Geotimes

Geotimes is the free electronic blog of the geosciences. Originally launched as GeoSpectrum, a newsletter of the American Geosciences Institute in 1995, Geotimes has been reborn as the go-to source of information on AGI's 51 Member Societies. The American Geosciences Institute coordinates and edits the blog, but it is the result of contributed materials from societies, geoscience organizations and others in the community.

To submit information to Geotimes, please contact Joe Lilek at geotimes@americangeosciences.org.

Glass shards reveal a fiery history in Ethiopia

Chains of volcanoes and a lava lake pepper the landscape of the Afar Triangle in northeastern Ethiopia, where eruptions and earthquakes are byproducts of the rifting that is literally ripping Africa apart, but recent eruptions have been docile. Now, scientists studying ash deposits from the last 40,000 years are showing that dangerous, explosive eruptions present an ongoing hazard, striking the region every 1,000 years on average.
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Cassini's legacy after two decades at Saturn

Scientists on Earth have received the last submission from the Cassini spacecraft. It descended into Saturn’s atmosphere at 122,500 kilometers per hour, which caused it to melt, thereby ensuring that Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus would remain protected from possible contamination by any errant Earth microbes. Cassini scientists had considered other options for the spacecraft’s end, including leaving it to float endlessly in space or parking it in orbit around Saturn. But ultimately, they chose to have it descend into Saturn’s atmosphere after deciding the data that could be returned from the descent were more valuable than any further data it might obtain by remaining in space. Scientists will make discoveries from these data for decades to come.
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New Live Webinar to Focus on Geoscience Applications to Environmental Remediation

AIPG logo

An upcoming webinar will tackle an important application of environmental geoscience: monitoring harmful chemicals that contaminate soil and groundwater. This webinar, scheduled for Wednesday, September 20, is presented as part of the growing Geoscience Online Learning Initiative (GOLI), a collaborative program between the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG).

Wildfires emerging as a hot topic on the Hill

Hazards fire houses

As the U.S. endures another fire season, legislators on the Hill are seeking to address some of the challenges associated with managing wildland fires on federal land. A hearing held by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on August 3 tackled the complex challenges in reducing wildland fire risk, focusing primarily on wildfire management programs and technologies.

Senate confirms Federal Energy Regulatory Commission nominees

House chamber

The Senate confirmed two new members for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on August 3. Neil Chatterjee, former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Robert Powelson from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission have joined Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur, bringing the number of empty FERC seats down to two.

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