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Scientists using instruments on the Mars rover Curiosity have determined that a deposit of wind-blown sand and dust in Gale Crater is chemically and mineralogically similar to deposits previously analyzed by the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity at two other sites on the red planet. Sediments in all three locations were produced by the…

Variations in the rate of global warming since the 1970s were not caused by atmospheric changes that affect how much solar radiation reaches the Earth’s surface, a new study says.Over the past century, rising greenhouse gas levels have caused global average temperatures to increase, climate scientists Kaicun Wang and Robert Dickinson write in the Proceedings…

Jay Banner has received the University of Texas System’s highest teaching honor: a Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award. He is one of 26 faculty members from UT Austin to receive a 2013 award. The awards program is one of the nation’s largest monetary teaching recognition programs in higher education, honoring outstanding performance in the classroom and…

In March 2013, the Jackson School inducted four geoscience legends into its Hall of Distinction. They were selected for their high-level accomplishments in academia, industry or government, as well as a strong affiliation with the Jackson School. David S. “Scotty” Holland, Sr. was an integral part of UT’s geosciences community for a number of decades. He…

Peter Flemings was on a family vacation hiking in the White Mountains in New Hampshire when his cell phone rang. It was U.S. energy secretary Stephen Chu’s assistant. Could he join a web conference with Secretary Chu, and dozens of scientists from government, academia and industry, in a few hours? After packing up and making…

Memorial: Wann Langston, Jr.

It is with deep regret that I write to confirm that Dr. Wann Langston, Jr. passed away late on Sunday, April 7, 2013. He succumbed following a protracted battle with cancer, but he was surrounded by his children and very much at peace in his last months. Wann’s lifelong fascination with fossils spans nearly nine…

Groundwater depletion is a massive problem worldwide, but aside from hydrogeologists and farmers, how many people are aware of it? This year’s Oliver Distinguished Lecturer, Tom Gleeson of McGill University, wants to make sure both the problem and its potential solutions are well understood—so well understood, they can even be explained at a cocktail party….

Andrew Smith studies undersea gas vents, large volcano-like features on the seafloor that spew plumes of oil and gas into the ocean. Scientists have long been interested in them because many contain large amounts of gas hydrate, an icy substance made of natural gas and water. Gas hydrates might be mined someday as an alternative…

Researchers from Amherst College and The University of Texas at Austin have described a new technique that might one day reveal in higher detail than ever before the composition and characteristics of the deep Earth.

It’s the nightmare scenario: A magnitude 7.8 earthquake begins at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault and the rupture continues moving northwest 200 miles along the fault to a spot about 50 miles north of Los Angeles. Buildings collapse, wildfires spark, and electric power and water systems are damaged. Experts project such an…

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