Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Lava Column
Originally uploaded by wwarby.
Drillers accidentally hit a pocket of molten rock underneath a working geothermal energy field in Hawaii, a lucky break for geologists that could allow them to map the geological plumbing that created everything we know as land.

The unprecedented discovery could act as a "magma observatory," allowing scientists to test their theories about how processes transformed the molten rock below Earth's surface into the rocky crust that humans live on today.

I can imagine the drillers: "Whoops!" then the scientists: "Oh wait. Cool!"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

AGU day 2 - no less tired

Originally uploaded by aeroculus.
I didn't bring my little three-legged stool today because there's plenty of seating, and I dressed differently (with more willingness to be cold outside, too) so I have less to carry, so the day should be physically easier, right?

Or not. Because today, the exhibition hall was open, and boy oh boy, your tax dollars sure pay for swag. Do I need an image of the whole planet, as an anaglyph ("3-D"), complete with the viewing glasses? Define "need." I now have one. There are posters, and bookmarks, and postcards, and bound/published studies, and so much interesting stuff. I tried only to pick up free stuff I really, um, needed. So far, I've completely avoided all the book publishers, even the one that's half-price just for the conference, even though they have really, really neat stuff. So far.

This morning I attended a talk on challenges in California due to climate change, specifically why we're so fragile here, how our "perennial" agriculture (tree crops, grapes) will probably change and adapt, and mitigation and planning for sea level change in the San Francisco bay area. I know not everyone would say, "Wow, it was so interesting," but of course it was. I missed a presentation earlier this afternoon because of the information and sensation overload of the exhibition hall, and the rest required afterward, but am attending a presentation later today on "Science Issues for a New Congress and a New Administration." Then I think I'll call myself whupped, and head for home. Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

overwhelming - AGU Fall Meeting

Originally uploaded by marymactavish.
I'm at the AGU fall meeting -- omg overwhelming. I don't have the stamina for all the poster stuff, I'm interested in 2/3 of them, but I don't understand 90% of those. I'm such a generalist. As I continue in school, I'll get more specific, I think continuing toward environmental studies and physical geography, and the teaching of it, and there are some great posters (and I'm anticipating some great speaker sessions) about that.

I love that I can hear languages from all over the world here, lots of Italians, also Russians, Germans, Koreans -- from what I've heard so far.

They've divided the sessions into four different locations within a two-block radius from one another, all posters in one big hall, booths in another, speakers upstairs from that, other presentations -- films, meetings, etc. -- into that.

It's actually very exciting, but again, I'm overwhelmed and though not quite out of my element, definitely still on the outskirts of it, working my way in.

( Maria: I actually hit the education posters for the morning right before I sat down and read your response to my last post. It's the direction I'm heading, I think, and I knew I'd be interested. Wish you were here! Thanks! )

Sunday, December 14, 2008

2008 AGU fall meeting -- tomorrow morning!

seismologists are sinners
Originally uploaded by volcanojw.
I'll be at the American Geophysical Union fall meeting in San Francisco all week, from early morning to late afternoon. I'm not an expert on anything, I'm just an earth sciences fangirl (and beyond, the AGU meeting covers most aspects of physical geography as well as solar system science) and struggled to list a primary interest at all. So far, going through the schedule and trying to establish an itinerary has been a huge challenge. There are, in some slots, two or three oral presentations and fifty or more poster sessions that I want to visit. I picked a lot of them by doing searches on "california," "san francisco," "bay area," "climate change," and "serpentine" -- then filled it in with whatever caught my eye. I'm trying to be firm with myself, then just make some last minute decisions while I'm there.

I'll blog, but I'm not sure how yet. I can either figure out how to mobile blog to this journal from my phone and do lots of small entries, or (and this is more likely) just use twitter a lot, and phone pictures to flickr or twitpic, and take pictures with my regular camera for later, then once or a few times over the course of the week, amalgamate those into a proper entry. Or maybe I'll do both. Do you have a preference?

Is there anything you'd specifically like me to explore, photograph, or write about for this blog, from the AGU meeting?

If not, my posts are likely to make it clear that I'm running around like the proverbial kid in the candy shop, licking everything and putting it back.

If I see the "seismologists are sinners" guy, I'll get a picture of him.