USGS has recently released a new online tool that highlights landslide risks across the country. This interactive map provides centralized access to information about landslide occurrence, and can be used as a good starting point for the public, city and emergency planners, as well as researchers interested in landslides, to go to for information. This tool marks the first attempt of a federal agency to systematically catalog all of the landslide data across the country into one centralized location, and will be incredibly useful to all interested parties. Each landslide recorded on the map can be selected, and additional information about the event will be provided, including the date of the event, and notes regarding the extent and aftermath of each event. One clear potential benefit of the tool is to show more at-risk areas of landslides, so individuals can either avoid those areas or prepare restraining walls, or other measures, to minimize landslide damage.
Article link: https://www.usgs.gov/news/landslide-risks-highlighted-new-online-tool
The geography website I choose was created by the United States Geological Survey in 2017 and is called “The Global Mountain Explorer”. This relatively new tool shows a map of mountains on top of a satellite image background giving users the most detailed view of Earth’s mountains. This resource was developed in partnership with Esri, the Center for Development and Environment of the University of Bern (CDE), the Global Mountain Biodiversity Assessment (GMBA), and the Mountain Research Initiative (MRI). The work is part of a Group on Earth Observations (GEO) initiative called GEO GNOME, GEO’s Global Network for Observations and Information in Mountain Environments. This work specifically addresses the goal to accurately delineate mountain regions using best available data. It is intended to provide information on the global distribution of mountain ranges and a variety of mountain data with a resolution 16 times more detailed than previous mapping efforts. What makes this tool useful for physical geography is that it allows anyone with connection to the Internet to observe where mountains are, what their relative altitude is, whether they are scattered or continuous, covered in snow or snow-free, etc.
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!
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.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has an interactive map called the Natural Hazards Viewer. This map contains data on both recent and historic significant natural disasters. The dataset includes tsunami events, tsunami observations, significant earthquakes, significant volcanic eruptions, volcanoes, Deep-Ocean Assessment and Reporting of Tsunamis (DART) Deployments, plate boundaries, tsunami times, and selected significant tsunami events. When browsing the user can select which type of hazard they would like to see information on, and then the user can select different data points detailing these events. There is a wide range of information available between points, some simply contain the date, location, and type of event, while others contain information on the fatalities, social and economic impacts, and information on the individual witnesses, and the events leading up to the natural disaster.
NOAA’s Natural Hazards Viewer compiles a large quantity of information natural disasters onto an easy to navigate and interactive interface. They get their data from the National Geophysical Data Center, which records data on earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions, in order to support research, planning, and mitigation efforts. I thought this was a really interesting use of GIS in order to create a map that not only compiles all the spatial data, but contains all the social and economic data as well. I would definitely recommend everyone play around with this website at some point, it is a really fascinating, freely available resource!
Ice Stories: Dispatches from Polar Scientists provides a fascinating look into the research and expeditions of scientists in both the Arctic and Antarctic environments. The website consists of dispatches from all kinds of scientists: glaciologists, geologists, cosmologists, and even penguin biologists. The site includes profiles of over 25 scientists that detail their perspectives on various projects being conducted. While the site is somewhat dated (the last entry appears to be from 2010), it is nevertheless an amazing window into the actual research that occurs at the poles and all the fields of study to which the research contributes. A visitor can browse through entries by tag, month and year, or even look at pages for specific projects and big ideas such as ice, climate change, and astronomy in Antarctica. There are also links to webcams in Greenland and the South Pole that show each base and the weather conditions at the station.
One of the entries that caught my attention was the mapping of Antarctica’s Gamburtsev Mountains, which lie hidden underneath the ice in the middle of the continent. The scientists involved in this mission in such an unforgiving environment hoped to find clues to the formation of Antarctica itself and consequently the climate experienced on Earth today. Survey aircraft used RADAR and lasers to see through the thick ice sheet and get a glimpse of the range beneath. Other scientists used seismographic equipment to track the effects of earthquakes around the globe, ultimately hoping to discover the source of the mountains – could it be the collision of tectonic plates, or hot plumes coming from the ocean? Find out on Ice Stories.
