GLOFs & Jökulhlaups

GLOFs & Jökulhlaups When I was just a wee nerd, one year at the Ohio State Fair I happened upon a merchant selling packs of playing cards called Magic: the Gathering. I had no idea what they were. My mother and sister, who were with me, had no idea what the game was. But they looked really …

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Frankenstein’s Monster Volcano

Frankenstein’s Monster Volcano Mary Shelley might not be the first name encountered when considering women in science and nature, but she led an extraordinary life and has an intriguing connection to one of the largest events in geologic history. Additionally, many literary critics dubbed one of her novels as the first science-fiction piece ever written. Her …

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Sylacauga

Sylacauga In the last issue, we traveled to the strangely-named Benld, Illinois, to investigate a close encounter with a meteorite. In 1938, some humans had the closest recorded brush with a meteorite impact. Just 50 feet away, a space rock hit a garage, went through the ceiling of a car, its cushion, its floorboard, bounced off …

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Giant’s Causeway

Giant’s Causeway In the days of ancient yore, a Scottish giant named Benandonner challenged an Irish giant named Fionn mac Cumhaill to a fight. Fionn accepted the summons, but the giants had a problem. A sea lay between the two colossi, so Fionn constructed a causeway across the North Channel. The exact details are sketchy …

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Sand Cats

Sand Cats Today we celebrate Felis margarita. No, not a cat named after a tequila cocktail, but a species named after the French general Jean Auguste Margueritte. May I introduce the adorable Sand Cat, also sometimes dubbed the Sand Dune Cat. Sand Kitty – photo by Payman Sazesh This small, wild cat resides in the sandy and stony …

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Moose, Meese, Mooses

Moose, Meese, Mooses Way back in the 42nd episode of the newsletter, we explored the gorgeous Gekko gecko, otherwise known as the tokay gecko. I came upon that beauty through photographs but loved the nearly identical scientific nomenclature, which got me thinking about tautonyms. A tautonym is the term for a doubled taxonomic name, and its …

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Derechos

Derechos I think most people are familiar with tornadoes, hurricanes, and blizzards, all storms associated with ferocious winds. But there is another menacing monster out there in the clouds, beyond these familiar storms, called a derecho. The term comes from the Spanish word for “straight” or “direct.” Unlike the swirling winds of a tornado, a derecho …

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Comet NEOWISE

Comet NEOWISE   The astrophotography world has been abuzz in recent weeks thanks to the spectacular emergence of Comet NEOWISE, which is one of the brightest visible objects in the northern hemisphere since the famous 1997 edition of Comet Hale-Bopp. Before March of this year, we didn’t even know this comet existed. Astronomers picked up an …

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