laptops and desktops in hopes to form the worlds largest strong-motion seismic network.

    Below, the QCN Quake Catcher Network map
    QCN Quake Catcher Network map

    ShakeAlert: An Earthquake Early Warning System for the West Coast of the United States

    The U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) along with a coalition of State and university partners is developing and testing an earthquake early warning (EEW) system called ShakeAlert for the west coast of the United States. Long term funding must be secured before the system can begin sending general public notifications, however, some limited pilot projects are active and more are being developed. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018.

    Watch a video describing how ShakeAlert works in English or Spanish.

    The primary project partners include:

    United States Geological Survey
    California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES)
    California Geological Survey
    California Institute of Technology
    University of California Berkeley
    University of Washington
    University of Oregon
    Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

    The Earthquake Threat

    Earthquakes pose a national challenge because more than 143 million Americans live in areas of significant seismic risk across 39 states. Most of our Nation’s earthquake risk is concentrated on the West Coast of the United States. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has estimated the average annualized loss from earthquakes, nationwide, to be $5.3 billion, with 77 percent of that figure ($4.1 billion) coming from California, Washington, and Oregon, and 66 percent ($3.5 billion) from California alone. In the next 30 years, California has a 99.7 percent chance of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake and the Pacific Northwest has a 10 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 megathrust earthquake on the Cascadia subduction zone.

    Part of the Solution

    Today, the technology exists to detect earthquakes, so quickly, that an alert can reach some areas before strong shaking arrives. The purpose of the ShakeAlert system is to identify and characterize an earthquake a few seconds after it begins, calculate the likely intensity of ground shaking that will result, and deliver warnings to people and infrastructure in harm’s way. This can be done by detecting the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, which rarely causes damage. Using P-wave information, we first estimate the location and the magnitude of the earthquake. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated and a warning is provided to local populations. The method can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, bringing the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage.

    Studies of earthquake early warning methods in California have shown that the warning time would range from a few seconds to a few tens of seconds. ShakeAlert can give enough time to slow trains and taxiing planes, to prevent cars from entering bridges and tunnels, to move away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments and to take cover under a desk, or to automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems. Taking such actions before shaking starts can reduce damage and casualties during an earthquake. It can also prevent cascading failures in the aftermath of an event. For example, isolating utilities before shaking starts can reduce the number of fire initiations.

    System Goal

    The USGS will issue public warnings of potentially damaging earthquakes and provide warning parameter data to government agencies and private users on a region-by-region basis, as soon as the ShakeAlert system, its products, and its parametric data meet minimum quality and reliability standards in those geographic regions. The USGS has set the goal of beginning limited public notifications in 2018. Product availability will expand geographically via ANSS regional seismic networks, such that ShakeAlert products and warnings become available for all regions with dense seismic instrumentation.

    Current Status

    The West Coast ShakeAlert system is being developed by expanding and upgrading the infrastructure of regional seismic networks that are part of the Advanced National Seismic System (ANSS); the California Integrated Seismic Network (CISN) is made up of the Southern California Seismic Network, SCSN) and the Northern California Seismic System, NCSS and the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network (PNSN). This enables the USGS and ANSS to leverage their substantial investment in sensor networks, data telemetry systems, data processing centers, and software for earthquake monitoring activities residing in these network centers. The ShakeAlert system has been sending live alerts to “beta” users in California since January of 2012 and in the Pacific Northwest since February of 2015.

    In February of 2016 the USGS, along with its partners, rolled-out the next-generation ShakeAlert early warning test system in California joined by Oregon and Washington in April 2017. This West Coast-wide “production prototype” has been designed for redundant, reliable operations. The system includes geographically distributed servers, and allows for automatic fail-over if connection is lost.

    This next-generation system will not yet support public warnings but does allow selected early adopters to develop and deploy pilot implementations that take protective actions triggered by the ShakeAlert notifications in areas with sufficient sensor coverage.


    The USGS will develop and operate the ShakeAlert system, and issue public notifications under collaborative authorities with FEMA, as part of the National Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as enacted by the Earthquake Hazards Reduction Act of 1977, 42 U.S.C. §§ 7704 SEC. 2.

    For More Information

    Robert de Groot, ShakeAlert National Coordinator for Communication, Education, and Outreach

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan



    About Early Warning Labs, LLC

    Early Warning Labs, LLC (EWL) is an Earthquake Early Warning technology developer and integrator located in Santa Monica, CA. EWL is partnered with industry leading GIS provider ESRI, Inc. and is collaborating with the US Government and university partners.

    EWL is investing millions of dollars over the next 36 months to complete the final integration and delivery of Earthquake Early Warning to individual consumers, government entities, and commercial users.

    EWL’s mission is to improve, expand, and lower the costs of the existing earthquake early warning systems.

    EWL is developing a robust cloud server environment to handle low-cost mass distribution of these warnings. In addition, Early Warning Labs is researching and developing automated response standards and systems that allow public and private users to take pre-defined automated actions to protect lives and assets.

    EWL has an existing beta R&D test system installed at one of the largest studios in Southern California. The goal of this system is to stress test EWL’s hardware, software, and alert signals while improving latency and reliability.

    Earthquake Early Warning Introduction

    The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in collaboration with state agencies, university partners, and private industry, is developing an earthquake early warning system (EEW) for the West Coast of the United States called ShakeAlert. The USGS Earthquake Hazards Program aims to mitigate earthquake losses in the United States. Citizens, first responders, and engineers rely on the USGS for accurate and timely information about where earthquakes occur, the ground shaking intensity in different locations, and the likelihood is of future significant ground shaking.

    The ShakeAlert Earthquake Early Warning System recently entered its first phase of operations. The USGS working in partnership with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) is now allowing for the testing of public alerting via apps, Wireless Emergency Alerts, and by other means throughout California.

    ShakeAlert partners in Oregon and Washington are working with the USGS to test public alerting in those states sometime in 2020.

    ShakeAlert has demonstrated the feasibility of earthquake early warning, from event detection to producing USGS issued ShakeAlerts ® and will continue to undergo testing and will improve over time. In particular, robust and reliable alert delivery pathways for automated actions are currently being developed and implemented by private industry partners for use in California, Oregon, and Washington.

    Earthquake Early Warning Background

    The objective of an earthquake early warning system is to rapidly detect the initiation of an earthquake, estimate the level of ground shaking intensity to be expected, and issue a warning before significant ground shaking starts. A network of seismic sensors detects the first energy to radiate from an earthquake, the P-wave energy, and the location and the magnitude of the earthquake is rapidly determined. Then, the anticipated ground shaking across the region to be affected is estimated. The system can provide warning before the S-wave arrives, which brings the strong shaking that usually causes most of the damage. Warnings will be distributed to local and state public emergency response officials, critical infrastructure, private businesses, and the public. EEW systems have been successfully implemented in Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, and other nations with varying degrees of sophistication and coverage.

    Earthquake early warning can provide enough time to:

    Instruct students and employees to take a protective action such as Drop, Cover, and Hold On
    Initiate mass notification procedures
    Open fire-house doors and notify local first responders
    Slow and stop trains and taxiing planes
    Install measures to prevent/limit additional cars from going on bridges, entering tunnels, and being on freeway overpasses before the shaking starts
    Move people away from dangerous machines or chemicals in work environments
    Shut down gas lines, water treatment plants, or nuclear reactors
    Automatically shut down and isolate industrial systems

    However, earthquake warning notifications must be transmitted without requiring human review and response action must be automated, as the total warning times are short depending on geographic distance and varying soil densities from the epicenter.

  • richardmitnick 8:33 am on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Four questions for Liz Hadly", , , Earth Observation, , , ,   

    From Stanford University: “Four questions for Liz Hadly” 

    Stanford University Name

    From Stanford University

    June 29, 2022
    Tom Johnson

    Elizabeth Hadly (Image credit: L.A. Cicero)

    Earlier this month, heavy rains fell on melting snowpack in and around Yellowstone National Park, resulting in widespread flooding, mudslides, and damage to infrastructure. The storm, described by the U.S. Geological Survey as a 1 in 500-year event, forced the evacuation of visitors and closed parts of the park indefinitely. We checked in with Stanford Biologist and longtime Yellowstone resident Liz Hadly to better understand the event and its connection to global climate change.

    “We used to say that our best guess for tomorrow’s weather is what happened yesterday. We can’t say that anymore,” said Hadly, reflecting on the flooding event and how it fits into the context of global climate change. “The magnitude and rate of change right now are way beyond anything we humans have seen. We’re pushing the envelope of human knowledge.”

    How has the flooding changed Yellowstone?

    On the geologic time scale, Yellowstone will prevail. Yes, there will be more erosion, and because of global climate change, there will continue to be more fires and floods. But the park itself will prevail.

    Let’s talk about change from the human perspective. Forty years ago, when I first lived and worked in Yellowstone, we had two million visitors per year. There are now four million visitors per year. We’re going to need to rethink not just this park, but how to support a massive influx of tourism in all of our parks. How do we decide which of these four million people make it into Yellowstone when suddenly half the roads are closed for as much as a year? How do we feed them when the small towns that serve tourists are cut off from stores in larger cities nearby? How do we process sewage when infrastructure is badly damaged? I think managing visitation numbers in the face of increasing environmental disturbance has got to be in the cards.

    Was the recent flooding in Yellowstone connected to global climate change?

    Yes, it was. As the planet warms, our atmosphere tries to equalize gradients of temperature and distribute that extra heat around the globe. As it does so, we have air masses that transition rapidly between extremes – hot and cold, higher and lower moisture. These intense concentrations and adjustments can cause violent swings in weather. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, it also can release a lot more water in the form of precipitation.

    In the case of the Yellowstone flooding, warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt are causing peak runoff on the Yellowstone River to occur earlier in the year. On top of that, the park had an unusually late heavy snowfall. The weather then quickly warmed and accelerated snowmelt. When we saw an atmospheric river bring massive amounts of rain to the area, snowmelt intensified. The combined result was the massive flooding we witnessed.

    Some scientists say that the flooding in Yellowstone represents a 500-year or even a 1000-year event. Are we seeing more of these events?

    I’m a big fan of using the paleo record to contextualize the kinds of changes we’re seeing ­– not just the magnitude of changes, but also the rate of those changes. The amount of warming we’re likely to see on the planet by the year 2100 is equivalent to the warming of 14 to 15 million years ago. One or two degrees of warming might not seem like a lot, but when you average that around the globe, and you think about the last time average temperatures were that high ­­– that gives you a perspective that’s beyond the evolutionary age of most mammalian species. A new “normal” isn’t the right word because it suggests some sort of a dynamic equilibrium. We are headed toward an unknown future that will be characterized by unexpected, dramatic change over centuries, not one of stability. Humans just aren’t used to dealing with that.

    What is the significance of the Yellowstone flooding?

    For anybody who’s traveled to the park – and a lot of people in the U.S. have been there – all they have to do is look at the Mammoth to Gardiner Road. It’s one of the main entrances into the park, and Mammoth is where the park’s headquarters are. People seeing those images are going to realize that the road connecting the park’s headquarters to the neighboring community that houses and feeds park managers is gone. They’ll also wonder, how will I get into and out of the park?

    It’s also important for future visitors. Yellowstone is booked out years in advance. To suddenly cut visitation in half due to infrastructure damage – people will be impacted. Ironically, this year marks the 150-year anniversary of Yellowstone, the world’s first national park. We all own this place – it is the ‘backyard’ of all Americans. That kind of symbolism may bring more awareness to the seriousness of global climate change, and how even the most protected places on Earth are not safe from our impact on the planet.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Stanford University campus

    Leland and Jane Stanford founded Stanford University to “promote the public welfare by exercising an influence on behalf of humanity and civilization.” Stanford opened its doors in 1891, and more than a century later, it remains dedicated to finding solutions to the great challenges of the day and to preparing our students for leadership in today’s complex world. Stanford, is an American private research university located in Stanford, California on an 8,180-acre (3,310 ha) campus near Palo Alto. Since 1952, more than 54 Stanford faculty, staff, and alumni have won the Nobel Prize, including 19 current faculty members.

