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Institute for Geophysics News Archive


Research published in the journal Nature on May 19 has revealed that vast regions of the Totten Glacier in East Antarctica are fundamentally unstable and have contributed significantly to rising sea levels several times in the past. Totten Glacier is the most rapidly thinning glacier in East Antarctica, and this study raises concerns that a…

Earthquakes triggered by human activity have been happening in Texas since at least 1925, and they have been widespread throughout the state ever since, according to a new historical review of the evidence published online May 18 in Seismological Research Letters. The earthquakes are caused by oil and gas operations, but the specific production techniques behind…

No Core Today, But Plenty of History

Today on the ferry  to L/B Myrtle the drill manager came to me and my co-travellers with bad news. The drill bit had worn out again and needed to be replaced – a task that requires pulling up over 860 feet of drill pipes, one by one, back up through the borehole. We weren’t going…

Cenote Descent

The Chicxulub impact’s biggest claim to fame is wiping out the dinosaurs. But, as I mentioned in my first post from Merida, the impact also played a role in shaping the hydrology of the Yucatan, including the region’s most distinctive hydrological feature–cenotes. A collection of at least 900 outline the land-based portion of the Chicxulub crater…

Aboard the Good Ship L/B Myrtle

Yesterday I went to a museum in Merida to learn about the Chicxulub impact. Today I went right to the impact site by boarding the L/B Myrtle, the boat that’s homebase for scientists drilling into the crater. I had an amazing time learning about the research from the scientists on board, including the Jackson School’s…

Research published in the May 6 edition of Science indicates that slow-motion earthquakes or “slow-slip events” can rupture the shallow portion of a fault that also moves in large, tsunami-generating earthquakes. The finding has important implications for assessing tsunami hazards. The discovery was made by conducting the first-ever detailed investigation of centimeter-level seafloor movement at…

Touring UTIG’s Airplane

By Laura Lindzey, a graduate student at the Jackson School of Geosciences. The post first appeared on her blog.  Don Blankenship’s research group at UTIG has been collecting geophysical data in Antarctica for decades. Each season, we hire Kenn Borek Air1 to operate one of their modified airplanes, stuff it full of sensors, and fly around…

More than 65 million years ago, a six-mile wide asteroid smashed into Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula, triggering earthquakes, tsunamis and an explosion of debris that blanketed the Earth in layers of dust and sediment. Now analysis of commercial oil drilling data—denied to the academic community until recently—offers the first detailed look at how the Chicxulub impact…

Scientists have created the first map that shows how the Greenland Ice Sheet has moved over time, revealing that ice in the interior is moving more slowly toward the edges than it has, on average, during the past 9,000 years. The findings, which researchers said don’t change the fact that the ice sheet is losing…

Climate Change Can Tear Down Mountains

The St. Elias Mountains in Alaska are more than 5000 meters tall, testament to a tectonic plate wedged underneath the region that is driving them up like a snowplow. But the St. Elias range also contains some of the world’s largest glaciers, which inexhaustibly scour the mountains and dump sediment in the sea. Now, a…

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