Science Wednesdays

 

Join us every Wednesday for short, interesting and informative stories about a wide variety of subjects! These are meant to be educational and engaging for the general public and aimed at furthering everyone’s understanding and enjoyment of science and its methods.
The Deep Past – January 26, 2022

The Deep Past – January 26, 2022

In some exciting news on the space front, the James Webb Space Telescope, which launched on Christmas Day in 2021, has reached its final destination. Webb is the most powerful telescope ever built and is about the size of a tennis court. Over this last month, it had...

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Tonga Tsunamis – January 19, 2022

Tonga Tsunamis – January 19, 2022

On Saturday, January 15th, a powerful undersea volcano erupted near Tonga, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, covering the group of islands in a thick layer of ash. A 4-foot wave swept ashore in the Tongan capital, leaving behind flooded homes and structural damage....

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Appalachian High – January 5, 2022

Appalachian High – January 5, 2022

Happy New Year 2022 - wishing you all health and happiness! In this Science Wednesday, learn more about Maine's highpoint, Katahdin, and the Appalachian Mountains. Here is a link to the new video. #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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Long Lost World – December 29, 2021

Long Lost World – December 29, 2021

Come explore the ancient landscape of west Texas, home to Guadalupe Peak, the state highpoint at 8,750 feet! Here is a link to the new video. #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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French Heat Wave – December 15, 2021

French Heat Wave – December 15, 2021

Learn more about Mont Blanc and its changing glaciers in this new Science Wednesday. Ricardo and I climbed the peak back in August 2018 - and even got engaged on the summit! Here is the new video... #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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Neutrinos – December 8, 2021

Neutrinos – December 8, 2021

On June 1, 2019, we hiked Illinois' highpoint, Charles Mound (1,235 ft) for the Summits, Songs and Science project. It's on private property and, due to the owners' wishes, only open the first weekend in June, July, August and September. While in the state, we took...

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Volcanoes in Arizona? – December 1, 2021

Volcanoes in Arizona? – December 1, 2021

Check out our new video Science Wednesday. This one explores the volcanic features of northern Arizona. Also featured is Humphreys Peak, Arizona's highpoint at 12,633 feet. While Ricardo climbed it back in 1999, this was Ulyana's 20th state highpoint, climbed on May...

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Gannett Glaciers – November 24, 2021

Gannett Glaciers – November 24, 2021

Check out our new video Science Wednesday. This one explores the glaciers of the Wind River Range, home to Wyoming's state highpoint: Gannett Peak, 13,804 ft. #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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Extinct Elephants – November 17, 2021

Extinct Elephants – November 17, 2021

Check out our new video Science Wednesday. This one focuses on The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota, which is home to the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world. #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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Winds of Change – November 10, 2021

Winds of Change – November 10, 2021

Check out our new video Science Wednesday. Shot on location on the Vatnajokull icecap (Iceland) in November 2021, this short film explores some of the changes that Europe's largest glacier mass has seen over the decades. #sciencewednesdays #summitssongsandscience

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New Land – November 3, 2021

New Land – November 3, 2021

Fagradalsfjall Mountain in the Reykjanes Peninsula, southwestern Iceland, is home to some of the youngest land on the planet. Check out this new video Science Wednesday to learn more about what happened and about different lava types! #sciencewednesdays...

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GLOBE clouds – October 27, 2021

GLOBE clouds – October 27, 2021

Last week, we shared an educational game you can download and play while learning more about ice flows and changes in Greenland and Antarctica. This week, I wanted to share an opportunity for citizen science using a smartphone app: making cloud observations through...

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Ice Flows – October 20, 2021

Ice Flows – October 20, 2021

For those who prefer interacting and experimenting with things on your own, this Science Wednesday is for you! Ice Flows is a new educational computer game based on science (but with some elements of fiction to make the game fun to play) developed at the University of...

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Perseverance on Mars – October 13, 2021

Perseverance on Mars – October 13, 2021

In February 2021, the newest Mars rover – Perseverance – touched down at Jezero Crater, interpreted to be the site of an ancient Martian lake. Modern Mars is dry and hostile. But billions of years ago, when the planet still had a magnetic field and thicker atmosphere,...

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The Efficacy of Vaccines – October 6, 2021

The Efficacy of Vaccines – October 6, 2021

*Disclaimer: Just like the virus is evolving, so is the science in trying to understand it. Using reputable sources (e.g., scientific research papers, scientific studies, reports from the CDC, Harvard/MIT/Yale Medicine, etc.) versus solely relying on mainstream media...

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COVID Breakthrough Infection – September 29, 2021

COVID Breakthrough Infection – September 29, 2021

For the past week, Ricardo and I have been dealing with breakthrough COVID infections. It’s affected us in different ways. While Ricardo lost his sense of smell (anosmia), he’s retained taste. I initially kept smell but lost taste. Now, both senses are gone for me but...