    Stanford University, officially Leland Stanford Junior University, is a private research university located in Stanford, California. Stanford was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their only child, Leland Stanford Jr., who had died of typhoid fever at age 15 the previous year. Stanford is consistently ranked as among the most prestigious and top universities in the world by major education publications. It is also one of the top fundraising institutions in the country, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Leland Stanford was a U.S. senator and former governor of California who made his fortune as a railroad tycoon. The school admitted its first students on October 1, 1891, as a coeducational and non-denominational institution. Stanford University struggled financially after the death of Leland Stanford in 1893 and again after much of the campus was damaged by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Following World War II, provost Frederick Terman supported faculty and graduates’ entrepreneurialism to build self-sufficient local industry in what would later be known as Silicon Valley.

    The university is organized around seven schools: three schools consisting of 40 academic departments at the undergraduate level as well as four professional schools that focus on graduate programs in law, medicine, education, and business. All schools are on the same campus. Students compete in 36 varsity sports, and the university is one of two private institutions in the Division I FBS Pac-12 Conference. It has gained 126 NCAA team championships, and Stanford has won the NACDA Directors’ Cup for 24 consecutive years, beginning in 1994–1995. In addition, Stanford students and alumni have won 270 Olympic medals including 139 gold medals.

    As of October 2020, 84 Nobel laureates, 28 Turing Award laureates, and eight Fields Medalists have been affiliated with Stanford as students, alumni, faculty, or staff. In addition, Stanford is particularly noted for its entrepreneurship and is one of the most successful universities in attracting funding for start-ups. Stanford alumni have founded numerous companies, which combined produce more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, roughly equivalent to the 7th largest economy in the world (as of 2020). Stanford is the alma mater of one president of the United States (Herbert Hoover), 74 living billionaires, and 17 astronauts. It is also one of the leading producers of Fulbright Scholars, Marshall Scholars, Rhodes Scholars, and members of the United States Congress.

    Stanford University was founded in 1885 by Leland and Jane Stanford, dedicated to Leland Stanford Jr, their only child. The institution opened in 1891 on Stanford’s previous Palo Alto farm.

    Jane and Leland Stanford modeled their university after the great eastern universities, most specifically Cornell University. Stanford opened being called the “Cornell of the West” in 1891 due to faculty being former Cornell affiliates (either professors, alumni, or both) including its first president, David Starr Jordan, and second president, John Casper Branner. Both Cornell and Stanford were among the first to have higher education be accessible, nonsectarian, and open to women as well as to men. Cornell is credited as one of the first American universities to adopt this radical departure from traditional education, and Stanford became an early adopter as well.

    Despite being impacted by earthquakes in both 1906 and 1989, the campus was rebuilt each time. In 1919, The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace was started by Herbert Hoover to preserve artifacts related to World War I. The Stanford Medical Center, completed in 1959, is a teaching hospital with over 800 beds. The DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory (originally named the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center), established in 1962, performs research in particle physics.


    Most of Stanford is on an 8,180-acre (12.8 sq mi; 33.1 km^2) campus, one of the largest in the United States. It is located on the San Francisco Peninsula, in the northwest part of the Santa Clara Valley (Silicon Valley) approximately 37 miles (60 km) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles (30 km) northwest of San Jose. In 2008, 60% of this land remained undeveloped.

    Stanford’s main campus includes a census-designated place within unincorporated Santa Clara County, although some of the university land (such as the Stanford Shopping Center and the Stanford Research Park) is within the city limits of Palo Alto. The campus also includes much land in unincorporated San Mateo County (including the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve), as well as in the city limits of Menlo Park (Stanford Hills neighborhood), Woodside, and Portola Valley.

    Non-central campus

    Stanford currently operates in various locations outside of its central campus.

    On the founding grant:

    Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve is a 1,200-acre (490 ha) natural reserve south of the central campus owned by the university and used by wildlife biologists for research.
    SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is a facility west of the central campus operated by the university for the Department of Energy. It contains the longest linear particle accelerator in the world, 2 miles (3.2 km) on 426 acres (172 ha) of land.
    Golf course and a seasonal lake: The university also has its own golf course and a seasonal lake (Lake Lagunita, actually an irrigation reservoir), both home to the vulnerable California tiger salamander. As of 2012 Lake Lagunita was often dry and the university had no plans to artificially fill it.

    Off the founding grant:

    Hopkins Marine Station, in Pacific Grove, California, is a marine biology research center owned by the university since 1892.
    Study abroad locations: unlike typical study abroad programs, Stanford itself operates in several locations around the world; thus, each location has Stanford faculty-in-residence and staff in addition to students, creating a “mini-Stanford”.

    Redwood City campus for many of the university’s administrative offices located in Redwood City, California, a few miles north of the main campus. In 2005, the university purchased a small, 35-acre (14 ha) campus in Midpoint Technology Park intended for staff offices; development was delayed by The Great Recession. In 2015 the university announced a development plan and the Redwood City campus opened in March 2019.

    The Bass Center in Washington, DC provides a base, including housing, for the Stanford in Washington program for undergraduates. It includes a small art gallery open to the public.

    China: Stanford Center at Peking University, housed in the Lee Jung Sen Building, is a small center for researchers and students in collaboration with Beijing University [北京大学](CN) (Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics at Peking University(CN) (KIAA-PKU).

    Administration and organization

    Stanford is a private, non-profit university that is administered as a corporate trust governed by a privately appointed board of trustees with a maximum membership of 38. Trustees serve five-year terms (not more than two consecutive terms) and meet five times annually.[83] A new trustee is chosen by the current trustees by ballot. The Stanford trustees also oversee the Stanford Research Park, the Stanford Shopping Center, the Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University Medical Center, and many associated medical facilities (including the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital).

    The board appoints a president to serve as the chief executive officer of the university, to prescribe the duties of professors and course of study, to manage financial and business affairs, and to appoint nine vice presidents. The provost is the chief academic and budget officer, to whom the deans of each of the seven schools report. Persis Drell became the 13th provost in February 2017.

    As of 2018, the university was organized into seven academic schools. The schools of Humanities and Sciences (27 departments), Engineering (nine departments), and Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (four departments) have both graduate and undergraduate programs while the Schools of Law, Medicine, Education and Business have graduate programs only. The powers and authority of the faculty are vested in the Academic Council, which is made up of tenure and non-tenure line faculty, research faculty, senior fellows in some policy centers and institutes, the president of the university, and some other academic administrators, but most matters are handled by the Faculty Senate, made up of 55 elected representatives of the faculty.

    The Associated Students of Stanford University (ASSU) is the student government for Stanford and all registered students are members. Its elected leadership consists of the Undergraduate Senate elected by the undergraduate students, the Graduate Student Council elected by the graduate students, and the President and Vice President elected as a ticket by the entire student body.

    Stanford is the beneficiary of a special clause in the California Constitution, which explicitly exempts Stanford property from taxation so long as the property is used for educational purposes.

    Endowment and donations

    The university’s endowment, managed by the Stanford Management Company, was valued at $27.7 billion as of August 31, 2019. Payouts from the Stanford endowment covered approximately 21.8% of university expenses in the 2019 fiscal year. In the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA survey of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, only Harvard University, the University of Texas System, and Yale University had larger endowments than Stanford.

    In 2006, President John L. Hennessy launched a five-year campaign called the Stanford Challenge, which reached its $4.3 billion fundraising goal in 2009, two years ahead of time, but continued fundraising for the duration of the campaign. It concluded on December 31, 2011, having raised a total of $6.23 billion and breaking the previous campaign fundraising record of $3.88 billion held by Yale. Specifically, the campaign raised $253.7 million for undergraduate financial aid, as well as $2.33 billion for its initiative in “Seeking Solutions” to global problems, $1.61 billion for “Educating Leaders” by improving K-12 education, and $2.11 billion for “Foundation of Excellence” aimed at providing academic support for Stanford students and faculty. Funds supported 366 new fellowships for graduate students, 139 new endowed chairs for faculty, and 38 new or renovated buildings. The new funding also enabled the construction of a facility for stem cell research; a new campus for the business school; an expansion of the law school; a new Engineering Quad; a new art and art history building; an on-campus concert hall; a new art museum; and a planned expansion of the medical school, among other things. In 2012, the university raised $1.035 billion, becoming the first school to raise more than a billion dollars in a year.

    Research centers and institutes

    DOE’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory
    Stanford Research Institute, a center of innovation to support economic development in the region.
    Hoover Institution, a conservative American public policy institution and research institution that promotes personal and economic liberty, free enterprise, and limited government.
    Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, a multidisciplinary design school in cooperation with the Hasso Plattner Institute of University of Potsdam [Universität Potsdam](DE) that integrates product design, engineering, and business management education).
    Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, which grew out of and still contains the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project.
    John S. Knight Fellowship for Professional Journalists
    Center for Ocean Solutions
    Together with UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, Stanford is part of the Biohub, a new medical science research center founded in 2016 by a $600 million commitment from Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg and pediatrician Priscilla Chan.

    Discoveries and innovation

    Natural sciences

    Biological synthesis of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) – Arthur Kornberg synthesized DNA material and won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1959 for his work at Stanford.
    First Transgenic organism – Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer were the first scientists to transplant genes from one living organism to another, a fundamental discovery for genetic engineering. Thousands of products have been developed on the basis of their work, including human growth hormone and hepatitis B vaccine.
    Laser – Arthur Leonard Schawlow shared the 1981 Nobel Prize in Physics with Nicolaas Bloembergen and Kai Siegbahn for his work on lasers.
    Nuclear magnetic resonance – Felix Bloch developed new methods for nuclear magnetic precision measurements, which are the underlying principles of the MRI.

    Computer and applied sciences

    ARPANETStanford Research Institute, formerly part of Stanford but on a separate campus, was the site of one of the four original ARPANET nodes.

    Internet—Stanford was the site where the original design of the Internet was undertaken. Vint Cerf led a research group to elaborate the design of the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP) that he originally co-created with Robert E. Kahn (Bob Kahn) in 1973 and which formed the basis for the architecture of the Internet.

    Frequency modulation synthesis – John Chowning of the Music department invented the FM music synthesis algorithm in 1967, and Stanford later licensed it to Yamaha Corporation.

    Google – Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP’s goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library” and it was funded through the National Science Foundation, among other federal agencies.

    Klystron tube – invented by the brothers Russell and Sigurd Varian at Stanford. Their prototype was completed and demonstrated successfully on August 30, 1937. Upon publication in 1939, news of the klystron immediately influenced the work of U.S. and UK researchers working on radar equipment.

    RISCARPA funded VLSI project of microprocessor design. Stanford and University of California- Berkeley are most associated with the popularization of this concept. The Stanford MIPS would go on to be commercialized as the successful MIPS architecture, while Berkeley RISC gave its name to the entire concept, commercialized as the SPARC. Another success from this era were IBM’s efforts that eventually led to the IBM POWER instruction set architecture, PowerPC, and Power ISA. As these projects matured, a wide variety of similar designs flourished in the late 1980s and especially the early 1990s, representing a major force in the Unix workstation market as well as embedded processors in laser printers, routers and similar products.
    SUN workstation – Andy Bechtolsheim designed the SUN workstation for the Stanford University Network communications project as a personal CAD workstation, which led to Sun Microsystems.

    Businesses and entrepreneurship

    Stanford is one of the most successful universities in creating companies and licensing its inventions to existing companies; it is often held up as a model for technology transfer. Stanford’s Office of Technology Licensing is responsible for commercializing university research, intellectual property, and university-developed projects.

    The university is described as having a strong venture culture in which students are encouraged, and often funded, to launch their own companies.

    Companies founded by Stanford alumni generate more than $2.7 trillion in annual revenue, equivalent to the 10th-largest economy in the world.

    Some companies closely associated with Stanford and their connections include:

    Hewlett-Packard, 1939, co-founders William R. Hewlett (B.S, PhD) and David Packard (M.S).
    Silicon Graphics, 1981, co-founders James H. Clark (Associate Professor) and several of his grad students.
    Sun Microsystems, 1982, co-founders Vinod Khosla (M.B.A), Andy Bechtolsheim (PhD) and Scott McNealy (M.B.A).
    Cisco, 1984, founders Leonard Bosack (M.S) and Sandy Lerner (M.S) who were in charge of Stanford Computer Science and Graduate School of Business computer operations groups respectively when the hardware was developed.[163]
    Yahoo!, 1994, co-founders Jerry Yang (B.S, M.S) and David Filo (M.S).
    Google, 1998, co-founders Larry Page (M.S) and Sergey Brin (M.S).
    LinkedIn, 2002, co-founders Reid Hoffman (B.S), Konstantin Guericke (B.S, M.S), Eric Lee (B.S), and Alan Liu (B.S).
    Instagram, 2010, co-founders Kevin Systrom (B.S) and Mike Krieger (B.S).
    Snapchat, 2011, co-founders Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy (B.S).
    Coursera, 2012, co-founders Andrew Ng (Associate Professor) and Daphne Koller (Professor, PhD).

