Current Events in Earth Sciences

A lot goes into the study and practice of earth sciences. Current events in earth sciences seem to solely focus on climate change and environmental science, but it’s much more than that. Many who don’t know the extent to which the earth sciences teach us about our planet and surroundings could use a refresher. That’s why these latest current events in earth sciences are a great way to catch up on what’s happening in the field.

Remarkable Rocks Flinders Chase National Park Kangaroo Island South Australia

Discovering Secrets inside Australian Volcanic Rock

Volcanoes are a huge interest of many outside the sciences. From a young age, volcanos teach us as an example of Earth’s dynamic activity. In a lot of ways, they are often the first introduction to earth sciences that children have. The things that make volcanoes interesting are the obvious attributes: lava and explosions. Back in elementary school, it’s likely a few science fairs featured volcanoes at your school, with the old baking soda explosion we’ve come to know well. In many ways, volcanoes are an exciting part of the Earth, but also quite terrifying.

In reality, volcanoes are a literal ticking time bomb waiting to erupt at a moment’s notice. Seismic activity determines the severity of an event or explosion. It is difficult, however, to track the severity leading up to the event. Don’t forget, however, that the fascination with volcanoes for scientists isn’t current eruptions, it’s past events. For years, current events in earth sciences have traced volcanoes and their rock formations to understand more about the Earth. Our planet’s motions from tens of millions of years ago lie beneath the rocks of a volcano. Now, it seems like there may be a chance that an Australian volcano tells a very interesting part of our planet’s story.

Tracking Evolution in the Earth Sciences

Evolution is usually considered to be an anthropological study. The evolution of the planet, in turn, is the story of humankind’s evolution. Researchers in Australia are now pointing to a new finding to explain why some gems and rocks form the way they do. More specifically, the earth’s crust is noteworthy in Australia. Scattered across Queensland is lower crustal rock, often found deeper in the ground. Researchers believe this rock can tell us about the area tens of millions of years ago. If so, then a lot could lie in this area. To reach the rock, scientists dug 30 km below the Earth’s surface. Before this project, the deepest they had dug was 10km, making this quite the feat.

In their findings, they discovered lava formed rock spanning a number of periods of time. Some were relatively young, around 10,000 years of age, and others are seemingly ancient, ranging around 30 millions years old. The significance, to those outside of the earth sciences, is the way we can learn about the Earth this way. It’s impossible to travel back in time, as we all know. Through volcanic rock, this is the best method of time travel we have to learn more about Earth.

Solar Clock at Arboretum at Penn State ho smith botanic garden

Study Away Program Highlights Sustainability in the Earth Sciences

Studying abroad is popular among students in higher education. For a lot of young scholars, it’s the first time they’ll get away from the country to experience new cultures and environments. In a lot of cases, the ability to study abroad is costly. For some colleges, programs exist to keep costs down. Things like grants and scholarships can help lower costs. Some study abroad programs can keep the price near the cost of a college class. But, ask any student or recent graduate, and they will tell you college courses aren’t cheap either. In some cases, the solution is not how to get there, but a different place to go. Maybe, in fact, staying within the same country.

Study away programs send students to a different state or university in the same country. This is often cheaper, and for students in the United States, relatively easy to do. It’s much less costly, and in a lot of ways, ensures more students have access to study in places external to their educational institution. The experience, whether a few states away or just a college a few hours away, is great for students. In current events in earth sciences, some study away students recently made some progress in developing the way sustainability is discussed in the sciences. We hear about consumer sustainability, and even corporate sustainability, but researchers also look into sustainable practices for other fields and areas of interest.

Sustainability in Every Way

Students recently enrolled in Penn State’s Study Away Pittsburg program learned firsthand the way sustainability is reaching new heights. For example, the study of sustainability also includes ways to research more responsibly. At local area research centers, the students saw firsthand how facilities are working to become self sufficient. This involves a few different aspects of running a research lab. For starters, solar panels and wind turbines make up popular forms of sustainability. But, what new features are we learning from current events in earth sciences?

A big one is water usage. Sanitary water is in short supply worldwide. Many places use a good amount of water to get their projects running, or sustain internal operations. It’s important to watch water usage. Earth sciences programs, like the Penn State Study Away program, teach this to future industry leaders. In any case, educational opportunities like this are important to all involved. Hopefully they become more common in the coming years!

High rise buildings with earth on blue sky background Elements of this image furnished by NASA

3 Minute Thesis Winner Combines Architecture and Earth Sciences Studies

Writing a thesis or dissertation is hard to imagine. For those who have done it, the process is a huge achievement. It’s also the source of a ton of stress and anxiety. Plus, it’s something that stays with you as you look for jobs, as well as further yourself in your career. In a lot of ways, it’s one of the most important things people in the world of academia. If you don’t plan on writing a thesis or dissertation, it’s tough to explain. Overall, it’s an intense investigation into a central issue or focus of study. For example, it may be a specific kind of seismic activity found in one part of the world. Current events in earth sciences, and news altogether, rarely cover thesis content, but one competition hosted at many colleges is a good way to highlight the work being done.

The Three Minute Thesis competition is hosted at thousands of universities all over the world. In three minutes, contestants explain their thesis. The feat isn’t easy. The time must be specific and precise. Plus, a thesis is often over 100 pages. Consolidating content into three minutes is not easy. Nevertheless, the Three Minute Thesis is a great way to share information on academic work. A recent winner studying earth sciences mastered the event like no other. If her research is any sign, then earth sciences is growing in a very great way.

