- May 4: The final exam is now available. Please follow instructions and submit your results by the deadline.
- April 30: Our last topic of the semester is earthquakes, particularly the human consequences. Review stein.pdf, kuchment.pdf, and tect_figs12.pdf as well as USGS plate tectonics & people.
As we approach the end of the semester, student contributions for this blog come to an end at this time. The final exam is scheduled for May 5-10. It may be put online Thursday afternoon following our last class session. Look for the link here or on the course schedule.
- April 23: This week, visiting professor Toshiro Nagasako will present a special lecture on Japanese tectonics with discussion of volcanism, tsunamis, and human adaptation. Other students and faculty may join us for the presentation. Background reading includes
hyndman.pdf and geist.pdf as well as USGS tsunamis (tect_figs14.pdf and tsunami.pdf). Article summary III is due at this time.
- April 19: From Gayla Corley [former grad student]: Sounds like another volcano to match the Yellowstone super volcano may be forming under Naples, Italy.
- April 15: The Cretaceous was quite anomalous in terms of glogal tectonics, and we will explore some aspects this coming week. Review larson.pdf, oleson, pdf, lee.pdf and tect_figs11.pdf. Graduate students, your web presentation is due this week. All students, the third article summary is due next week; you may submit draft versions for review this week.
- April 9: Our focus this week is on terranes (note spelling) and the western United States. Review howell.pdf, jones, pdf, and tect_figs10.pdf. See also USGS terranes and a special presentation on the Cascade Mountains, U.S. & Canada.
- April 6: Today in class we discussed the huge load of sediment delivered from tropical mountains into the ocean. At the same time, the Cottonwood River in Emporia had its second flood crest of the past two weeks. Flood water carries much suspended sediment as well as floating debris including whole trees. The sediment and debris are washed downstream into John Redmond Reservoir.
||Cottonwood River flood stage at the old rainbow-arch bridge at the southern edge of Emporia. The low-water dam was completely submerged, although water did not reach the bridge deck.
- April 5: From Melissa Baccus: Swarm satellite mapped the magnetic field of Earth's lithosphere. The data show a possible meteorite impact and evidence for flipping of poles.
From Brooke Molson Moran: I came across this culturally, but not scientifically, interesting article about volcanology. There is even the first known sketch of a volcano. Go to volcanoes.
- April 1: For the coming week, our subject is mountain ranges, particularly for Eurasia. Review articles molnar.pdf, simpson2.pdf and tect_figs09. Also we have a special presentation on Eifel volcanism, Germany (tect_figs13.pdf).
Graduate students: now is the time to finalize the topic for your web presentation, which is due by April 20. Contact your instructor with potential subjects.
Notes: visiting professor Toshiro Nagasako from Kagoshima University (Japan) will arrive tomorrow and be in residence through the end of the semester. He may sit in on some of our class sessions, and he will present a special lecture on Japanese tectonics toward the end of the semester. The course schedule has been revised to accommodate this.
Your instructor will be away from campus April 7-8 for the annual meeting of the Kansas Academy of Science, which is hosted this year by Fort Hays State University. See KAS meeting.
- March 31: From Kenneth Ezeh: I found a Scientific American article on the origin of the Earth's ocean. It highlights some hypothesis and propositions for the origin of the Earth's water as well as an active area of research on the topic.
- March 25: Following spring break, we continue the theme of continental tectonics with supercontinents. Review nance.pdf, danziel.pdf and middle_earth.pdf articles. See also the last billion years and USGS before Pangaea.
- March 22: Midway point in spring break! Two blog contributions that deal with topics we discussed last week.
From Melinda Dome: A study from Canadian scientists on how a 2.7 billion year old rock contains an isotope of neodymium that formed within the first few hundred million years of Earth's existence.
From Lauren Miller: This article details the research behind the finding of zircon crystals in the lava of underwater volcanoes in Mauritius. The volcanoes are actually spewing what scientists think is crust from an old continent Mauritia that broke away and formed Madagascar and India about 60 million years ago.
- March 17: From Melissa Baccus: Earth Alert is a real-time interactive map that shows natural hazards around the world.
- March 16: From Travis Henry: Ancient jars hold clues about Earth’s fluctuating magnetic fields.
- March 14: From Lauren Miller: This is video of an underwater volcano off the coast of Oregon erupting. It was actually predicted by scientists, accurately forecasted within 15 months. Underwater volcanoes generally happen without much attention, so this video is a glimpse into a small part of ocean crust creation and tectonics happening in the present. Check out underwater eruption.