    Student body

    Stanford enrolled 6,996 undergraduate and 10,253 graduate students as of the 2019–2020 school year. Women comprised 50.4% of undergraduates and 41.5% of graduate students. In the same academic year, the freshman retention rate was 99%.

    Stanford awarded 1,819 undergraduate degrees, 2,393 master’s degrees, 770 doctoral degrees, and 3270 professional degrees in the 2018–2019 school year. The four-year graduation rate for the class of 2017 cohort was 72.9%, and the six-year rate was 94.4%. The relatively low four-year graduation rate is a function of the university’s coterminal degree (or “coterm”) program, which allows students to earn a master’s degree as a 1-to-2-year extension of their undergraduate program.

    As of 2010, fifteen percent of undergraduates were first-generation students.


    As of 2016 Stanford had 16 male varsity sports and 20 female varsity sports, 19 club sports and about 27 intramural sports. In 1930, following a unanimous vote by the Executive Committee for the Associated Students, the athletic department adopted the mascot “Indian.” The Indian symbol and name were dropped by President Richard Lyman in 1972, after objections from Native American students and a vote by the student senate. The sports teams are now officially referred to as the “Stanford Cardinal,” referring to the deep red color, not the cardinal bird. Stanford is a member of the Pac-12 Conference in most sports, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation in several other sports, and the America East Conference in field hockey with the participation in the inter-collegiate NCAA’s Division I FBS.

    Its traditional sports rival is the University of California, Berkeley, the neighbor to the north in the East Bay. The winner of the annual “Big Game” between the Cal and Cardinal football teams gains custody of the Stanford Axe.

    Stanford has had at least one NCAA team champion every year since the 1976–77 school year and has earned 126 NCAA national team titles since its establishment, the most among universities, and Stanford has won 522 individual national championships, the most by any university. Stanford has won the award for the top-ranked Division 1 athletic program—the NACDA Directors’ Cup, formerly known as the Sears Cup—annually for the past twenty-four straight years. Stanford athletes have won medals in every Olympic Games since 1912, winning 270 Olympic medals total, 139 of them gold. In the 2008 Summer Olympics, and 2016 Summer Olympics, Stanford won more Olympic medals than any other university in the United States. Stanford athletes won 16 medals at the 2012 Summer Olympics (12 gold, two silver and two bronze), and 27 medals at the 2016 Summer Olympics.


    The unofficial motto of Stanford, selected by President Jordan, is Die Luft der Freiheit weht. Translated from the German language, this quotation from Ulrich von Hutten means, “The wind of freedom blows.” The motto was controversial during World War I, when anything in German was suspect; at that time the university disavowed that this motto was official.
    Hail, Stanford, Hail! is the Stanford Hymn sometimes sung at ceremonies or adapted by the various University singing groups. It was written in 1892 by mechanical engineering professor Albert W. Smith and his wife, Mary Roberts Smith (in 1896 she earned the first Stanford doctorate in Economics and later became associate professor of Sociology), but was not officially adopted until after a performance on campus in March 1902 by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
    “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman”: Stanford does not award honorary degrees, but in 1953 the degree of “Uncommon Man/Uncommon Woman” was created to recognize individuals who give rare and extraordinary service to the University. Technically, this degree is awarded by the Stanford Associates, a voluntary group that is part of the university’s alumni association. As Stanford’s highest honor, it is not conferred at prescribed intervals, but only when appropriate to recognize extraordinary service. Recipients include Herbert Hoover, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Lucile Packard, and John Gardner.
    Big Game events: The events in the week leading up to the Big Game vs. UC Berkeley, including Gaieties (a musical written, composed, produced, and performed by the students of Ram’s Head Theatrical Society).
    “Viennese Ball”: a formal ball with waltzes that was initially started in the 1970s by students returning from the now-closed Stanford in Vienna overseas program. It is now open to all students.
    “Full Moon on the Quad”: An annual event at Main Quad, where students gather to kiss one another starting at midnight. Typically organized by the Junior class cabinet, the festivities include live entertainment, such as music and dance performances.
    “Band Run”: An annual festivity at the beginning of the school year, where the band picks up freshmen from dorms across campus while stopping to perform at each location, culminating in a finale performance at Main Quad.
    “Mausoleum Party”: An annual Halloween Party at the Stanford Mausoleum, the final resting place of Leland Stanford Jr. and his parents. A 20-year tradition, the “Mausoleum Party” was on hiatus from 2002 to 2005 due to a lack of funding, but was revived in 2006. In 2008, it was hosted in Old Union rather than at the actual Mausoleum, because rain prohibited generators from being rented. In 2009, after fundraising efforts by the Junior Class Presidents and the ASSU Executive, the event was able to return to the Mausoleum despite facing budget cuts earlier in the year.
    Former campus traditions include the “Big Game bonfire” on Lake Lagunita (a seasonal lake usually dry in the fall), which was formally ended in 1997 because of the presence of endangered salamanders in the lake bed.

    Award laureates and scholars

    Stanford’s current community of scholars includes:

    19 Nobel Prize laureates (as of October 2020, 85 affiliates in total)
    171 members of the National Academy of Sciences
    109 members of National Academy of Engineering
    76 members of National Academy of Medicine
    288 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
    19 recipients of the National Medal of Science
    1 recipient of the National Medal of Technology
    4 recipients of the National Humanities Medal
    49 members of American Philosophical Society
    56 fellows of the American Physics Society (since 1995)
    4 Pulitzer Prize winners
    31 MacArthur Fellows
    4 Wolf Foundation Prize winners
    2 ACL Lifetime Achievement Award winners
    14 AAAI fellows
    2 Presidential Medal of Freedom winners

    Stanford University Seal

  • richardmitnick 8:10 am on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Earth Observation, , , "Calculate or co-create?"   

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH): “Calculate or co-create?” 

    From The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH)

    Stéphanie Hegelbach

    Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder – yet how do we find consensus on a shared amenity such as a neighborhood? We took a stroll with two ETH architects to discover how they see their role as mediators between the conflicting priorities of urban consolidation, functionalism and aesthetics.

    Sibylle Wälty and Freek Persyn under the Europa Bridge. (Photograph: Marcel Rickli)

    A huge map is spread out on the floor in front of us, populated by neat paper models connected by coloured threads and arrows. It’s a new world in the making – and a whole new imagining of Zürich’s Altstetten district. We’re standing in the Design in Dialogue Lab at the NEWROPE Chair of Architecture and Urban Transformation, where Professor Freek Persyn and his students are seeking to gain a better understanding of Altstetten and the dynamics of urban densification. “The Lab is a place where we can engage with stakeholders who are actively involved in the transformation of this district – from neighborhood associations, residents and developers to allotment holders and architects with alternative ideas. That helps us see Altstetten from different angles,” says course leader Lukas Fink. The city of Zürich’s urban development plan argues that Altstetten offers significant potential for densification – and Freek Persyn agrees: “I wouldn’t describe Altstetten as metropolitan yet, but that’s definitely where it’s heading.” One of the priorities in his studio is to build up a common understanding of the district and discuss what development makes sense in this context. “Densification isn’t just about the numbers; it’s also about how we create new connections and tie new developments to what’s already there,” says Persyn.

    For Sibylle Wälty, however, numbers are key: the ETH doctorate holder has come up with an empirical formula for the most effective degree of densification. She determined what a compact urban area would need to look like to enable people to fulfill most of their daily needs within a short distance of their homes. The result of her work is the “10-​minute neighborhood”, a district with good public transport links that increases the likelihood of people not having to walk more than 10 minutes between their home, their workplace and local amenities. “It’s about curbing urban sprawl, giving residents the freedom to reduce their dependency on cars, and finding ways to sidestep many of our current infrastructure and traffic problems,” says Wälty.

    But what are the key things to bear in mind when it comes to densification? And what role do aesthetics play? With the two architects by our side, we set off to explore Altstetten and Brupbacherplatz – Zürich’s only 10-​minute neighbourhood.

    Our first stop is the Europa Bridge. This is the kind of infrastructure that forges important links in the urban landscape, but it also represents a headache for urban planners. Often constructed out of concrete in a brutalist style, such connecting infrastructure challenges traditional concepts of beauty and provokes heated debate, particularly in regard to the inhospitable “non-​places” it often creates.

    Sibylle Wälty: A key issue with any bridge is what you put underneath it. Often, the best idea is to find a practical use, like the parking spaces and fenced-​in storage area you see here.

    Freek Persyn: The area under this bridge is also popular with joggers. Some people treat it like a park leading to the Limmat river. It’s not simply a non-​place – it can actually be really important to local residents.

    Wälty: Absolutely. Locals sometimes see things quite differently to visitors. People from the outside often dismiss Brutalist structures as ugly.

    Persyn: I think that’s because it can be hard to recognize the beauty of infrastructure. These are complex places, and learning to appreciate them takes time. One of the questions we ask in our studio is how infrastructure can be transformed into a collective space. There’s a project in Belgium that opens up infrastructure for other uses on Sundays. Those kinds of temporary projects can really benefit a neighborhood.

    Wälty: What I find counter-​productive is the current trend of simply eliminating parking spaces. Cars bring people into a neighborhood; shops and service providers depend on that for their survival. Parking spaces should only be turned into green zones in neighborhoods that already have a sufficient number of residents to sustain them.

    High-​rise buildings on the Grünau estate. (Photograph: Marcel Rickli)

    We stroll across anonymous green spaces sandwiched between main roads and flyovers, which will soon be home to Altstetten’s new school. Behind a row of trees, a group is practising archery. We also spot a disc golf basket which, set against the massive dimensions of the infrastructure, illustrates the conflicting scales in Altstetten. In the background – wedged between the motorway, the Limmat river and the Europa bridge – are the high-​rise buildings of the Grünau estate, which form a microcosm of their own.

    Wälty: Grünau is a typical 1970s housing estate. It has a restaurant and a kiosk on the ground floor, but the 1,200 residents of Grünau don’t generate enough demand for there to be a wide range of choice.

    Persyn: The problem is that these services don’t lie on the routes people take. If you always drive into the underground car park, you’ll never even pass this spot!

    Wälty: You need to have an adequate flow of people, and that requires the population and employment density of a 10-​minute neighborhood. Grünau simply isn’t dense enough, whatever impression the high-​rise buildings might give.

    Persyn: Personally, I think the Grünau estate is lovely – a really spacious world of its own. We mustn’t fall for the kind of prejudices that might lead us to tear down places like this. They have qualities of their own that challenge our preconceived ideas. Another thing we do in our studio is to analyse residential areas and the routes pedestrians take; that tells us where people meet and how public spaces function.

    Wälty: If we fail to densify underused locations with good public transport links like Grünau, the result will be even greater urban sprawl. The city of Zurich recently adopted a net-​zero target for 2040 that includes making more efficient use of land. This calls for at least 10,000 inhabitants within a 500-​metre radius, plus a 2:1 ratio of local residents to full-​time workers. With 10,450 employees working within a 500-​ metre radius and just 3,300 local residents, Grünau is a long way off meeting the minimum requirement; this has a negative impact on traffic, land usage, CO2 emissions, property prices and segregation.

    Persyn: To me, those figures feel like an over-​simplification. We need to ask ourselves what qualities we want to preserve and strengthen. When we talked to residents on the Grünau estate, they said they like how it feels like an island; they appreciate that sense of community.

    Wälty: Spatial planning is about more than just the people who live on an estate; it’s also about society, the economy and the environment beyond. It’s a false assumption to say that transforming a neighborhood will necessarily make it worse.

    Densification projects have a big impact on residents’ lives, yet most of them involve zero dialogue between the developers and local people. We continue walking until we reach Lindenplatz, which is a meeting point for several social subgroups. These are at risk of being displaced by the nearby development projects.

