Jack Hills Zircon: Evidence of a Very Old Earth

Latest Story 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 […]

Teach Like Vladimir Vernadsky: Education as a Holistic & Dynamic System

I started going to the Soviet Union when it was the USSR in 1981, and for the next 20 years collaborated  with teachers and researchers, particularly Julie Weisberg, Phil Gang and Jennie Springer in the US, Sergey Tolstikov, Galina Manke, and Anatoly Zaklebny in Russia in a mutually designed and developed program, the Global Thinking […]

Teach Like Vladimir Vernadsky: Education as a Holistic & Dynamic System

I started going to the Soviet Union when it was the USSR in 1981, and for the next 20 years collaborated  with teachers and researchers, particularly Julie Weisberg, Phil Gang and Jennie Springer in the US, Sergey Tolstikov, Galina Manke, and Anatoly Zaklebny in Russia in a mutually designed and developed program, the Global Thinking […]

2011 Science Education E-Books from the Art of Teaching Science

This blog was begun in 2005 with the publication of the first edition of The Art of Teaching Science.  Six hundred or so posts later, we find ourselves in at the end of 2011. This year, we published four eBooks based on blog posts made during 2011.  More eBooks will be published in 2012.  The […]

Multiple Major Quakes in Eastern Turkey

Over the past two days there have been five major earthquakes in the Eastern Turkey region.  The first was a 7.2 earthquake on Sunday, October 23 at 1:41 PM at the epicenter, followed by four quakes (often called aftershocks) ranging from 6.1 to 6.0.  Each of these quakes, (and many more aftershocks registering less than […]

Turkey: One of the Most Active Earthquake Zones

Turkey is one of the most active earthquake zones because it is located in an area where several tectonic plates are converging, and actively in motion.  According to geologists, Turkey consists of the Anatolian Tectonic Plate which is surrounded by the Arabian Plate, The Eurasian Plate, and the African Plate.  The movement of these plates, […]

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 Dinosaur Footprint Puzzle: A Content or Process Approach?

“Tracking the Footprints Puzzle: The problematic persistence of science-as-process in teaching the nature and culture of science” by Charles R. Ault, Jr. and Jeff Dodick, which was published this month in the journal Science Education, is the research basis for this post.  The article was especially interesting for me since I have used the Footprint […]

Geology of Chile

Chile is a very long but narrow country located in one of the most active tectonic regions of the earth. As seen in the map below, Chile is close to or part of four tectonic plates: the Antarctic Plate, the Nazca Plate, the Scotia Plate and the South American Plate. The eastern edge of the […]

Drilling Through Igneous Rock to Rescue the 33 Miners

On August 5, 2010, the San Jose Copper and Gold mine near Copiapó, Chile collapsed trapping 33 miners 2200 feet beneath the surface.  The San Jose mine has been operating for nearly 100 years, and the mining for copper and gold  is located in a granite type of rock diorite.  Diorite has about the same structural […]

How Geology Aided in the Survival and Rescue of the Chilean Miners

All of the 33 Chilean miners, trapped for more than two months 2,200 feet below the surface, have been brought up to the surface using the ingenious capsule, designed by NASA and built by the Chilean navy. The capsule traveled up & down a shaft that was 26″ wide.  When we saw the first miner […]

Views of the Rockies

Here a few photos and a clickable map of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

August in the Rockies

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 […]

The BP Oil Spill Compared to Previous Spills

As I write this post, BP has begun their “top kill” maneuver to stop the flow of oil by plugging the well with mud. This technique has not been used at such great depths, and we’ll have to wait perhaps for a couple of days to find out the result of this approach to stopping […]

How Much Oil is Spilling into the Gulf?

There is enormous frustration setting in as the BP Gulf oil spill continues into its second month devastating vast areas of the American gulf coast. To this date, we do not know how much oil is spilling into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The original estimate (established by BP) was 5,000 barrels per […]

The Importance of Geology in Science Teaching

Since January, we have experienced a number of geological events that have caused havoc and misery to many people around the Earth.  On January 12, Haiti was rocked with a magnitude 7 earthquake causing the destruction of the many cities and towns including the capital, Port-au-Prince.  Then, on February 27, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake occurred […]

The BP Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

As of today, no one really knows how much oil has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico threatening the entire Gulf Coast Region, and possibly Florida  and the East Coast. NOAA is using an estimate of 210,000 gallons of oil per day (5,000 barrels), but in a closed door meeting with members of Congress, BP […]

Iceland’s Volcanic Activity

Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano in Iceland that has been erupting and causing havoc for thousands of people around the world, is one of about 200 volcanoes that are located in Iceland.  Iceland is the world’s most active volcanic area, and the country is located at the interface of two tectonic plates that are moving away from […]