From Jesse Higginbotham: I found this while back. It is about the mining of the deep-sea nodules built up by hydrothermal vents and the environmental impacts. Go to deep-sea mining.
- March 12: Continuing with continental tectonics and the oldest known rocks; see valley.pdf, simpson1.pdf, zimmer.pdf and tect_figs08.pdf. We also have a special presentation on the Morton Gneiss.
- March 9: The mid-term exam is completed. We reviewed the exam in class today, and results were sent to students individually this afternoon. There was a wide range in scores from the 60s to 100 percent; the median score was 86%. Good work overall! The blog will be open again for student contributions tomorrow.
- March 5: The mid-term exam is underway and due by noon on Wednesday. We will review results in class on Thursday. We will hold off further student blog contributions until after mid-term.
Following the exam, we are moving forward into part III of the semester on continental tectonics. This means your second article summary (from part II) is due this week also. Readings for continental tectonics include burchfield.pdf, haddok.pdf, tect_figs07.pdf and africa.pdf as well as USGS East Africa.
- March 2: The mid-term exam is now available. Please follow instructions and submit your answers by the deadline.
From Kenneth Ezeh: I saw this video on ABC news about an active stratovolcano, Mount Etna, in the east coast of Sicily, Italy. It erupted this Tuesday 28th of February 2017.
- February 26: We will wrap up part II of our schedule this week on oceanic tectonics. The subject is subduction zones—see fryer.pdf, solomon.pdf, tect_figs05.pdf, and USGS Pacific ring of fire. We also have a special presentation on Japanese volcanism.
The second article summary is due next week; students may submit draft versions this week. Reminder: the mid-term exam is scheduled for March 3-8. It will be placed online Thursday afternoon to give students a head start. See sample exam.
- February 19: Moving on to hot spots this week with articles by tarduno.pdf and pratt.pdf. See also USGS hotspots and mush_zone.pdf as well as tect_figs04.pdf and tect_figs06.pdf. Special presentation—North Atlantic tectonic evolution.
- February 17: From Brenna Shuttleworth: This article discusses the similarities between plate tectonics on Earth and a process like plate tectonics on Pluto's largest moon, Charon. Fissures on Charon's surface were caused by its freezing core. Check out Charon tectonics.
- February 15: Regarding the bonus opportunity (below), the name Cyprus refers to copper which has been mined from the Troodos ophiolite for millennia. The earliest mining dates from the Bronze Age, ca. 4000 BC. Other metals produced over the years include iron and gold. Metal-bearing ores were deposited by hot springs at a former seafloor rift zone. Mining continues today, but at a much reduced level, along with mining tourism.
- February 14: From Melissa Baccus: New research as to why a supervolcano erupts so violently and how to use that information to possibly predict their eruption. Go to supervolcano.
- February 13: From Lauren Miller: This is an interview from NPR, much more "laid back" than our usual scientific articles because it is a record of talking. Adam Maloof, the interviewee, explains the geological processes of tectonics in layman's terms.
- February 12: Continuing with the theme of oceanic tectonics, we have articles on oceanic crust (kelemen.pdf) and fracture zones (bonatti.pdf). See also USGS fracture zones and mid-Atlantic ridge. Bonus opportunity (below) is extended until noon Wednesday (because of your instructor's potential jury duty).
- February 10: Yesterday in class, we discussed ophiolites and the island of Cyprus, which contains the Troodos ophiolite sequence (see tect_figs03). What does the name Cyprus actually mean, and how is this connected to the ophiolite? Email your response by noon on Wednesday for a participation bonus point.
From Kenneth Nnabuike: I found an article on how scientists discovered new species near ocean-floor hot springs southeast of Madagascar in Africa. Go to new species.
From Derrick Stockton: This study claims that plate subduction is not the only driving force behind plate movement. In addition to the sinking of plates at the subduction zones, heat coming coming from the Earth's core also plays a vital role in the movement of plates. The journal claims that the heat rising from the Earth's core creates a current in the mantle, effectively moving the plates. The researchers concluded this through the use of models. They claim that this will "rewrite textbooks". Check out what moves plates.
From Nick Vega: Here is an article that suggests what will happen to the continents in the future. They assume there will be a new super continent, what they call "Pangea 2.0" with a short visual video towards the end.
From Quinton Hett: Researchers at the University of Auckland in New Zealand recently spotted a bright turquoise spot near the coast of a Polynesian island using satellite imagery, and determined the spot was an underwater volcano erupting.
