Author Archives: Cortney

Cortney

About Cortney

Hydrogeologist. B.A., M.S., earth science.

Eruptions on the moon as recently as 20 mya

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

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

Mount Sinabung, Indonesia October 2014 eruptions

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

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