This month’s theme is “ten things worth sharing this week.” ala artist Austin Kleon, drawing from notes I took at a recent science meeting in Pasadena, CA. The EarthScope Consortium, people who do seismic and geodetic geophysics, met to discuss their latest and greatest. I’m not a geophysicist, but I appreciate the technical science and engineering that go into studying important processes on Earth and in space.
So here are the ten things I’m sharing with links for you to learn more
I woke up one night wondering if there is measurable subsidence of the Sierras from the record snow fall in California this winter. I checked in with former colleagues and there ARE people looking at this. Here is some of the data. The top graph shows inches of snow for the last two seasons at Mammoth, California. The second graph is a time series showing one location’s movement north, south, and vertical over time. The vertical displacement for this snow season is marked in red, and even I can see a significant movement downward this winter. Nice of the GPS moument not to get covered in snow! I’ll write more when the scientists do a more sophisticated interpretation.
From the EarthScope meeting, things that drew my attention:
Frontiers still exist. What we are learning now about Mars is at the same stage of learning about the Earth in the late 19th and early 20th century and about the moon in mid-20th century.
The U.S. will again have boots on the moon 2025! Most of what we know about our moon is from Apollo mission (1961-1975), and the samples from that mission were in an anomalous region. The next mission will land in an area that will tell us more about the moon’s core from its heat flow and structure.
People working with satellite data used the word landscape. Landscape is defined as what you can see in your field of view – and the view from 500 km is huge!
DAS was the buzz word. I asked one person what it is, and he didn’t know – it’s that new. Distributed Acoustic Sensing is simply an optical cable which we learned stretches in different amounts along its length, now being used as a new seismometer. Too much to talk about today, but here is a general, simple description.
Someone said “Europa is sucking the air out of the room.” I think that means NASA scientists and engineers are very, very busy planning the mission with the Europa Clipper launching in 2024. We already know there are tectonics on Europa – the faults and earthquakes on a dynamic celestial body. Learn more about the mission to Jupiter’s moon, Europa.
NASA is already planning for 2030+ launches. Aside from deciding on and designing experiments for these satellites and landing equipment, people are thinking about how to handle the enormous amounts of data generated – over 38 terabytes/day for just one band of many spectral data!
Geoscience is one of the least diverse areas of science. But from scanning the 2023 crowd, the diversity of people this year was huge – quite a change from 2004 and 2010 meetings. This is quite gratifying to those of us who have worked to broaden participation over the years.
I’m not so interested in space so I thought talk of Ocean Worlds sounded like a movie title. This NASA clip looks and sounds like sci-fi – but it’s reality.
I am interested in how different disciplines use language for communication and as obstacles to understanding each other. Turns out that at NASA geophysicists get data from satellites and atmospheric scientists get retrievals.
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A Fun Thing
Watch the eighth short video on ‘Why I Love This Rock’. s
More about Earth to Susan
I am writing a book about how people see the Earth in different ways. I will bring science, poetry, music, theology, literature, philosophy, history, geography, politics, and economics to these pages – all in relationship to Earth.
Most importantly, I believe that helping people understand that we all see the Earth in different ways will open conversations to help find solutions for the many issues facing the planet we call home.
I plan on one newsletter per month, and I hope you will continue to read this and share with your friends! It’s free.
Until next month,
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An excellent article, Susan. Thanks very much for sharing it.