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  • richardmitnick 3:30 pm on January 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Radiometric Dating Sheds Light on Tectonic Debate", , Earth Observation, , , Obduction-ophiolites-slices of oceanic crust and mantle atop a continental plate—offer uncommon opportunities to view seafloor geology from the comfort of land., Obduction: the oceanic plate ends up atop the more buoyant continental plate instead of diving below it., Subduction: the denser oceanic plate is pushed below the continental plate., The episode occurred approximately 81–77 million years ago when the Arabian continental plate subducted to the northeast below the Samail Ophiolite., The Samail Ophiolite (Oman–United Arab Emirates) is frequently studied as a model of obduction because of its well-exposed and well-studied geology., This conclusion refutes previously published estimates that continental subduction in Oman started 110 million years ago and may have occurred over two distinct episodes.   

    From Eos : “Radiometric Dating Sheds Light on Tectonic Debate” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    21 January 2022
    Aaron Sidder

    The emplacement of the Samail Ophiolite in Oman has been a source of disagreement among geologists. New state-of-the-art research offers a fresh perspective on its timing and geometry.

    1

    At the far edges of continents, where the continental shelf transitions into the deep ocean, continental and oceanic plates come face to face. At many of these margins, the denser oceanic plate is pushed below the continental plate in a process called subduction. However, in some cases, known as obduction, the oceanic plate ends up atop the more buoyant continental plate instead of diving below it.

    Obduction zones are unique because they foster the recycling of surface continental material to the deep mantle, which happens infrequently, and they have formed almost exclusively in the past billion years of Earth’s history. The resulting ophiolites—slices of oceanic crust and mantle atop a continental plate—offer uncommon opportunities to view seafloor geology from the comfort of land.

    The Samail Ophiolite (Oman–United Arab Emirates), in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, is frequently studied as a model of obduction because of its well-exposed and well-studied geology. However, geologists disagree about the timing and geometry of the continental subduction that led to the final emplacement of the ophiolite. Several tectonic models offer hypotheses on the ophiolite’s obduction but differ in their conclusions.

    In a new study, Garber et al. [JGR: Solid Earth] sought to clarify the timing of the obduction episode in Oman. The authors sampled several different rocks from As Sifah, an Omani beach with an outcrop of high-grade continental metamorphic rocks subducted beneath the ophiolite. The studied As Sifah rocks reflect a diverse range of lithologies that all experienced the same metamorphic evolution, the authors say. Samarium-neodymium (Sm-Nd) and uranium-lead (U-Pb) radiometric dating on the garnet, zircon, and rutile crystals in the rocks helped determine the age of the subduction event.

    The findings provide new constraints on the timing of the obduction of the ophiolitic rocks in Oman. The results indicate that the episode occurred approximately 81–77 million years ago when the Arabian continental plate subducted to the northeast below the Samail Ophiolite. The subduction of the Arabian plate to mantle depths occurred at rates similar to those of other small continental subduction events, and the tectonic evolution appears to be similar to that of other ophiolite formations.

    This conclusion refutes previously published estimates that continental subduction in Oman started 110 million years ago and may have occurred over two distinct episodes. Overall, the study provides a meaningful contribution to a long-debated geologic question.

    See the full article here .

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    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 3:21 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Sprawling Coral Reef Resembling Roses Is Discovered Off Tahiti", , , Earth Observation, Extending for about three kilometers (1.86 miles) the reef is remarkably well preserved and is among the largest ever found at its depth., Mesophotic reefs form their floral shape to gain more surface area and receive more light., , , The reef occupies an area of the ocean known as the mesophotic zone.   

    From The New York Times : “Sprawling Coral Reef Resembling Roses Is Discovered Off Tahiti” 

    From The New York Times

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Neil Vigdor

    1
    The coral reef was discovered in November.Credit: Alexis Rosenfeld/Associated Press.

    An underwater mapping project recently took an unexpected twist off the coast of Tahiti, where deep sea explorers said this week that they had discovered a sprawling coral reef resembling a bed of roses that appeared to be largely unscathed by climate change.

    Extending for about three kilometers (1.86 miles), the reef is remarkably well preserved and is among the largest ever found at its depth, according to those involved in the mapping project sponsored by UNESCO, the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

    Some even described the condition of the reef, hidden at depths between 30 meters (about 100 feet) and 100 meters in the crystalline waters of the South Pacific, as “pristine.”

    Alexis Rosenfeld, an underwater photographer from Marseille, France, said on Thursday that the reef lived up to what he had envisioned when he first explored it shortly after its discovery in November.

    “This, my dream, is exactly the same as the reality,” Mr. Rosenfeld said of the reef, which is about two kilometers off the shore.

    Mr. Rosenfeld, 52, photographed the reef as part of a deep sea exploration project called 1 Ocean, partnering with UNESCO and researchers from CRIOBE, a prominent French laboratory specializing in the study of coral reef ecosystems, and The National Centre for Scientific Research [Centre national de la recherche scientifique [CNRS](FR).

    The reef occupies an area of the ocean known as the mesophotic zone — from the Greek words for middle and light — where the algae that coral depends on for survival can still grow but where light penetration is significantly diminished, scientists said.

    Unlike coral reefs found at shallower depths, which are often shaped like branches and are more susceptible to being damaged by rising ocean temperatures, scientists said, mesophotic reefs form their floral shape to gain more surface area and receive more light. To capture images in low-light conditions, Mr. Rosenfeld said he used a Sony Alpha 1, a mirrorless full-frame camera.

    Julian Barbière, the head of the Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section for the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission at UNESCO, said on Thursday that he was blown away by the expanse of rose petals captured in the photos.

    “You can see them as far as the eye can see,” he said. “When they came back and showed the pictures, we were really amazed by the quality of the ecosystem there.”

    Mr. Barbière noted that climate change posed a significant threat to coral reefs, especially those at shallower depths, like the ones damaged in recent years in the South Pacific in what is known as bleaching. As part of that process, coral loses its color and its skeleton is exposed.

    “That can destroy or really impact the coral reef,” he said.

    Reaching the coral reef presented a particular challenge to scientists and photographers because of its depth, those involved in the project said. It required them to use special breathing equipment and a mixture of gases that contained helium, they said.

    John Jackson, a film director with 1 Ocean who is involved with the project, compared the reef’s shape to lacework. In an interview on Thursday, he said that significant work remained when it came to underwater exploration, pointing out that only about 20 percent of the world’s seabeds had been mapped.

    “We know every detail of Mars, every detail of the moon and certain planets,” Mr. Jackson said.

    Richard Norris, a professor of paleobiology at The Scripps Institution of Oceanography (US) at The University of California-San Diego (US), who was not involved with the project, said on Thursday that the discovery was gratifying.

    “Tahiti is nice because it’s far from sediment sources on land where the water could end up being cloudy and making it harder for the algae to grow in these deep water reefs,” Professor Norris said.

    He likened the relationship between coral and algae to that of the human body and yeast, saying that it was critical to maintain a delicate balance.

    “If they get stressed by, for example, unusually warm temperatures, then it turns a symbiotic relationship with the algae to one that is antagonistic, where the algae damage the coral and the coral gets rid of them,” Professor Norris said.

    Once the reef and the marine species that call it home are better understood, those involved in the project said that they would seek to adopt conservation measures to protect the ecosystem.

    “Without exploration,” Mr. Rosenfeld said, “you can’t have science.”

    See the full article here .

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  • richardmitnick 1:55 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Recovering Mantle Memories from River Profiles", , Earth Observation, , , Marine fossils on mountaintops in African and Arabian deserts suggest that until about 30 million years ago those portions of the landscape were at or below sea level., , , The continent of Africa has a distinctive physical geography-an “egg carton” pattern of basins and swells-that researchers attribute to plumes of mantle rocks rising beneath a tectonic plate., The spatial and temporal evolution of this uplift process is still not well defined., The team focused on Africa; Arabia and Madagascar where regional uplift patterns are relatively well constrained during the Cenozoic period., The team used a closed-loop modeling strategy that involved inverting more than 4000 river profiles to recover signals of regional uplift., The team used dynamic forward landscape simulations to evaluate the influence of such factors as precipitation and drainage divide migration., This study suggests that calibrated inverse modeling of river profiles can be successfully used to study landscape evolution., Topography, Using the profiles of the continent’s major rivers to trace the evolution of the landscape in space and time.   

    From Eos: “Recovering Mantle Memories from River Profiles” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    14 January 2022
    Kate Wheeling

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    New research uses profiles of major rivers, like the Nile, pictured here, to trace the history of uplift across the African continent. Credit: Vaido Otsar, CC BY-SA 4.0.

    The continent of Africa has a distinctive physical geography—an “egg carton” pattern of basins and swells—that researchers attribute to plumes of mantle rocks rising beneath a tectonic plate. Marine fossils on mountaintops in African and Arabian deserts suggest that until about 30 million years ago, those portions of the landscape were at or below sea level. But the spatial and temporal evolution of this uplift process is still not well defined. In a new study, O’Malley et al. [Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth] use the profiles of the continent’s major rivers to trace the evolution of the landscape in space and time.

    To test the idea that rivers might serve as “tape recorders” for mantle processes, the team focused on Africa, Arabia, and Madagascar, where regional uplift patterns are relatively well constrained during the Cenozoic period. They applied a closed-loop modeling strategy that involved inverting more than 4,000 river profiles to recover signals of regional uplift and validating those signals with geological observations.

    The team used dynamic forward landscape simulations to evaluate the influence of such factors as precipitation and drainage divide migration, as well as to test the assumptions used in the inverse modeling of river profiles. Although these assumptions are still a matter of debate, this study showed that inverse modeling of river profiles across the study area recovers an uplift history that fits observations, and landscape simulations using these uplift histories predict drainage networks, paleotopography, and deltaic sedimentation histories that match data. This result remains true when precipitation rates vary across space and time. Overall, this study suggests that calibrated inverse modeling of river profiles can be successfully used to study landscape evolution.

    See the full article here .

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    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 1:17 pm on January 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Understanding Rare Rain Events in the Driest Desert on Earth", Additional research is needed to confidently show that the Amazon is the source of the moisture brought by some of the conveyor belts., , , Earth Observation, , It’s like a decade worth of rain within one single event within a couple hours., , Moisture conveyor belts, Moisture conveyor belts occur throughout the nearby Andes region about 4 times per year., Most of the moisture originates in the Amazon basin-a surprising result given the high Andes that divide the rain forest from the desert., ,   

    From Eos: “Understanding Rare Rain Events in the Driest Desert on Earth” 

    From AGU
    Eos news bloc

    From Eos

    18 January 2022
    Emily Cerf

    A new study reveals the atmospheric paths of storm events that can deliver a decade’s worth of rain in a few hours to the Atacama Desert.

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    Parts of the Atacama Desert receive fewer than 5 millimeters of rainfall a year. Credit: Wescottm, CC BY 4.0.

    In the enduring dryness of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile where the average rainfall is as low as 5 millimeters per year, rare rain events can come swiftly and intensely. They shape the landscape and provide precious moisture to plants and other species that otherwise adapted to extended dry spells or harvesting coastal fog. Intense rain events like those seen in the Atacama are known to be associated with so-called ‘moisture conveyor belts”, which are high-altitude atmospheric phenomena known for transporting large volumes of water vapor. However, whether or not “moisture conveyor belts” are responsible for the Atacama’s intense rain events has yet to be shown.

