EARTH: Dangerous Dust

What would you do if you found out that the roads you drive on could cause cancer? This is the reality that residents face in Dunn County, North Dakota. For roughly 30 years, gravel containing the potentially carcinogenic mineral erionite was spread on nearly 500 kilometers of roads, playgrounds, parking lots, and even flower beds throughout Dunn County.

EARTH: Tracking Plastic in the Oceans

Humans produce over 260 million tons of plastic each year. Almost a third of that plastic goes into disposable, one-time-use items, and only about 1% of it is recycled globally. Where does the rest of the plastic go? How does it interact with our environment? And how will it impact us in the future? In this month's issue of EARTH Magazine, follow the fate of many plastics as they make their way from our homes to our planet's oceans.

EARTH: Setting off a Supervolcano

Supervolcanoes are one of nature's most destructive forces. In a matter of hours, an eruption from a supervolcano can force thousands of cubic meters of molten rock above ground, and scar landscapes with massive calderas and craters. These catastrophic eruptions have a global impact, and yet scientists still do not fully understand them. Today, a team of scientists studying Bolivia's Uturuncu volcano are trying to shed some light on how supervolcanoes can become so powerful.

EARTH: Source Code - The Methane Race

What is the lifespan of a natural gas deposit? How quickly is our planet's permafrost melting? And does life exist on other planets? Although seemingly unrelated issues, the answers to these questions are linked. And in this month's issue of EARTH Magazine, scientists show that we may be closer to answering them than we think.

EARTH: Afghanistan's Mineral Resources Laid Bare

Geologists carrying rock hammers and accompanied by Marines traverse the rugged expanse of the Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, searching for untold mineral wealth. Although the nature of Afghanistan's mineral deposits is not unique in the world, the country's deposits are largely untouched. Will Afghanistan be able to utilize these minerals to rebuild the war-torn nation? Join EARTH Magazine in our January issue as we examine Afghanistan's mineral wealth and the implications it holds for the country's future.

EARTH: Highlights of 2011 - New Zealand: after 8,000 aftershocks, when will it stop?

You know you are from Christchurch when you manage to keep your sense of humor through a year of nonstop hardship. This phrase, coined by Christchurch native Bruce Raines, exploded on Facebook and takes on a multitude of equally morose and light-hearted endings. These phrases accurately capture the spirit of the local inhabitants after a series of earthquakes and aftershocks rocked the city, dramatically changing life for all Cantabrians. Homes and historic buildings were leveled, and everyday luxuries such as electricity and plumbing were lost. However, while those of us on the outside watched the disaster unfold for a few days, we were able to safely return to our heated homes and refreshing showers. To this day, many Cantabrians are stuck in a permanent camping mode: boiling water, and using primitive outhouses when available. In the December issue of EARTH magazine, learn more about how the citizens of Christchurch are coping with the disaster, one aftershock at a time."

EARTH: Highlights of 2011 - Energy and Economics 2011-2012

Is the United States entering its Lost Decade"? A crunch on natural resources coupled with a crippling economic crisis and an aging workforce threaten to hurl us into a decade or more of grudgingly slow development akin to that of the Japanese after their own real estate bust a few decades ago. Will the United States learn from past mistakes in order to reconcile economic growth with environmental safety? In the December issue of EARTH Magazine, learn how the facts and the fallacies measure up to the increasing challenges facing the United States in 2012 and beyond. "

EARTH: Geotextile Structures - from sludge to shoreline protection to surfing

What do geology and textiles have in common? More than you might think. Since the 1980s, coastal, ocean and hydraulic engineers have been reinforcing coastlines and cleaning up contaminated water from dredge materials and other sludges and slurries with a revolutionary fabric that combines the strength of certain textiles with geoscientific know-how. So far, geotextile structures have been an integral tool in protecting our delicate coastlines; however, the relative infancy of the innovation leaves many questions unanswered about how these geotechnical marvels will interact with the natural environments they are built to protect.

EARTH: Where the Rubber Meets the Road

What would it take for millions of Americans to make the switch from traditional gasoline-powered cars to natural gas vehicles (NGVs)? In what seems like a replay of a bad 1970s movie with high oil prices, prominent energy security risks and fluctuating emissions and regulations - Americans are looking for alternatives to gasoline. EARTH magazine put NGVs to the test in the November issue. Author Castlen Kennedy buckled up for the ride of her life as she and some of her colleagues conducted a 10-day, 4,200-kilometer-long, cross-country trip in a natural gas powered SUV to gain firsthand exposure to the benefits and downfalls of natural gas vehicles.

EARTH: Return of the Dust Bowl: Geoscientists Predict a Dry, Dusty Future for the American West

Haboobs, giant dust storms, walloped Arizona last summer - some close to 2 kilometers high and 160 kilometers wide - knocking out electricity, creating traffic jams and grounding airplanes. Even old-timers say they can't remember anything quite like this year's aerial assaults. Meanwhile Texas is experiencing one of the most extreme droughts in recent history, with almost 90 percent of the state in the most extreme level of drought. Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and other states are also experiencing drought conditions. The worry is that this might just be the start of a trend, as EARTH reports in the November issue: Over the next couple of decades, researchers say, the American West will transition to an environment that may make the 1930s Dust Bowl seem mild and brief.


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