Highly Allochthonous

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News and commentary from the wide world of Earth Science

Chris Rowan
45 posts

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  • May 17, 2013
  • 10:48 PM

In large earthquakes, the Earth moves for almost everyone

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The Global Positioning System has completely revolutionised how geologists study the deformation of the Earth. If you leave a GPS receiver in a fixed location for days, months and years, it is precise enough to measure motions on the millimetre … Continue reading →... Read more »

Corne ́ Kreemer, Geoffrey Blewitt, William C. Hammond, & Hans-Peter Plag. (2006) Global deformation from the great 2004 Sumatra-Andaman Earthquake observed by GPS: Implications for rupture process and global reference fram. Earth, Planets, Space, 58(2), 141-148. info:other/

Tregoning, P., Burgette, R., McClusky, S., Lejeune, S., Watson, C., & McQueen, H. (2013) A decade of horizontal deformation from great earthquakes. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. DOI: 10.1002/jgrb.50154  

  • October 20, 2011
  • 01:39 AM

Does plate tectonics control magnetic reversals?

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Possibly, but this paper will not convince you. Continue reading →... Read more »

Pétrélis, F., Besse, J., & Valet, J. (2011) Plate tectonics may control geomagnetic reversal frequency. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(19). DOI: 10.1029/2011GL048784  

  • October 5, 2011
  • 03:36 PM

Proof of earthquake triggering in Christchurch? Not so fast…

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

When a magnitude 6.3 earthquake scored an almost direct hit on Christchurch in February, I discussed the possibility that rather than being a simple aftershock of... Read more »

Stramondo, S., Kyriakopoulos, C., Bignami, C., Chini, M., Melini, D., Moro, M., Picchiani, M., Saroli, M., & Boschi, E. (2011) Did the September 2010 (Darfield) earthquake trigger the February 2011 (Christchurch) event?. Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/srep00098  

  • June 27, 2011
  • 05:35 PM

Update: Christchurch aftershocks

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

As the aftershocks of the Darfield quake continue, where do the future seismic dangers lie? Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 24, 2011
  • 02:18 PM

When a tree falls in a stream, there’s always something around to make use of it.

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Allochthonous may have some obscure usage related to rocks, but in ecology, allochthonous material is a major concept that underpins thinking about nutrient cycling and food web dynamics. In its most general definition, allochthonous material is something imported into an … Continue reading →... Read more »

Vannote, R., Minshall, G., Cummins, K., Sedell, J., & Cushing, C. (1980) The River Continuum Concept. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 37(1), 130-137. DOI: 10.1139/f80-017  

  • May 27, 2011
  • 02:12 PM

Bacteria in the sky, making it rain, snow, and hail

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Even though we all think of the freezing point of water as 0 °C, very pure water remains a liquid until about -40 °C. Water crystallizes to ice in the presence of tiny nucleation particles in the atmosphere. These particles … Continue reading →... Read more »

Christner, B., Morris, C., Foreman, C., Cai, R., & Sands, D. (2008) Ubiquity of Biological Ice Nucleators in Snowfall. Science, 319(5867), 1214-1214. DOI: 10.1126/science.1149757  

Pöschl U, Martin ST, Sinha B, Chen Q, Gunthe SS, Huffman JA, Borrmann S, Farmer DK, Garland RM, Helas G.... (2010) Rainforest aerosols as biogenic nuclei of clouds and precipitation in the Amazon. Science (New York, N.Y.), 329(5998), 1513-6. PMID: 20847268  

  • May 19, 2011
  • 04:10 PM

Levees and the illusion of flood control

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Levees have their uses in protecting communities from flooding - but they also create the illusion of safety that promotes further settlement and development of floodplain lands. Continue reading →... Read more »

  • May 5, 2011
  • 12:50 AM

The many faces of earthquake triggering

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Can large earthquakes beget more large earthquakes? It’s an easy question to ask, but much more difficult to answer. Depending on the distance from, and time since, the initial earthquake, the processes that may result in ‘seismic triggering’ are very … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 24, 2011
  • 01:52 AM

The scientist-journalist divide: what can we learn from each other?

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Last week, the journal Nature published two research papers on the effects of human-caused global warming on extreme precipitation events. I’m working on a post on the papers, and they’ve already received quite a bit of attention in the media. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • February 12, 2011
  • 01:13 AM

Friday focal mechanisms: Chile’s persistent seismic gap

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The magnitude 8.8 earthquake that shook Chile in February 2010 occurred within a seismic gap - but new research suggests that it did not fill it. Continue reading →... Read more »

Lorito, S., Romano, F., Atzori, S., Tong, X., Avallone, A., McCloskey, J., Cocco, M., Boschi, E., & Piatanesi, A. (2011) Limited overlap between the seismic gap and coseismic slip of the great 2010 Chile earthquake. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1073  

