Jack Hills Zircon: Evidence of a Very Old Earth

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In a report published in Nature Geoscience, a scientific team studying rocks in Australia, used Australian zircons in the Jack Hills that are embedded in the rocks to decide the age and history of these rocks.

They found evidence that the Earth’s crust first formed at least 4.4 billion years ago.  They analyzed the atoms in zircons and used them like a clock to decide when they were formed.  The clock inside the zircon is the radioactive element uranium, and over time it becomes lead. … Read more

Governor Deal’s Weather Task Force is More of a Mob Than a Problem Solving Team

To improve the state of Georgia’s response to severe weather, Governor Nathan Deal appointed a 28 member task force.  A few years ago, when Atlanta educators were accused of changing answers on student tests sheets, the Governor (Sonny Perdue) appointed a panel of three to investigate and prepare a report.  Why do we need 28 people, many of whom simply do not have the time to investigate the state’s natural disaster alert system.

Governor Deal has appointed 28 people to meet and has charged them with coming up with plans to improve the state’s ability to respond to severe weather.  … Read more

NAT GEO The Wild Mississippi

NAT GEO presents The Wild Mississippi, a three-part TV program on Sunday, February 12.  I viewed the three episodes today, and recommend that you tune in Sunday night at 8:00 P.M (Eastern) to view the first of the three episodes.  The second and third episodes follow at 9:00 P.M. and 10:00 P.M.  Check the schedule and details here.

Join the Wild Mississippi Blog Carnival here.

If you are teaching life science, high school biology, earth science, or an ecology or environmental science course, you will find these programs great resources for your students.  … Read more

The Dinosaur Footprints Puzzle: Is it pedagogy or paleontology?

In the last post I reviewed the article “Tracking the Footprints Puzzle: The Problematic persistence of science-as-process in teaching the nature and culture of science by Charles Ault and Jeff Dodick which was published in the recent issue of the journal Science Education. I also reflected on my own experience in teaching and writing with the Footprints Puzzle.  In this post, I am going to explore this idea: The Dinosaur Footprints Puzzle: Is it pedagogy or paleontology?… Read more

Water on the Moon

NASA scientists, of  Project LCROSS, have reported that there is water in one of the moon’s craters, and that there is more water in this crater than there is in the Sahara Desert.  The water, in the form of ice crystals, makes up about 5 – 8% of the crater’s mixture.  According to NASA, 8 wheelbarrows of soil could yield 10 to 13 gallons of water.

This was an unexpected result, as many have thought that the moon was barren of water.  … Read more

The Legacy of Katrina

This weekend is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, and much of the Gulf Coast region.  Perhaps the best way to start this post is to watch this video which I embeded from the nola.com Hurricane Katrina page.  The video is a sunrise service (February 9, 2007) amongst residents of New Orleans, and was uploaded to the nola site by Michael DeMocker, The Times-Picayune.

Sunrise Service at Katrina Memorial

Hurricane Katrina was the worst natural disaster to hit the United States, and now after five years, the city of New Orleans has organized the fifth anniversary to reflect on the disaster, and to assess the progress on newly constructed infrastructure, on the repair and construction on the thousands of homes that were damaged or destroyed, and on ways to prevent the kind of flooding that devastated the city.… Read more

BP Gulf Oil Spill Images

The latest word on effort to plug the BP offshore oil well using the “Top Kill” procedure is that the effort is continuing, but the company has not determined whether it is working, or that it won’t work. According to a report in the New York Times, BP will continue with the procedure. The report suggested that BP used a “Junk Shot” last night which “involves pumping odds and ends like plastic cubes, knotted rope, and golf balls into the blowout preventer, the five-story safety device atop the well.” The “Top Kill” procedure continues at this time, and will continue until the spill is plugged following which cement will be used to seal it, or the procedure will be stopped, and BP will move on to its next procedure, which is in place.… Read more