    Persyn: I remember a student saying that a clean Lindenplatz isn’t a real Lindenplatz! Some places defy our conventional understanding of beauty; by doing so, they provide a niche for certain user groups.

    Wälty: If the Rosengarten tunnel project had been approved, for example, noise levels would have plummeted, and the housing would have attracted a whole different clientele.

    Persyn: When conditions change, we always need to ask who stands to benefit. Paradoxically, when we invest less and embrace reuse, we sometimes end up benefiting a marginal group.

    Wälty: Reuse is the key for all resources, including land. We can’t let spatial planners ignore the option of densification in central locations. Housing that is close to jobs, leisure facilities and good public transport is in short supply, and that’s why property prices are going up. Urban planners need to take a long-​term perspective by analyzing and calculating socio-​economic factors.

    Persyn: It’s not easy to frame this kind of problem. This is the reason why we developed the design-​in-dialogue method. We want to examine our role in the process, channel conflict into productive dialogue, and learn together as we go, because everyone – especially local residents – has something to contribute.

    Wälty: I believe in making the calculations and discussing things before putting anything into practice. And if the discussion prompts new ideas, then I run the calculations again! That way you end up with a framework for a long-​term vision that has everyone’s support.

    The figures add up in the Brupbacherplatz neighborhood, says Wälty, where 16,000 people live and 9,300 work within a 500-​metre radius. This is the only location in the greater Zürich area that meets the minimum requirements for a 10-​minute neighborhood. We arrive to see people already queuing at the Gelateria di Berna. This is a typical Zürich family neighborhood for the well-​heeled: colorful flags fluttering in the breeze, Danish designer bicycles and a mother with a pram and dog. So could this be considered the ideal neighborhood?

    Persyn: I think the 10-​minute neighborhood is an interesting idea that can make people think. But it’s not a one-​size-fits-all solution, because urban spaces are simply too diverse. What’s more, proximity – i.e., the distance we’re happy to move on a weekly or monthly basis – means different things to different people.

    Wälty: Local amenities still don’t get the consideration they deserve; we should be tailoring spatial-​planning measures to each individual location. What’s missing is a genuine understanding of how spatial planning is connected to traffic, land use, segregation and property prices. I run an association called WALK10min, which seeks to raise awareness of this issue. Neighborhoods should be designed in ways that enable us to carry out all our everyday activities on foot. As well as making us healthier and reducing our medical insurance bills, that would also cut down the need for infrastructure.

    Persyn: I agree. And the way to get people walking is by creating a pleasant and stimulating environment.

    Wälty: Right. For example, you can use ground-​floor premises in more diverse ways 
to increase pedestrian footfall and make the neighborhood livelier. That makes places more appealing.

    Persyn: That’s exactly the kind of thing we should be scrutinizing more closely. Ground-​floor premises don’t have to be commercial – they can also be social. It’s the same with our idea of beauty: in reality, it’s just one among many values. We should also be thinking about criteria such as orientation, suitability and climate – and we should be making those values just as explicit as the solution. The 10-​minute neighborhood represents a certain set of values that we need to communicate to people. And we need a new culture of spatial planning that is able to weigh up and connect these values.

    Calculate or co-​create? The two architects agree that both are necessary for designing dense neighborhoods that people actually enjoy living in. But Persyn is quick to point out a Swiss trait that often gets in the way: “It’s the fear of conflict that leads to micromanagement – yet conflict can teach us so many valuable lessons.”

    See the full article here .


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    Stem Education Coalition

    ETH Zurich campus

    The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich [ETH Zürich] [Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich] (CH) is a public research university in the city of Zürich, Switzerland. Founded by the Swiss Federal Government in 1854 with the stated mission to educate engineers and scientists, the school focuses exclusively on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Like its sister institution The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne [EPFL-École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne](CH) , it is part of The Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology Domain (ETH Domain)) , part of the The Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research [EAER][Eidgenössisches Departement für Wirtschaft, Bildung und Forschung] [Département fédéral de l’économie, de la formation et de la recherche] (CH).

    The university is an attractive destination for international students thanks to low tuition fees of 809 CHF per semester, PhD and graduate salaries that are amongst the world’s highest, and a world-class reputation in academia and industry. There are currently 22,200 students from over 120 countries, of which 4,180 are pursuing doctoral degrees. In the 2021 edition of the QS World University Rankings ETH Zürich is ranked 6th in the world and 8th by the Times Higher Education World Rankings 2020. In the 2020 QS World University Rankings by subject it is ranked 4th in the world for engineering and technology (2nd in Europe) and 1st for earth & marine science.

    As of November 2019, 21 Nobel laureates, 2 Fields Medalists, 2 Pritzker Prize winners, and 1 Turing Award winner have been affiliated with the Institute, including Albert Einstein. Other notable alumni include John von Neumann and Santiago Calatrava. It is a founding member of the IDEA League and the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) and a member of the CESAER network.

    ETH Zürich was founded on 7 February 1854 by the Swiss Confederation and began giving its first lectures on 16 October 1855 as a polytechnic institute (eidgenössische polytechnische schule) at various sites throughout the city of Zurich. It was initially composed of six faculties: architecture, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, forestry, and an integrated department for the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, literature, and social and political sciences.

    It is locally still known as Polytechnikum, or simply as Poly, derived from the original name eidgenössische polytechnische schule, which translates to “federal polytechnic school”.

    ETH Zürich is a federal institute (i.e., under direct administration by the Swiss government), whereas The University of Zürich [Universität Zürich ] (CH) is a cantonal institution. The decision for a new federal university was heavily disputed at the time; the liberals pressed for a “federal university”, while the conservative forces wanted all universities to remain under cantonal control, worried that the liberals would gain more political power than they already had. In the beginning, both universities were co-located in the buildings of the University of Zürich.

    From 1905 to 1908, under the presidency of Jérôme Franel, the course program of ETH Zürich was restructured to that of a real university and ETH Zürich was granted the right to award doctorates. In 1909 the first doctorates were awarded. In 1911, it was given its current name, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule. In 1924, another reorganization structured the university in 12 departments. However, it now has 16 departments.

    ETH Zürich, EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) [École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne](CH), and four associated research institutes form The Domain of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (ETH Domain) [ETH-Bereich; Domaine des Écoles polytechniques fédérales] (CH) with the aim of collaborating on scientific projects.

    Reputation and ranking

    ETH Zürich is ranked among the top universities in the world. Typically, popular rankings place the institution as the best university in continental Europe and ETH Zürich is consistently ranked among the top 1-5 universities in Europe, and among the top 3-10 best universities of the world.

    Historically, ETH Zürich has achieved its reputation particularly in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics. There are 32 Nobel laureates who are associated with ETH Zürich, the most recent of whom is Richard F. Heck, awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 2010. Albert Einstein is perhaps its most famous alumnus.

    In 2018, the QS World University Rankings placed ETH Zürich at 7th overall in the world. In 2015, ETH Zürich was ranked 5th in the world in Engineering, Science and Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and University of Cambridge (UK). In 2015, ETH Zürich also ranked 6th in the world in Natural Sciences, and in 2016 ranked 1st in the world for Earth & Marine Sciences for the second consecutive year.

    In 2016, Times Higher Education World University Rankings ranked ETH Zürich 9th overall in the world and 8th in the world in the field of Engineering & Technology, just behind the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, California Institute of Technology, Princeton University, University of Cambridge(UK), Imperial College London(UK) and University of Oxford(UK) .

    In a comparison of Swiss universities by swissUP Ranking and in rankings published by CHE comparing the universities of German-speaking countries, ETH Zürich traditionally is ranked first in natural sciences, computer science and engineering sciences.

    In the survey CHE Excellence Ranking on the quality of Western European graduate school programs in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics and mathematics, ETH Zürich was assessed as one of the three institutions to have excellent programs in all the considered fields, the other two being Imperial College London (UK) and the University of Cambridge (UK), respectively.

  • richardmitnick 7:43 am on June 30, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "The Tunguska explosion 114 years ago today" presented for Asteroid Day, , , Earth Observation,   

    From “EarthSky” : “The Tunguska explosion 114 years ago today” presented for Asteroid Day 


    From “EarthSky”

    June 30, 2022

    Paul Scott Anderson
    Kelly Kizer Whitt

    Photo from the Soviet Academy of Science 1927 expedition, led by Leonid Kulik, showing trees knocked over by the Tunguska explosion in 1908. Image via Wikipedia.

    The Tunguska explosion: June 30, 1908

    On today’s date 114 years ago, the largest asteroid impact in recorded history struck on a warm summer morning in Siberia, Russia. Now, we observe Asteroid Day each year on June 30, on the anniversary of what’s now known as the “Tunguska explosion”.

    The explosion happened over the sparsely populated northern forestland above the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is present-day Krasnoyarsk Krai.

    Incredibly, the blast released enough energy to kill reindeer and flatten an estimated 80 million trees over an area of 830 square miles (2,150 square km). Witnesses reported seeing a fireball – a bluish light, nearly as bright as the sun – moving across the sky. In addition, a flash and a sound similar to artillery fire was said to follow it. Moreover, a powerful shockwave broke windows hundreds of miles/kilometers away and knocked people off their feet.

    Yet, ultimately, decades passed before anyone could explain the event.

    Map showing the approximate location of the Tunguska event of 1908 in Siberia, Russia. Image via Wikipedia.

    Tunguska explosion largest in recorded history

    A mysterious aspect of the Tunguska event was that, surprisingly, no one ever found a crater. But, even without a crater, scientists still categorized it as an impact event. They now believe the incoming object never struck Earth, but instead exploded in the atmosphere, causing what’s known as an air burst. This type of atmospheric explosion was still enough to cause massive damage to the forest in the region.

    Scientists determined the object was most likely a stony asteroid approximately the size of a 25-story building. The asteroid was traveling at a speed of about 33,500 miles (54,000 km) per hour and exploded 3 to 6 miles (5 to 10 km) above Earth’s surface.

    Understanding Tunguska

    Why did it take so long – the better part of the 20th century – for scientists to understand what caused the Tunguska event? For one thing, it was almost a decade before the first scientists reached this remote region of Siberia. In 1927, Leonid Kulik led the first Soviet research expedition to investigate the Tunguska event. He made an initial trip to the region, interviewing local witnesses and exploring the area of fallen trees.

    But Kulik did not find any meteorite fragments or an impact crater.

    As a result of Kulik’s initial investigation, some concocted wild theories to explain the Tunguska event. People claimed a stricken alien spacecraft caused the destruction. Later, they pointed to a mini-black-hole, or a particle of antimatter.

    The truth is just as interesting, and perhaps more terrifying … because it can happen again.

    Photo of an air burst, in this case from a U.S. Navy submarine-launched Tomahawk cruise missile. A similar kind of air burst from an incoming asteroid or comet flattened the trees in Siberia in 1908. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

    The Chelyabinsk meteor impact

    In fact, the Tunguska event basically did happen again, just on a smaller scale: The Chelyabinsk meteor, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) to the west, 105 years later.

    On February 15, 2013, a similar although smaller airburst occurred over the city of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

    Smoke trail from the Chelyabinsk meteor, February 15, 2013. Image via Alex Alishevskikh, who caught it about a minute after the blast.

    NASA ScienceCasts: What Exploded Over Russia?

    The Chelyabinsk event provided vital clues as to what happened during the Tunguska event. As NASA explained, new evidence arrived to help solve the mystery of Tunguska:

    “This highly documented fireball created an opportunity for researchers to apply modern computer modeling techniques to explain what was seen, heard and felt.

    The models were used with video observations of the fireball and maps of the damage on the ground to reconstruct the original size, motion and speed of the Chelyabinsk object. The resulting interpretation is that Chelyabinsk was most likely a stony asteroid the size of a five-story building that broke apart 15 miles (24 kilometers) above the ground. This generated a shock wave equivalent to a 550-kiloton explosion. The explosion’s shockwave blew out roughly a million windows and injured more than a thousand people. Fortunately, the force of the explosion was not enough to knock down trees or structures.

    Per current understanding of the asteroid population, an object like the Chelyabinsk meteor can impact the Earth every 10 to 100 years on average.”

