GEOS 111: Glacial Growth Spurts

GEOS 111: Glacial Growth Spurts: How what we’ve done can be Undone

For anyone who has been watching the news these days, the reach of global warming and the melting of the polar ice caps is on everyone’s minds. The loss of habitat for artic animals, the rising sea levels, the increase in greenhouse gases; surely the rapid melting of the ice spells certain death for us all.

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GEOS 111: 100-year Floods

Many cities located on or around major rivers are concerned about the risk of a hundred-year flood and the implications and costs it would have for their city. Some are now beginning to look into protection projects that would mitigate a large flood.

A hundred-year flood is a flood that has a one percent chance of happening every year.

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GEOS 111: Jiangxi Copper Mining Polluting Le’an River

[Photo: Xinhua]

As we saw in class, copper can be fairly easily extracted from malachite. The process involves crushing the malachite in order to increase its surface area and then mixing it with sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid and malachite create a solution composed of water, copper sulfate and carbonic acid. Steel is then added to the solution and the copper sulfate turns into native copper which collects on the steel.

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GEOS 111: 2011 Earthquakes

A 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey on October 23, 2011. The hardest hit area was Ercis, an eastern city of 75,000 close to the Iranian border, which sits on one of Turkey’s most earthquake-prone zones. The busy city of Van, about 55 miles south, also sustained substantial damage. Highways in the area caved in and Van’s airport faced serious damaged, forcing flights to be diverted.

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GEOS 111: Gold Mining – Profits vs. Morals

When it comes to finding, extracting, and selling raw good materials, most companies are ruthless in their  business tactics in order to maximize profits.  Ruthless not against any other humans necessarily, but ruthless against the enviroment in their quest for resources.  Mining, one of the most devastating actions against the surface of the Earth, is a necessity in order to find raw resources. 

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GEOS 111: NASA technology gives aerial view of the 14 month drought in Texas

NASA has developed a new satellite mapping technology called Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment that measures the gravity using mass variations. This has made it possible to track the presence and lack of water at any level of the earth. Photos from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) like the one below show the state of America’s ground water aquifers.

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GEOS 111: Is A Warming World Causing Animals to Shrink?

According to discover magazine, animals tend to get larger the father they are from the equator. Warmer environments are generally closer to the equator and the warmer the environment, the less heat animals must retain on their own. However, if this concept, referred to as the Bergmann’s Rule, holds true, then why have recent studies shown that birds in California are getting bigger?

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GEOS 111: Rare Earth Metal Prices

Rare earth metals are getting less and less popular as the days go by. It seems like in the near future, rare earth metals will no longer be used at all. As Keith Bradsher of The New York Times states, the prices of rare earth metals are declining sharply. Previously, the price of rare earth metals had been rising for three years straight.

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GEOS 111: Risk versus Reward in the Silver Investment Realm

With silver prices rising and declining there is much risk involved in investing. It looks like silver prices might be worth the investment. The price this year has been near $35.70 and with continual investment into silver mining it looks to top out at $50/oz. (Mining Weekly). However, metals prices fell Thursday due to Europe’s financial crisis.

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