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How interviews of famous geologists can help you learn more about geosciences

16 May

Today’s guest post comes from Daniel Minisini, a geologist with a passion for filming and philosophy who created a resource for the geosciences community called minigeology.com. In this post, he tells us a bit more about the website, and the inspiration behind the interviews he conducts and posts online.

Hi! I am Daniel, a sedimentologist and stratigrapher trained as a marine geologist by my maestro Fabio Trincardi in Bologna (Italy). I have studied and worked on modern submarine sediments, ancient turbidites, and black shales, by means of outcrops, cores, seismic data and well logs, around the Mediterranean and North America. Now I work at the Shell Research Laboratories and I live in Houston, capital of geologists. My free time is dedicated to a personal project called minigeology.com, a website where I video-interview protagonists and other characters within the Earth sciences.

It came naturally to me to start video recording the several smart geoscientific minds surrounding me and sharing their thoughts with all of you. Therefore, a couple of years ago, I decided to create a platform to do precisely that. The interviews spark from a variety of thoughts and questions I ask myself, about geology, its origins, its progress, and its relationship with other disciplines.

I still have much to understand about my own research. There are many topics in my research area that I take for granted because I read about them in books and scientific articles, but how did they originate and develop? How does my specific research topic fit in the wider context? And what should I answer when asked: “What is that useful for?”

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Through minigeology.com, I try to find answers to these and other questions by indirectly investigating how geoscientists approach a problem, their work, and their life. The interviews are informal and the format yields a short spontaneous discussion. By asking the ‘right’ questions, the interviews aim to stimulate the viewer to ask his or her own questions in their own research.

All geoscientists are part of minigeology.com, which works as a square to meet personalities in the Earth sciences on one hand, and as a round table for everyone to take part in the discussion on the other. Have an idea for an interview? Then email me by clicking the name below or upload your own video to the website.

By Daniel Minisini

Make sure to check a recent interview Daniel conducted with the 2012 Jean Baptiste Lamarck EGU medalist, Emiliano Mutti!

Imaggeo on Mondays: A mineral under the microscope

9 Apr

Epidote by Gunnar Ries, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license

Epidote, an abundant rock-forming mineral found in metamorphic rocks, nearly always appears in green, although it may vary in shade and tone. Under a microscope of polarized light, however, it exhibits strong pleochroism, that is, it shows different colors when observed at different angles. The thin section (a laboratory preparation of a mineral or rock sample for use with a polarizing microscope) in the picture displays strong yellow colours, beautiful tones of pink and purple, and light and dark shades of blue.

This photography under a microscope was taken by mineralogist Gunnar Ries. He comments, “I took this picture in 1996 from a unakite sampled in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, near the town of Rerik, during a field trip. The thin section was one of the first I ever made!”

Although Epidote can be found worldwide, including in Pakistan, China, and across Africa, it is particularly prevalent in the Austrian Alps, where it appears in the form of distinctly large, sharp, and lustrous crystals. Epitode is often seen on display at mineral conventions, with the finest pieces – featuring delicate and elongated crystals – being highly treasured by collectors.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Praia das Rodas, Spain

19 Mar

Praia das Rodas by Jorge Mataix-Solera, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Often listed as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Praia das Rodas is located on the Isla do Faro, part of the three-island Cíes archipelago within the Atlantic Islands of Galicia National Park. The beach faces eastwards, towards Vigo and the Galician coast of northwestern Spain, its accumulation of sand forming a land-bridge between two islands during low tide. All three islands are the visible peaks of submerged granitic mountains.

Soil scientist Jorge Mataix-Solera visited Praia das Rodas in 2007. “The picture was taken when I arrived by boat to the island in the early morning, the day after I was on a PhD thesis evaluation committee at the University of Vigo. This beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, composed of quartz sand from granitic material,” he explains.

Beaches form over thousands of years from the deposit of sediment and other materials that moves from land into the ocean and back again.

To view more from Jorge Mataix-Solera’s astounding collection of photos, please visit: http://www.jorgemataix.com.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Our next door neighbours

7 Feb

The EGU Executive Office is housed in one of the buildings of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany. The building also hosts the Palaeontological Museum Munich, the public part of the Bavarian State Collection for Palaeontology and Geology, which is dedicated to the history of life and the Earth, and displays fossils from all eras of the planet’s history.

Edvard Glücksman, the new EGU Science Communications Fellow, likes to access the building using the entry on Richard-Wagner-Straße, which gives direct access to the Museum. Yesterday, he decided to photograph what he sees every morning:

Dinosaurs at the Palaeontological Museum, Munich

Edvard took this picture using the Photosynth app on his iPhone, which allows you to stitch together various photos into a panorama. Check out the 3D interactive version on the app’s website!

