Phys .org: Citizen scientists help geologists to identify earthquakes and tectonic tremors. “Tens of thousands of seismic stations around the world continuously record local seismic activity, with an output that is far beyond what scientists can process. Here, researchers from Northwestern University have called over 2,000 citizen scientists to the rescue for the crowd-based analysis of seismic recordings, rendered into audiovisual format, through the program Earthquake Detective on the Open-Science platform Zooniverse. They show that citizens are at least as accurate as machine learning, and can even identify tectonic tremors, which previously was only possible for trained professionals.”
IEEE Spectrum: Ambitious Data Project Aims to Organize the World’s Geoscientific Records. “Geoscience researchers are excited by a new big-data effort to connect millions of hard-won scientific records in databases around the world. When complete, the network will be a virtual portal into the ancient history of the planet. The project is called Deep-time Digital Earth, and one of its leaders, Nanjing-based paleontologist Fan Junxuan, says it unites hundreds of researchers—geochemists, geologists, mineralogists, paleontologists—in an ambitious plan to link potentially hundreds of databases.”
CBC: Yukon geologists raid the archives to aid ongoing search for gold. “Hundreds of detailed maps — along with field notebooks and other records — are held in Ottawa by Libraries and Archives Canada. [Sydney] Van Loon and [Jeff] Bond have been spending time there, looking through piles of material to find things that may be of interest. Turns out, there’s a lot that’s of interest. So far, the geologists have scanned about 850 maps and thousands of pages of geological data — including 12,000 exploration drill holes — and they’re nowhere near being done.”
Phys .org: Laser scanning leads to 3-D rendering of Robber’s Cave . “As bits of Robber’s Cave history fade to folklore, the thousands of engravings that crowd its Dakota sandstone walls like graffiti are likewise disintegrating, imperceptibly but inevitably, into miniature dunes at the base of the walls…. A first-of-its-kind project funded by History Nebraska and coordinated by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Richard Wood is preserving those voices by digitally mapping every millimeter of the cave’s 5,000-plus square feet, engravings and all.” There are apparently many Robber’s Cave places. This is the one in Nebraska.
McGill Newsroom: World’s most detailed database maps characteristics of Earth’s rivers and catchments. “Two researchers and friends from opposite ends of the Earth have created a world-first high spatial resolution atlas that maps the environmental characteristics of all the globe’s rivers and catchments. HydroATLAS was co-developed by Bernhard Lehner and his team from McGill University’s Department of Geography and Simon Linke from Griffith University’s Australian Rivers Institute.”
Phys .org: Recreating Earth through code. “The first Earth System Model developed and based in Africa are creating one of the most reliable and most detailed modulations of climate change. What does it take to recreate Earth? A couple of thousands of line of code, throw in some data from all the weather stations around the world, and a supercomputer.”
University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Google find expands understanding of Nebraska’s icy past. “By analyzing Google Earth images, a trio of Conservation and Survey Division scientists discovered that permafrost was common in northern Nebraska about 26,500 to 19,000 years ago when ice sheets were last at their greatest extent across North America. The discovery adds another dimension to the study of changing climates in Nebraska and the surrounding Great Plains, said Matt Joeckel, director of the Conservation and Survey Division and co-author on the study, which published in the fall edition of Great Plains Research.”
Arizona State University: Research project aims to build geospatial artificial intelligence for landform detection. “Earth is enormous, and while humans have done a decent job of being able to map out the boundaries of countries and states, the roads in our cities and the location of geological sightseeing destinations, there remains a lot of the world that isn’t precisely figured out. But a new project from Wenwen Li, associate professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, aims to learn more about our world and its varying terrain by applying artificial intelligence.”
Columbia University Libraries: Just Launched: Geologic Field Trip Guidebooks Web Archive. “I am pleased to announce the launch of the Geologic Field Trip Guidebooks Web Archive. Curated by Amanda Bielskas (Columbia), Brittany Wofford (Duke), Jane Quigley (Dartmouth), and Emily Wild (Princeton) — under the auspices of the Ivy Plus Libraries Confederation — the Geologic Field Trip Guidebooks Web Archive aims to preserve web-based geoscience field trip guidebooks, which document local geologic information and are often ephemeral.”
AGU Blogosphere: A global database of giant landslides on volcanic islands. “In a paper just published in the journal Landslides, Blahůt et al. (2019) describe the compilation of a new global database of giant landslides on volcanic islands. This database is hosted on the website of the Institute of Rock Structure & Mechanics. The authors note that ‘the records can be downloaded as a spreadsheet or as a kml file for interrogation in a number of geospatial software programs including ArcGIS and Google Earth’.”
Government Technology: Arizona Creates Landslide Database to Monitor Instability. “Geologists at the Arizona Geological Survey have created a statewide landslide database that documents more than 6,000 landslides, debris flows and rock slides. The tool will help better inform roadway projects.”
New-to-me: a database of sandstone archives. From Deseret News: Utah geologist spends days hunting for arches: 1,941 and still counting. “In 2002 [Jens Munthe] published ‘Arches of the Escalante Canyons and Kaiparowits Plateau, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.’ Back then, 640 arches had been documented in the region. Now, Munthe’s database includes 1,941 arches with several dozen more waiting to be plotted on maps. He claims to have discovered more than 700 of the natural treasures himself.”
TechCrunch: Hold the first Moon rock ever collected with your smartphone. “NASA is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing in a variety of ways today, but here’s one you can experience no matter where you are, provided you have a modern smartphone. NASA’s Astromaterials Research & Exploration Science (ARES) department has released a fully detailed model of the first ever sample of lunar soil and rock, bagged by Astronaut Neil Armstrong during humanity’s first-ever trip to the Moon’s surface.”
State of the Planet / Columbia University: Rescuing 50 Years of Apollo Sample Data . “Over the next five years, the Astromaterials Data System will collect, organize, and digitize study results not only from the samples collected by the Apollo missions, but also studies based on meteorites, cosmic dust samples, and samples from asteroids and comets gathered from outer space.”
University of Kansas: Kansas rocks! Online tool from Geological Survey invites deeper exploration of state’s highways and byways. “The mobile-friendly ‘Highways & Byways to Kansas Geology’ website leads users on a geological tour of the state’s roadways with a scrolling format known as a story map. It explores what natural features like rock formations, wetlands and colorfully layered roadcuts reveal about the evolution of the ground beneath our feet and the cultural history of the people who settled and passed through the state.” What a cool idea.