    In a new study, Böhm et al.[Geophysical Research Letters] explain the atmospheric mechanisms behind the wettest of these precipitation events and propose that the water travels from the tropical Amazon across oceans and mountains to reach the desert. The research shows that 40%–80% of the total precipitation that occurs between the coast and the Andean foothills is associated with “moisture conveyor belts”.

    Rain events related to “moisture conveyor belts” can be devastating for local microbial species adapted to dry conditions, the authors say, but they could play a role in the germination of the blooming desert—an explosion of colorful wildflowers that occurs in the Atacama every 5 to 7 years. The authors’ understanding of the processes behind these rare events could change how scientists understand past and future climates in the region.

    Cataloging Conveyor Belts

    Böhm and colleagues cataloged the role of the conveyor belts in the Atacama for the first time. To figure out the role of “moisture conveyor belts” and track air masses, the researchers examined a 2017 precipitation event that brought more than 50 millimeters of rain to some regions of the Atacama. Modeling that tracked the paths of the air masses suggested that most of the moisture originated in the Amazon basin, a surprising result given the high Andes that divide the rain forest from the desert. The authors also discovered that “moisture conveyor belts” occur throughout the nearby Andes region about 4 times per year—some don’t bring much precipitation at all, but the wettest of them can be extreme.

    “It’s like a decade worth of rain within one single event within a couple hours,” said Christoph Böhm, lead author of the study from the Institute for Geophysics and Meteorology at The University of Cologne [Universität zu Köln](DE). Ten times the annual precipitation can be rained down by these conveyor belts in the midsection of Earth’s lowest atmospheric layer, the troposphere.

    In tracing how water moves in moisture conveyor belts across the continent, the researchers suggest that in the most humid of these extreme events, the moisture originates in the tropical Amazon basin rather than over the Pacific Ocean that lies west of the desert.

    However, additional research is needed to confidently show that the Amazon is the source of the moisture brought by some of the conveyor belts. An examination of isotopic data—the atomic chemical information of the water—from the rain events is necessary to support this idea, according to Cornell University (US) geologist Teresa Eileen Jordan, who studies the Atacama and was not involved in the research. The hypothetical path of the water from the Amazon over the Andes would fundamentally change the chemical composition of the water, she says.

    New ideas about how water is transported to these regions can shape how paleoclimatologists understand past eras in this region, affecting understandings of past civilizations that may also have depended on these processes, and can inform water resource management and predictions of future climate change in the Atacama Desert.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    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 5:07 pm on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Research in Colorado mountains takes students’ environmental immersion to new heights", , , Bringing the research alive and painting a more holistic picture of what Earth processes are happening., , Communication of Science and Technology, Earth Observation, , , Environmental Sciences, Environmental Sociology, , Glacial Geology, Glaciers are disappearing.,   

    From Vanderbilt University (US): “Research in Colorado mountains takes students’ environmental immersion to new heights” 

    Vanderbilt U Bloc

    From Vanderbilt University (US)

    Jan. 20, 2022
    Amy Wolf


    Research trip to Colorado takes students’ environmental immersion experience to new heights.

    Vanderbilt junior Callie Hilgenhurst and a dozen of her classmates took their research to a new immersive level, collecting soil and rock samples 9,000 feet up in the Sawatch Mountain Range of Colorado. Their work in the mountains and then in the lab helped show the movement of glaciers, ultimately giving clues about the impact of climate change.

    “This trip to Colorado was really incredible,” said Hilgenhurst, an Earth and environmental sciences major from Nashville. “Going out and being part of the scientific method—literally taking samples that we get to bring back to the lab—and experiencing the research on such a grand scale was awesome.”

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    Students in the new Glacial Geology class. From left to right: Miquéla Thornton, Genna Chiaro, Sophia Wang, Courtney Howarth, Easton Maxey, Alex Xu, Kevin Chen, behind him is Ellie Miller, and to the right of her is Estelle Shaya, and Bryce Belanger; on the bottom is Rachel Brewer, Callie Hilgenhurst and Kristin Sequeira.

    The immersive trip was part of a new class in the College of Arts and Science called Glacial Geology.

    “It’s designed to help students think about the landforms and landscapes that glaciers create and leave behind,” said Dan Morgan, associate dean in the College of Arts and Science and principal senior lecturer in Earth and environmental sciences. “Then we analyze what drives those advances and retreats in glaciers and put that in the context of global climate change.”

    CLIMATE CHANGE

    Many of the students in the class said making an impact on climate change is crucial. That’s why faculty designed the class with only one prerequisite, allowing students with diverse majors to take the course.

    “Fighting climate change is very big in my heart, and it’s really important that we do everything we can to maintain the 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming as much as we can. I also took the class because I know that glacial geology isn’t always going to be around in the future because glaciers are disappearing,” Hilgenhurst said.

    Fellow student Ellie Miller has dedicated a great amount of energy to Earth sciences as a triple major in Earth and environmental sciences, environmental sociology and communication of science and technology. She jumped at the chance to gather data in the field and learn more about glacial environments.

    “I was so ready to get my hands dirty and actually see where my samples are coming from—and then carry that all back to the lab and be able to run procedures,” said the Olathe, Kansas, resident. “Being able to see the connection between our field site and the data that we’re producing here at Vanderbilt brings the research alive and paints a more holistic picture of what Earth processes are happening.”

    This trip was Miquéla Thornton’s first experience out west. The communication of science and technology and creative writing double major from Richton Park, Illinois, said she loved observing her fellow students and then writing about the experience.

    “In my time at Vanderbilt, I’ve taken both environmental science and psychology classes, which really sparked an interest in science writing because everyone needs to understand what’s going on with climate change and what’s happening with our Earth,” she said.

    3
    Dan Morgan (far right) teaches as part of his Glacial Geology class during an immersive trip in Colorado.

    IMMERSION TRIPS

    Morgan, who has led Vanderbilt undergraduates on expeditions to places as remote as Antarctica, said bringing students into the field is invaluable in connecting them to the research.

    “This is something that’s fun and makes Vanderbilt a really special place because we’re educating and expanding the living-learning experience all the way to this mountain.”

    See the full article here .

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    Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt was in his 79th year when he decided to make the gift that founded Vanderbilt University (US) in the spring of 1873.
    The $1 million that he gave to endow and build the university was the commodore’s only major philanthropy. Methodist Bishop Holland N. McTyeire of Nashville, husband of Amelia Townsend who was a cousin of the commodore’s young second wife Frank Crawford, went to New York for medical treatment early in 1873 and spent time recovering in the Vanderbilt mansion. He won the commodore’s admiration and support for the project of building a university in the South that would “contribute to strengthening the ties which should exist between all sections of our common country.”

    McTyeire chose the site for the campus, supervised the construction of buildings and personally planted many of the trees that today make Vanderbilt a national arboretum. At the outset, the university consisted of one Main Building (now Kirkland Hall), an astronomical observatory and houses for professors. Landon C. Garland was Vanderbilt’s first chancellor, serving from 1875 to 1893. He advised McTyeire in selecting the faculty, arranged the curriculum and set the policies of the university.

    For the first 40 years of its existence, Vanderbilt was under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The Vanderbilt Board of Trust severed its ties with the church in June 1914 as a result of a dispute with the bishops over who would appoint university trustees.

    From the outset, Vanderbilt met two definitions of a university: It offered work in the liberal arts and sciences beyond the baccalaureate degree and it embraced several professional schools in addition to its college. James H. Kirkland, the longest serving chancellor in university history (1893-1937), followed Chancellor Garland. He guided Vanderbilt to rebuild after a fire in 1905 that consumed the main building, which was renamed in Kirkland’s honor, and all its contents. He also navigated the university through the separation from the Methodist Church. Notable advances in graduate studies were made under the third chancellor, Oliver Cromwell Carmichael (1937-46). He also created the Joint University Library, brought about by a coalition of Vanderbilt, Peabody College and Scarritt College.

    Remarkable continuity has characterized the government of Vanderbilt. The original charter, issued in 1872, was amended in 1873 to make the legal name of the corporation “The Vanderbilt University.” The charter has not been altered since.

    The university is self-governing under a Board of Trust that, since the beginning, has elected its own members and officers. The university’s general government is vested in the Board of Trust. The immediate government of the university is committed to the chancellor, who is elected by the Board of Trust.

    The original Vanderbilt campus consisted of 75 acres. By 1960, the campus had spread to about 260 acres of land. When George Peabody College for Teachers merged with Vanderbilt in 1979, about 53 acres were added.

    Vanderbilt’s student enrollment tended to double itself each 25 years during the first century of the university’s history: 307 in the fall of 1875; 754 in 1900; 1,377 in 1925; 3,529 in 1950; 7,034 in 1975. In the fall of 1999 the enrollment was 10,127.

    In the planning of Vanderbilt, the assumption seemed to be that it would be an all-male institution. Yet the board never enacted rules prohibiting women. At least one woman attended Vanderbilt classes every year from 1875 on. Most came to classes by courtesy of professors or as special or irregular (non-degree) students. From 1892 to 1901 women at Vanderbilt gained full legal equality except in one respect — access to dorms. In 1894 the faculty and board allowed women to compete for academic prizes. By 1897, four or five women entered with each freshman class. By 1913 the student body contained 78 women, or just more than 20 percent of the academic enrollment.

    National recognition of the university’s status came in 1949 with election of Vanderbilt to membership in the select Association of American Universities (US). In the 1950s Vanderbilt began to outgrow its provincial roots and to measure its achievements by national standards under the leadership of Chancellor Harvie Branscomb. By its 90th anniversary in 1963, Vanderbilt for the first time ranked in the top 20 private universities in the United States.

    Vanderbilt continued to excel in research, and the number of university buildings more than doubled under the leadership of Chancellors Alexander Heard (1963-1982) and Joe B. Wyatt (1982-2000), only the fifth and sixth chancellors in Vanderbilt’s long and distinguished history. Heard added three schools (Blair, the Owen Graduate School of Management and Peabody College) to the seven already existing and constructed three dozen buildings. During Wyatt’s tenure, Vanderbilt acquired or built one-third of the campus buildings and made great strides in diversity, volunteerism and technology.

    The university grew and changed significantly under its seventh chancellor, Gordon Gee, who served from 2000 to 2007. Vanderbilt led the country in the rate of growth for academic research funding, which increased to more than $450 million and became one of the most selective undergraduate institutions in the country.

    On March 1, 2008, Nicholas S. Zeppos was named Vanderbilt’s eighth chancellor after serving as interim chancellor beginning Aug. 1, 2007. Prior to that, he spent 2002-2008 as Vanderbilt’s provost, overseeing undergraduate, graduate and professional education programs as well as development, alumni relations and research efforts in liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education, business, law and divinity. He first came to Vanderbilt in 1987 as an assistant professor in the law school. In his first five years, Zeppos led the university through the most challenging economic times since the Great Depression, while continuing to attract the best students and faculty from across the country and around the world. Vanderbilt got through the economic crisis notably less scathed than many of its peers and began and remained committed to its much-praised enhanced financial aid policy for all undergraduates during the same timespan. The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for first-year students opened in 2008 and College Halls, the next phase in the residential education system at Vanderbilt, is on track to open in the fall of 2014. During Zeppos’ first five years, Vanderbilt has drawn robust support from federal funding agencies, and the Medical Center entered into agreements with regional hospitals and health care systems in middle and east Tennessee that will bring Vanderbilt care to patients across the state.