Iceland's Volcanic Activity

Eyjafjallajokull, the volcano in Iceland that has been erupting and causing havoc for thousands of people around the world, is one of about 200 volcanoes that are located in Iceland.  Iceland is the world’s most active volcanic area, and the country is located at the interface of two tectonic plates that are moving away from […]

March 11 Chile Earthquakes

Several earthquakes occurred in Chile today (March 11), and according to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quakes were “aftershocks” associated with the 8.8 Chile earthquake of February 27.  According to the USGS analysis, the earthquakes occurred in the region of aftershocks of the major earthquake.  Here is the USGS early analysis of today’s earthquakes: The […]

Aftershocks & Historic Record of Earthquakes in Chile

The February 27, 8.8 earthquake offshore Maule, Chile occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and the South American Plates.  According to reports from the USGS, coastal Chile has been the location of vary large earthquakes for centuries.  There has been a written record of earthquakes in Chile since the 16th Century.  In 1735, when […]

Aftershocks & Historic Record of Earthquakes in Chile

The February 27, 8.8 earthquake offshore Maule, Chile occurred at the boundary between the Nazca and the South American Plates.  According to reports from the USGS, coastal Chile has been the location of vary large earthquakes for centuries.  There has been a written record of earthquakes in Chile since the 16th Century.  In 1735, when […]

From Earthquakes to Tsunami in Images

The 8.8 magnitude earthquake was the largest of many earthquakes that occur along the coast of Chile between the Nazca and South American tectonic plates.  As you can see on the map here, earthquakes regularly happen here, and around the rim of the Pacific (the Rim of Fire).  The 8.8 magnitude quake was a deep […]

Magnitude 8.8 Chile Earthquake

In the book The Art of Teaching Science, Chile is one the countries featured in an exploration of science education around the world.  The article was written by Claudia Rose, Director of the International Baccalaureate Program at the International School Nido de Aguilas in Santiago.  As of this writing, I was unable to access any […]

Adventures in Geology: Darwin & Fossils

Last year was the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of Species.  One of the activities I was involved in was work with a group of middle school students to explore some of the ideas shown in the Wordle that I […]

Adventures in Geology: Darwin & Fossils

Last year was the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, and the 150th anniversary of the publication of his book On the Origin of Species.  One of the activities I was involved in was work with a group of middle school students to explore some of the ideas shown in the Wordle that I […]

How Knowledge of Geology will be Important in Rebuilding Haiti

According to reports from Haiti, the relief effort is in full swing, and although search and rescue efforts were officially stopped, in truth,  they are still happening, and of course this is a hopeful event for the people in Haiti.  According to Christiane Amanpour, the U.N. is beginning to work toward the clearing away of […]

Assessment of the Haiti Earthquake and Aftershocks

The aftershocks that have rocked the region near the 7.0 earthquake of January 12 in Haiti will continue for months, if not years, according to a report by the United States Geological Survey (USGS).  It is important to understand the nature of the seismic activity in this region as this knowledge will be significant in […]

Aftershocks of the Haiti Earthquake: Are they Earthquakes?

Today, Haiti experienced a rather large 6.1 aftershock that was located 56 km from Port-Au-Prince.  Aftershocks are earthquakes.  In Haiti, there have been more than 40 aftershocks ranging from 3.0 to 5.9 as seen in the map here.  Today’s aftershock was the largest one since the 7.0 earthquake last Tuesday.  The relief efforts are underway, […]

Global Response to the Earthquake in Haiti

It has nearly been a week since the devastating 7.0 earthquake struck Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, and the surrounding cities and towns of this Caribbean country. The disaster is one of the worst in the Western Hemisphere, and our hearts go out to the suffering that is being experienced by so many people in this country. The […]

The Severity of the Haitian Earthquake

The earthquake that occurred near Port-Au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010 was one of the worst ever natural disasters.  Aid is pouring into the Haitian capital, and aid organizations, and governments from around the world are descending on this Caribbean country.  Our hearts go out to the people in Haiti, and we only hope that […]

Impact and Cause of the Haiti Earthquake

The earthquake that occurred on January 12, 2010 near the city of Port-Au-Prince, Haiti has overwhelmed the country, and there is now an enormous relief effort underway in this Caribbean Country.  One of the most important things that we can do is to become involved in the welfare of the children and adults that have […]

Drain the Ocean: A Program Exploring Hidden Landscapes

I received an email note from Minjae Ormes, Digital PR + Film Consultant at National Geographic announcing Drain the Ocean, a TV program that explores the terrain and creatures beneath the ocean.  Using scientific research and CGI, NG “drains the ocean” to reveal a landscape largely unknown to us. The program airs Sunday, August 9 […]

