Submitted by ksvitil on Mon, 2014-10-13 17:15
Methane-breathing microbes that inhabit rocky mounds on the seafloor could be preventing large volumes of the potent greenhouse gas from entering the oceans and reaching the atmosphere, according to a new study by Caltech researchers.
Submitted by rbasu on Mon, 2014-09-08 12:00
In the typical textbook picture, volcanoes, such as those that are forming the Hawaiian islands, erupt when magma gushes out as narrow jets from deep inside Earth. But that picture is wrong, according to a new study.
Submitted by kfesenma on Thu, 2014-07-31 15:15
Ken Farley, Caltech's W.M. Keck Foundation Professor of Geochemistry and chair of the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, is serving as project scientist for Mars 2020. We recently sat down with him to talk about the mission and his new role.
Submitted by kfesenma on Thu, 2014-06-26 11:00
A team of scientists led by Caltech geochemist John M. Eiler has developed a new technique that can, for the first time, determine the temperature at which a natural methane sample formed.
Submitted by celler on Fri, 2014-04-25 15:13
The AAAS has elected three Caltech faculty members—John Brady, Kenneth Farley, and Fiona Harrison—as fellows. Also named to the academy was Katherine T. Faber, who will be joining the Caltech faculty in July.
Submitted by kfesenma on Tue, 2014-04-22 07:29
As the final element of Evolution, Caltech's new Bi/Ge 105 course, a dozen students spent their spring break snorkeling with penguins and sharks, hiking a volcano, and otherwise taking in the natural laboratory for evolution that is the Galápagos Islands.
Teaser Title Text:
Spring Break in the Galápagos
As the culminating event of the new Evolution course at Caltech, a dozen Techers, their TA, and two professors—Rob Phillips and Victoria Orphan—spent a week of spring break living as field researchers on the Galápagos Islands.
Ecuadorian naturalist Ernesto Vaca led the group in their studies of the natural world on the Galápagos. Here, at Playa Las Bachas on Santa Cruz Island, he is describing the molting of the Sally Lightfoot crab. The students kept scientific journals during the trip, writing down questions and observations along the way.
Marine iguanas are endemic to the Galápagos and are the only modern lizards that swim. They offer an excellent example of the way isolation on islands can lead to unique speciation.
The group's home base for the trip was the research vessel Daphne, shown here anchored in James Bay.
The group walks over solidified volcanic ash on Santiago Island.
Flightlessness is one of the key evolutionary adaptations seen on islands. Here, a flightless cormorant is seen diving to gather food.
The landscape of Cerro Dragón (Dragon Hill) on Santa Cruz Island. This was one of many sites where the students were able to see the impact of invasive species such as goats.
The group's mascot—a Darwin bobblehead doll—posing in front of the third largest oceanic caldera in the world at the Sierra Negra volcano.
The Sierra Negra volcano on Santa Cruz Island.
A young sea lion serves as an unexpected roadblock upon the group's arrival at North Seymour Island.
A blue-footed booby perched atop a volcanic rock on North Seymour Island.
A land iguana with the island Daphne Minor in the background. One of the central questions about the iguanas on the Galápagos is how they arrived on the islands in the first place.
Part of the group explores a mangrove lagoon in Elizabeth Bay on Isla Isabela. According to Orphan, the mangroves are a nursery for many animals, and she encouraged the students to examine the mangrove roots closely. "Really looking closely, you start to see little transparent shrimp running up and down. There's a lot of richness that you can see even by just sitting and observing," she says.
A beautiful sunset seen from the top of Bartholomew Island.
As the final element of Evolution, Caltech's new Bi/Ge 105 course, a dozen students spent their spring break snorkeling with penguins and sharks, hiking a volcano, and otherwise taking in the natural laboratory for evolution that is the Galápagos Islands. The second-term course was created and is taught by Rob Phillips, the Fred and Nancy Morris Professor of Biophysics and Biology, and Victoria Orphan, professor of geobiology, and is designed to give students both a broad picture of evolution and a chance to make their own up-close-and-personal observations.
Submitted by kfesenma on Thu, 2014-04-10 10:52
A lot can happen to a rock over the course of two and a half billion years. It can get buried and heated; fluids remove some of its minerals and precipitate others; its chemistry changes. So if you want to use that rock to learn about the conditions on the early Earth, you have to do some geologic sleuthing: You have to figure out which parts of the rock are original and which came later. That is a tricky task, but now a team of Caltech researchers has developed and applied a unique technique that removes much of the guesswork.