    Approximate size comparison of the asteroids/meteorites that exploded over Tunguska and Chelyabinsk, in relation to the Empire State Building and the Eiffel Tower. Image via Wikipedia.

    Studying Tunguska to prepare for future events

    In 2019, scientists published new research about the Tunguska event in a series of papers in a special issue of the journal Icarus. A workshop held at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and sponsored by the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office inspired the research.

    The theme of the workshop was Reexamining the astronomical cold case of the 1908 Tunguska impact event.

    Read more about NASA’s research on the Tunguska explosion

    In recent decades – due to the Tunguska event, and other, smaller impacts – astronomers have come to take the possibility of catastrophic comet and asteroid impacts seriously. They now have observing programs to watch for near-Earth objects (NEOs), as they’re called. At regular meetings they discuss what might happen if we do find a large object on a collision course with Earth.

    Future asteroid missions

    Two separate missions will travel to the asteroid Didymos. ESA’s Hera mission is due to launch in 2024.

    NASA’s DART mission launched November 23, 2021.

    The DART mission will crash into Didymos’s little moonlet between September 26 and October 1 this year to test how we can nudge an object in space and change its course, a challenge we may one day have to undertake if a dangerous object has Earth in its sights. The Hera mission will journey to Didymos to study DART’s impact.

    Lorien Wheeler, a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center, working on NASA’s Asteroid Threat Assessment Project, said:

    “Because there are so few observed cases, a lot of uncertainty remains about how large asteroids break up in the atmosphere and how much damage they could cause on the ground. However, recent advancements in computational models, along with analyses of the Chelyabinsk and other meteor events, are helping to improve our understanding of these factors so that we can better evaluate potential asteroid threats in the future.”

    Astronomer David Morrison, also at NASA Ames Research Center, commented:

    “Tunguska is the largest cosmic impact witnessed by modern humans. It also is characteristic of the sort of impact we are likely to have to protect against in the future.”

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.

  • richardmitnick 10:46 am on June 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Large-Scale Reforestation Efforts Could Dry Out Landscapes Across the World", A new study suggests that planting more trees around the world could decrease water availability in some regions., , , Earth Observation, , , Forests tend to dry out their local regions but increase the amount of rainfall in other places., One reason it’s taken so long to understand how trees affect the water cycle: studies have tended to focus on either local hydrology or larger-scale atmospheric effects., One underappreciated impact of tree planting is that it changes the water cycle., Studies show that if you change the tree cover in the Amazon forest this impacts precipitation in East Asia and in Canada or in Europe., Trees suck up water through their roots which decreases the amount of water that’s available in the ground.   

    From “Eos” : “Large-Scale Reforestation Efforts Could Dry Out Landscapes Across the World” 

    Eos news bloc

    From “Eos”



    24 June 2022
    Nathaniel Scharping

    A new study suggests that planting more trees around the world could decrease water availability in some regions. Credit: Downtowngal/Wikimedia, CC BY SA 3.0.

    Here’s a riddle for you: How can we both increase rainfall around the world and simultaneously decrease the amount of water that’s available? The answer, it turns out, is to plant more trees.

    That counterintuitive finding comes thanks to a new analysis, published in Nature Geoscience, of how large swathes of trees affect the amount of water both in the ground and in the atmosphere. It’s a finding with implications for a growing movement seeking to plant trees on an unprecedented scale to combat climate change—a movement that has drawn criticism as unrefined and overly idealistic.

    Understanding Trees and Precipitation

    One underappreciated impact of tree planting is that it changes the water cycle, said Anne Hoek van Dijke, a postdoctoral researcher at the Max Planck Institute of Biogeochemistry in Germany and a study coauthor. “People that work in forestry aren’t necessarily aware of the effects it has on water availability.”

    In the new study, she and her coauthors looked at what would happen to global water availability should we reforest 900 million hectares of land—nearly all the land available for reforestation. The effects are complex, they found, but the main takeaway is that land would, on average, actually lose water.

    One reason it’s taken so long to understand how trees affect the water cycle is that studies of the issue have tended to focus on either local hydrology or larger-scale atmospheric effects but never both at the same time, said ​​Edouard Davin, a professor at the Wyss Academy for Nature at the University of Bern. Davin was not a part of the new study.

    Trees suck up water through their roots which decreases the amount of water that’s available in the ground. Studies have shown for years that planting trees leads to reliably lower water levels in nearby streams. But trees also release that water into the atmosphere in a process called transpiration, and the water eventually turns into rainfall—something other studies have pointed out [Nature Geoscience].

    The result is that forests tend to dry out their local regions but increase the amount of rainfall in other places. These effects can be extraordinarily far-reaching.

    “Studies show that if you change the tree cover in the Amazon forest this impacts precipitation in East Asia and in Canada or in Europe,” Hoek van Dijke said.

    Worldwide Water Effects

    In their paper, Hoek van Dijke and her colleagues combined insights from several new data sets [Restoration Ecology] to create worldwide maps of how large-scale reforestation would affect water availability. Water availability declined by 5.3 millimeters per year on average worldwide, they said, even as precipitation increased by 4.2 millimeters per year. That discrepancy is in large part thanks to the fact that around one third of the rain would fall into the ocean, not on land where it’s needed.

    But the changes in water availability would differ greatly from place to place on the basis of factors like the potential area available for tree planting as well as where the regional precipitation typically comes from. Some regions would see decreases of as much as 38%, whereas others would see increases of around 6%. Countries like the United Kingdom and Madagascar would stand to lose water, whereas lower-latitude regions and the Tibetan Plateau would probably see an increase in water, as increased rainfall there offsets the losses due to evaporation.

    Hoek van Dijke cautioned that the study didn’t take into account variables like the future effects of climate change, the impacts of planting different kinds of tree species, or the effects of trees on atmospheric circulation patterns.

    But the implications for global reforestation programs, like the World Economic Forum’s 1t.org initiative to plant 1 trillion trees by 2030, are clear, said Sofie te Wierik, a Ph.D. candidate working on green and atmospheric water governance at the University of Amsterdam who was not involved in the study.

    “Looking at trees as merely a way to capture carbon is not really doing justice to the way they actually interact with their landscape,” she said. “They have a huge hydrological impact.”

    Smarter Reforestation

    Hoek van Dijke said that the research shouldn’t be seen as a condemnation of reforestation, but rather a reminder that altering Earth’s ecology on a large scale requires thoughtful approaches. And with the right decisions, we might even be able to take advantage of things like an increase in precipitation caused by tree planting.

    “The message we want to give is that people are aware of this,” she said. “With smart planning of reforestation we could avoid losing too much water in dry regions, or we could increase the water availability in dry regions.”

    That planning could look like planting trees upwind of drought-plagued or agricultural regions, so the extra moisture provided by the forests rains out where it’s needed most. But more work is needed to understand the interactions between forests and the water cycle before that happens, Hoek van Dijke said. For example, some research indicates that large forests can increase local rainfall by increasing turbulence in the atmosphere, causing more clouds to form.

    We’ll likely have more data about reforestation and the water cycle soon, thanks in part to the glut of case studies being planted around the world, scientists said. As reforestation efforts proceed, Hoek van Dijke said she’s looking forward to the opportunities they’ll provide for real-world tests of their models.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    “Eos” is the leading source for trustworthy news and perspectives about the Earth and space sciences and their impact. Its namesake is Eos, the Greek goddess of the dawn, who represents the light shed on understanding our planet and its environment in space by the Earth and space sciences.

  • richardmitnick 10:16 am on June 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Earth Observation, , , "Baby woolly mammoth – beautifully preserved – found in Yukon"   

    From “EarthSky” : “Baby woolly mammoth – beautifully preserved – found in Yukon” 


    From “EarthSky”

    June 28, 2022
    Deborah Byrd

    Miners in Yukon, Canada, stumbled upon an intact and beautifully preserved baby woolly mammoth on June 21, 2022. Geologists suggest the animal was frozen in permafrost during the ice age, over 30,000 years ago.

    Baby woolly mammoth: ‘Beautiful’

    The Canadian territory Yukon – and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, a First Nation band – said late last week (June 24, 2022) that miners in the region have discovered a whole, 30,000-year-old mummified baby woolly mammoth. It’s only the second one ever found in the world. And it’s the first and most complete discovery of its kind in North America.

    Miners with the Treadstone Mining company found the near-complete mummified baby woolly mammoth. They found her in the Klondike gold fields within Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Traditional Territory. A joint statement from Yukon and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in said:

    “Miners working on Eureka Creek uncovered the frozen woolly mammoth while excavating through the permafrost. This is a significant discovery for Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Government of Yukon. Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Elders named the mammoth calf Nun cho ga, meaning ‘big baby animal’ in the Hän language.

    The Yukon has a world-renowned fossil record of ice age animals. But mummified remains with skin and hair are rarely unearthed. Nun cho ga is the most complete mummified mammoth found in North America.”

    “It took my breath away”

    Yukon paleontologist Grant Zazula has been studying the ice age in the Yukon since 1999. He said:

    “As an ice age paleontologist, it has been one of my lifelong dreams to come face to face with a real woolly mammoth. And that dream came true today. Nun cho ga is beautiful and one of the most incredible mummified ice age animals ever discovered in the world. So I am excited to get to know her more.”

    Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Elder Peggy Kormendy said:

    “It’s amazing. It took my breath away when they removed the tarp. We must all treat it with respect. When that happens, it is going to be powerful, and we will heal.”

    Brian McCaughan of Treadstone Mining said:

    “There will be one thing that stands out in a person’s entire life. And I can guarantee you this is my one thing.”

    “She’s beautiful,” said Yukon government paleontologist Dr. Grant Zazula. The 1st whole baby woolly mammoth found in North America and 2nd in the world has been named Nun cho ga (“Big baby animal” in the Hän language). You can see her well-preserved trunk, ears and tail. Image via Government of Yukon.

    “Most important discovery in paleontology in North America”

    Michel Proulx of CBC News in Canada reported that miners made the discovery on June 21, which is National Indigenous People’s Day:

    A little after noon … a young miner working in Yukon’s Eureka Creek, south of Dawson City, was digging up muck using a front end loader when he struck something. He stopped and called his boss, who went to see him right away.

    When he arrived, Treadstone Mining’s Brian McCaughan put a stop to the operation on the spot. Within half an hour, Zazula received a picture of the discovery. According to Zazula, the miner had made the “most important discovery in paleontology in North America.”

    “She would have been lost in the storm”

    Proulx continued:

    National Indigenous People’s Day is a statutory holiday in the Yukon so when Zazula received the email, he tried to contact anyone he could find in Dawson City who could help.

    Two geologists, one with the Yukon Geological Survey and another with the University of Calgary, were able to drive to the creek and recover the baby woolly mammoth and do a complete geological description and sampling of the site.

    “And the amazing thing is, within an hour of them being there to do the work, the sky opened up, it turned black, lightning started striking and rain started pouring in,” said Zazula.

    “So if she wasn’t recovered at that time, she would have been lost in the storm.”

    On June 21, 2022, miners discovered the intact baby woolly mammoth at Treadstone Mine in the Yukon’s Eureka Creek. The mine is located south of Dawson City, a town in the Canadian territory of Yukon. Image via Government of Yukon.

    Quick facts:

    – A quick examination of the woolly mammoth suggests she is female and roughly the same size as the 42,000-year-old infant mummy woolly mammoth Lyuba, found in Siberia in 2007.

    – Geologists from the Yukon Geological Survey and University of Calgary recovered the frozen mammoth on site. They suggest that Nun cho ga died and was frozen in permafrost during the ice age, over 30,000 years ago.

    – These amazing ice age remains provide an extremely detailed glimpse into a time when Nun cho ga roamed the Yukon alongside wild horses, cave lions and giant steppe bison.

    – The discovery of Nun cho ga marks the first near complete and best-preserved mummified woolly mammoth found in North America. A partial mammoth calf, named Effie, was found in 1948 at a gold mine in interior Alaska.

    – The successful recovery of Nun cho ga was possible because of the partnership between miners, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Government of Yukon’s Department of Environment, Yukon Geological Survey, and Yukon Palaeontology Program.

    Baby woolly mammoth: What’s next?

    In the months to come, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and the Government of Yukon say they will work together to respectfully preserve and learn more about Nun cho ga and share these stories and information with the community of Dawson City, residents of the Yukon and the global scientific community.