Imaggeo on Mondays: Huts in Arcachon Bay

16 Jan

The Tchanquees Huts in the Arcachon Bay by Yann Vitasse, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Yann Vitasse, now a researcher at the Institute of Botany, University of Basel in Switzerland, got a wonderful present in 2009 for completing his PhD: a flight on an ultralight aircraft above the southwest coast of France. It was then he took this stunning photo of the Arcachon Bay, a water area near Bordeaux that is fed by the Atlantic Ocean and by a number of fresh waterways.

“Here you see the famous Tchanquees Huts which were built on stilts in the middle of the Arcachon Bay, on the bird island. These huts were originally used for monitoring oyster beds,” Vitasse said.

The photo was taken at low tide, a time when the water covers an area of only 40 square kilometres. By comparison the bay takes up some 150 square kilometers at high tide, when the entire area to the left of the huts is covered by sea water.

The bird island, starting to the right of the huts, also varies in area being some 10 times larger at low tide. Geologists are still out on the origin of this structure. Some defend it is a former sandbar while others prefer the theory that it formed from the remains of a high dune shaped by the wind and the ocean.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

EGU General Assembly 2012 Call for Papers

9 Nov

Abstract submission for the EGU General Assembly 2012 (EGU2012) is now open. The General Assembly is being held from Sunday 22 Apr 2012 to Friday 27 Apr 2012 at the Austria Center Vienna, Austria.

You can browse through the Sessions online.

Each Session shows the link Abstract Submission. Using this link you are asked to log in to the Copernicus Office Meeting Organizer. You may submit the text of your contribution as plain text, LaTeX, or MS Word content. Please pay attention to the First Author Rule.

The deadline for the receipt of Abstracts is 17 January 2012. In case you would like to apply for support, please submit no later than 15 December 2011. Information about the financial support available can be found on the Support and Distinction part of the EGU GA 2012 website.

Further information about the EGU General Assembly 2012 on it’s webpages. If you have any questions email the meeting organisers Copernicus.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Oasis Valley

3 Oct

Oasis Valley, Nevada, USA. Image by Jean-Daniel Champagnac, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.

This picture has been taken from the air (small plane) during fieldwork in Alaska during 2009. Oasis valley is located between frontal lobes of Fan and Bremner glaciers (143.57°W; 60.87°N). The orange colour is from sand that have been brought in by the glaciers, and carved by rivers.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Tethys Himalaya

26 Sep

Tethys Himalaya in Zanskar, Jammu & Kashmir. Image by Pierre Dèzes, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.

Tethys Himalaya are one of the zones of the Central Himalayan Domain (CHD), which is one of the tectonic zones of the Himalaya. The Tethys Himalaya is approximately 100 km wide large fold (syncline) with superimposed smaller folds (this is known as a synclinorium). The Tethys Himalaya contains a stratigraphic record which indicates the geological history of this part of the Indian continent.

This image shows Palaeozoic and Triassic sediments of the Tethys Himalaya in Zanskar, Jammu & Kashmir. The orange cliffs are massive dolomite from the Cambrian Karsha formation. They are overlain by dark Permian basaltic flows (Panjal Traps). The summit in the middle of the picture consists of Triassic sediments from the Lilang Group. This view from Purne is towards the northeast into the gorge of the Phugtal monastery. A chorten (or stupa) stands in the foreground.

Imaggeois the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Waterworld

5 Sep

Modern coral reefs surround an island formed from a dacitic dyke, part of the Pliocene volcanic rocks of Ambon, Moluccas, Indonesia. Image by Ian Watkinson, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Call for Sessions for EGU General Assembly 2012

8 Jul

The public call for sessions for the European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2012 has been issued. The EGU GA 2012 will be held at the Austria Center Vienna (ACV) from 22 April to 27 April 2012. The details are below, the web page to visit to submit sessions is Call for Sessions page of the EGU General Assembly 2012 website.

We hereby invite you, from now until 16 Sep 2011, to take an active part in organizing the scientific programme of the conference.

Please suggest (i) new sessions with conveners and description and (ii) modifications to the skeleton programme sessions. Explore the Programme Groups (PGs) on the left hand side, when making suggestions. Study those sessions that already exist and put your proposal into the PG that is most closely aligned with the proposed session’s subject area.

If the subject area of your proposal is strongly aligned with two or more PGs, co-organization is possible and encouraged between PGs. Only put your session proposal into one PG, and you will be able to indicate PGs that you believe should be approached for co-organization.

If you have questions about the appropriateness of a specific session topic, please contact the Officers for the specific EGU2012 Programme Group. To suggest Union Symposia, Great Debates, Townhall Meetings or Short Courses, please contact the Programme Committee Chair (Gert-Jan Reichart).

In case any questions arise, please contact EGU2012 at Copernicus.