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Our Age of Fire – The Pyrocene

Humans have always had a unique relationship with fire. Now, like many other changes that are occurring on our planet, fire is taking on new meanings. Across North America and Europe, and from the Amazon to the Arctic, wildfires have been erupting with unprecedented sizes and intensities. There is a name for this new age: the Pyrocene.

By |2021-09-07T08:16:55-07:00September 9th, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Iceland’s Volcanic Theater

Iceland is a fabulous showcase for volcanoes. The easily accessible locations to view explosions of fiery lava and ash provide unusual opportunities for volcano-appreciators of all types, giving them ringside seats for the action. In the past few decades, there have been several spectacular volcanic performances. Attempting to control volcanoes is a major challenge, although people have tried, and even achieved success.

By |2021-09-02T09:08:26-07:00September 2nd, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

A City of Granitic Rocks

Granitic rocks form the backdrop of iconic landscapes worldwide – from the narrow ridge of Machu Picchu to the massive walls of Yosemite Valley. In southern Idaho, City of Rocks National Reserve contains a “sculpture garden” of granitic rock outcrops with a different appearance from most other granites. They are a result of unusual geologic processes – an interesting story.

By |2021-08-19T18:53:15-07:00August 19th, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|4 Comments

Exceptional Magnitude 9 Earthquakes

Five great earthquakes of M9 or larger have been recorded in the past century and each was followed by a major tsunami, along with vast devastation and many deaths. These events have provided information to help mitigate the effects of future great earthquakes - including what to keep in the back of your mind if you experience strong earthquake shaking in coastal areas worldwide.

By |2021-08-10T08:18:36-07:00August 12th, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|4 Comments

Great Earthquakes – From Distraction to Disaster

When an M8.2 earthquake struck offshore of the Alaska Peninsula on July 28, the eerie sound of sirens warning of a possible tsunami sent people along the coast scrambling for higher ground. Authorities lifted the warning within a few hours, and damage from ground shaking was limited. Viewed from a broad perspective, this event was only a minor distraction, but many earthquakes that are this powerful result in major disasters.

By |2021-08-05T08:39:26-07:00August 5th, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|6 Comments

Obsidian – A Few Fascinating Facts

The shiny volcanic glass obsidian comes in many interesting forms – and has a long and rich history. From varied shapes and a range of colors to chemistry that allows obsidian to be traced back to the originating volcano, plus the wealth of artifacts that people have produced for tens of thousands of years, there are many fascinating facts about obsidian.

By |2021-07-28T09:53:43-07:00July 29th, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|8 Comments

Obsessed with Obsidian

Obsidian, smooth and shiny black volcanic glass, has fascinated humans for tens of thousands of years. Researchers believe that humans have a natural reaction to shininess that is tied to an innate need–specifically, water. The Eastern Sierra Nevada is a fabulous place to see dark obsidian, especially in areas where it is swirled and folded together with frothy pale gray pumice..

By |2021-07-22T16:25:50-07:00July 22nd, 2021|Our Amazing Earth|10 Comments

Machu Picchu and Mysterious “Gold” Mortar

Machu Picchu is truly one of the wonders of the world. The spectacular ridge-top site of this city and the fine masonry of royal Inca buildings are stunning aesthetic and technical accomplishments. Early Spanish chroniclers reported "molten gold" was used as mortar during stone block construction, and a research paper by a chemist presents some intriguing insights.

By |2021-07-12T17:18:51-07:00July 8th, 2021|Ancient Andean Cultures|2 Comments
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