    See the full article here .

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. “Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers,” she says.

  • richardmitnick 9:44 am on June 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Chaos is more common in ecology than we thought", , , Earth Observation,   

    From The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via “COSMOS (AU)” : “Chaos is more common in ecology than we thought” 

    From The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


    Cosmos Magazine bloc

    “COSMOS (AU)”

    28 June 2022
    Ellen Phiddian

    Insects are particularly chaotic – who knew?

    Credit: John M Lund Photography Inc / Getty Images.

    Nature is full of chaos. A new study has confirmed it and found that chaos is more common in ecosystems than previously thought.

    Populations of living things change a lot in nature. Figuring out patterns in these population changes requires some fairly difficult maths.

    In general, ecologists sort these fluctuations into three broad categories: “regular” (fluctuating around a stable equilibrium), “random” (impossible to predict) – or “chaotic” (predictable in the short term but not the long term, and sensitive to very small changes).

    Chaos appears in other places too; weather patterns are often highly chaotic.

    “Knowing whether these fluctuations are regular, chaotic, or random has major implications for how well, and how far into the future, we can predict population sizes and how they will respond to management interventions,” says Dr Tanya Rogers, an ecologist at NOAA Fisheries, US, and lead author on a paper describing the research, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution.

    Older research typically found that chaos was rare in ecological populations.

    “There’s a lot more data now, and how long a time series you have makes a big difference for detecting chaotic dynamics,” says co-author Stephan Munch, a NOAA Fisheries ecologist and adjunct professor at the University of California-Santa Cruz.

    “We also showed that methodological assumptions made in prior meta-analyses were biased against detecting chaos.”

    The researchers used newer algorithms to examine 172 datasets from the Global Population Dynamics Database.

    They found evidence of chaos in more than 30% of the populations they assessed.

    Chaotic and non-chaotic population dynamics cannot be reliably differentiated by visual inspection of time series. In this random sample of chaotic and non-chaotic time series of insects, mammals, and phytoplankton (top to bottom), the left panels are chaotic, right panels are not chaotic. Credit: Rogers et al., Nature Ecol & Evol 2022

    Plankton and insects were the most chaotic, while birds and mammals were the least and fish were in the middle.

    “A lot of short-lived species tend to have chaotic population dynamics, and these are also species that tend to have boom-and-bust dynamics,” says Rogers.

    The researchers warn against assuming regular population dynamics when making ecological predictions – especially among short-lived species.

    “From the fisheries management perspective, we want to predict fish populations so we can set limits for fishery harvests,” says Rogers.

    “If we don’t recognise the existence of chaos, we could be losing out on short-term forecasting possibilities using methods appropriate for chaotic systems, while being overconfident about our ability to make long-term predictions.”

    CHAOS – Documentary – Equinox 1988

    See the full article here.


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency that enriches life through science. Our reach goes from the surface of the sun to the depths of the ocean floor as we work to keep the public informed of the changing environment around them.

    From daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, and climate monitoring to fisheries management, coastal restoration and supporting marine commerce, NOAA’s products and services support economic vitality and affect more than one-third of America’s gross domestic product. NOAA’s dedicated scientists use cutting-edge research and high-tech instrumentation to provide citizens, planners, emergency managers and other decision makers with reliable information they need when they need it.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA /ˈnoʊ.ə/ NOH-ə) is an American scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce that focuses on the conditions of the oceans, major waterways, and the atmosphere.

    NOAA warns of dangerous weather, charts seas, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources and conducts research to provide the understanding and improve stewardship of the environment.

    NOAA’s specific roles include:

    Supplying Environmental Information Products. NOAA supplies to its customers and partners information pertaining to the state of the oceans and the atmosphere. This is clear through the production of weather warnings and forecasts via the National Weather Service, but NOAA’s information products extend to climate, ecosystems, and commerce as well.

    Providing Environmental Stewardship Services. NOAA is a steward of U.S. coastal and marine environments. In coordination with federal, state, local, tribal and international authorities, NOAA manages the use of these environments, regulating fisheries and marine sanctuaries as well as protecting threatened and endangered marine species.

    Conducting Applied Scientific Research. NOAA is intended to be a source of accurate and objective scientific information in the four particular areas of national and global importance identified above: ecosystems, climate, weather and water, and commerce and transportation.
    The five “fundamental activities” are:
    Monitoring and observing Earth systems with instruments and data collection networks.
    Understanding and describing Earth systems through research and analysis of that data.
    Assessing and predicting the changes in these systems over time.
    Engaging, advising, and informing the public and partner organizations with important information.
    Managing resources for the betterment of society, economy, and environment.

    National Ocean Service
    The National Ocean Service (NOS) focuses on ensuring that ocean and coastal areas are safe, healthy, and productive. NOS scientists, natural resource managers, and specialists serve America by ensuring safe and efficient marine transportation, promoting innovative solutions to protect coastal communities, and conserving marine and coastal places.

    The National Ocean Service is composed of eight program offices: the Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, the Coastal Services Center, the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, the Office of Coast Survey, the Office of National Geodetic Survey, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and the Office of Response and Restoration.

    There are two NOS programs, namely the Mussel Watch Contaminant Monitoring Program and the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and two staff offices, the International Program Office and the Management and Budget Office.

    National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service
    The National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) was created by NOAA to operate and manage the US environmental satellite programs, and manage NWS data and those of other government agencies and departments. NESDIS’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) archives data collected by the NOAA, U.S. Navy, U.S. Air Force, the Federal Aviation Administration, and meteorological services around the world and comprises the Center for Weather and Climate (previously NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center), National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC), and the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC)).

    In 1960, TIROS-1, NASA’s first owned and operated geostationary satellite, was launched. Since 1966, NESDIS has managed polar orbiting satellites (POES) and since 1974 it has operated geosynchronous satellites (GOES). In 1979, NOAA’s first polar-orbiting environmental satellite was launched. Current operational satellites include NOAA-15, NOAA-18, NOAA-19, GOES 13, GOES 14, GOES 15, Jason-2 and DSCOVR. In 1983, NOAA assumed operational responsibility for Landsat satellite system.

    NOAA GOES-16

    NOAA Jason 3

    NOAA/DSCOVR. Launched in 2015.

    Since May 1998, NESDIS has operated the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites on behalf of the Air Force Weather Agency.

    New generations of satellites are developed to succeed the current polar orbiting and geosynchronous satellites, the Joint Polar Satellite System) and GOES-R, which is scheduled for launch in March 2017.
    NESDIS runs the Office of Projects, Planning, and Analysis (OPPA) formerly the Office of Systems Development, the Office of Satellite Ground Systems (formerly the Office of Satellite Operations) the Office of Satellite and Project Operations, the Center for Satellite Applications and Research (STAR)], the Joint Polar Satellite System Program Office the GOES-R Program Office, the International & Interagency Affairs Office, the Office of Space Commerce and the Office of System Architecture and Advanced Planning.

    National Marine Fisheries Service

    The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), also known as NOAA Fisheries, was initiated in 1871 with a primary goal of the research, protection, management, and restoration of commercial and recreational fisheries and their habitat, and protected species. NMFS operates twelve headquarters offices, five regional offices, six fisheries science centers, and more than 20 laboratories throughout the United States and U.S. territories, which are the sites of research and management of marine resources. NMFS also operates the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is the primary site of marine resource law enforcement.

  • richardmitnick 7:37 am on June 28, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Australopithecus africanus", "Fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ may be more than a million years older than previously thought", "Little Foot", A dating method developed by a Purdue University geologist just pushed the age of some of these fossils found at the site of Sterkfontein Caves back more than a million years., , All of the Australopithecus-bearing cave sediments date from about 3.4 to 3.7 million years old rather than 2-2.5 million years old as scientists previously theorized., , , Earth Observation, For decades scientists have studied fossils of early human ancestors and their long-lost relatives., , Granger and the research group at the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory (PRIME Lab) study so-called cosmogenic nuclides and what they can reveal about the history of fossils., , , , Sterkfontein has more Australopithecus fossils than anywhere else in the world., Sterkfontein is a deep and complex cave system that preserves a long history of hominin occupation of the area., The age of the fossils matters because it influences scientists’ understanding of the living landscape of the time., The “Cradle of Humankind” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa that comprises a variety of fossil-bearing cave deposits including at Sterkfontein Caves., The new dating method would make them older than Dinkinesh-also called Lucy: the world’s most famous Australopithecus fossil.   

    From Purdue University: “Fossils in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’ may be more than a million years older than previously thought” 

    From Purdue University

    June 27, 2022
    Media contact:
    Brittany Steff

    Darryl Granger

    Darryl Granger of Purdue University developed the technology that updated the age of an Australopithecus found in Sterkfontein Cave. New data pushes its age back more than a million years, to 3.67 million years old. Credit: Lena Kovalenko/Purdue University photo.

    The earth doesn’t give up its secrets easily – not even in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa, where a wealth of fossils relating to human evolution have been found.

    For decades scientists have studied these fossils of early human ancestors and their long-lost relatives. Now, a dating method developed by a Purdue University geologist just pushed the age of some of these fossils found at the site of Sterkfontein Caves back more than a million years. This would make them older than Dinkinesh-also called Lucy-the world’s most famous Australopithecus fossil.

    The “Cradle of Humankind” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in South Africa that comprises a variety of fossil-bearing cave deposits including at Sterkfontein Caves. Sterkfontein was made famous by the discovery of the first adult Australopithecus, an ancient hominin, in 1936. Hominins includes humans and our ancestral relatives, but not the other great apes. Since then, hundreds of Australopithecus fossils have been found there, including the well-known Mrs. Ples, and the nearly complete skeleton known as Little Foot [Nature].

    Palaeoanthropologists recovering Little Foot from a rock inside a cave. Credit: Patrick Landmann/Science Photo Library.

    Little Foot’s fossil bones. Credit: Patrick Landmann/Science Photo Library.

    Paleoanthropologists and other scientists have studied Sterkfontein and other cave sites in the Cradle of Humankind for decades to shed light on human and environmental evolution over the past 4 million years.

    Darryl Granger, a professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences in Purdue University’s College of Science, is one of those scientists, working as part of an international team. Granger specializes in dating geologic deposits, including those in caves. As a doctoral student, he devised a method for dating buried cave sediments that is now used by researchers all over the world. His previous work at Sterkfontein dated the Little Foot skeleton to about 3.7 million years old, but scientists are still debating the age of other fossils at the site.

    New instrument dates ‘Little Foot’ skeleton.

    In a study published in the PNAS, Granger and a team of scientists including researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa and the University Toulouse Jean Jaurès in France, have discovered that not only Little Foot, but all of the Australopithecus-bearing cave sediments date from about 3.4 to 3.7 million years old rather than 2-2.5 million years old as scientists previously theorized.

    Map and cross section of Sterkfontein showing sample locations. (A) Map shows the extent of surface deposits and excavations superposed on the cave system. Sample locations reported here are shown as green circles; selected hominin fossils are shown with red stars and U-Pb-dated samples with yellow circles. Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) coordinates are shown. (B) Cross section of the surface deposits along east-west red line in A. Cosmogenic sample locations are in green circles, and flowstone sample BH4-9 from ref. 5 in BH 4 is shown as a yellow circle. Measured bedding shows that the flowstone is located stratigraphically between the cosmogenic samples, although like other flowstones in Member 4, it is likely intrusive and younger than the breccia. Cross-section topography based on light detection and ranging (LiDAR) collected at the surface and underground.

    Stratigraphic sections and associated photos showing previously dated flowstone. Two sections are located at red bars shown in the base map found in the figure legend. (A) North-south section shows that the previously dated flowstone OE-14 (5) is not in stratigraphic contact with Member 4 but instead is separated by fins of dolomite and decayed dolomite that were removed by blasting. Its age therefore does not constrain that of Member 4. (B) Detailed section of the OE-14 flowstone (5) shows that it lies on decayed dolomite and reworked decayed dolomite breccia derived internally within the cave. The flowstone is overlain by and interfingers with orange sandy microbreccia with no clear stratigraphic relation to Member 4 or Member 5. The north-south cross section intersects at ca. 3.5 m on the west-northwest–east-southeast section, at the plaque.