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The Fall Equinox – September 22, 2021

The Fall Equinox – September 22, 2021

Here in the Northern Hemisphere, leaves on the trees are starting to turn colors. There’s a chill in the air in the mornings and evenings. This Wednesday marks the first day of astronomical fall (autumn) in the Northern Hemisphere. According to the meteorological...

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Renewable Energy – September 15, 2021

Renewable Energy – September 15, 2021

As the world grapples with climate change, let’s talk solutions. What are the long-term ones? The energy sources we currently rely on – oil and gas – are non-renewable, meaning that they draw on finite resources and once those are used up, they’re gone for good....

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Hurricane Ida – September 8, 2021

Hurricane Ida – September 8, 2021

Warmer conditions in the oceans are raising the potential intensity for storms, where intensity refers to how bad they can get if nothing disrupts them. We have no clearer example of this than Hurricane Ida, a deadly and destructive hurricane that not only impacted...

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An Explosive History – September 1, 2021

An Explosive History – September 1, 2021

Colorado is known for its beautiful remote wilderness areas and its high peaks. But it’s also home to one of the largest and most destructive volcanic events in Earth’s history. The story starts roughly 35 million years ago, when layers of lava, ash, and other debris...

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Summit Rain – August 25, 2021

Summit Rain – August 25, 2021

Posting Science Wednesday early, due to some upcoming travel and being away from cell signal and the internet. More than 500 miles above the Arctic Circle and at 10,551 ft. (3,216 meters) above sea level, it rained for the first time. On August 14, 2021, temperatures...

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Meteor Crater – August 18, 2021

Meteor Crater – August 18, 2021

50,000 years ago, a large crater was formed in the northern Arizona desert of the United States. To get an idea of the size, imagine twenty American football games being played simultaneously on its floor, while more than 2 million spectators watch from the sloping...

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Code Red for Humanity – August 11, 2021

Code Red for Humanity – August 11, 2021

Just a few days ago, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) declared a “code red for humanity” in its latest 3,000 page report on the state of the climate. It is clear that the climate is in a state of emergency due to human-caused...

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Flash Flooding – August 4, 2021

Flash Flooding – August 4, 2021

A lot of rain and afternoon thunderstorms are typical of the summer monsoon season here in Colorado. Monsoon? In Colorado? When you hear the word monsoon, you probably think of the heavy rains in India during the summertime. While The North American monsoon is not as...

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Produce from the Past – July 28, 2021

Produce from the Past – July 28, 2021

Here in the Northern Hemisphere during these hot summer days, a lot of us are eating delicious produce like watermelon, peaches and corn-on-the cob. These days, there’s lots of chatter about GMO concerns (genetically modified organisms), but every species that’s ever...

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Flooding in Europe – July 21, 2021

Flooding in Europe – July 21, 2021

A few days ago, record rainfall caused rivers to burst their banks, leading to devastating floods in parts of western Europe. In the hardest hit parts of Germany, two months’ worth of rain fell in 24 hours, according to Deutscher Wetterdienst, Germany’s meteorological...

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Ethnobotany – July 14, 2021

Ethnobotany – July 14, 2021

Today’s Science Wednesday is a guest post from French anthropologist, Dr. Benjamin Pothier, with a focus on enthobotany. While anthropology is the scientific study of humanity, concerned with human behavior, human biology, cultures and societies, in both the present...

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Fire & Ice – July 7, 2021

Fire & Ice – July 7, 2021

Located along the 40,000-kilometer-long mostly underwater Mid-Atlantic Ridge (MAR) is one of the most volcanically active places in the world: Iceland. The ridge is the meeting point of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, and, as the two tectonic plates...

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Extreme Heat – June 30, 2021

Extreme Heat – June 30, 2021

The Pacific Northwest of North America has been experiencing unprecedented heat these last few days. But "unprecedented" doesn’t even do it justice. Statistically speaking, this is shaping up to be a once in a 1000-year occurrence – and that’s in a normal climate. But...

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Faces in the Stone: June 23, 2021

Faces in the Stone: June 23, 2021

This past weekend, Ricardo and I were in South Dakota. While there, hiking the highpoint (Black Elk Peak – 7,242 ft./2207 m), we were also able to visit nearby Mt. Rushmore – my first time seeing this national memorial. The size of the faces carved into the rock is...

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Mars on Earth – June 16, 2021

Mars on Earth – June 16, 2021

Guest post by Dylan Dickstein: Astronaut analogs are unique and incredible opportunities to jump into new worlds and challenge your ability to remain productive and level-headed while living in isolation with limited resources. This past April, The Explorers Club...

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Zombie Fires – June 9, 2021

Zombie Fires – June 9, 2021

Did you know that, deep below the snowpack during the winter, wildfires can still smolder? It’s pretty rare – but these overwintering fires do happen! Typically, when forest fires are put out, they stay out. They don’t survive cold, wet winters. But in boreal forests...

