The Royal Geographical Society: Everything Geography for the UK

The Royal Geographic Society website is a hub for everything geography for those of all ages in the UK. There are multiple components to the website that provide access to the organization’s mission, resources for learning about geography, a run down of geography programs at universities around the UK, resources for professionals, research databases, access to fieldwork projects, and an in the news tab. The in the news tab was the most interesting to me because not only does it relate to our in class assignments, but I think this is a valuable resource for those in the UK that are interested in Geography because there are several mentions of local geography exhibitions as well as giving people access to natural phenomena. Additionally, I think that the section on furthering your geography education is useful and convenient because it provides students with resources for A-levels and GCSEs (British pre-university requirements). Not only is this website very resourceful, it is also an website that welcomes people to further their knowledge of geography in an interesting and relevant way. https://www.rgs.org/

We Love an Endogenic Mystery

Resource: earthquake.usgs.gov

I always find it so fascinating when stories appear in the news about things science doesn’t quite know how to explain. Just over a week ago, Maya Wei-Haas wrote one such. story for National Geographic. Titled, “Strange earthquake waves rippled around the world, and nobody knows why,” the article did what it could to explain what happened just before 9:30 UT on November 11. The story gets off to an eery start, it reads like the beginning of Pacific Rim. Seismic waves started near Mayotte, an island in the Mozambique Channel, and rang sensors across the world. The seismic waves were felt from Chile to Canada. And they didn’t just have a quick  impact, Maya Wei-Haas writes, “they rang for 20 minutes” (National Geographic).

An aerial view of Mayotte’s South Island. Photograph by Hemis/Alamy Stock Photo.

A Twitter user, @matarikipax, did some sleuthing, noting the peculiarity of the worldwide seismic wave pattern. Scientists were openly confused. There was no earthquake near Mayotte, just a series of S-waves (slow waves). S-waves move side to side, making a zig zag formation with high frequency waves. Mayotte has been dealing with earthquakes since May 2017, the largest reaching a 5.8 magnitude in May of 2018. The accompanying seismic waves made sense, as they were triggered by earthquakes, but the S-waves on November 11 were different.

Where do these data get discovered by citizen scientists like shadowy Twitter users? @mataripax turned to earthquake.usgs.gov for information, a site which hosts the United States Geological Survey Earthquakes Hazards Program. On the site, you can look at interactive maps of the latest earthquakes, report “Did You Feel It?” information, and generate charts like the one @mataripax found below.

“This is a most odd and unusual seismic signal.” Screenshot taken by Twitter user @matarikipax on November 11, 2018.

Websites like these are important, as it helps individuals remain informed about seismic and possibly destructive activity that might be happening in their own backyards. Did you know that Puerto Rico has been experiencing earthquakes this month? Just today, an earthquake occurred off the shore of Puerto Rico. While the earthquake was too far offshore to have caused any destruction, I have no doubt that had this happened off the coast of South Carolina that I would have received a push notification from my news app. Staying aware of natural seismological shifts in the lithosphere is crucial to preparedness in the future — it was thanks to @matarikipax’s tweets going viral that more individuals heard about Mayotte.

Map of most recent earthquakes from https://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/map/

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) believes that a new center for volcanic activity might be developing offshore Mayotte. It’s an unstudied area, full of secrets in way. Mayotte is in the fracture zone where Gondwana broke up, an area still shifting. Since July, Mayotte has slid over “2.4 inches to the east and 1.2 inches to the south” (National Geographic). While there is no clear indication why S-waves were felt round the world (scientists are still ruminating over the possibility of magma chambers collapsing or deflating), Mayotte seems to be the centerpiece of future endogenic studies. BRGM is planning to do further surveys to find more about the region and its submarine eruptions, ideally without interference of the Kaiju.

As BRGM conducts its surveys, visiting the maps on earthquake.usgs.gov gives you a chance to observe the secret endogenic mysteries around the world, and on America’s own turf. There was an earthquake 12km northwest and 21.8km underneath Sweetwater, Tennessee today. The lithosphere is full of fascinating surprises, many with answers. Remaining on top of earthquakes requires the dedication of citizen scientists.

Biosphere- Movebank

Movebank is an online database that tracks the movement of all kinds of animals around the world. The website includes maps of the world, and the option to choose which animals to study.  Researchers can manage, share, protect, and analyze data. Users can choose whether or not to make their data available to the public. Movebank encourages collaborations between researchers, conservation groups, and government to re-use animal tracking data for a variety of purposes. This kind of platform is similar to the iNaturalist app that we utilized for the Huguenot Flatwater lab, where we shared data and information with other app users. This website is considered to be related to the biosphere because of the focus on animal tracking.

NASA’s App, Earth Now

Looking online at NASA’s website, I saw that they released an app called Earth Now. I was interested and downloaded the app (its free). Earth Now shows you recent global climate data from Earth Science satellites. You can choose to see different elements including surface air temperature, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, water vapor, and gravity and sea level variations. The 3D model of Earth will show a color-coded visualization of the relative strength or weakness of an environmental condition. The app tells you the latest events going on around the world as well. It is real time and will show the most up to date data that it has. You can also go back in time to see how the environmental conditions have changed. This is a really great app because it allows you to stay up to date by checking on your phone (especially when everyone seems to be on their phones these days). This is app is very beneficial because it is an easy way for people to stay up to date and informed about the current environmental conditions of our Earth. 