    That age places these fossils toward the beginning of the Australopithecus era, rather than near the end. Dinkinesh, who hails from Ethiopia, is 3.2 million years old, and her species, Australopithecus africanus, hails back to about 3.9 million years old.

    Sterkfontein is a deep and complex cave system that preserves a long history of hominin occupation of the area. Understanding the dates of the fossils here can be tricky, as rocks and bones tumbled to the bottom of a deep hole in the ground, and there are few ways to date cave sediments.

    In East Africa, where many hominin fossils have been found, the Great Rift Valley volcanoes lay down layers of ash that can be dated. Researchers use those layers to estimate how old a fossil is. In South Africa – especially in a cave – the scientists don’t have that luxury. They typically use other animal fossils found around the bones to estimate their age or calcite flowstone deposited in the cave. But bones can shift in the cave, and young flowstone can be deposited in old sediment, making those methods potentially incorrect. A more accurate method is to date the actual rocks in which the fossils were found. The concrete-like matrix that embeds the fossil, called breccia, is the material Granger and his team analyze.

    “Sterkfontein has more Australopithecus fossils than anywhere else in the world,” Granger said. “But it’s hard to get a good date on them. People have looked at the animal fossils found near them and compared the ages of cave features like flowstones and gotten a range of different dates. What our data does is resolve these controversies. It shows that these fossils are old – much older than we originally thought.”

    Granger and the team used accelerator mass spectrometry to measure radioactive nuclides in the rocks, as well as geologic mapping and an intimate understanding of how cave sediments accumulate to determine the age of the Australopithecus-bearing sediments at Sterkfontein,

    Granger and the research group at the Purdue Rare Isotope Measurement Laboratory (PRIME Lab) study so-called cosmogenic nuclides and what they can reveal about the history of fossils, geological features and rock. Cosmogenic nuclides are extremely rare isotopes produced by cosmic rays —high-energy particles that constantly bombard the earth. These incoming cosmic rays have enough energy to cause nuclear reactions inside rocks at the ground surface, creating new, radioactive isotopes within the mineral crystals. An example is aluminum-26: aluminum that is missing a neutron and slowly decays to turn into magnesium over a period of millions of years. Since aluminum-26 is formed when a rock is exposed at the surface, but not after it has been deeply buried in a cave, PRIME lab researchers can date cave sediments (and the fossils within them) by measuring levels of aluminum-26 in tandem with another cosmogenic nuclide, beryllium-10.

    In addition to the new dates at Sterkfontein based on cosmogenic nuclides, the research team made careful maps of the cave deposits and showed how animal fossils of different ages would have been mixed together during excavations in the 1930s and 1940s, leading to decades of confusion with the previous ages. “What I hope is that this convinces people that this dating method gives reliable results,” Granger said. “Using this method, we can more accurately place ancient humans and their relatives in the correct time periods, in Africa, and elsewhere across the world.”

    The age of the fossils matters because it influences scientists’ understanding of the living landscape of the time. How and where humans evolved, how they fit into the ecosystem, and who their closest relatives are and were, are pressing and complex questions. Putting the fossils at Sterkfontein into their proper context is one step towards solving the entire puzzle.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    Purdue University is a public land-grant research university in West Lafayette, Indiana, and the flagship campus of the Purdue University system. The university was founded in 1869 after Lafayette businessman John Purdue donated land and money to establish a college of science, technology, and agriculture in his name. The first classes were held on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students.

    The main campus in West Lafayette offers more than 200 majors for undergraduates, over 69 masters and doctoral programs, and professional degrees in pharmacy and veterinary medicine. In addition, Purdue has 18 intercollegiate sports teams and more than 900 student organizations. Purdue is a member of the Big Ten Conference and enrolls the second largest student body of any university in Indiana, as well as the fourth largest foreign student population of any university in the United States.

    Purdue University is a member of the Association of American Universities and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. Purdue has 25 American astronauts as alumni and as of April 2019, the university has been associated with 13 Nobel Prizes.

    In 1865, the Indiana General Assembly voted to take advantage of the Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act of 1862 and began plans to establish an institution with a focus on agriculture and engineering. Communities throughout the state offered facilities and funding in bids for the location of the new college. Popular proposals included the addition of an agriculture department at Indiana State University, at what is now Butler University. By 1869, Tippecanoe County’s offer included $150,000 (equivalent to $2.9 million in 2019) from Lafayette business leader and philanthropist John Purdue; $50,000 from the county; and 100 acres (0.4 km^2) of land from local residents.

    On May 6, 1869, the General Assembly established the institution in Tippecanoe County as Purdue University, in the name of the principal benefactor. Classes began at Purdue on September 16, 1874, with six instructors and 39 students. Professor John S. Hougham was Purdue’s first faculty member and served as acting president between the administrations of presidents Shortridge and White. A campus of five buildings was completed by the end of 1874. In 1875, Sarah A. Oren, the State Librarian of Indiana, was appointed Professor of Botany.

    Purdue issued its first degree, a Bachelor of Science in chemistry, in 1875, and admitted its first female students that autumn.

    Emerson E. White, the university’s president, from 1876 to 1883, followed a strict interpretation of the Morrill Act. Rather than emulate the classical universities, White believed Purdue should be an “industrial college” and devote its resources toward providing a broad, liberal education with an emphasis on science, technology, and agriculture. He intended not only to prepare students for industrial work, but also to prepare them to be good citizens and family members.

    Part of White’s plan to distinguish Purdue from classical universities included a controversial attempt to ban fraternities, which was ultimately overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court, leading to White’s resignation. The next president, James H. Smart, is remembered for his call in 1894 to rebuild the original Heavilon Hall “one brick higher” after it had been destroyed by a fire.

    By the end of the nineteenth century, the university was organized into schools of agriculture, engineering (mechanical, civil, and electrical), and pharmacy; former U.S. President Benjamin Harrison served on the board of trustees. Purdue’s engineering laboratories included testing facilities for a locomotive, and for a Corliss steam engine—one of the most efficient engines of the time. The School of Agriculture shared its research with farmers throughout the state, with its cooperative extension services, and would undergo a period of growth over the following two decades. Programs in education and home economics were soon established, as well as a short-lived school of medicine. By 1925, Purdue had the largest undergraduate engineering enrollment in the country, a status it would keep for half a century.

    President Edward C. Elliott oversaw a campus building program between the world wars. Inventor, alumnus, and trustee David E. Ross coordinated several fundraisers, donated lands to the university, and was instrumental in establishing the Purdue Research Foundation. Ross’s gifts and fundraisers supported such projects as Ross–Ade Stadium, the Memorial Union, a civil engineering surveying camp, and Purdue University Airport. Purdue Airport was the country’s first university-owned airport and the site of the country’s first college-credit flight training courses.

    Amelia Earhart joined the Purdue faculty in 1935 as a consultant for these flight courses and as a counselor on women’s careers. In 1937, the Purdue Research Foundation provided the funds for the Lockheed Electra 10-E Earhart flew on her attempted round-the-world flight.

    Every school and department at the university was involved in some type of military research or training during World War II. During a project on radar receivers, Purdue physicists discovered properties of germanium that led to the making of the first transistor. The Army and the Navy conducted training programs at Purdue and more than 17,500 students, staff, and alumni served in the armed forces. Purdue set up about a hundred centers throughout Indiana to train skilled workers for defense industries. As veterans returned to the university under the G.I. Bill, first-year classes were taught at some of these sites to alleviate the demand for campus space. Four of these sites are now degree-granting regional campuses of the Purdue University system. On-campus housing became racially desegregated in 1947, following pressure from Purdue President Frederick L. Hovde and Indiana Governor Ralph F. Gates.

    After the war, Hovde worked to expand the academic opportunities at the university. A decade-long construction program emphasized science and research. In the late 1950s and early 1960s the university established programs in veterinary medicine, industrial management, and nursing, as well as the first computer science department in the United States. Undergraduate humanities courses were strengthened, although Hovde only reluctantly approved of graduate-level study in these areas. Purdue awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degrees in 1960. The programs in liberal arts and education, formerly administered by the School of Science, were soon split into an independent school.

    The official seal of Purdue was officially inaugurated during the university’s centennial in 1969.


    Consisting of elements from emblems that had been used unofficially for 73 years, the current seal depicts a griffin, symbolizing strength, and a three-part shield, representing education, research, and service.

    In recent years, Purdue’s leaders have continued to support high-tech research and international programs. In 1987, U.S. President Ronald Reagan visited the West Lafayette campus to give a speech about the influence of technological progress on job creation.

    In the 1990s, the university added more opportunities to study abroad and expanded its course offerings in world languages and cultures. The first buildings of the Discovery Park interdisciplinary research center were dedicated in 2004.

    Purdue launched a Global Policy Research Institute in 2010 to explore the potential impact of technical knowledge on public policy decisions.

    On April 27, 2017, Purdue University announced plans to acquire for-profit college Kaplan University and convert it to a public university in the state of Indiana, subject to multiple levels of approval. That school now operates as Purdue University Global, and aims to serve adult learners.


    Purdue’s campus is situated in the small city of West Lafayette, near the western bank of the Wabash River, across which sits the larger city of Lafayette. State Street, which is concurrent with State Road 26, divides the northern and southern portions of campus. Academic buildings are mostly concentrated on the eastern and southern parts of campus, with residence halls and intramural fields to the west, and athletic facilities to the north. The Greater Lafayette Public Transportation Corporation (CityBus) operates eight campus loop bus routes on which students, faculty, and staff can ride free of charge with Purdue Identification.

    Organization and administration

    The university president, appointed by the board of trustees, is the chief administrative officer of the university. The office of the president oversees admission and registration, student conduct and counseling, the administration and scheduling of classes and space, the administration of student athletics and organized extracurricular activities, the libraries, the appointment of the faculty and conditions of their employment, the appointment of all non-faculty employees and the conditions of employment, the general organization of the university, and the planning and administration of the university budget.

    The Board of Trustees directly appoints other major officers of the university including a provost who serves as the chief academic officer for the university, several vice presidents with oversight over specific university operations, and the regional campus chancellors.

    Academic divisions

    Purdue is organized into thirteen major academic divisions.

    College of Agriculture

    The university’s College of Agriculture supports the university’s agricultural, food, life, and natural resource science programs. The college also supports the university’s charge as a land-grant university to support agriculture throughout the state; its agricultural extension program plays a key role in this.

    College of Education

    The College of Education offers undergraduate degrees in elementary education, social studies education, and special education, and graduate degrees in these and many other specialty areas of education. It has two departments: (a) Curriculum and Instruction and (b) Educational Studies.

    College of Engineering

    The Purdue University College of Engineering was established in 1874 with programs in Civil and Mechanical Engineering. The college now offers B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in more than a dozen disciplines. Purdue’s engineering program has also educated 24 of America’s astronauts, including Neil Armstrong and Eugene Cernan who were the first and last astronauts to have walked on the Moon, respectively. Many of Purdue’s engineering disciplines are recognized as top-ten programs in the U.S. The college as a whole is currently ranked 7th in the U.S. of all doctorate-granting engineering schools by U.S. News & World Report.

    Exploratory Studies

    The university’s Exploratory Studies program supports undergraduate students who enter the university without having a declared major. It was founded as a pilot program in 1995 and made a permanent program in 1999.

    College of Health and Human Sciences

    The College of Health and Human Sciences was established in 2010 and is the newest college. It offers B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in all 10 of its academic units.

    College of Liberal Arts

    Purdue’s College of Liberal Arts contains the arts, social sciences and humanities programs at the university. Liberal arts courses have been taught at Purdue since its founding in 1874. The School of Science, Education, and Humanities was formed in 1953. In 1963, the School of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education was established, although Bachelor of Arts degrees had begun to be conferred as early as 1959. In 1989, the School of Liberal Arts was created to encompass Purdue’s arts, humanities, and social sciences programs, while education programs were split off into the newly formed School of Education. The School of Liberal Arts was renamed the College of Liberal Arts in 2005.

    Krannert School of Management

    The Krannert School of Management offers management courses and programs at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels.