  • February 8, 2011
  • 09:32 AM

Pakistan floods: Predictable or predicted, but a disaster nonetheless

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Unusually heavy monsoon rains in July and August 2010 left large swaths of Pakistan underwater. At least 18 million people were affected by the flood, and it is estimated that, more than six months later, several hundred thousand remain without … Continue reading →... Read more »

Webster, P. J., Toma, V.E., & Kim, H.-M. (2011) Were the 2010 Pakistan floods predictable?. Geophysical Research Letters. info:/10.1029/2010GL046346

  • January 25, 2011
  • 08:26 AM

Geology is destiny: globally mapping permeability by rock type

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The first maps of the global distribution of the ease of subsurface water flow have been produced, and they are based on maps of rock type. Continue reading →... Read more »

Gleeson, T., Smith, L., Moosdorf, N., Hartmann, J., Dürr, H., Manning, A., van Beek, L., & Jellinek, A. (2011) Mapping permeability over the surface of the Earth. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(2). DOI: 10.1029/2010GL045565  

  • December 3, 2010
  • 10:48 PM

Small rocky exoplanets galore

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

A recent study presents some promising data regarding the abundance of rocky planets around other stars. Continue reading →... Read more »

Howard, A., Marcy, G., Johnson, J., Fischer, D., Wright, J., Isaacson, H., Valenti, J., Anderson, J., Lin, D., & Ida, S. (2010) The Occurrence and Mass Distribution of Close-in Super-Earths, Neptunes, and Jupiters. Science, 330(6004), 653-655. DOI: 10.1126/science.1194854  

  • September 14, 2010
  • 08:48 AM

All quiet on the Alpine Fault?

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The Alpine fault has not ruptured since European settlement in the 1840s. Paleoseismology tells us that this is the longest it has gone in a millenium without generating a magnitude 8+ earthquake. Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 10, 2010
  • 02:34 PM

Snow, water, digital imaging, metamorphism…and a guillotine!

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

When water infiltrates past the ground surface and begins to percolate through the soil’s unsaturated zone, it doesn’t move downward like an even sheet. Instead, fast fingers of water move downward along pores, roots and other places where flow is … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • September 1, 2010
  • 10:07 AM

Diversity in the geosciences and the impact of social media

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

In the September issue of GSA Today, you can find our article on The Internet as a resource and support network for diverse geoscientists. Where do we go from here? Continue reading →... Read more »

Jefferson, A.J., Hannula, K.A., Campbell, P.B., & Franks, S.E. (2010) The Internet as a resource and support network for diverse geoscientists. GSA Today, 20(9), 59-61. info:/10.1130/GSATG91GW.1

  • August 26, 2010
  • 01:43 PM

Yellowstone: what lies beneath

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

The best evidence yet that the Yellowstone hotspot is the result of a mantle plume - one that had to burn through a subducting slab to get to the surface. Continue reading →... Read more »

Obrebski, M., Allen, R., Xue, M., & Hung, S. (2010) Slab-plume interaction beneath the Pacific Northwest. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(14). DOI: 10.1029/2010GL043489  

  • August 21, 2010
  • 09:16 PM

Friday(ish) Focal Mechanisms: Samoa’s hidden rupture

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

How what we thought was one great earthquake turned out to be two, or possibly even three, at the same time. Continue reading →... Read more »

Lay, T., Ammon, C., Kanamori, H., Rivera, L., Koper, K., & Hutko, A. (2010) The 2009 Samoa–Tonga great earthquake triggered doublet. Nature, 466(7309), 964-968. DOI: 10.1038/nature09214  

Beavan, J., Wang, X., Holden, C., Wilson, K., Power, W., Prasetya, G., Bevis, M., & Kautoke, R. (2010) Near-simultaneous great earthquakes at Tongan megathrust and outer rise in September 2009. Nature, 466(7309), 959-963. DOI: 10.1038/nature09292  

  • August 18, 2010
  • 01:01 PM

Snowball Earth no problem for sponges

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

Evidence from numerous sources seems to be converging to suggest that sponges - the first animals - emerged much earlier than the beginning of the Cambrian, and apparently sailed through severe climatic events in the Cryogenian without much trouble at all. Continue reading →... Read more »

Maloof, A., Rose, C., Beach, R., Samuels, B., Calmet, C., Erwin, D., Poirier, G., Yao, N., & Simons, F. (2010) Possible animal-body fossils in pre-Marinoan limestones from South Australia. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/ngeo934  

  • August 9, 2010
  • 02:16 PM

Anne’s picks of the literature: river and floodplain sediments

by Chris Rowan in Highly Allochthonous

These four papers all attempt to understand what controls the sediments that make up the streambed and floodplain and that get preserved in the geologic record. White et al. look at how riffle positions are governed by valley width variations, while Jerolmack and Brzinski find striking similarities in grain size transitions observed in rivers and dune fields. Hart et al. examine the relationship between glacial advances and downstream sediment deposition, while Sambrook Smith et al. investigate ........ Read more »

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