I have posted screenshots from my phone of Sea Level Variation and Day Air Temperature. The third photo shows the Earth when you open the app, and it has its latest event: Phytoplankton bloom off South Africa. It also provides further information about each environmental condition and other options for viewing the data.

Tap Water Database

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has developed an online tool called “EWG Tap Water Database” to help Americans easily access information about their drinking water. The website allows you to put in your zip code to find the surrounding tap water systems in your area. When you click on your tap water system, you can find out information such as the amount of contaminations detected above health guidelines, what the contaminants are, and how these contaminants can affect your health.

This website is beneficial because many people may not know about the possibility of contaminants in their drinking water. The database provides not only information about the health effects that can occur from drinking the water, but also compares this data on a national scale by providing EPA guidelines. This website relates to our hydrosphere unit as well as climate change because as pollutants continue to plague our waters it is important to know whether the water we are drinking is truly safe. As we have seen in presentations given in our class, water quality is an issue that is plaguing not only the U.S. but the entire world. Websites that provide useful information such as this would be beneficial to monitoring these contamination levels and promoting awareness for those who may not know about water contamination.

National Geographic Biosphere

For those interested in learning more about the biosphere, National Geographic’s page on the Biosphere provides a plethora of useful information. This could be a tool utilized by geographers as a reference, particularly for those who either are just beginning In their field or those who are interested in becoming geographers. The page begins by defining the biosphere, which is made up of the parts of earth where life exists. The webpage is broken up into three parts. It begins with an introduction, followed by information regarding the origin of the biosphere, and concluding with information regarding the biosphere reserves. Another useful tool the site provides is a vocabulary tab, which defines various key words which are used throughout page.

 

NASA – State of the Ocean

NASA has created an online tool called “State of the Ocean”. This tool displays an interactive map of the world’s oceans populated with data collected from satellites. Users can select which data is being presented on the map to learn about variables like temperature, currents, and salinity. For variables with years of data collection, users can select specific date ranges to view change in one variable in a particular time frame. For example, if I wanted to observe changes in surface temperature off the coast of Vietnam between 2012 and 2014, I could easily do so and even create an animation so the map will visually change. This tool is useful for oceanographers who use this data and it’s fun to use.

Earthquake in Alaska

Claudia Ajluni

In the News #3- Lithosphere

This website, Live Science, covers scientific discoveries from a broad range of fields. There are sections for technology, health, earth, animals, etc. so there is a little bit of something for everyone. I chose to look at recent news articles in the Planet Earth section, and found an interesting article from 11/30 about an Earthquake in Alaska. The earthquake was initially reported by the U.S. Geological Survey as having a 6.6 magnitude, but it was later updated to 7.0. The photos of the damage were astounding, and it relates directly to our previous studies about the lithosphere and the causes and consequences of earthquakes. It is much more interesting reading about earthquakes when you have an understanding of why they are happening. The article then goes on to discuss the aftershocks that were occurring in the region and gives an overview of how earthquakes happen. This article is obviously very relevant to what was on our previous test about the processes that take place beneath Earth’s crust. This site was also very informative, and I highly recommend that you guys check it out. It seems to have a little bit of something for everyone, and I plan to explore it later on!

https://www.livescience.com/64206-earthquake-anchorage-alaska.html

Volcanoes: All Day, Every Day

https://www.volcanodiscovery.com/home.html

Volcano Discovery represents a tour company that offers expeditions to observe and study active volcanoes all around the world. However, the site has also come to be a hotbed of information, data, photos, videos, and first-person accounts of recent volcanic eruptions. The page I found most to be the most interesting was the continuously updated and interactive map that tracks all of Earth’s volcanic eruptions, no matter how small. Until I accessed this page I had no idea about the high frequency at which volcanic eruptions occurred around the world.

There is also a page that provides access to webcams depicting live footage of over 200 active volcanoes. Some volcanoes have as many as 37 different feeds (like Mt. Etna, Europe’s largest and most active volcano), while others only have 1, but they all offer a unique look into different kinds of volcanoes, fissures, hydrothermal fields, lava domes, and a variety of other lithosphere phenomena.

Volcano Discovery’s “Photo of the Day,” on 2 Dec 2018. Photographer Ingrid Smet.

 

Save the Sound

Save the Sound is a website dedicated to the waters of the Long Island Sound in New York and Connecticut. The Sound is an estuary ecosystem with a watershed that extends more that 16,800 square miles into Canada. However, the waters of the Sound face constant pressures from human activity throughout New England and Eastern New York. Save the Sound has been dedicated to the restoration, protection and preservation of the sound for over 40 years. The organization have programs dedicated to stopping pollution, restoring fisheries and habitats, defending drinking water and protecting the climate and air. Every year they have coastal cleanups that engage thousands of citizens to clean up marine debris. Save the Sound is a huge promoter of citizen scientists to monitor water quality and help them with their clean up efforts. Save the Sound encourages individuals who live around the Sound to become members or volunteer to the organization. They also work with schools and other organizations to create fundraisers and organize beach cleanups and educate people about how to help restore the Long Island Sound. Currently, they are working on a project to conserve Plum Island, an island that is the largest site for sea-gulls in New York and a habitat for 220 different bird species. In a 2009 act of Congress the Federal Government decided to put Plum Island up for auction. Save the Sound has gathered over 100 organizations to file a federal lawsuit and stop the sale of the island. Save the Sound is an organization that encourages people who leave near the Sound and use its resources on a daily basis to fight for their land and help restore it. Check out their website to learn about all of the initiatives they have in place to restore and save the Long Island Sound!

Image by Save the Sound