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Nyiragongo Erupts – May 26, 2021

Nyiragongo Erupts – May 26, 2021

It’s Science Wednesday! This past Saturday (May 22), Mount Nyiragongo in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in central Africa erupted for the first time in nearly 20 years. This active stratovolcano stands 11,385 feet tall (3470 m) and has a main crater about 2...

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Brood X Cicadas – May 19, 2021

Brood X Cicadas – May 19, 2021

It’s Science Wednesday! If you live on the east coast of the United States and have been outside recently, you may have noticed a peculiar sight and sound in the air – loads and loads of male cicadas are singing their siren songs through vibrations of their tymbals, a...

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New Normals – May 12, 2021

New Normals – May 12, 2021

Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released new climate normals for the US. So, what does this actually mean? A climate normal is a 30-year average of measurements from weather variables like temperature and precipitation from...

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Stories in the Sand – May 5, 2021

Stories in the Sand – May 5, 2021

In last week’s Science Wednesday, I covered the geology that created the Gulf of California and Baja California. This week, I want to share some photos from a particular island in the region: Isla San Jose, home to some stunning geology, particularly at a place called...

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Baja, California – April 28, 2021

Baja, California – April 28, 2021

There are few places on the planet that are true paradise - that not only provide stunning scenery but incredible diversity of life, microclimates and geology. Baja California Sur - the state in the southern part of the larger Baja California Peninsula - is one of...

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Surging Glaciers – April 21, 2021

Surging Glaciers – April 21, 2021

(Science Wednesday is posted early due to some upcoming travel): On the north side of Denali, North America’s highest peak, the Muldrow Glacier has been moving unusually fast: as much as 90 feet/day! What is causing this? It’s called a glacial surge which is a...

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When Lightning Strikes – April 14, 2021

When Lightning Strikes – April 14, 2021

Life on Earth originated billions of years ago. While there was likely plenty of water and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to work with - essential ingredients for life - most of Earth’s phosphorus was locked up in insoluble rock, making it impossible to combine into...

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Ingenuity – April 7, 2021

Ingenuity – April 7, 2021

It’s Science Wednesday – and it’s an exciting time in the realm of planetary science! On February 18, 2021, NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on Mars in order to explore the Jezero Crater. The primary mission is an astrobiological one: to identify environments capable...

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The Science of Procrastination – March 31, 2021

The Science of Procrastination – March 31, 2021

So, I should probably be working right now….but….   What is it that makes us procrastinate? Is it because we’re lazy? Or does it have roots in our evolutionary development? As Dr. Tim Pychyl, a psychology professor states, procrastination “is not a time...

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New (Volcanic) Life in Iceland – March 24, 2021

New (Volcanic) Life in Iceland – March 24, 2021

It’s Science Wednesday! For several weeks, Icelanders had been bracing themselves for a volcanic eruption of some sort, given the island recorded more than 50,000 recent earthquakes! A few days ago – on March 19 – a new fissure (linear volcanic vent through which lava...

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AMOC Gone Amok? – March 17, 2021

AMOC Gone Amok? – March 17, 2021

When we think of climate change, often we think about how the atmosphere is changing – how it’s getting hotter. But there is also a story of change unfolding in the ocean, which absorbs some 90 percent of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions. A system of...

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What Does Ice Have To Do With It? – March 10, 2021

What Does Ice Have To Do With It? – March 10, 2021

From 1914 – 1919, during which time World War I was being fought, an unusual weather pattern settled in over Northern Europe due to what’s called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). This is a natural fluctuation that occurs in atmospheric pressure over the North...

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Piecing it Together – March 3, 2021

Piecing it Together – March 3, 2021

Earlier in February, as the US was in the icy grip of an Arctic blast of cold air, a tragedy was unfolding on the other side of the planet, in northern India. On February 7, 2021, a large torrent of water and debris wiped out multiple hydroelectric power plants in the...

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Alphabet Soup – February 24, 2021

Alphabet Soup – February 24, 2021

Back in January, I wrote about A-68a – the world’s largest iceberg – that was on a collision course with South Georgia Island, an island about 950 miles from the Antarctic Peninsula. The iceberg initially measured more than 2300 square miles (6000 square kilometers)!...

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Frozen Texas – February 17, 2021

Frozen Texas – February 17, 2021

In this last week, parts of the US were hit with incredibly cold and deadly winter weather. Places where you typically see palm trees and cacti were covered in snow and ice instead. The state of Texas saw some of its coldest temperatures in more than 30 years, with...

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Saharan Dust – February 10, 2021

Saharan Dust – February 10, 2021

It’s Science Wednesday! Back in June/July 2020, parts of the US and the Caribbean saw darker hazier skies due to large clouds of dust coming from the Sahara Desert in Africa. While the dust storm was a part of a regular meteorological phenomenon, the 2020 cloud of...

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