Geo-archaeologist: Tsunami Could Hit Israel

2 11 2009

Ancient medieval port at Caesarea ©State of IsraelOy.

“There is a likely chance of tsunami waves reaching the shores of Israel,” says Dr. Beverly Goodman of the Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences at the University of Haifa following an encompassing geo-archaeological study at the port of Caesarea. “Tsunami events in the Mediterranean do occur less frequently than in the Pacific Ocean, but our findings reveal a moderate rate of recurrence,” she says.

Dr. Goodman, an expert geo-archaeologist, exposed geological evidence of this by chance. Her original intentions in Caesarea were to assist in research at the ancient port and at offshore shipwrecks.

“We expected to find the remains of ships, but were surprised to reveal unusual geological layers the likes of which we had never seen in the region before. We began underwater drilling assuming that these are simply local layers related to the construction of the port. However, we discovered that they are spread along the entire area and realized that we had found something major,” she explains.

Read the full article at Science Daily.


Caesarea: The Roman aqueduct ©State of Israel

Journal reference: Beverly N. Goodman-Tchernov, Hendrik W. Dey, Eduard G. Reinhardt, Floyd McCoy, and Yossi Mart. Tsunami waves generated by the Santorini eruption reached Eastern Mediterranean shores. Geology, 2009; 37 (10): 943 DOI: 10.1130/G25704A.1

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Geo-Pict of the Day

16 08 2009

Another spectacular example from the Earth as Art series.


The Lena River, some 2,800 miles(4,500km) long, is one of the largest rivers in the world. The Lena Delta Reserve is the most extensive protected wilderness area in Russia. It is an important refuge and breeding grounds for many species of Siberian wildlife.

To download the image in high resolution, register at the USGS here.

Earth as Art: The Andes

24 07 2009

Vivid colors belie the arid landscape of northern Chile where the Atacama Desert, one of the world’s driest, meets the foothills of the Andes. Here salt pans and gorges choked with mineral-streaked sediments give way to white-capped volcanoes.

Click to download a hi-res version.

Source: NASA

Obama’s Nominates First Woman to Head USGS

13 07 2009

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced he will nominate Marcia McNutt, president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, as director of the U.S. Geological Survey. If confirmed, McNutt would become the first female director since USGS was established in 1879 to lead research into earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, coastal erosion and the effects of global warming on water resources and land forms.

The president has also nominated Jonathan Jarvis, currently the Pacific West regional director for National Park Service, with authority over parks in California and eight other Western states and territories.

Californians note that McNutt and Jarvis are among several scientists with state ties tapped by the President for key positions at major federal research agencies. Steven Chu, the Nobel prizewinning physicist who headed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is now Secretary of Energy. John Holdren, former director of UC Berkeley’s energy and resources group, is the president’s chief science adviser. Jane Lubchenco, a renowned ecologist from Oregon State University and a board member of McNutt’s institute, is the new director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

McNutt is a certified SCUBA diver who once completed underwater explosives training with Navy SEALS for her geologic research, and has published more than 90 scientific articles, ranging from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental breakup in the western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau.

She will succeed USGS director Mark Meyers, a former oil company geologist in Alaska appointed by George W. Bush and known for limiting public release of information by Survey scientists who work in controversial fields like climate change.

Jarvis, if confirmed, will oversee an agency that manages 84.6 million acres of U.S. land, including 58 national parks, 54 wilderness areas, 10 national seashores, and a long list of lakes, battlefields, trails and campgrounds.

Sources: SFGate (David Perlman, Peter Fimrite & Staff Writers) and Mercury News (Paul Rogers)

Shale Ale Toasts 100 Years Since Fossil Discovery

2 05 2009

Are you a dino wino? Could you go for some gneiss on ice or get pissed on schist?  If so, you might enjoy Shale Ale.

The just-launched brew celebrates the 100th anniversary of the shale discovery on Mount Burgess, in Yoho Park, British Columbia, site of the world’s most important fossil animals.

shale-ale-labelThe limited edition beer celebrates the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation (the BSGF) and is being manufactured by Big Rock Brewery, Canada’s leading craft brewer.

Made exclusively for BSGF’s special events, the Shale Ale label depicts the Dr. Charles Doolittle Walcott, who discovered the site, surrounded by the 505-million-year-old Burgess Shale fossils, famous for their amazing diversity, bizarre life forms, and out-of-this-world appendages.

Shale Ale will be launched at the GeoConvention Gala of the annual technical convention of the Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists, the Canadian Society of Exploration Geophysicists and the Canadian Well Logging Society, to the estimated 4,000 geologically savvy attendees.

Some more on the fossils at Burgess (via the BSGF website):

Discovered in 1909 in Yoho National Park by Charles D. Walcott, the Burgess Shale not only challenges the evolutionary theories of Charles Darwin, but provides a glimpse of what life was like on Earth – 505 million years ago!

Just imagine…

  • The 5-eyed Opabinia, with an elephant-like trunk with fierce claw at its end… or
  • The strange Dinomischus, looking more like a flower than an animal… or
  • Anomalocaris, the largest of these ancient animals, and terror of the Cambrian seas… or
  • A beautiful Marrella, the “lace crab”, and most common fossil in the Walcott quarry… or
  • The modest Pikaia, looking like a worm, but in fact a primitive chordate, and our oldest known ancestor!

Um, five eyes and an elephant-like trunk with fierce claw at its end?  I’ll have that drink now!

Cheers to the Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation!

(Via Marketwire — Burgess Shale Geoscience Foundation)

Geo-Gift to Fathom

23 04 2009

A little more geography than geology but still cool. This tie is printed with distressed remnants of 1900’s sea-depth estimates taken in Scandinavian and Arctic waters. These levels are rapidly changing now due to climactic shift. Available from cyberoptix in navy, white and khaki.

Might go well with:

Louisiana Could Benefit from “Wasteful” USGS Monitoring

14 04 2009

Gotta love irony.

According to the Bayou Buzz:

United States Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., today announced that Louisiana will receive an investment of approximately $500,000 Recovery Act dollars from the Department of Interior to fund U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) projects. The Interior Department will spend $140 million nationwide on this first group of USGS projects to monitor volcanoes and earthquakes, upgrade flood monitoring technology and perform critical maintenance projects. Louisiana’s investment will be used for upgrades to streamgages used in flood monitoring, water program maintenance and facility maintenance.

Does this sound familiar? It should, because it’s the same part of the Stimulus Package that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal derided as being wasteful. Since Jindal’s very televised commentary, Mt Redoubt in Alaska has been erupting and a major earthquake in Italy has taken a disastrous toll on human life and property. The point of USGS monitoring is to reduce the impact of natural disasters. That includes flooding in Louisiana,

At of this posting, the BayouBuzz reports that, “the Governor has not stated whether he would not accept the monitoring system.”

Part of the system that would benefit Louisiana includes upgrades to solar-powered streamgages for real-time flood monitoring that are critical in advanced warning and search-and-rescue operations. Existing streamgages were invaluable during the disastrous aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to locate survivors in the worst flooded areas.

Huffington Post

Related t-shirt of the day:

CSI (Continental Shelf Investigation) t-shirt

CSI (Continental Shelf Investigation) t-shirt