- February 8: From Melissa Baccus: New fissure opened on Erta Ale. This location known as Danakil Depression, in Africa has 3 plates that are pulling apart.
From Brenna Shuttleworth: This article discusses the relationship between the heat and buoyancy of plumes in the Earth's mantle and how it could be related to content of an ancient helium isotope (He-3/4) at volcanic hot spots. This helium isotope is believed to have originated during the Big Bang. I found it interesting! Check out helium-3.
- February 6: From Lauren Miller: this article tells about how Japanese scientists are closer to determining what the unknown elements in the Earth's core are, other than iron and nickel. I originally read about it when it was presented at the AGU in December of last year, but just came across it yesterday. See core composition.
- February 5: This week we start part II, oceanic tectonics. Review francheteau.pdf, oleson2.pdf and tect_figs03.pdf. See also USGS developing the theory and hot springs.
Final version of the first article summary is due this week.
- February 3: From Gayla Corley (former grad student): Thought this video was quite spectacular. See Hawaiian lava tube from Smithsonian and more photos from Yahoo.
- February 2: From Melinda Dome: New subcontinent? Check out lost continent.
From Collin Kile: This is an article about the Volcano Disaster Assistance Program (VDAP) and the role they play in aiding the most volcanically active nation on Earth, Indonesia. The VDAP is a government agency that combines the U.S. Geologic Survey and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
From Kenneth Nnabuike: I found an article on how the Republic of Djibouti plans to cut down its electricity tariff and increase energy supply in the country by harnessing its geothermal energy resources. Go to Djibouti transformation.
- January 29: We wrap up part I of the semester this week with articles on heat flow (pollack.pdf) and deep earthquakes (frohlich.pdf). See also USGS geothermal energy and seismic zones.
Your first article summary is due next week—see summary instructions. Students may submit draft versions for review and comments this week.
- January 26: From Melinda Dome: The video below shows a long avalanche happening on Mount Sulzer, Alaska in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve from August 2016. The blog link below goes into how this is a long avalanche and the 4th known of this kind on Mount Sulzer in the past three years. Go to Mount Sulzer video and blog.
- January 25: The Wegener song challenge (below) is now closed. Go to Amoeba People.
From Kenneth Nnabuike: I found this article on the Huffington Post on research by professors in the University of Utah about the layers of the Earth and the Earth's interior temperature. I found it interesting because until now I never knew some minerals have been extracted from the mantle. Check out new mantle layer.
- January 24: From Brooke Molson-Moran: I found this article and thought it was interesting. I did not realize that remote sensing utilizes satellites to study the interior of the Earth. Check out iron jet stream.
- January 21: We are off to a good start. For the coming week, we will review basic structures of the Earth's core and mantle. See glatzmaier.pdf and mckenzie.pdf as well as USGS inside the Earth and what drives plates.
Bonus: Locate and send the YouTube address for the Continental Drift: Alfred Wegener Song by The Amoeba People. First three students to respond (by Wednesday) will receive a class participation bonus point.
- January 18: On-campus students, note a room change for our first class meeting tomorrow; go to SH 131 at 11 o'clock. The course schedule has been updated. The original room is too small for us.
- January 13: That's right, Friday the 13th! The spring semester is near at hand; campus opens next week, and this class will meet on Thursday, 11 o'clock in SH 110. We will start with a bit of historical background. Read hallam.pdf (via FTP). See also USGS preface and historical perspective as well as tect_figs01.pdf and tect_figs02.pdf.
- January 2: The new year is underway, and earthquakes in Oklahoma continue to be a concern. Gina Manders is a former graduate student who lives in Miami, OK and who has experienced many of these quakes.
From Gina Manders: The Tulsa World had another article about our earthquakes. It was noted our rate of quakes is on a downward trend, but due to the three magnitude 5.0 or greaters in 2016 the seismic energy set a record! In 2016, OK experienced 15 magnitude 4.0 quakes and 615 magnitude 3.0 or greater quakes. And that is with our numbers decreasing! The OGS director stressed saltwater injection is only providing the trigger that releases pent-up energy in a fault so even with a large decrease in wastewater volume, a large quake could still occur at some point.
- Welcome! GO 326/ES 767 will be taught in the spring 2017 semester, beginning in January. Both undergraduate and graduate sections are offered for on-campus and distance-learning students. At this time, the preliminary syllabus is available.