    Today, Vanderbilt University is a private research university of about 6,500 undergraduates and 5,300 graduate and professional students. The university comprises 10 schools, a public policy center and The Freedom Forum First Amendment Center. Vanderbilt offers undergraduate programs in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, music, education and human development as well as a full range of graduate and professional degrees. The university is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 universities by publications such as U.S. News & World Report, with several programs and disciplines ranking in the top 10.

    Cutting-edge research and liberal arts, combined with strong ties to a distinguished medical center, creates an invigorating atmosphere where students tailor their education to meet their goals and researchers collaborate to solve complex questions affecting our health, culture and society.

    Vanderbilt, an independent, privately supported university, and the separate, non-profit Vanderbilt University Medical Center share a respected name and enjoy close collaboration through education and research. Together, the number of people employed by these two organizations exceeds that of the largest private employer in the Middle Tennessee region.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:06 am on January 20, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the south Pacific erupts violently", , Earth Observation, , ,   

    From temblor: “Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai in the south Pacific erupts violently” 

    1

    From temblor

    January 18, 2022
    Marie Edmonds, Ph.D., The University of Cambridge (UK)

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano, 40 miles (65 kilometers) north of Tongatapu, Tonga, erupted on January 15 at 5:14 p.m. local time, triggering tsunami waves that swept across the Pacific. The energy released in the eruption was equivalent to a magnitude-5.8 earthquake at the surface, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The powerful eruption was captured on satellite images, which show a shock wave and a rapidly expanding ash cloud that reached 12 miles (20 kilometers) into the atmosphere.

    1
    The expanding ash cloud from the eruption of the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano on January 15. Credit: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

    News of the immediate impact of the eruption on the Tongan islands has been slow to emerge because internet communications have been entirely cut off by the eruption. It is likely, however, that the islands have experienced many inches of ash fall as well as damage from the tsunami, which inundated coastal areas and reached a height of 2.7 feet (83 centimetres) in Nuku’alofa, according to The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (US).

    2
    The island of Tongatapu and the nearby smaller islands – all part of the Kingdom of Tonga archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean – are pictured in this Sentinel-2A image from May 23, 2016. Contains modified Copernicus Sentinel data (2016), processed by ESA,CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, via Wikimedia Commons

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-2.

    Tsunami waves reached 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) along the northeastern coastline of Japan at a port in Kuji, Iwate (Source: Japan Meteorological Agency) and up to 3.6 feet (1.1 meters) in Port San Luis, California (Source: NOAA). In northern Peru, two people drowned when waves inundated a beach in the Lambayeque region.

    Explosion detected on the other side of the world

    The eruption was heard in New Zealand. The shock wave was violent enough to shake houses in Fiji, more than 450 miles (720 kilometers) away from Tonga.

    Pressure surges from the atmospheric perturbation caused by the eruption were felt right across the world. Atmospheric pressure fluctuations have been reported in New Zealand, the U.S., Brazil, Japan and Europe. More than 14 hours after the eruption, The Meteorological Office (UK) picked up several pressure waves, more than 10,000 miles away from the volcano. The agency described the waves as “like dropping a pebble in a still pond and seeing the ripples.”

    The eruption was so powerful it destroyed the subaerial part of the volcano that had been built up in successive eruptions since 2015, according to the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program. Radar images of the island acquired by The European Space Agency [La Agencia Espacial Europea] [Agence spatiale européenne][Europäische Weltraumorganisation](EU)’s Sentinel-2 satellite show that the island has largely disappeared following the eruption; only the far southwestern and northeastern tips of the island remain.

    3
    Before (left) and after (right) radar images of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Haapai Volcano, Tonga, January 2 and 17, 2022. Credit: Copernicus/ESA/Sentinal Hub.

    Long-term climate impacts unlikely

    The ash produced by the eruption has now dispersed from the caldera, but the finest particles are likely still aloft high in the atmosphere and will remain there for months or even years.

    The eruption also produced around 0.4 teragrams of sulfur dioxide (SO2), according to spectrometer data from ESA’s Sentinel 5P satellite.

    ESA Copernicus Sentinel-5P.

    Past large explosive eruptions have typically been associated with global cooling. SO2 injected into the stratosphere — the second layer of the atmosphere — forms sulfate aerosol when it reacts with water, which absorbs and scatters incoming radiation from the sun, thereby cooling the Earth’s surface.

    The 1991 eruption of Pinatubo Volcano in the Philippines emitted around 18-19 teragrams of SO2, which caused cooling of a few tenths of a degree for a few years. It is unlikely that the SO2 emitted from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai eruption will significantly impact the climate.

    One volcano in a chain

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano lies along the Tonga-Kermedec Arc, where two tectonic plates in the southwest Pacific converge. This volcano is one of a chain of largely submarine volcanoes that extend all the way from New Zealand in the southwest to Fiji in the north-northeast. Here, the Pacific plate subducts beneath the Indo-Australian plate. As it sinks, the Pacific Plate heats up, releasing fluids into the overlying rocks, which causes them to melt. The magma rises into the overlying crust and some erupts at the surface. Eruptions from subduction zone volcanoes are notoriously explosive because magmas there are sticky and contain large quantities of dissolved water from the mantle, which is the explosion’s “fuel.”

    4
    Map of the Kermadec and Tonga subduction trench. Credit: Nwbeeson, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    For submarine volcanic eruptions however, there is an added ingredient that causes them to be extra-violent. During large volcanic eruptions a caldera, or large depression on the surface, can form due to the void left in the ground by the erupted magma. Calderas that form on the seafloor can cause tsunamis and large earthquakes when large rock masses sink during the eruption.

    Seawater can flow into the faults and fractures that form around the edges of the caldera. If water comes into contact with hot magma, it flash boils into steam, which expands rapidly, adding to the explosive power of an eruption. Such eruptions are termed “hydrovolcanic.” They generate powerful base surges — or pyroclastic flows — that expand out from the base of the eruption column, and can travel long distances. A famous example is the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa Volcano in Indonesia. The sound of the explosion was heard 1,800 miles (3,000 kilometers) away. Large tsunami waves and pyroclastic surges that travelled 25 miles (40 kilometers) over the surface of the sea killed more than 36,000 people.

    Geologists studying the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano have uncovered its few-thousand-year-long history of eruptions just like the one that occurred on January 15. The volcano erupted explosively in 2009 and in 2014-2015, producing ‘Surtseyan’ eruptions — a smaller magnitude explosive eruption produced by the interaction of magma and seawater. The precise magnitude of this latest eruption will be known once the height of the eruption column as well as the volume of erupted material is estimated, but it is certainly one of the most significant eruptions of the 21st century thus far.

    5
    NASA’s Terra satellite on December 29, 2014, showing a white plume rising over the undersea volcano Hunga Ha’apai, near Hunga Tonga in the South Pacific. Discolored water suggests an underwater release of gases and rock by the eruption. Credit: NASA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons.

    National Aeronautics Space Agency (US)Terra satellite.

    Answers still to come

    There are many questions to be answered over the coming weeks and months about the mechanisms and impacts of this eruption. Immediate questions concern the fate of the residents of Tonga, who are contending with the enormous challenges of the aftermath of the eruption and tsunami, including missing loved ones, enormous infrastructure damage, thick ash cover, contaminated drinking supplies and a lack of basic medical and communication services.

    There will be detailed studies of the geophysical signals accompanying the eruption and the period leading up to it to better understand how the eruption was triggered and its magnitude. Scientists will be particularly interested in infrasound, satellite-based data and eventually will study the volcanic deposits and landforms produced. In particular, scientists will seek to understand the geological sequence of events that led to the simultaneous explosion and tsunami that had such wide-ranging effects across the Pacific Ocean.

    References

    Guo, S., Bluth, G. J., Rose, W. I., Watson, I. M., & Prata, A. J. (2004). Re‐evaluation of SO2 release of the 15 June 1991 Pinatubo eruption using ultraviolet and infrared satellite sensors. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 5(4).

    See the full article here .


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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    _____________________________________________________________________________________

    Earthquake Alert

    1

    Earthquake Alert

    Earthquake Network project Earthquake 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.

    3
    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.

    Authorities

    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
    rdegroot@usgs.gov
    626-583-7225

    Learn more about EEW Research

    ShakeAlert Fact Sheet

    ShakeAlert Implementation Plan

    QuakeAlertUSA

    1

    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 9:30 am on January 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Earth on trajectory to Sixth Mass Extinction say biologists", , , Earth Observation, ,   

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa (US): “Earth on trajectory to Sixth Mass Extinction say biologists” 

    From The University of Hawai’i-Manoa (US)

    January 14, 2022
    Marcie Grabowski

    1
    Shells from recently extinct land snails from French Polynesia. Photo credit: O.Gargominy, A.Sartori.

    Mass biodiversity extinction events caused by extreme natural phenomena have marked the history of life on Earth five times. Today, many experts warn that a Sixth Mass Extinction crisis is underway, this time entirely caused by human activities.

    A comprehensive assessment of evidence of this ongoing extinction event was published in Biological Reviews by biologists from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and The National Museum of Natural History [Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle] (MNHN)(FR).

    “Drastically increased rates of species extinctions and declining abundances of many animal and plant populations are well documented, yet some deny that these phenomena amount to mass extinction,” said Robert Cowie, lead author of the study and research professor at the UH Mānoa Pacific Biosciences Research Center in the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology. “This denial is based on a highly biased assessment of the crisis which focuses on mammals and birds and ignores invertebrates, which of course constitute the great majority of biodiversity.”

    By extrapolating from estimates obtained for land snails and slugs, Cowie and co-authors estimated that since the year 1500, Earth could already have lost between 7.5% and 13% of the two million known species—a staggering 150,000 to 260,000 species.

    “Including invertebrates was key to confirming that we are indeed witnessing the onset of the Sixth Mass Extinction in Earth’s history,” said Cowie.

    Extinction hits island species disproportionately

    2
    Native Hawaiian snail habitat on Puʻu Kukui, Maui. Photo credit: Robert Cowie.

    The situation is not the same everywhere, however. Although marine species face significant threats, there is no evidence that the crisis is affecting the oceans to the same extent as the land. On land, island species, such as those of the Hawaiian Islands, are much more affected than continental species. And the rate of extinction of plants seems lower than that of terrestrial animals.

    Denial of Sixth Mass Extinction

    Unfortunately, along with science denial taking a foothold in modern society on a range of issues, the new study points out that some people also deny that the sixth extinction has begun. Additionally, others accept it as a new and natural evolutionary trajectory, as humans are just another species playing their natural role in Earth’s history. Some even consider that biodiversity should be manipulated solely for the benefit of humanity—but benefit defined by whom?