Earth Sciences and Quality of Life

Monica Arul Jayachandran, a Notre Dame student, recently won her school’s Three Minute Thesis event. Her focus, unlike traditional approaches, is a blend of earth sciences and city planning. Her thesis covers high rise buildings in windy conditions. Of course, wind and weather pose a threat to tall buildings. For people living in the city, this issue is incredibly important. The topic is important to many, but a lot of people don’t follow studies like these. At least locally, a Three Minute Thesis competition is a great way to share info to non-academic audiences. Many are hosted in public theaters for all to see, making it open to all. If events like these are public, then those outside of academia can learn about the latest in the field.

Considering the importance of this intersection, Jayachandran’s research is vastly important. Studies like this assist in planning for every aspect of life. The start student won a cash prize, but more importantly, her work is helping a lot of people. High rises are very popular in urban areas. Safety and security improve every time a student like her does this sort of work. Current events in earth sciences prove time and time again how important this work is.

Nice views of the bright sunlit powerful Godafoss cascade Popular tourist attraction Unusual and picturesque scene Bardardalur valley Skjalfandafljot river Iceland Beauty world

Interdisciplinary Studies of Iceland’s Beauty

People love traveling all over the world. Popular places are often popular for some clear reasons. For one, food travel is growing more and more popular. People love trying the food and cuisine of locals in any corner of the globe. Another popular reason to visit a new place is touring landmarks. Things like the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty bring in millions of people each year. It’s great seeing some of the man made wonders of the world. Lastly, a big reason to travel are the non-man made views and places to visit. Things that nature could have only built or created. A big part of those natural wonders is the focus of current events in earth sciences.

A lot of researchers study natural wonders in this field. A popular example is the study of rock formations and mountains. In terms of natural wonders, few places rival Iceland. Researchers look into Iceland’s natural beauty to understand more about its origins. In many ways, the area is unlike any place on Earth. A lot of tourists flock here each year. A specific area, known as the Golden Circle, is one of the most popular destinations in the northern hemisphere. What makes it so special? A recent conference looked at this very question.

Aesthetics and Earth Sciences

The landscape of Iceland is a unique place. Over a million visit the country each year for this very reason. But from a scientific standpoint, how do you explain some of the nuances of the area? Things that might not make sense in terms of earth sciences’ traditions are all over the area. The Penn Global Seminar is focused on finding out what exactly makes Iceland beautiful. Not beautiful simply through what you see, but also what the area is made of. Sustainability is a big part of Iceland’s beauty. The area is fully stocked to keep itself beautiful. That is, without human interference, which is always a concern with heavy tourism.

The conference looked to find which nuances contributed most to Iceland’s beauty. The findings centered around colored deserts, mountain ranges, and plant life. The real story is not the beauty of looking at these things, but the Earth’s activity in this part of the world. Earth sciences involve many more aspects of life than people even know. It’s important to keep up with current events in earth sciences to stay aware of the intersections.

Flat Hand With Floating Earth On Black Background

Flat Earth Fiction Troubles Scientists

A lot of information is available to us via the internet. It’s a wonderful way to keep up with news, learn new things, and communicate with others. Unfortunately, it also breeds misinformation. Chat rooms and online social groups often lead to the spreading of misinformation. As some call it now, fake news is a real problem in earths sciences. Some know the most popular conspiracy well. The flat earth myth is growing online, and spreading to communities all over the world. The theory in this group is that the earth is actually flat. Seems ridiculous, right? Well, these people are serious. In many ways, misinformation causes problems for all involved.

We’ve known the earth is round for centuries now, but some reject the idea to this day. It’s only growing more popular to buy into the flat earth myth. Why is that? Well, scientific information is hard to process, and some feed into this lack of understanding with misinformation. Groups all over the world use the internet to share misinformation, and scientists are baffled by its popularity. Specifically, this myth is very popular online. Academic studies follow these sorts of phenomenon, and the answers aren’t always clear. One thing is for sure: the misinformation is dangerous. The validity of science cannot go questioned in these cases. It causes far too much damage.

Flat Earth Myths in Academic Research

A new Berkeley Library piece talks about this issue extensively. In a lot of ways, the rejection of scientific findings goes undefended. Earth sciences are not well known topics. They rarely make headlines in the news. The only time people pay attention is after an earthquake, for the most part. How do scientists combat these growingly influential fringe groups? Well, the ability to teach earth sciences is an easy start. Earth sciences are offered at the high school level, but not as a requirement. In many districts, it’s just an option. We can see why that might need to change.

Misinformation is everywhere. It’s nothing new, and these groups will always exist. The trick, according to the article, is battling back with fact. Scientists work hard to research these things, and the information is crucial. If scientists are left to research, then the public must defend the fact from fiction. For the most part, the public stays out of these issues, other than making internet comments. Real efforts must be made by all, locally and nationally, to reject these claims.

Conclusion

Keeping up with current events in earth sciences helps develop a better understanding of the field. It also explains many of the phenomenon around us. Key issues in the subject influence our lives in a variety of ways. For a long time, the subject has grown into a booming field. Now is as good a time as ever to follow the latest studies and findings!

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3 thoughts on “Current Events in Earth Sciences”

  1. The topic of sustainability will only become more and more important as the years go on. What will happen to our children, grand-children and great-grandchildren if we don’t teach them what is important now? This is a topic that should be at the forefront of our minds.

    Reply
  2. I would like to see some pictures of the places that you are talking about. Also, what are some of the beliefs of “flat Earther’s?” How do they back up their belief? What is their argument? How did their belief originate?

    Reply
  3. When I heard heard about the flat earth myth, I thought it was a joke. This movement is more widespread than people realize, and even some of my family members are buying into parts of it. For anyone who’s interested, a simple YouTube search will bring up countless documentaries on the topic.

    Reply

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