The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Mediterranean Week

The Messinian Salinity Crisis & the Zanclean Flood The Mediterranean Sea is massive, covering 2.5 million square kilometers (970,000 square miles). It contains 3.75 cubic kilometers of water, enough to fill more than 310 copies of Lake Superior. The body has nourished some of the planet’s greatest civilizations, from the Phoenicians to the Greeks to […]

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Visualizing Wind Speed

Visualizing Wind Speeds We recently learned about the Beaufort Scale. In the early 19th century, Sir Francis Beaufort sought to create an empirical system for describing wind speeds, in an effort to make communication about conditions useful to mariners. As the scale matured, it moved from informing dedicated sailors to anyone on the water to anyone

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Man of the Hole

Man of the Hole South America’s Amazon Rainforest is, in many ways, the heart of our planet. The eponymous river drains more water than the next seven-largest waterways, approximately 20% of Earth’s total. The rainforest is the largest and most diverse in the world. Of all the plant and animal species extant, one in 10 lives

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The Tube Oven

The Tube Oven In our previous exploration, we discovered London’s subway system – the Underground, lovingly called the Tube – features some strange mosquitoes. The scientific oddities of the Underground don’t stop there, however. The British constructed the earliest tunnels near the surface, but they quickly realized they could produce conduits deeper in the earth. One

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Denizen's of London's Underground Logo

Denizens of London’s Underground

Denizen’s of London’s Underground   The British constructed the world’s first underground passenger railway in London in 1863. The first tunnels built for the Metropolitan Railway used the cut-and-cover method, forming conduits just below the surface. Circular holes at deeper levels soon became the preferred method. The round tunnels provided a nickname by which locals

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Spruce Knob – West Virginia’s High Point

Spruce Knob – West Virginia’s High Point   If the state of West Virginia had not presciently decided to move away from the wickedness of slavery during the Civil War, its High Point would be about 250 miles south-southwest at Mount Rogers, near the Virginia tripoint with North Carolina and Tennessee. Instead, the good citizens

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The North Pole

The North Pole Ho, ho, ho, my friends! Last week we profiled Santa’s transportation critters – Reindeer – and today we’ll travel to the address of the big man’s home base: the North Pole. If you want to mail Santa a letter, send it to North 90 degrees latitude and every possible line of longitude. Don’t send it to

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Reindeer “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen! – Clement Clarke Moore, “A Visit From St. Nicholas As we inch toward Christmas, one of the obvious nature connections to our modern celebrations is the reindeer. Oddly, though reindeer are ubiquitous to our knowledge of Santa and his yearly sleigh ride, in North America we don’t actually call

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