    “Humans are the only species capable of manipulating the biosphere on a large scale,” Cowie emphasized. “We are not just another species evolving in the face of external influences. In contrast, we are the only species that has conscious choice regarding our future and that of Earth’s biodiversity.”

    To fight the crisis, various conservation initiatives have been successful for certain charismatic animals. But these initiatives cannot target all species, and they cannot reverse the overall trend of species extinction. The authors believe it is essential to continue such efforts, to continue to cultivate a wonder for nature, and crucially to document biodiversity before it disappears.

    “Despite the rhetoric about the gravity of the crisis, and although remedial solutions exist and are brought to the attention of decision-makers, it is clear that political will is lacking,” said Cowie. “Denying the crisis, accepting it without reacting, or even encouraging it constitutes an abrogation of humanity’s common responsibility and paves the way for Earth to continue on its sad trajectory towards the Sixth Mass Extinction.”

    This research is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Excellence in Research: Advancing the Research and Creative Work Enterprise (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    System Overview

    The The University of Hawai‘I (US) includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands. As the public system of higher education in Hawai‘i, UH offers opportunities as unique and diverse as our Island home.

    The 10 UH campuses and educational centers on six Hawaiian Islands provide unique opportunities for both learning and recreation.

    UH is the State’s leading engine for economic growth and diversification, stimulating the local economy with jobs, research and skilled workers.

    The University of Hawaiʻi system, formally the University of Hawaiʻi (US) is a public college and university system that confers associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees through three university campuses, seven community college campuses, an employment training center, three university centers, four education centers and various other research facilities distributed across six islands throughout the state of Hawaii in the United States. All schools of the University of Hawaiʻi system are accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The U.H. system’s main administrative offices are located on the property of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Honolulu CDP.

    The University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa is the flagship institution of the University of Hawaiʻi system. It was founded as a land-grant college under the terms of the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890. Programs include Hawaiian/Pacific Studies, Astronomy, East Asian Languages and Literature, Asian Studies, Comparative Philosophy, Marine Science, Second Language Studies, along with Botany, Engineering, Ethnomusicology, Geophysics, Law, Business, Linguistics, Mathematics, and Medicine. The second-largest institution is the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on the “Big Island” of Hawaiʻi, with over 3,000 students. The University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu in Kapolei primarily serves students who reside in Honolulu’s western and central suburban communities. The University of Hawaiʻi Community College system comprises four community colleges island campuses on O’ahu and one each on Maui, Kauaʻi, and Hawaiʻi. The schools were created to improve accessibility of courses to more Hawaiʻi residents and provide an affordable means of easing the transition from secondary school/high school to college for many students. University of Hawaiʻi education centers are located in more remote areas of the State and its several islands, supporting rural communities via distance education.

    Research facilities

    Center for Philippine Studies
    Cancer Research Center of Hawaiʻi
    East-West Center
    Haleakalā Observatory
    Hawaiʻi Natural Energy Institute
    Institute for Astronomy
    Institute of Geophysics and Planetology
    Institute of Marine Biology
    Lyon Arboretum
    Mauna Kea Observatory
    W. M. Keck Observatory
    Waikīkī Aquarium

    U Hawaii 2.2 meter telescope, Mauna Kea, Hawai’I (US)
    University of Hawaii 2.2 meter telescope.

    The W. M. Keck Observatory operates the largest, most scientifically productive telescopes on Earth.

    W.M. Keck Observatory two ten meter telescopes operated by California Institute of Technology(US) and the University of California(US) Maunakea Hawaii USA, altitude 4,207 m (13,802 ft). Credit: Caltech.

    The two, 10-meter optical/infrared telescopes near the summit of Maunakea on the island of Hawai’i feature a suite of advanced instruments including imagers, multi-object spectrographs, high-resolution spectrographs, integral-field spectrographs and world-leading laser guide star adaptive optics systems.

    Pann-STARS 1 Telescope, U Hawaii, situated at Haleakala Observatories near the summit of Haleakala in Hawaii, USA, altitude 3,052 m (10,013 ft).

     
  • richardmitnick 11:24 am on January 17, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent and what to expect next", , Earth Observation, , ,   

    From The Conversation : “Why the volcanic eruption in Tonga was so violent and what to expect next” 

    From The Conversation

    January 15, 2022
    Shane Cronin
    Professor of Earth Sciences,
    The University of Auckland (NZ)

    The Kingdom of Tonga doesn’t often attract global attention, but a violent eruption of an underwater volcano on January 15 has spread shock waves, quite literally, around half the world.

    2
    This picture taken on December 21, 2021 shows white gaseous clouds rising from the Hunga Ha’apai eruption seen from the Patangata coastline near Tongan capital Nuku’alofa. Photo: Mary Lyn Fonua.

    The volcano is usually not much to look at. It consists of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga, poking about 100m above sea level 65km north of Tonga’s capital Nuku‘alofa. But hiding below the waves is a massive volcano, around 1800m high and 20km wide.

    3
    A massive underwater volcano lies next to the Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga islands. Author provided.

    The Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano has erupted regularly over the past few decades. During events in 2009 and 2014/15 hot jets of magma and steam exploded through the waves. But these eruptions were small, dwarfed in scale by the January 2022 events.

    Our research into these earlier eruptions suggests this is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years.

    4
    A newly formed volcanic cone between the Tonga islands of Hunga Tonga and Hunga Ha‘apai erupts on 15 January 2015, releasing dense, particle-rich jets from the upper regions and surges of water-rich material around the base. The monthlong Hunga eruption created a new island that is now the subject of study and promises to reveal new aspects of the region’s explosive volcanic past. Credit: New Zealand High Commission, Nuku’alofa, Tonga.

    Why are the volcano’s eruptions so highly explosive, given that sea water should cool the magma down?

    If magma rises into sea water slowly, even at temperatures of about 1200℃, a thin film of steam forms between the magma and water. This provides a layer of insulation to allow the outer surface of the magma to cool.

    But this process doesn’t work when magma is blasted out of the ground full of volcanic gas. When magma enters the water rapidly, any steam layers are quickly disrupted, bringing hot magma in direct contact with cold water.

    Volcano researchers call this “fuel-coolant interaction” and it is akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions. Extremely violent blasts tear the magma apart. A chain reaction begins, with new magma fragments exposing fresh hot interior surfaces to water, and the explosions repeat, ultimately jetting out volcanic particles and causing blasts with supersonic speeds.

    Two scales of Hunga eruptions

    The 2014/15 eruption created a volcanic cone, joining the two old Hunga islands to create a combined island about 5km long. We visited in 2016, and discovered these historical eruptions were merely curtain raisers to the main event.

    Mapping the sea floor, we discovered a hidden “caldera” 150m below the waves.

    5
    A map of the seafloor shows the volcanic cones and massive caldera. Author provided.

    The caldera is a crater-like depression around 5km across. Small eruptions (such as in 2009 and 2014/15) occur mainly at the edge of the caldera, but very big ones come from the caldera itself. These big eruptions are so large the top of the erupting magma collapses inward, deepening the caldera.

    Looking at the chemistry of past eruptions, we now think the small eruptions represent the magma system slowly recharging itself to prepare for a big event.

    We found evidence of two huge past eruptions from the Hunga caldera in deposits on the old islands. We matched these chemically to volcanic ash deposits on the largest inhabited island of Tongatapu, 65km away, and then used radiocarbon dates to show that big caldera eruptions occur about ever 1000 years, with the last one at AD1100.

    With this knowledge, the eruption on January 15 seems to be right on schedule for a “big one”.

    What we can expect to happen now

    We’re still in the middle of this major eruptive sequence and many aspects remain unclear, partly because the island is currently obscured by ash clouds.

    The two earlier eruptions on December 20 2021 and January 13 2022 were of moderate size. They produced clouds of up to 17km elevation and added new land to the 2014/15 combined island.

    The latest eruption has stepped up the scale in terms of violence. The ash plume is already about 20km high. Most remarkably, it spread out almost concentrically over a distance of about 130km from the volcano, creating a plume with a 260km diameter, before it was distorted by the wind.

    6
    This demonstrates a huge explosive power – one that cannot be explained by magma-water interaction alone. It shows instead that large amounts of fresh, gas-charged magma have erupted from the caldera.

    The eruption also produced a tsunami throughout Tonga and neighbouring Fiji and Samoa. Shock waves traversed many thousands of kilometres, were seen from space, and recorded in New Zealand some 2000km away. Soon after the eruption started, the sky was blocked out on Tongatapu, with ash beginning to fall.

    All these signs suggest the large Hunga caldera has awoken. Tsunami are generated by coupled atmospheric and ocean shock waves during an explosions, but they are also readily caused by submarine landslides and caldera collapses.

    Our research into these earlier eruptions suggests this is one of the massive explosions the volcano is capable of producing roughly every thousand years.

    Why are the volcano’s eruptions so highly explosive, given that sea water should cool the magma down?

    If magma rises into sea water slowly, even at temperatures of about 1200℃, a thin film of steam forms between the magma and water. This provides a layer of insulation to allow the outer surface of the magma to cool.

    But this process doesn’t work when magma is blasted out of the ground full of volcanic gas. When magma enters the water rapidly, any steam layers are quickly disrupted, bringing hot magma in direct contact with cold water.

    Volcano researchers call this “fuel-coolant interaction” and it is akin to weapons-grade chemical explosions. Extremely violent blasts tear the magma apart. A chain reaction begins, with new magma fragments exposing fresh hot interior surfaces to water, and the explosions repeat, ultimately jetting out volcanic particles and causing blasts with supersonic speeds.

    It remains unclear if this is the climax of the eruption. It represents a major magma pressure release, which may settle the system.

    A warning, however, lies in geological deposits from the volcano’s previous eruptions. These complex sequences show each of the 1000-year major caldera eruption episodes involved many separate explosion events.

    Hence we could be in for several weeks or even years of major volcanic unrest from the Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai volcano. For the sake of the people of Tonga I hope not.

    See the full article here .

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    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    The Conversation launched as a pilot project in October 2014. It is an independent source of news and views from the academic and research community, delivered direct to the public.
    Our team of professional editors work with university and research institute experts to unlock their knowledge for use by the wider public.
    Access to independent, high quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism underpins a functioning democracy. Our aim is to promote better understanding of current affairs and complex issues. And hopefully allow for a better quality of public discourse and conversation.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:38 pm on January 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Lost birds and mammals spell doom for some plants", , Earth Observation, , If endangered species go extinct tropical regions in South America; Africa and Southeast Asia would be most affected., Large mammals and birds are particularly important as long-distance seed dispersers and have been widely lost from natural ecosystems., Many plants people rely on-both economically and ecologically-are reliant on seed-dispersing birds and mammals., More than half of plant species rely on animals to disperse their seeds., , Some plants live hundreds of years and their only chance to move is during the short period when they're a seed moving across the landscape., The study showed seed-dispersal losses were especially severe in temperate regions across North America; Europe; South America and Australia.   

    From Rice University (US) : “Lost birds and mammals spell doom for some plants” 

    From Rice University (US)

    Jan. 12, 2022

    Jeff Falk
    713-348-6775
    jfalk@rice.edu

    Jade Boyd
    713-348-6778
    jadeboyd@rice.edu

    Animal-dispersed plants’ ability to keep pace with climate change reduced by 60%.

