Monthly Archives: October 2014

Eruptions on the moon as recently as 20 mya


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Long viewed as a cold dead rock devoid of lava for a billion years, new evidence suggests that the moon could have seen small surface flows as recently as 20 million years ago. Twenty million years might not seem recent, but considering the moon and earth both date around 4.5 billion years old, 20 million years represents 0.4% of its age, or what 5 months is to a 100-year human lifespan. In that sense, the new findings are like discovering the moon was alive 5 months ago! Read more

Life cycles of common metals


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This post is from my notes for the first week of lecture in Wheels of Metals: Urban Mining for a Circular Economy on Coursera, and it highlights—for common metals (iron, copper, aluminum)—useful properties that makes the metal attractive for applications, what applications the metal is used in, where and how the metal is mined, how the metal is processed, and how it is recycled. Read more

Marbled orb-weaver spider


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The orange marbled orb-weaver spider (Araneus marmoreus) looks like a lovely round pumpkin. I found this beautiful specimen (bravely!) crawling around my chicken pen in North Wilkeboro, NC in 2011 during the late summer or early fall. It wasn't pleased with my attempts to photograph it, although I don't know why: it's quite attractive! Read more

Fabulous kitty


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All cats are fabulous.

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October 2014 blood moon & jack-o'-lantern sun


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Not to be outdone by the October blood moon, the sun put on its best Halloween face and imitated a jack-o'-lantern on October 8. The brighter regions—its eyes and mouth, so to speak—appear as such due to magnetic fields in the corona (the sun's atmosphere) that cause the release of more energy. Read more

Mount Sinabung, Indonesia October 2014 eruptions


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Mount Sinabung—a 2,460-meter-high Indonesian stratovolcano which has erupted in 2010, 2013, and early 2014—kicked off October with ongoing magnificent eruptions, extruding viscous intermediate lava lobes which collapsed, sending break-neck speed pyroclastic flows as far as 3.5-4 km. Compare this Pelean eruption to last month's devastating phreatic eruption in Japan, another island arc. Read more

Updated map of ocean floor doubles resolution, reveals volcanoes, spreading centers


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Using satellite radar altimetry (which measures elevation) combined with previous data, researchers at UC San Diego have doubled the resolution of the previous decades-old ocean floor map. Large ocean features create a small "bump" in the sea surface above them; for example, a mile high volcano elevates the ocean surface by 10 centimeters. Read more

Mount Ontake: phreatic eruption in September 2014 kills 30+ hikers


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Mount Ontake—Mount Fuji's lesser known cousin, a 3,000 meter tall stratovolcano in central Japan—erupted at noon on September 27, giving just 12 minutes of notice in the form of tremors. Read more