    College of Pharmacy

    The university’s College of Pharmacy was established in 1884 and is the 3rd oldest state-funded school of pharmacy in the United States. The school offers two undergraduate programs leading to the B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) and the Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) professional degree. Graduate programs leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are offered in three departments (Industrial and Physical Pharmacy, Medicinal Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, and Pharmacy Practice). Additionally, the school offers several non-degree certificate programs and post-graduate continuing education activities.

    Purdue Polytechnic Institute

    The Purdue Polytechnic Institute offers bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. degrees in a wide range of technology-related disciplines. With over 30,000 living alumni, it is one of the largest technology schools in the United States.

    College of Science

    The university’s College of Science houses the university’s science departments: Biological Sciences; Chemistry; Computer Science; Earth, Atmospheric, & Planetary Sciences; Mathematics; Physics & Astronomy; and Statistics. The science courses offered by the college account for about one-fourth of Purdue’s one million student credit hours.

    College of Veterinary Medicine

    The College of Veterinary Medicine is accredited by the AVMA to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in veterinary technology, master’s and Ph.D. degrees, and residency programs leading to specialty board certification. Within the state of Indiana, the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine is the only veterinary school, while the Indiana University School of Medicine is one of only two medical schools (the other being Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine). The two schools frequently collaborate on medical research projects.

    Honors College

    Purdue’s Honors College supports an honors program for undergraduate students at the university.

    The Graduate School

    The university’s Graduate School supports graduate students at the university.


    The university expended $622.814 million in support of research system-wide in 2017, using funds received from the state and federal governments, industry, foundations, and individual donors. The faculty and more than 400 research laboratories put Purdue University among the leading research institutions. Purdue University is considered by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education to have “very high research activity”. Purdue also was rated the nation’s fourth best place to work in academia, according to rankings released in November 2007 by The Scientist magazine. Purdue’s researchers provide insight, knowledge, assistance, and solutions in many crucial areas. These include, but are not limited to Agriculture; Business and Economy; Education; Engineering; Environment; Healthcare; Individuals, Society, Culture; Manufacturing; Science; Technology; Veterinary Medicine. The Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP), a global research consortium focused on global economic governance challenges (trade, climate, resource use) is also coordinated by the University. Purdue University generated a record $438 million in sponsored research funding during the 2009–10 fiscal year with participation from National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and Department of Health and Human Services. Purdue University was ranked fourth in Engineering research expenditures amongst all the colleges in the United States in 2017, with a research expenditure budget of 244.8 million. Purdue University established the Discovery Park to bring innovation through multidisciplinary action. In all of the eleven centers of Discovery Park, ranging from entrepreneurship to energy and advanced manufacturing, research projects reflect a large economic impact and address global challenges. Purdue University’s nanotechnology research program, built around the new Birck Nanotechnology Center in Discovery Park, ranks among the best in the nation.

    The Purdue Research Park which opened in 1961 was developed by Purdue Research Foundation which is a private, nonprofit foundation created to assist Purdue. The park is focused on companies operating in the arenas of life sciences, homeland security, engineering, advanced manufacturing and information technology. It provides an interactive environment for experienced Purdue researchers and for private business and high-tech industry. It currently employs more than 3,000 people in 155 companies, including 90 technology-based firms. The Purdue Research Park was ranked first by the Association of University Research Parks in 2004.

    Purdue’s library system consists of fifteen locations throughout the campus, including an archives and special collections research center, an undergraduate library, and several subject-specific libraries. More than three million volumes, including one million electronic books, are held at these locations. The Library houses the Amelia Earhart Collection, a collection of notes and letters belonging to Earhart and her husband George Putnam along with records related to her disappearance and subsequent search efforts. An administrative unit of Purdue University Libraries, Purdue University Press has its roots in the 1960 founding of Purdue University Studies by President Frederick Hovde on a $12,000 grant from the Purdue Research Foundation. This was the result of a committee appointed by President Hovde after the Department of English lamented the lack of publishing venues in the humanities. Since the 1990s, the range of books published by the Press has grown to reflect the work from other colleges at Purdue University especially in the areas of agriculture, health, and engineering. Purdue University Press publishes print and ebook monograph series in a range of subject areas from literary and cultural studies to the study of the human-animal bond. In 1993 Purdue University Press was admitted to membership of the Association of American University Presses. Purdue University Press publishes around 25 books a year and 20 learned journals in print, in print & online, and online-only formats in collaboration with Purdue University Libraries.


    Purdue’s Sustainability Council, composed of University administrators and professors, meets monthly to discuss environmental issues and sustainability initiatives at Purdue. The University’s first LEED Certified building was an addition to the Mechanical Engineering Building, which was completed in Fall 2011. The school is also in the process of developing an arboretum on campus. In addition, a system has been set up to display live data detailing current energy production at the campus utility plant. The school holds an annual “Green Week” each fall, an effort to engage the Purdue community with issues relating to environmental sustainability.


    In its 2021 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked Purdue University the 5th most innovative national university, tied for the 17th best public university in the United States, tied for 53rd overall, and 114th best globally. U.S. News & World Report also rated Purdue tied for 36th in “Best Undergraduate Teaching, 83rd in “Best Value Schools”, tied for 284th in “Top Performers on Social Mobility”, and the undergraduate engineering program tied for 9th at schools whose highest degree is a doctorate.

  • richardmitnick 8:22 pm on June 27, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Looking for the Origin of Slow Earthquakes in the Guerrero Gap", , , Earth Observation, , , Seismometry, The first-ever active-source seismic imaging study within the Guerrero gap and its neighboring segments.   

    From Columbia University – State of the Planet: “Looking for the Origin of Slow Earthquakes in the Guerrero Gap” 

    From Columbia University – State of the Planet


    Columbia U bloc
    Columbia University

    June 7, 2022 [Just found this.]
    Anne Bécel

    We are underway on our 48-day long expedition offshore of the west coast of Mexico near Acapulco, where the young Cocos oceanic plate dives beneath the North American plate. Most of this subduction zone, often referred to as ‘the Mexican segment of the Middle America Trench,’ has produced large earthquakes in the last 100 years, including the dramatic 8.0-magnitude Michoacán earthquake in 1985 that killed more than 10,000 people in Mexico City. One of the exceptions is the Guerrero seismic gap. This portion of the Mexican subduction zone has not ruptured in a large (M>7) earthquake since at least 1911. Instead, large and relatively shallow slow-slip events — which release energy slowly over days to months without generating strong seismic waves — occur there approximately every 3-5 years.

    Up to now, we do not fully understand why the Guerrero gap has a distinct slip behavior than its neighboring segments that regularly rupture in great earthquakes. Fluids (e.g. seawater) delivered into the subduction zone by the incoming oceanic plate are commonly invoked by scientists to explain the occurrence of slow slip events in other subduction zones worldwide, although evidence of fluids in the Guerrero gap and elsewhere remains very limited. With this project, we want to better quantify the volume and distribution of fluids in the incoming oceanic plate, their fate at depth as well as the variations in the amount of fluids between the Guerrero gap and its neighboring segments in order to explore how fluids contribute to the presence of slow-slip events in the shallow part of this gap.

    Map of our survey plan in and around the Guerrero gap offshore the Pacific coast of Mexico near Acapulco.

    During our cruise, we are using sound waves to probe under the seafloor to look for the plate boundary fault zone or ‘megathrust fault’ (where the two tectonic plates meet on the seafloor) down to a depth of about 15 kilometers, and to characterize the architecture and properties of the downgoing and overriding plates. For our investigation, we are making use of Columbia University’s R/V Marcus G. Langseth operated by the Office of Marine Operations at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

    Our survey, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will be the first-ever active-source seismic imaging study within the Guerrero gap and its neighboring segments.

    In the first part of the cruise, we are using ocean-bottom seismometers from the Ocean Bottom Seismometer Instrument Center at the Woods Hole Institution of Oceanography. We deploy the seismometers on the seafloor along pre-defined profiles to record sound waves generated by the high-quality and powerful sound source of the R/V Marcus G. Langseth. The reflection and refraction of the sound waves through the subseafloor will provide important information about the properties of the different layers in the subsurface (e.g. their composition and presence of fluids).

    In the second part of the cruise, we will be using the same sound source and will be towing a 15-kilometer-long cable that comprises 1,200 hydrophones spaced 12.5 meters apart. This long cable or “streamer” will record the echoes coming from different layers in the subsurface and produce images of the architecture of the subseafloor, including the amount and style of faulting.

    This project involves a strong collaboration with Mexican and Japanese collaborators. Mexican collaborators from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM), Víctor Manuel Cruz-Atienza and Jorge Real-Pérez, are sailing with us. Since 2017, they have had an amphibious array of broadband seismometers and geodetic stations deployed in the Guerrero Gap. This array is able to record small background earthquakes and tectonic tremors, as well as silent deformation associated with slow-slip events or stress build-up. Combining our active-source seismic observations with their passive-source seismic observations will be a very powerful tool to understand how this seismic gap works, with the ultimate goal of better assessing the long-term earthquake potential of this anomalous region and the associated hazards for local Mexican inhabitants.

    See the full article here .


    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Earth Institute is a research institute at Columbia University that was established in 1995. Its stated mission is to address complex issues facing the planet and its inhabitants, with a focus on sustainable development. With an interdisciplinary approach, this includes research in climate change, geology, global health, economics, management, agriculture, ecosystems, urbanization, energy, hazards, and water. The Earth Institute’s activities are guided by the idea that science and technological tools that already exist could be applied to greatly improve conditions for the world’s poor, while preserving the natural systems that support life on Earth.

    The Earth Institute supports pioneering projects in the biological, engineering, social, and health sciences, while actively encouraging interdisciplinary projects—often combining natural and social sciences—in pursuit of solutions to real world problems and a sustainable planet. In its work, the Earth Institute remains mindful of the staggering disparities between rich and poor nations, and the tremendous impact that global-scale problems—such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic, climate change and extreme poverty—have on all nations.

    Columbia U Campus
    Columbia University was founded in 1754 as King’s College by royal charter of King George II of England. It is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York and the fifth oldest in the United States.

    University Mission Statement

    Columbia University is one of the world’s most important centers of research and at the same time a distinctive and distinguished learning environment for undergraduates and graduate students in many scholarly and professional fields. The University recognizes the importance of its location in New York City and seeks to link its research and teaching to the vast resources of a great metropolis. It seeks to attract a diverse and international faculty and student body, to support research and teaching on global issues, and to create academic relationships with many countries and regions. It expects all areas of the University to advance knowledge and learning at the highest level and to convey the products of its efforts to the world.

    Columbia University is a private Ivy League research university in New York City. Established in 1754 on the grounds of Trinity Church in Manhattan Columbia is the oldest institution of higher education in New York and the fifth-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. It is one of nine colonial colleges founded prior to the Declaration of Independence, seven of which belong to the Ivy League. Columbia is ranked among the top universities in the world by major education publications.

    Columbia was established as King’s College by royal charter from King George II of Great Britain in reaction to the founding of Princeton College. It was renamed Columbia College in 1784 following the American Revolution, and in 1787 was placed under a private board of trustees headed by former students Alexander Hamilton and John Jay. In 1896, the campus was moved to its current location in Morningside Heights and renamed Columbia University.

    Columbia scientists and scholars have played an important role in scientific breakthroughs including brain-computer interface; the laser and maser; nuclear magnetic resonance; the first nuclear pile; the first nuclear fission reaction in the Americas; the first evidence for plate tectonics and continental drift; and much of the initial research and planning for the Manhattan Project during World War II. Columbia is organized into twenty schools, including four undergraduate schools and 15 graduate schools. The university’s research efforts include the Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and accelerator laboratories with major technology firms such as IBM. Columbia is a founding member of the Association of American Universities and was the first school in the United States to grant the M.D. degree. With over 14 million volumes, Columbia University Library is the third largest private research library in the United States.

    The university’s endowment stands at $11.26 billion in 2020, among the largest of any academic institution. As of October 2020, Columbia’s alumni, faculty, and staff have included: five Founding Fathers of the United States—among them a co-author of the United States Constitution and a co-author of the Declaration of Independence; three U.S. presidents; 29 foreign heads of state; ten justices of the United States Supreme Court, one of whom currently serves; 96 Nobel laureates; five Fields Medalists; 122 National Academy of Sciences members; 53 living billionaires; eleven Olympic medalists; 33 Academy Award winners; and 125 Pulitzer Prize recipients.

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