    1
    An American robin eats a winterberry. Small birds like robins typically disperse seeds over relatively short distances. Photo by Paul Vitucci.

    In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers have gauged how biodiversity loss of birds and mammals will impact plants’ chances of adapting to human-induced climate warming.

    More than half of plant species rely on animals to disperse their seeds. In a study featured on the cover of this week’s issue of Science, U.S. and Danish researchers showed the ability of animal-dispersed plants to keep pace with climate change has been reduced by 60% due to the loss of mammals and birds that help such plants adapt to environmental change.

    Researchers from Rice University, The University of Maryland (US), The Iowa State University (US) and The Aarhus University[Aarhus Universitet](DK) used machine learning and data from thousands of field studies to map the contributions of seed-dispersing birds and mammals worldwide. To understand the severity of the declines, the researchers compared maps of seed dispersal today with maps showing what dispersal would look like without human-caused extinctions or species range restrictions.

    “Some plants live hundreds of years and their only chance to move is during the short period when they’re a seed moving across the landscape,” said Rice ecologist Evan Fricke, the study’s first author.

    As climate changes , many plant species must move to a more suitable environment. Plants that rely on seed dispersers can face extinction if there are too few animals to move their seeds far enough to keep pace with changing conditions.

    “If there are no animals available to eat their fruits or carry away their nuts, animal-dispersed plants aren’t moving very far,” he said.

    2
    A black bear eats hawthorn berries. Large animals can disperse seeds over great distances, but many large seed dispersers are extinct or in decline. Photo by Paul D. Vitucci.

    And many plants people rely on-both economically and ecologically-are reliant on seed-dispersing birds and mammals, said Fricke, who conducted the research during a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland’s National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center ( SESYNC) in collaboration with co-authors Alejandro Ordonez and Jens-Christian Svenning of Aarhus and Haldre Rogers of Iowa State.

    Fricke said the study is the first to quantify the scale of the seed-dispersal problem globally and the regions most affected. The authors used data synthesized from field studies around the world to train a machine-learning model for seed dispersal, and then used the trained model to estimate the loss of climate-tracking dispersal caused by animal declines.

    He said developing estimates of seed-dispersal losses required two significant technical advances.

    “First, we needed a way to predict seed-dispersal interactions occurring between plants and animals at any location around the world,” Fricke said.

    Modeling data on networks of species interactions from over 400 field studies, the researchers found they could use data on plant and animal traits to accurately predict interactions between plants and seed dispersers.

    4
    A Bohemian waxwing takes off with a fruit in its bill. Photo by Christine Johnson.

    “Second, we needed to model how each plant-animal interaction actually affected seed dispersal,” he said. “For example, when an animal eats a fruit, it might destroy the seeds or it might disperse them a few meters away or several kilometers away.”

    The researchers used data from thousands of studies that addressed how many seeds specific species of birds and mammals disperse, how far they disperse them and how well those seeds germinate.

    “In addition to the wake-up call that declines in animal species have vastly limited the ability of plants to adapt to climate change, this study beautifully demonstrates the power of complex analyses applied to huge, publicly available data,” said Doug Levey, program director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Biological Sciences, which partially funded the work.

    The study showed seed-dispersal losses were especially severe in temperate regions across North America; Europe; South America and Australia. If endangered species go extinct tropical regions in South America; Africa and Southeast Asia would be most affected.

    “We found regions where climate-tracking seed dispersal declined by 95%, even though they’d lost only a few percent of their mammal and bird species,” Fricke said.

    Fricke said seed-disperser declines highlight an important intersection of the climate and biodiversity crises.

    “Biodiversity of seed-dispersing animals is key for the climate resilience of plants, which includes their ability to continue storing carbon and feeding people,” he said.

    Ecosystem restoration to improve the connectivity of natural habitats can counteract some declines in seed dispersal, Fricke said.

    “Large mammals and birds are particularly important as long-distance seed dispersers and have been widely lost from natural ecosystems,” said Svenning, the study’s senior author, a professor and director at Aarhus University’s Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World. “The research highlights the need to restore faunas to ensure effective dispersal in the face of rapid climate change.”

    Fricke said, “When we lose mammals and birds from ecosystems, we don’t just lose species. Extinction and habitat loss damages complex ecological networks. This study shows animal declines can disrupt ecological networks in ways that threaten the climate resilience of entire ecosystems that people rely upon.”

    NSF’s Levey said, “Through SESYNC and other NSF investments, we are enabling ecologists to forecast what will happen to plants when their disperser ‘teammates’ drop out of the picture in the same way we predict outcomes of sports games.”

    The research was supported by NSF (1639145), the Villum Foundation (16549) and the Aarhus University Research Foundation (AUFF-F-2018-7-8).

    See the full article here .


    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings


    Stem Education Coalition

    Rice University (US) [formally William Marsh Rice University] is a private research university in Houston, Texas. It is situated on a 300-acre campus near the Houston Museum District and is adjacent to the Texas Medical Center.
    Opened in 1912 after the murder of its namesake William Marsh Rice, Rice is a research university with an undergraduate focus. Its emphasis on education is demonstrated by a small student body and 6:1 student-faculty ratio. The university has a very high level of research activity. Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing, space science, and nanotechnology. Rice has been a member of the Association of American Universities (US) since 1985 and is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”.
    The university is organized into eleven residential colleges and eight schools of academic study, including the Wiess School of Natural Sciences, the George R. Brown School of Engineering, the School of Social Sciences, School of Architecture, Shepherd School of Music and the School of Humanities. Rice’s undergraduate program offers more than fifty majors and two dozen minors, and allows a high level of flexibility in pursuing multiple degree programs. Additional graduate programs are offered through the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Business and the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies. Rice students are bound by the strict Honor Code, which is enforced by a student-run Honor Council.
    Rice competes in 14 NCAA Division I varsity sports and is a part of Conference USA, often competing with its cross-town rival the University of Houston. Intramural and club sports are offered in a wide variety of activities such as jiu jitsu, water polo, and crew.
    The university’s alumni include more than two dozen Marshall Scholars and a dozen Rhodes Scholars. Given the university’s close links to National Aeronautics Space Agency (US), it has produced a significant number of astronauts and space scientists. In business, Rice graduates include CEOs and founders of Fortune 500 companies; in politics, alumni include congressmen, cabinet secretaries, judges, and mayors. Two alumni have won the Nobel Prize.

    Background

    Rice University’s history began with the demise of Massachusetts businessman William Marsh Rice, who had made his fortune in real estate, railroad development and cotton trading in the state of Texas. In 1891, Rice decided to charter a free-tuition educational institute in Houston, bearing his name, to be created upon his death, earmarking most of his estate towards funding the project. Rice’s will specified the institution was to be “a competitive institution of the highest grade” and that only white students would be permitted to attend. On the morning of September 23, 1900, Rice, age 84, was found dead by his valet, Charles F. Jones, and was presumed to have died in his sleep. Shortly thereafter, a large check made out to Rice’s New York City lawyer, signed by the late Rice, aroused the suspicion of a bank teller, due to the misspelling of the recipient’s name. The lawyer, Albert T. Patrick, then announced that Rice had changed his will to leave the bulk of his fortune to Patrick, rather than to the creation of Rice’s educational institute. A subsequent investigation led by the District Attorney of New York resulted in the arrests of Patrick and of Rice’s butler and valet Charles F. Jones, who had been persuaded to administer chloroform to Rice while he slept. Rice’s friend and personal lawyer in Houston, Captain James A. Baker, aided in the discovery of what turned out to be a fake will with a forged signature. Jones was not prosecuted since he cooperated with the district attorney, and testified against Patrick. Patrick was found guilty of conspiring to steal Rice’s fortune and he was convicted of murder in 1901 (he was pardoned in 1912 due to conflicting medical testimony). Baker helped Rice’s estate direct the fortune, worth $4.6 million in 1904 ($131 million today), towards the founding of what was to be called the Rice Institute, later to become Rice University. The board took control of the assets on April 29 of that year.

    In 1907, the Board of Trustees selected the head of the Department of Mathematics and Astronomy at Princeton University, Edgar Odell Lovett, to head the Institute, which was still in the planning stages. He came recommended by Princeton University (US)‘s president, Woodrow Wilson. In 1908, Lovett accepted the challenge, and was formally inaugurated as the Institute’s first president on October 12, 1912. Lovett undertook extensive research before formalizing plans for the new Institute, including visits to 78 institutions of higher learning across the world on a long tour between 1908 and 1909. Lovett was impressed by such things as the aesthetic beauty of the uniformity of the architecture at the University of Pennsylvania, a theme which was adopted by the Institute, as well as the residential college system at Cambridge University in England, which was added to the Institute several decades later. Lovett called for the establishment of a university “of the highest grade,” “an institution of liberal and technical learning” devoted “quite as much to investigation as to instruction.” [We must] “keep the standards up and the numbers down,” declared Lovett. “The most distinguished teachers must take their part in undergraduate teaching, and their spirit should dominate it all.”
    Establishment and growth

    In 1911, the cornerstone was laid for the Institute’s first building, the Administration Building, now known as Lovett Hall in honor of the founding president. On September 23, 1912, the 12th anniversary of William Marsh Rice’s murder, the William Marsh Rice Institute for the Advancement of Letters, Science, and Art began course work with 59 enrolled students, who were known as the “59 immortals,” and about a dozen faculty. After 18 additional students joined later, Rice’s initial class numbered 77, 48 male and 29 female. Unusual for the time, Rice accepted coeducational admissions from its beginning, but on-campus housing would not become co-ed until 1957.

    Three weeks after opening, a spectacular international academic festival was held, bringing Rice to the attention of the entire academic world.

    Per William Marsh Rice’s will and Rice Institute’s initial charter, the students paid no tuition. Classes were difficult, however, and about half of Rice’s students had failed after the first 1912 term. At its first commencement ceremony, held on June 12, 1916, Rice awarded 35 bachelor’s degrees and one master’s degree. That year, the student body also voted to adopt the Honor System, which still exists today. Rice’s first doctorate was conferred in 1918 on mathematician Hubert Evelyn Bray.

    The Founder’s Memorial Statue, a bronze statue of a seated William Marsh Rice, holding the original plans for the campus, was dedicated in 1930, and installed in the central academic quad, facing Lovett Hall. The statue was crafted by John Angel. In 2020, Rice students petitioned the university to take down the statue due to the founder’s history as slave owner.

    During World War II, Rice Institute was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program, which offered students a path to a Navy commission.

    The residential college system proposed by President Lovett was adopted in 1958, with the East Hall residence becoming Baker College, South Hall residence becoming Will Rice College, West Hall becoming Hanszen College, and the temporary Wiess Hall becoming Wiess College.

    In 1959, the Rice Institute Computer went online. 1960 saw Rice Institute formally renamed William Marsh Rice University. Rice acted as a temporary intermediary in the transfer of land between Humble Oil and Refining Company and NASA, for the creation of NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center (now called Johnson Space Center) in 1962. President John F. Kennedy then made a speech at Rice Stadium reiterating that the United States intended to reach the moon before the end of the decade of the 1960s, and “to become the world’s leading space-faring nation”. The relationship of NASA with Rice University and the city of Houston has remained strong to the present day.