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky & the Gaia Theory

In the last post, I introduced Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (link to a brief bio), the Russian scientist whose pioneering work, unnoticed by James Lovelock when he first proposed the Gaia hypothesis, forms the basis for much of our understanding of the biosphere, what it really is, and how the region of the biosphere is the […]

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky & the Gaia Theory

In the last post, I introduced Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (link to a brief bio), the Russian scientist whose pioneering work, unnoticed by James Lovelock when he first proposed the Gaia hypothesis, forms the basis for much of our understanding of the biosphere, what it really is, and how the region of the biosphere is the […]

The Gaia Theory: Implications for Science Teaching

I returned this week from a two week trip to Texas, and waiting for me in the mail was a book I had pre-ordered from Amazon.  The title of the book is James Lovelock: In Search of Gaia, and it was written by John Gribbin & Mary Gribbin.  Here’s what the book is about: In […]

Volcano in Your Backyard

Volcanoes have received a bad rap recently, especially if the US Geological Survey is to receive “stimulus” funding to monitor and investigate volcanoes. According to the Governor of Louisiana funding “something called ‘volcano monitoring’ is an example of questionable funding in the appropriation bill. But the mayor of Vancouver, Washington begs to differ, and points […]

Adventures in Geology–Is it pedagogy or petrology? Transforming Practice

In the last two posts, I’ve discussed the recent research that focuses on girls and science, and how teachers can make transformations in their practice to incorporate recent research.  Making a transformation in ones teaching is challenging and indeed a creative adventure. In the 1970s I was teaching an undergraduate geology course at Georgia State […]

A (Crude) Oil Lesson

Gas prices are down in the $2 range, and Thomas Friedman says that it leaves him with mixed feelings.  In his bi-weekly New York Times column today, he reminded us that when gas prices went beyond $4, Americans changed a lot—drove less, polluted less, exercised more, used more public transportation, and there was lots of […]

Mousetraps and Science Teaching: A Follow-up to Only a Theory

In Kenneth Miller’s book, Only a Theory, he talks about the fundamental concept underlying “intelligent design” and goes on to show how the fundamental concept is wrong, and not supported in biological research.  The fundamental idea is that there are some aspects of nature that that are just too complex to have “evolved” to their […]

Safer Schools in China

We know that the Sichuan province earthquake destroyed enormous numbers of schools, and that many children died as a result.  Andrew Revkin reported on his blog research being done by Santiago Pujol, an engineer at Purdue focusing on preventing just the kind of destruction that was done to schools in China.  Revkin has an illustration […]

Preparing for an Earthquake

What should our students and citizens know about earthquake preparedness? Certainly, the earthquake in China is prompting us to be able to answer these questions. I’ve only experienced three earthquakes, once many years ago in Columbus, Ohio, years later in San Francisco, and in the year 2000 in Seattle. The worst of these was in […]

Impact and Cause of China’s Sichuan Earthquake

The Sichuan earthquake that occurred last week in China was, according to geologists, was a two stage quake, with the total duration of about 2 minutes. According to geologists at Tsukuba University, the quake was movement along the Longmenshan Fault that moved earth in two sections. Geologists report that because the quake was a shallow […]

Impact and Cause of China's Sichuan Earthquake

The Sichuan earthquake that occurred last week in China was, according to geologists, was a two stage quake, with the total duration of about 2 minutes. According to geologists at Tsukuba University, the quake was movement along the Longmenshan Fault that moved earth in two sections. Geologists report that because the quake was a shallow […]

Earthquake Building Codes for China’s Schools

A BBC article, China Anger over ‘shoddy schools,’ focused on the fact in some areas schools collapsed during the 7.9 Magnitude earthquake last week, while other buildings near the schools withstood the earthquake’s devastating energy. Beichuan Middle School, in the city of Mianyang, more than a 1000 students are missing. A day before the earthquake, […]

Earthquake Building Codes for China's Schools

A BBC article, China Anger over ‘shoddy schools,’ focused on the fact in some areas schools collapsed during the 7.9 Magnitude earthquake last week, while other buildings near the schools withstood the earthquake’s devastating energy. Beichuan Middle School, in the city of Mianyang, more than a 1000 students are missing. A day before the earthquake, […]

The Sichuan, China Earthquake

Yesterday, I wrote briefly about the 7.9 M earthquake that occurred in the mountainous area near the margin of the Sichuan Basin. Rescue workers are having a difficult time reaching villages in this remote and mountanous region. The google earth image below shows the difficulty faced by the rescue workers. Here the mountains average 2400 […]

