Recognizing Plume Features on Enceladus

Each year, the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference condenses more and more people into the Waterway Marriott in The Woodlands, Texas. It’s reaching a critical mass. This year, around 2,046 abstracts were accepted for presentation in talk or poster form. There’s too much to sift through except in your specific field, but I wanted to […]

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Examining Bubbles as a Novel Nuclear Forensics Tool

The project began with a simple question prompted by this thin section. Notice anything particular about it? Ruminate for a bit while I fill in some details. That there is a little slice of nuclear post-detonation material called Trinitite. I spent 2014 working the stuff, which is a glassy product of the first atomic bomb detonation. On a July morning […]

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Lunar geochemical datasets on MoonDB

The Apollo missions returned 2200 samples comprising “382 kilograms (842 pounds) of lunar rocks, core samples, pebbles, sand and dust from the lunar surface” (quoted from ref). Since then, we’ve sliced, diced, dissolved, vaporized, irradiated, and applied just about every other analytical tool to investigate these samples. An incomplete list of geochemical investigative techniques used includes: electron […]

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SOEST Open House 2015

Started in 1991 (I think) and held every two years, SOEST Open House is a massive science outreach event. Over the course of two days, we showcase science to more than 4,000 people, most of them grade-school students. This is my first Open House, and I helped out at the Colors of Space exhibit. Our puny human eyes only view a narrow […]

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Mt. St. Helens, Part III: Epilogue

Morgen and I spent a few hours hiking in the blast zone of Mt. St. Helens. Around us were signs of recovery from that singular event. But in reality, it really wasn’t a single event, isolated in time. Especially for Washingtonians. The dramatic and deadly initial blast rightfully receives significant coverage when talking about May 18th. But for ten […]

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Advances in Nuclear Forensics: GSA 2014 Technical Session

The lunar basalts in my doctoral research were almost four billion years old, plus or minus a couple hundred million years. The rocks I study now were created on July 16th, 1945, at 05:29:45 AM (Mountain War Time). It’s a strange thing to know so precisely. But how can I pinpoint the exact second of creation? Because these rocks are […]

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Conversation with a Microbiologist (audio)

Do you know how to complement a bacterium? What about the difference between flagellum and Type 4 pili (and why it matters)? Listen and learn! Headphones recommended. This was an in-person chat with Morgen Anyan, PhD candidate at the University of Notre Dame (research page). Morgen is researching environmental and morphological effects on the behavior of the […]

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Pat’s Field Trip (Guide?) to Mt. St. Helens, Part II

Pat: We left off last time resting our legs in the Sunrise Visitor Center parking lot. It was a good stop, but now it is time to leave Sunrise and continue on our way to Mt. St. Helens. Turns out our Sunrise jaunt lasted almost until sunset, so we’ll have to stop somewhere for the […]

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Geologist Photographer, Photographer Geologist

The TV screen flickered to life as my family arranged themselves on the couch. On-screen, an aerial photo of Porto Rafti, a small seaside town east of Athens, Greece, marked the beginning of a two-week undergraduate geology department field trip to Cyprus. Figuring it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I had diligently photographed everything notable. I […]

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Pat’s Field Trip (Guide?) to Mt. St. Helens, Part I

In August 2013, Dana Hunter started posting a day trip guide to Mt. St. Helens. The timing couldn’t have been better, as I was (a) about to embark on a weeklong vacation to Central Washington that September, (b) planned to spend a day around Mt. St. Helens with a friend, and (c) had no idea […]

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