    The original charter of Rice Institute dictated that the university admit and educate, tuition-free, “the white inhabitants of Houston, and the state of Texas”. In 1963, the governing board of Rice University filed a lawsuit to allow the university to modify its charter to admit students of all races and to charge tuition. Ph.D. student Raymond Johnson became the first black Rice student when he was admitted that year. In 1964, Rice officially amended the university charter to desegregate its graduate and undergraduate divisions. The Trustees of Rice University prevailed in a lawsuit to void the racial language in the trust in 1966. Rice began charging tuition for the first time in 1965. In the same year, Rice launched a $33 million ($268 million) development campaign. $43 million ($283 million) was raised by its conclusion in 1970. In 1974, two new schools were founded at Rice, the Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management and the Shepherd School of Music. The Brown Foundation Challenge, a fund-raising program designed to encourage annual gifts, was launched in 1976 and ended in 1996 having raised $185 million. The Rice School of Social Sciences was founded in 1979.

    On-campus housing was exclusively for men for the first forty years, until 1957. Jones College was the first women’s residence on the Rice campus, followed by Brown College. According to legend, the women’s colleges were purposefully situated at the opposite end of campus from the existing men’s colleges as a way of preserving campus propriety, which was greatly valued by Edgar Odell Lovett, who did not even allow benches to be installed on campus, fearing that they “might lead to co-fraternization of the sexes”. The path linking the north colleges to the center of campus was given the tongue-in-cheek name of “Virgin’s Walk”. Individual colleges became coeducational between 1973 and 1987, with the single-sex floors of colleges that had them becoming co-ed by 2006. By then, several new residential colleges had been built on campus to handle the university’s growth, including Lovett College, Sid Richardson College, and Martel College.

    Late twentieth and early twenty-first century

    The Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations was held at Rice in 1990. Three years later, in 1993, the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy was created. In 1997, the Edythe Bates Old Grand Organ and Recital Hall and the Center for Nanoscale Science and Technology, renamed in 2005 for the late Nobel Prize winner and Rice professor Richard E. Smalley, were dedicated at Rice. In 1999, the Center for Biological and Environmental Nanotechnology was created. The Rice Owls baseball team was ranked #1 in the nation for the first time in that year (1999), holding the top spot for eight weeks.

    In 2003, the Owls won their first national championship in baseball, which was the first for the university in any team sport, beating Southwest Missouri State (US) in the opening game and then the University of Texas and Stanford University twice each en route to the title. In 2008, President David Leebron issued a ten-point plan titled “Vision for the Second Century” outlining plans to increase research funding, strengthen existing programs, and increase collaboration. The plan has brought about another wave of campus constructions, including the erection the newly renamed BioScience Research Collaborative building (intended to foster collaboration with the adjacent Texas Medical Center), a new recreational center and the renovated Autry Court basketball stadium, and the addition of two new residential colleges, Duncan College and McMurtry College.

    Beginning in late 2008, the university considered a merger with Baylor College of Medicine, though the merger was ultimately rejected in 2010. Rice undergraduates are currently guaranteed admission to Baylor College of Medicine upon graduation as part of the Rice/Baylor Medical Scholars program. According to History Professor John Boles’ recent book University Builder: Edgar Odell Lovett and the Founding of the Rice Institute, the first president’s original vision for the university included hopes for future medical and law schools.

    In 2018, the university added an online MBA program, MBA@Rice.

    In June 2019, the university’s president announced plans for a task force on Rice’s “past in relation to slave history and racial injustice”, stating that “Rice has some historical connections to that terrible part of American history and the segregation and racial disparities that resulted directly from it”.

    Campus

    Rice’s campus is a heavily wooded 285-acre (115-hectare) tract of land in the museum district of Houston, located close to the city of West University Place.

    Five streets demarcate the campus: Greenbriar Street, Rice Boulevard, Sunset Boulevard, Main Street, and University Boulevard. For most of its history, all of Rice’s buildings have been contained within this “outer loop”. In recent years, new facilities have been built close to campus, but the bulk of administrative, academic, and residential buildings are still located within the original pentagonal plot of land. The new Collaborative Research Center, all graduate student housing, the Greenbriar building, and the Wiess President’s House are located off-campus.

    Rice prides itself on the amount of green space available on campus; there are only about 50 buildings spread between the main entrance at its easternmost corner, and the parking lots and Rice Stadium at the West end. The Lynn R. Lowrey Arboretum, consisting of more than 4000 trees and shrubs (giving birth to the legend that Rice has a tree for every student), is spread throughout the campus.
    The university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett, intended for the campus to have a uniform architecture style to improve its aesthetic appeal. To that end, nearly every building on campus is noticeably Byzantine in style, with sand and pink-colored bricks, large archways and columns being a common theme among many campus buildings. Noteworthy exceptions include the glass-walled Brochstein Pavilion, Lovett College with its Brutalist-style concrete gratings, Moody Center for the Arts with its contemporary design, and the eclectic-Mediterranean Duncan Hall. In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed Rice’s campus as one of the most beautiful in the United States.

    The university and Houston Independent School District jointly established The Rice School-a kindergarten through 8th grade public magnet school in Houston. The school opened in August 1994. Through Cy-Fair ISD Rice University offers a credit course based summer school for grades 8 through 12. They also have skills based classes during the summer in the Rice Summer School.

    Innovation District

    In early 2019 Rice announced the site where the abandoned Sears building in Midtown Houston stood along with its surrounding area would be transformed into the “The Ion” the hub of the 16-acre South Main Innovation District. President of Rice David Leebron stated “We chose the name Ion because it’s from the Greek ienai, which means ‘go’. We see it as embodying the ever-forward motion of discovery, the spark at the center of a truly original idea.”

    Students of Rice and other Houston-area colleges and universities making up the Student Coalition for a Just and Equitable Innovation Corridor are advocating for a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA)-a contractual agreement between a developer and a community coalition. Residents of neighboring Third Ward and other members of the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development Without Displacement (HCEDD) have faced consistent opposition from the City of Houston and Rice Management Company to a CBA as traditionally defined in favor of an agreement between the latter two entities without a community coalition signatory.

    Organization

    Rice University is chartered as a non-profit organization and is governed by a privately appointed board of trustees. The board consists of a maximum of 25 voting members who serve four-year terms. The trustees serve without compensation and a simple majority of trustees must reside in Texas including at least four within the greater Houston area. The board of trustees delegates its power by appointing a president to serve as the chief executive of the university. David W. Leebron was appointed president in 2004 and succeeded Malcolm Gillis who served since 1993. The provost six vice presidents and other university officials report to the president. The president is advised by a University Council composed of the provost, eight members of the Faculty Council, two staff members, one graduate student, and two undergraduate students. The president presides over a Faculty Council which has the authority to alter curricular requirements, establish new degree programs, and approve candidates for degrees.

    The university’s academics are organized into several schools. Schools that have undergraduate and graduate programs include:

    The Rice University School of Architecture
    The George R. Brown School of Engineering
    The School of Humanities
    The Shepherd School of Music
    The Wiess School of Natural Sciences
    The Rice University School of Social Sciences

    Two schools have only graduate programs:

    The Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of Management
    The Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies

    Rice’s undergraduate students benefit from a centralized admissions process which admits new students to the university as a whole, rather than a specific school (the schools of Music and Architecture are decentralized). Students are encouraged to select the major path that best suits their desires; a student can later decide that they would rather pursue study in another field or continue their current coursework and add a second or third major. These transitions are designed to be simple at Rice with students not required to decide on a specific major until their sophomore year of study.

    Rice’s academics are organized into six schools which offer courses of study at the graduate and undergraduate level, with two more being primarily focused on graduate education, while offering select opportunities for undergraduate students. Rice offers 360 degrees in over 60 departments. There are 40 undergraduate degree programs, 51 masters programs, and 29 doctoral programs.

    Faculty members of each of the departments elect chairs to represent the department to each School’s dean and the deans report to the Provost who serves as the chief officer for academic affairs.

    Rice Management Company

    The Rice Management Company manages the $6.5 billion Rice University endowment (June 2019) and $957 million debt. The endowment provides 40% of Rice’s operating revenues. Allison Thacker is the President and Chief Investment Officer of the Rice Management Company, having joined the university in 2011.

    Academics

    Rice is a medium-sized highly residential research university. The majority of enrollments are in the full-time four-year undergraduate program emphasizing arts & sciences and professions. There is a high graduate coexistence with the comprehensive graduate program and a very high level of research activity. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (US) as well as the professional accreditation agencies for engineering, management, and architecture.

    Each of Rice’s departments is organized into one of three distribution groups, and students whose major lies within the scope of one group must take at least 3 courses of at least 3 credit hours each of approved distribution classes in each of the other two groups, as well as completing one physical education course as part of the LPAP (Lifetime Physical Activity Program) requirement. All new students must take a Freshman Writing Intensive Seminar (FWIS) class, and for students who do not pass the university’s writing composition examination (administered during the summer before matriculation), FWIS 100, a writing class, becomes an additional requirement.

    The majority of Rice’s undergraduate degree programs grant B.S. or B.A. degrees. Rice has recently begun to offer minors in areas such as business, energy and water sustainability, and global health.

    Student body

    As of fall 2014, men make up 52% of the undergraduate body and 64% of the professional and post-graduate student body. The student body consists of students from all 50 states, including the District of Columbia, two U.S. Territories, and 83 foreign countries. Forty percent of degree-seeking students are from Texas.

    Research centers and resources

    Rice is noted for its applied science programs in the fields of nanotechnology, artificial heart research, structural chemical analysis, signal processing and space science.

