A "web-log" of all things geologic....

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December 27, 2000

Speaking of global warming, here's an article from ScienceDaily discussing recent research on methane seeps and gas hydrates in the Gulf of Mexico. Warming of the oceans could melt icy gas hydrates and release significant quantities of methane into the atmosphere. As methane is a strong green-house gas, a substantial release of this gas into the atmosphere could potentially contribute to global warming.
From Science Daily: Scientists Track Phosphate To Better Understand Global Warming. One tends to hear more about carbon and its relationship to global warming rather than phosphate. Check out this article for an interesting perspective on the phosphorous cycle and biogeochemical research.

December 25, 2000

From the BBC: Asteroid misses Earth by whisker - a "whisker" that is twice the distance between the Earth and the Moon. Pretty close in astronomical terms. Apparently, the crater would have been 3/4 of a mile across had the impact occurred.

December 21, 2000

From the San Francisco Chronicle: Space Object That Killed Dinosaurs Broke Through Earths Crust. There are some pretty good impact scenarios described in this article.

December 18, 2000

From Geotimes: an interesting essay on Evolution and Faith.
Popo Cam
Keep an eye on the ongoing activity at Popocatépetl Volcano, located just southeast of Mexico City. Popocatépetl, whose name translates as "Smoking Mountain", has been active since 1994 but activity has increased significantly in the past week. Ash and steam emissions, Vulcanian eruptions, and the appearance of a new lava dome have prompted authorities to issue new evacuations and increased alert levels. Keep informed at the Popocatépetl Volcano Observatory - mostly in Spanish, with an daily summary of events in English.

December 17, 2000

Reuters news from the AGU meeting in San Francisco: Scientists Drill for Clues to Dinosaur Extinction. Seems that someone's finally getting serious about sinking a deep scientific drillhole into the Chicxulub crater on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Too bad the drilling starts in June, after the spring semester ends. Still, it's further evidence that T Rex and the Crater of Doom is timely reading. By the way, check out Walter Alvarez's bio if you haven't already. Note the honorary citizenship in two Italian towns - not bad.

December 15, 2000

From Eureka Alert: Geologist suggests water may reside as ice deep in planets' interior How so? Through subduction my friend, through subduction....
From the Electronic Telegraph: Nasa convinced of life on Mars. Are you? Check out this article and the associated links. See also the BBC report on this subject.

December 14, 2000

From Scientific American: Three New Planets. Its amazing the rate at which these are being discovered. Already 46 "extra-solar" planets are known from northern hemisphere observations. Now the number is up to 49.

December 12, 2000

From E-commerce: friend or foe of the environment? "It's unlikely e-commerce will save the planet as some have claimed," says Bette Fishbein, a senior fellow at Inform, an environmental research organization in New York City. "There might be some reductions in energy use, but there's a huge increase in packaging and shipping by air results in much more air pollution. Office paper use has doubled since the wide-spread use of computers so much for the promise of the paperless office."

Indeed. Still, it seems to me that society can figure out a way to at least cut-back on the excessive packaging. That would certainly help the environment. Post a comment here to let me know what you think (or that you have at least read this post). Thanks.

December 11, 2000

More interesting news from ScienceDaily Magazine. "Probing the microscopic life found in the submerged recesses of an abandoned Wisconsin lead and zinc mine, scientists have found compelling evidence that microorganisms play a key role in the formation of mineral deposits. The finding not only sheds light on biology's role in the formation of some metal ores, but could help jump-start new remediation efforts for contaminated mining sites." This research finding seems quite significant to me. Check out discovery may jump-start mine remediation efforts for more info on this interesting topic.
From Yahoo News: NASA: Satellite Odds of Hitting Someone 250-1. That seems like pretty good odds to me! Talk about ruining your whole day....
From ScienceDaily Magazine. Here's another article on the recent research suggesting that Earth's continental land masses were created in short, fast bursts. You might check out my earlier post regarding this research.
Ever wonder what a 3 foot rise in sea level would do? The Washington Post has an interesting article with some fairly scary figures. See WHAT ON EARTH? Rising Waters.

December 08, 2000

Curious about my research profile? Here's what I recently put together for the WKU Department of Geography and Geology website.

"Dr. Fredrick D. Siewers is a sedimentary geologist with expertise in carbonate sedimentology, stratigraphy and invertebrate paleontology. He received his Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Illinois where he worked on the origin and stratigraphic significance of discontinuity surfaces (hardgrounds and paleokarst surfaces) in Middle Ordovician limestones of Nevada. He has a wide range of interests in geoscience research, including instructional technology. In 1997 while teaching at Rock Valley College, Rockford, Illinois, he founded and co-administered the Rock Valley EdNet, an educational intranet and on-line learning community. Since joining the Department of Geography-Geology in 1998, Dr. Siewers has worked on the origin of "coal-ball" concretions in Pennsylvanian coal seams and the preservation of plant remains in those concretions. Dr. Siewers enjoys working with students and colleagues on research projects and is always looking for new students and colleagues to collaborate with. He has extensive experience in field geology as well as a variety of laboratory techniques, including sedimentary petrography, cathodoluminscence microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and geochemical microanalysis. He is actively involved in geoscience education, both regionally and nationally, and enjoys maintaining a "web-log" of noteworthy happenings in geology. He is an associate of the WKU Center for Biodiversity Studies and is the secretary and treasurer of the WKU Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. Additionally, he is the secretary of the Geology Section of the Kentucky Academy of Science. Feel free to contact Dr. Siewers via e-mail or phone (270-745-5988)."

December 07, 2000

Everyday numerous places on our planet experience an earthquake. Several have hit today, including a mild earthquake in southern Indiana. Other quakes include a strong earthquake in Turkmenistan, a quake that apparently was felt in Moscow, some 1,200 miles away. For more information on the Indiana quake, check out this info from the Indiana University PEPP Earthquake Institute.
From Scientific American - an interesting article on Building Earths Continental Crust. To quote from the article "according to this model, granite intrusions in Greenland (above) or the Canadian Shield, depending on their size, would have taken only thousands of years to form--which is extraordinarily fast from a geological point of view...." Check it out.

December 06, 2000

From the New York Times: U.S. Students Fail to Keep Up in Global Science and Math Tests. I found this to be an interesting if somewhat distressing article. Apparently we're doing great at the 4th grade level, but by 8th grade we are lagging behind in math and science education. 25% of Americans aren't getting any physics in high school. Who knows what the percentage would be for Earth Science (despite the fact that the international exam tests for Earth Science knowledge). There certainly is room for improvement.

December 03, 2000

An early cosmic wallop for life on Earth? This article from Science News discusses some recent research on the potential connection between astronomical events and the origin of life on Earth. Check it out and post your thoughts.

December 02, 2000

I've added a search engine to this site, one that is powered by I'm hoping the search engine will enable you to readily look for geologic information posted on this site. Give the search engine a try, and let me know what you think (by clicking the "Comment" button).