Analyzing the Distribution of Vegetation Zones and Mountain Gorillas in Virunga National Park
How are abiotic factors, vegetation zones, human activity, and distribution of mountain gorillas linked?
On National Geographic’s Website (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/analyzing-distribution-vegetation-zones-and-mountain-gorillas-virunga-national-park/), there is an interactive activity in which scientists and geographers analyze Virunga National Park along the eastern edge of the Democratic Republic of the Congo along the Mitumbar Mountains. It is the oldest national park in Africa. The geography of this park ranges from grasslands and wetlands, to lava plains and natural glaciers, and is home to various species (nat.geo.org/mapmaker-abiotic-factors-virunga).
The national park was designated in order to protect these mountain gorillas. They are omnivores but usually have plant-based diets. “Poaching, encroaching human populations, and violent conflicts in the area continue to affect mountain gorilla populations” (https://www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/analyzing-distribution-vegetation-zones-and-mountain-gorillas-virunga-national-park/ ). Illegal timber cutting is also becoming a big issue in the area. This is mappable from the site.
This Website shows the change in vegetation and gorilla populations in the National Park as a result of human activity. This relates to physical geography because it connects the lithosphere and biosphere between the national park territory and anthropocentric effects.
With a rise in populations it is more imperative now that people are made aware of the changes this ecosystem is experiencing due to selfish and illegal activity on supposedly-protected lands.
The National Geographic encyclopedic entries page is a really useful tool for our Physical geography class since it provides various entries on class related concepts like hot spots, El Nino, earth’s crusts, continental drift, etc. It’s really easy to use, you can either enter the topic you are interested in looking for or just scroll down the pages looking for it. Each entry provides a set of images, definitions, animations, videos, background information, related material and even useful sources that connect to other articles about the subject. There’s even a complete vocabulary tap that expands on explaining each key term’s definition and use. This would be a really useful tool to study for our final exam since you can search in a more interactive way concepts that you feel you need to look up more information about.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has a section on Natural Hazards in which it discusses how every year, natural hazards threaten lives and result in billions of dollars in damage. The USGS work with many partners to monitor, assess, and conduct targeted research on a wide range of natural hazards so that policymakers and the public have the understanding and all of the knowledge they need to enable preparedness, response, and resilience.Through the Natural Hazard programs, the USGS provides alerts and warnings of geologic hazards and supports the warning responsibilities of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for geomagnetic storms, tsunamis, and volcanic ash.
One part of the Natural Hazards section is the Global Seismographic Network (GSN). The GSN is a permanent digital network of seismological and geophysical sensors connected by a telecommunications network. It provides, worldwide monitoring of the Earth, with over 150 modern seismic stations distributed globally. With real-time information about the status of the GSN stations and real-time recordings, we are able to know where there is seismographic activity all over the world.
Link to the article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/11/wildlife-watch-trump-wildlife-trafficking-animal-conservation/
Since the recent presidency elections one of the major questions was about, what would Trump do for the environment? If he becomes the president-elect. The debates in this presidency election surround various of concerns, including some which focus on national security, trade, economics, and to a lesser degree in this election cycle, on the environment. Wildlife, however, plays a part in all those concerns.
“Given our demonstrably disastrous effects on wildlife, there is now recognition that humans have a certain obligation to protect wildlife for its own sake” (Rachel, Jani, 2016). Since 2013 president-elect Obama has worked greatly on the conservation and sustainability of nature and protection of wildlife besides that we even worked on reduction of the pollutants which effects the earth and its climate. Which shows the attempt by the president to really protect the environment for a better and sustainable future.
However, the concern now rises what is the new president-elect going to do for the environment, as some of his campaigns seemed to promote the idea of climate change being a hoax rather a real problem which deserves concern. Trump’s administration seems to promote trophy hunting and other unfriendly- environmental amendments which, may cause a disruption through out the ecosystem, especially the hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. Besides, the wall which Trump plans to build is going to disrupt the ecosystem especially the biosphere as its going to hinder animal migration which might end up being a cause for the extinction of these animals.