    Rice Alliance for Technology and Entrepreneurship – supports entrepreneurs and early-stage technology ventures in Houston and Texas through education, collaboration, and research, ranked No. 1 among university business incubators.
    Baker Institute for Public Policy – a leading nonpartisan public policy think-tank
    BioScience Research Collaborative (BRC) – interdisciplinary, cross-campus, and inter-institutional resource between Rice University and Texas Medical Center
    Boniuk Institute – dedicated to religious tolerance and advancing religious literacy, respect and mutual understanding
    Center for African and African American Studies – fosters conversations on topics such as critical approaches to race and racism, the nature of diasporic histories and identities, and the complexity of Africa’s past, present and future
    Chao Center for Asian Studies – research hub for faculty, students and post-doctoral scholars working in Asian studies
    Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (CSWGS) – interdisciplinary academic programs and research opportunities, including the journal Feminist Economics
    Data to Knowledge Lab (D2K) – campus hub for experiential learning in data science
    Digital Signal Processing (DSP) – center for education and research in the field of digital signal processing
    Ethernest Hackerspace – student-run hackerspace for undergraduate engineering students sponsored by the ECE department and the IEEE student chapter
    Humanities Research Center (HRC) – identifies, encourages, and funds innovative research projects by faculty, visiting scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in the School of Humanities and beyond
    Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) – facilitates the translation of interdisciplinary research and education in biosciences and bioengineering
    Ken Kennedy Institute for Information Technology – advances applied interdisciplinary research in the areas of computation and information technology
    Kinder Institute for Urban Research – conducts the Houston Area Survey, “the nation’s longest running study of any metropolitan region’s economy, population, life experiences, beliefs and attitudes”
    Laboratory for Nanophotonics (LANP) – a resource for education and research breakthroughs and advances in the broad, multidisciplinary field of nanophotonics
    Moody Center for the Arts – experimental arts space featuring studio classrooms, maker space, audiovisual editing booths, and a gallery and office space for visiting national and international artists
    OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions) and OpenStax – an open source platform and open access publisher, respectively, of open educational resources
    Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK) – space for undergraduate students to design, prototype and deploy solutions to real-world engineering challenges
    Rice Cinema – an independent theater run by the Visual and Dramatic Arts department at Rice which screens documentaries, foreign films, and experimental cinema and hosts film festivals and lectures since 1970
    Rice Center for Engineering Leadership (RCEL) – inspires, educates, and develops ethical leaders in technology who will excel in research, industry, non-engineering career paths, or entrepreneurship
    Religion and Public Life Program (RPLP) – a research, training and outreach program working to advance understandings of the role of religion in public life
    Rice Design Alliance (RDA) – outreach and public programs of the Rice School of Architecture
    Rice Center for Quantum Materials (RCQM) – organization dedicated to research and higher education in areas relating to quantum phenomena
    Rice Neuroengineering Initiative (NEI) – fosters research collaborations in neural engineering topics
    Rice Space Institute (RSI) – fosters programs in all areas of space research
    Smalley-Curl Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (SCI) – the nation’s first nanotechnology center
    Welch Institute for Advanced Materials – collaborative research institute to support the foundational research for discoveries in materials science, similar to the model of Salk Institute and Broad Institute
    Woodson Research Center Special Collections & Archives – publisher of print and web-based materials highlighting the department’s primary source collections such as the Houston African American, Asian American, and Jewish History Archives, University Archives, rare books, and hip hop/rap music-related materials from the Swishahouse record label and Houston Folk Music Archive, etc.

    Residential colleges

    In 1957, Rice University implemented a residential college system, which was proposed by the university’s first president, Edgar Odell Lovett. The system was inspired by existing systems in place at University of Oxford (UK) and University of Cambridge (UK) and at several other universities in the United States, most notably Yale University (US). The existing residences known as East, South, West, and Wiess Halls became Baker, Will Rice, Hanszen, and Wiess Colleges, respectively.

    Student-run media

    Rice has a weekly student newspaper (The Rice Thresher), a yearbook (The Campanile), college radio station (KTRU Rice Radio), and now defunct, campus-wide student television station (RTV5). They are based out of the RMC student center. In addition, Rice hosts several student magazines dedicated to a range of different topics; in fact, the spring semester of 2008 saw the birth of two such magazines, a literary sex journal called Open and an undergraduate science research magazine entitled Catalyst.

    The Rice Thresher is published every Wednesday and is ranked by Princeton Review as one of the top campus newspapers nationally for student readership. It is distributed around campus, and at a few other local businesses and has a website. The Thresher has a small, dedicated staff and is known for its coverage of campus news, open submission opinion page, and the satirical Backpage, which has often been the center of controversy. The newspaper has won several awards from the College Media Association, Associated Collegiate Press and Texas Intercollegiate Press Association.

    The Rice Campanile was first published in 1916 celebrating Rice’s first graduating class. It has published continuously since then, publishing two volumes in 1944 since the university had two graduating classes due to World War II. The website was created sometime in the early to mid 2000s. The 2015 won the first place Pinnacle for best yearbook from College Media Association.

    KTRU Rice Radio is the student-run radio station. Though most DJs are Rice students, anyone is allowed to apply. It is known for playing genres and artists of music and sound unavailable on other radio stations in Houston, and often, the US. The station takes requests over the phone or online. In 2000 and 2006, KTRU won Houston Press’ Best Radio Station in Houston. In 2003, Rice alum and active KTRU DJ DL’s hip-hip show won Houston PressBest Hip-hop Radio Show. On August 17, 2010, it was announced that Rice University had been in negotiations to sell the station’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license to the University of Houston System to become a full-time classical music and fine arts programming station. The new station, KUHA, would be operated as a not-for-profit outlet with listener supporters. The FCC approved the sale and granted the transfer of license to the University of Houston System on April 15, 2011, however, KUHA proved to be an even larger failure and so after four and a half years of operation, The University of Houston System announced that KUHA’s broadcast tower, FM frequency and license were once again up for sale in August 2015. KTRU continued to operate much as it did previously, streaming live on the Internet, via apps, and on HD2 radio using the 90.1 signal. Under student leadership, KTRU explored the possibility of returning to FM radio for a number of years. In spring 2015, KTRU was granted permission by the FCC to begin development of a new broadcast signal via LPFM radio. On October 1, 2015, KTRU made its official return to FM radio on the 96.1 signal. While broadcasting on HD2 radio has been discontinued, KTRU continues to broadcast via internet in addition to its LPFM signal.

    RTV5 is a student-run television network available as channel 5 on campus. RTV5 was created initially as Rice Broadcast Television in 1997; RBT began to broadcast the following year in 1998, and aired its first live show across campus in 1999. It experienced much growth and exposure over the years with successful programs like Drinking with Phil, The Meg & Maggie Show, which was a variety and call-in show, a weekly news show, and extensive live coverage in December 2000 of the shut down of KTRU by the administration. In spring 2001, the Rice undergraduate community voted in the general elections to support RBT as a blanket tax organization, effectively providing a yearly income of $10,000 to purchase new equipment and provide the campus with a variety of new programming. In the spring of 2005, RBT members decided the station needed a new image and a new name: Rice Television 5. One of RTV5’s most popular shows was the 24-hour show, where a camera and couch placed in the RMC stayed on air for 24 hours. One such show is held in fall and another in spring, usually during a weekend allocated for visits by prospective students. RTV5 has a video on demand site at rtv5.rice.edu. The station went off the air in 2014 and changed its name to Rice Video Productions. In 2015 the group’s funding was threatened, but ultimately maintained. In 2016 the small student staff requested to no longer be a blanket-tax organization. In the fall of 2017, the club did not register as a club.

    The Rice Review, also known as R2, is a yearly student-run literary journal at Rice University that publishes prose, poetry, and creative nonfiction written by undergraduate students, as well as interviews. The journal was founded in 2004 by creative writing professor and author Justin Cronin.

    The Rice Standard was an independent, student-run variety magazine modeled after such publications as The New Yorker and Harper’s. Prior to fall 2009, it was regularly published three times a semester with a wide array of content, running from analyses of current events and philosophical pieces to personal essays, short fiction and poetry. In August 2009, The Standard transitioned to a completely online format with the launch of their redesigned website, http://www.ricestandard.org. The first website of its kind on Rice’s campus, The Standard featured blog-style content written by and for Rice students. The Rice Standard had around 20 regular contributors, and the site features new content every day (including holidays). In 2017 no one registered The Rice Standard as a club within the university.

    Open, a magazine dedicated to “literary sex content,” predictably caused a stir on campus with its initial publication in spring 2008. A mixture of essays, editorials, stories and artistic photography brought Open attention both on campus and in the Houston Chronicle. The third and last annual edition of Open was released in spring of 2010.

    Athletics

    Rice plays in NCAA Division I athletics and is part of Conference USA. Rice was a member of the Western Athletic Conference before joining Conference USA in 2005. Rice is the second-smallest school, measured by undergraduate enrollment, competing in NCAA Division I FBS football, only ahead of Tulsa.

    The Rice baseball team won the 2003 College World Series, defeating Stanford, giving Rice its only national championship in a team sport. The victory made Rice University the smallest school in 51 years to win a national championship at the highest collegiate level of the sport. The Rice baseball team has played on campus at Reckling Park since the 2000 season. As of 2010, the baseball team has won 14 consecutive conference championships in three different conferences: the final championship of the defunct Southwest Conference, all nine championships while a member of the Western Athletic Conference, and five more championships in its first five years as a member of Conference USA. Additionally, Rice’s baseball team has finished third in both the 2006 and 2007 College World Series tournaments. Rice now has made six trips to Omaha for the CWS. In 2004, Rice became the first school ever to have three players selected in the first eight picks of the MLB draft when Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Townsend were selected third, fourth, and eighth, respectively. In 2007, Joe Savery was selected as the 19th overall pick.

    Rice has been very successful in women’s sports in recent years. In 2004–05, Rice sent its women’s volleyball, soccer, and basketball teams to their respective NCAA tournaments. The women’s swim team has consistently brought at least one member of their team to the NCAA championships since 2013. In 2005–06, the women’s soccer, basketball, and tennis teams advanced, with five individuals competing in track and field. In 2006–07, the Rice women’s basketball team made the NCAA tournament, while again five Rice track and field athletes received individual NCAA berths. In 2008, the women’s volleyball team again made the NCAA tournament. In 2011 the Women’s Swim team won their first conference championship in the history of the university. This was an impressive feat considering they won without having a diving team. The team repeated their C-USA success in 2013 and 2014. In 2017, the women’s basketball team, led by second-year head coach Tina Langley, won the Women’s Basketball Invitational, defeating UNC-Greensboro 74–62 in the championship game at Tudor Fieldhouse. Though not a varsity sport, Rice’s ultimate frisbee women’s team, named Torque, won consecutive Division III national championships in 2014 and 2015.

    In 2006, the football team qualified for its first bowl game since 1961, ending the second-longest bowl drought in the country at the time. On December 22, 2006, Rice played in the New Orleans Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana against the Sun Belt Conference champion, Troy. The Owls lost 41–17. The bowl appearance came after Rice had a 14-game losing streak from 2004–05 and went 1–10 in 2005. The streak followed an internally authorized 2003 McKinsey report that stated football alone was responsible for a $4 million deficit in 2002. Tensions remained high between the athletic department and faculty, as a few professors who chose to voice their opinion were in favor of abandoning the football program. The program success in 2006, the Rice Renaissance, proved to be a revival of the Owl football program, quelling those tensions. David Bailiff took over the program in 2007 and has remained head coach. Jarett Dillard set an NCAA record in 2006 by catching a touchdown pass in 13 consecutive games and took a 15-game overall streak into the 2007 season.

    In 2008, the football team posted a 9-3 regular season, capping off the year with a 38–14 victory over Western Michigan University (US) in the Texas Bowl. The win over Western Michigan marked the Owls’ first bowl win in 45 years.

    Rice Stadium also serves as the performance venue for the university’s Marching Owl Band, or “MOB.” Despite its name, the MOB is a scatter band that focuses on performing humorous skits and routines rather than traditional formation marching.

    Rice Owls men’s basketball won 10 conference titles in the former Southwest Conference (1918, 1935*, 1940, 1942*, 1943*, 1944*, 1945, 1949*, 1954*, 1970; * denotes shared title). Most recently, guard Morris Almond was drafted in the first round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. Rice named former Cal Bears head coach Ben Braun as head basketball coach to succeed Willis Wilson, fired after Rice finished the 2007–2008 season with a winless (0-16) conference record and overall record of 3-27.