China’s Sichuan Earthquake

On May 9th, the eastern Sichuan region of China experienced a 7.9 magnitude earthquake (at this USGS website, you can obtain details, a summary, maps, and more technical information about this powerful quake). More than 30 million experienced from strong to extreme shaking in a region about 600 km by 300 km. The quake, however, […]

China's Sichuan Earthquake

On May 9th, the eastern Sichuan region of China experienced a 7.9 magnitude earthquake (at this USGS website, you can obtain details, a summary, maps, and more technical information about this powerful quake). More than 30 million experienced from strong to extreme shaking in a region about 600 km by 300 km. The quake, however, […]

The Shenandoah Valley

Drove today from Marietta to Dublin (VA) on our way to Lynchburg, about 400 miles. Most of the drive was in the gorgeous Shenadnoah Valley. I’ve written before about the Shenandoah Valley in an earlier post in a discussion of plate tectonics, and other matters geology. Interstate 81 runs the length of the Valley, and […]

How Are Quakes Related?

I came across an interesting article No, One Quake Did Not Lead to Another, in New York Times Online. The article pointed out that following Hawaii’s 6.7 quake on October 15, two other big quakes occurred, a 6.8 near Papua New Guinea, and a 6.4 off the coast of Peru. People wondered, Are these quakes […]

The Hawaii Quake, or Is It Quakes?

In the wake of the mid-October Hawaii quake, scientists are not sure whether the >6 aftershock was an aftershock, or an independent earthquake. The first quake, which was measured at 6.7 on the Richter scale occurred at 7:07 A.M. at a depth of 24 miles; the second quake was measured at 6.0 on the Richter […]

Earthquakes in Hawaii—Unusual or Part of Hawaii's Geology?

The other day I heard a CNN news-reader, during the time when readers don’t read, but speak for themselves, say right after a story of the October 15th big Hawaii earthquake: “My, what a strange place for an earthquake to take place!” So much for earth science education! Actually we know that the Hawaiian Islands […]

Earthquakes in Hawaii—Unusual or Part of Hawaii’s Geology?

The other day I heard a CNN news-reader, during the time when readers don’t read, but speak for themselves, say right after a story of the October 15th big Hawaii earthquake: “My, what a strange place for an earthquake to take place!” So much for earth science education! Actually we know that the Hawaiian Islands […]

Was New Hampshire Once Part of Africa? Roadside/Roadcut Geology

The title is very tantalizing, isn’t it? I grew up just a few miles from New Hampshire, and studied earth science in undergraduate school. I can tell you that in our courses taught by very fine professors of geology, I never heard anyone make that claim. It would take many years after my undergraduate studies […]

From New England to Georgia—Geology & Other Stuff on the Road

We recently traveled to New England by air for a family visit, and to attend antiques shows held during the “New Hampshire Antiques Week.” Because of the terrorist threat in London, we decided to drive back to Georgia traveling from Concord, New Hampshire, through Brattleboro, Vermont into Connecticut, then into New York and Pennsylvania down […]

From New England to Georgia—Geology & Other Stuff on the Road

We recently traveled to New England by air for a family visit, and to attend antiques shows held during the “New Hampshire Antiques Week.” Because of the terrorist threat in London, we decided to drive back to Georgia traveling from Concord, New Hampshire, through Brattleboro, Vermont into Connecticut, then into New York and Pennsylvania down […]

1906 San Francsico Earthquake Centennial

Today marks the 100th anniversary of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake which hit the city at 5.12 a.m. on that day. In an earlier post, I commented on the significance of the 1906 earthquake, and recommended a book by Simon Winchester, A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake […]

The Earthquake of 1906 and the New Geology

I am in the mood to write about earthquakes. I’ve written about them before, and designed activities for teachers and high school students years ago. I have only experienced three earthquakes (in Columbus, Ohio (1967), San Francisco (1985) and Seattle (2001)). In the fact the last one was a very powerful quake that rocked the […]

The Natural Selector and The Intelligent Designer: A Continuing Debate

A great dialog is going on right now in the midst of the Dover, PA school district’s defense of insisting that teachers read a statement in biology classes that upgrades Intelligent Design to the level of Darwin’s and Wallace’s concept of natural selection and the theory of evolution. The trial also demonstrated the legal power […]

California Earthquakes and Science Teaching

I’ve only had a few direct experiences with an earthquake (one each in Oakland, CA, Seattle, WA, and Columbus, OH), and yet this past week, California citizens experienced 4 earthquakes that rattled a number of locations, and one of the earthquakes triggered a tsunami warning. A number of geologists were interviewed on national TV networks, […]