     
  • richardmitnick 7:16 pm on January 15, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Invasive Plants and Climate Change Will Alter Desert Landscapes", , , Earth Observation, , , Invasive buffelgrass weathers higher temperatures and drought conditions better than its native brethren.,   

    From The University of Arizona (US) via Eos : “Invasive Plants and Climate Change Will Alter Desert Landscapes” 

    From The University of Arizona (US)

    via

    AGU
    Eos news bloc

    Eos

    13 January 2022
    Katherine Kornei

    In experiments conducted in Biosphere 2 at The University of Arizona (US), invasive buffelgrass weathers higher temperatures and drought conditions better than its native brethren.

    1
    In Arizona’s Saguaro National Park, volunteers remove buffelgrass, an invasive species, from the desert ecosystem. Credit: National Park Service (US).

    The towering saguaro cactus may be the icon of the American Southwest, but an invasive plant is steadily encroaching into desert ecosystems. The interloper, a knee-high species of grass known as buffelgrass, will likely become even more of a presence in arid landscapes in the future, new research has revealed. That’s because buffelgrass weathers increased temperatures and drought conditions—two hallmarks of climate change—more readily than its native brethren. According to the researchers, arid environments are slated to experience pronounced changes in vegetation in the coming decades, a shift that will have far-reaching implications not only for desert ecosystems themselves but also for human-built infrastructures.

    Guaranteed from the Start

    Buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare) was first introduced to North America from Africa in the 1930s. The tough grass was originally intended as food for foraging cattle. Like other plants such as kudzu that have thrived in their nonnative environments, buffelgrass’s biological success was just about guaranteed from the start: Its seedlings survive at high rates, it can rapidly colonize bare soil, it makes efficient use of water, and it’s capable of tolerating extreme drought.

    Today buffelgrass is a common sight in the vast Sonoran Desert, which spans the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. But it’s an unwelcome guest—buffelgrass has been labeled a “noxious weed” by the Arizona Department of Agriculture, and the National Park Service regularly hosts “buffelgrass pulls.”

    “It invades deserts and crowds out native plants,” said Perry Grissom, a restoration ecologist at Saguaro National Park in Tucson who was not involved in the research and who has led many buffelgrass pulls. “It’s better adapted to our desert than our plants that are endemic.”

    Biodiversity to Monoculture

    Buffelgrass’s bad reputation is well earned, said Sujith Ravi, an environmental scientist at Temple University (US), lead author of the study. It slashes ecosystem biodiversity by outcompeting native grasses, leading to landscapes that are veritable monocultures, he said. “Whereas there used to be a mixture of different communities, now it’s more of a single-community landscape.”

    That’s bad news, because biodiversity has been shown to make ecosystems more stable and resilient to potentially adverse changes. And when an inevitable “crash” occurs—when essentially all vegetation dies off for a period of time—the soil that’s exposed is readily eroded by wind and water. “There’s an irreversible loss of resources from the system,” explained Ravi. Furthermore, when buffelgrass thrives, the thick vegetation facilitates the spread of fire in an otherwise patchy landscape, and larger fires are more likely to affect human-built infrastructure.

    With climate models predicting increasing temperatures and more frequent droughts in arid landscapes, an open question is how well buffelgrass will fare in the future compared with native plants. Several years ago, Ravi and his colleagues began an experimental investigation of buffelgrass and its native counterpart, tanglehead (Heteropogon contortus), in the glass-walled Biosphere 2 research facility in southern Arizona.

    A Harbinger of the Future

    Biosphere 2 is an ideal laboratory for studying the effects of climate change because it can be tuned to create different environmental conditions. The facility, which tops 3 acres, reproduces several of the planet’s major biomes—including the ocean, wetlands, rain forest, savannah, and desert. “It’s like a field experiment because it’s so huge,” said Ravi.

    The team grew hundreds of buffelgrass and tanglehead plants and divided them between Biosphere 2’s savannah biome, maintained at ambient conditions, and its desert biome, which is warmed by roughly 5°C. The idea was to repeat the experiments in two conditions to mimic the effects of climate change, said Ravi.

    After watering the plants regularly for a few months, the researchers then withheld irrigation from half of the plants for several months, effectively exposing them to drought-like conditions. The water-starved grasses responded as they would in nature: They went dormant. The team accordingly irrigated the plants again the following spring before finally quantifying what fraction of grasses of each species, exposed to each set of temperature and moisture conditions, survived.

    Ravi and his colleagues found that grasses of both species rallied after experiencing drought-like conditions at ambient temperatures. But the combination of warmer temperatures and lack of moisture killed 100% of the native tanglehead plants compared with only roughly 80% of the invasive buffelgrass plants. That’s a significant difference in mortality, said Ravi. “If something is going to come back, it’s going to be the invasive grass.”

    This finding wasn’t wholly unexpected given the nature of buffelgrass, said Grissom. “After seeing how it behaves, I’m not surprised. It’s really tough.”

    These results are a harbinger of what’s to come in arid regions, the researchers suggested. Drought- and heat-adapted invasive plants like buffelgrass will increasingly gain a toehold, at the expense of native species. Climate change and biological invasions work in tandem to alter desert landscapes for the worse, said Ravi. “They can synergistically act to drive landscapes into degradation.”

    See the full article here .

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    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.

    As of 2019, the The University of Arizona (US) enrolled 45,918 students in 19 separate colleges/schools, including The University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson and Phoenix and the James E. Rogers College of Law, and is affiliated with two academic medical centers (Banner – University Medical Center Tucson and Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix). The University of Arizona is one of three universities governed by the Arizona Board of Regents. The university is part of the Association of American Universities and is the only member from Arizona, and also part of the Universities Research Association(US). The university is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very High Research Activity”.

    Known as the Arizona Wildcats (often shortened to “Cats”), The University of Arizona’s intercollegiate athletic teams are members of the Pac-12 Conference of the NCAA. The University of Arizona athletes have won national titles in several sports, most notably men’s basketball, baseball, and softball. The official colors of the university and its athletic teams are cardinal red and navy blue.

    After the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act of 1862, the push for a university in Arizona grew. The Arizona Territory’s “Thieving Thirteenth” Legislature approved The University of Arizona in 1885 and selected the city of Tucson to receive the appropriation to build the university. Tucson hoped to receive the appropriation for the territory’s mental hospital, which carried a $100,000 allocation instead of the $25,000 allotted to the territory’s only university (Arizona State University(US) was also chartered in 1885, but it was created as Arizona’s normal school, and not a university). Flooding on the Salt River delayed Tucson’s legislators, and by they time they reached Prescott, back-room deals allocating the most desirable territorial institutions had been made. Tucson was largely disappointed with receiving what was viewed as an inferior prize.

    With no parties willing to provide land for the new institution, the citizens of Tucson prepared to return the money to the Territorial Legislature until two gamblers and a saloon keeper decided to donate the land to build the school. Construction of Old Main, the first building on campus, began on October 27, 1887, and classes met for the first time in 1891 with 32 students in Old Main, which is still in use today. Because there were no high schools in Arizona Territory, the university maintained separate preparatory classes for the first 23 years of operation.

    Research

    The University of Arizona is classified among “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity”. UArizona is the fourth most awarded public university by National Aeronautics and Space Administration(US) for research. The University of Arizona was awarded over $325 million for its Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) to lead NASA’s 2007–08 mission to Mars to explore the Martian Arctic, and $800 million for its OSIRIS-REx mission, the first in U.S. history to sample an asteroid.

    The LPL’s work in the Cassini spacecraft orbit around Saturn is larger than any other university globally. The University of Arizona laboratory designed and operated the atmospheric radiation investigations and imaging on the probe. The University of Arizona operates the HiRISE camera, a part of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. While using the HiRISE camera in 2011, University of Arizona alumnus Lujendra Ojha and his team discovered proof of liquid water on the surface of Mars—a discovery confirmed by NASA in 2015. The University of Arizona receives more NASA grants annually than the next nine top NASA/JPL-Caltech(US)-funded universities combined. As of March 2016, The University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory is actively involved in ten spacecraft missions: Cassini VIMS; Grail; the HiRISE camera orbiting Mars; the Juno mission orbiting Jupiter; Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO); Maven, which will explore Mars’ upper atmosphere and interactions with the sun; Solar Probe Plus, a historic mission into the Sun’s atmosphere for the first time; Rosetta’s VIRTIS; WISE; and OSIRIS-REx, the first U.S. sample-return mission to a near-earth asteroid, which launched on September 8, 2016.

    The University of Arizona students have been selected as Truman, Rhodes, Goldwater, and Fulbright Scholars. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UArizona is among the top 25 producers of Fulbright awards in the U.S.

    The University of Arizona is a member of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy(US), a consortium of institutions pursuing research in astronomy. The association operates observatories and telescopes, notably Kitt Peak National Observatory(US) just outside Tucson. Led by Roger Angel, researchers in the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab at The University of Arizona are working in concert to build the world’s most advanced telescope. Known as the Giant Magellan Telescope(CL), it will produce images 10 times sharper than those from the Earth-orbiting Hubble Telescope.

    GMT Giant Magellan Telescope(CL) 21 meters, to be at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s(US) NOIRLab(US) NOAO(US) Las Campanas Observatory(CL), some 115 km (71 mi) north-northeast of La Serena, Chile, over 2,500 m (8,200 ft) high.

    The telescope is set to be completed in 2021. GMT will ultimately cost $1 billion. Researchers from at least nine institutions are working to secure the funding for the project. The telescope will include seven 18-ton mirrors capable of providing clear images of volcanoes and riverbeds on Mars and mountains on the moon at a rate 40 times faster than the world’s current large telescopes. The mirrors of the Giant Magellan Telescope will be built at The University of Arizona and transported to a permanent mountaintop site in the Chilean Andes where the telescope will be constructed.

    Reaching Mars in March 2006, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter contained the HiRISE camera, with Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen as the lead on the project. This National Aeronautics and Space Agency (US) mission to Mars carrying the UArizona-designed camera is capturing the highest-resolution images of the planet ever seen. The journey of the orbiter was 300 million miles. In August 2007, The University of Arizona, under the charge of Scientist Peter Smith, led the Phoenix Mars Mission, the first mission completely controlled by a university. Reaching the planet’s surface in May 2008, the mission’s purpose was to improve knowledge of the Martian Arctic. The Arizona Radio Observatory(US), a part of The University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Steward Observatory(US), operates the Submillimeter Telescope on Mount Graham.

    The National Science Foundation(US) funded the iPlant Collaborative in 2008 with a $50 million grant. In 2013, iPlant Collaborative received a $50 million renewal grant. Rebranded in late 2015 as “CyVerse”, the collaborative cloud-based data management platform is moving beyond life sciences to provide cloud-computing access across all scientific disciplines.

    In June 2011, the university announced it would assume full ownership of the Biosphere 2 scientific research facility in Oracle, Arizona, north of Tucson, effective July 1. Biosphere 2 was constructed by private developers (funded mainly by Texas businessman and philanthropist Ed Bass) with its first closed system experiment commencing in 1991. The university had been the official management partner of the facility for research purposes since 2007.

    U Arizona mirror lab-Where else in the world can you find an astronomical observatory mirror lab under a football stadium?

    University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2, located in the Sonoran desert. An entire ecosystem under a glass dome? Visit our campus, just once, and you’ll quickly understand why The University of Arizona is a university unlike any other.

    University of Arizona Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2.

     
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