Japan is continuously being bombarded by aftershocks from the March 11 earthquake.  There have been 408 aftershocks since the March 11 quake, registering 5.0 or higher on the Richter scale.  Experts don’t know how long the aftershocks will last, but some scientists have speculated it could be up to a year.   Having six earthquakes in March registering 7.0 or higher, is thwarting the efforts of the reconstruction teams.  The rehabilitation process is being slowed down by all of the aftershocks, and if they continue for more than a year the reconstruction may not happen at all.

Eagle Ford Shale

As a geology major and resident of central Pennsylvania, the Marcellus shale is a topic of daily discussion. In Texas, however, a new natural gas resource is emerging in the form of the Eagle Ford shale. The Eagle Ford shale has only recently become popularly developed. In 2009, only 94 permits for drilling were issued. That number skyrocketed to 1229 permits in 2010. Methods for extracting the oil and natural gas are similar to those used in the Marcellus shale. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing methods have enabled energy companies to explore this area’s shale gas resources like never before.


Johnstown, PA is finally starting to warm up, so I think, and I believe it is prime time for Geology. Warm weather, rock hammers, and bruntens, that will sum up my summer this year. Geologic Field Methods may get old since I will be waking up every Saturday at 5:45am to come to UPJ for an 8 hour class but, it will be one of my best learning experiences thus far. The more I think about the summer the more I think about the up coming horrible finals and busiest next two weeks of the year. I am not excited for taking 2 hour exams on information that I can barely remember after studying for hours on info that isn’t on the exam. Although, I feel that I will not do too horrible and knowing that for a couple weeks I get to relax before I start field methods. I am never looking forward to class, but this one I am anxious, I think I will learn a lot of hands on information and have more field knowledge after this summer. This summer would have been a great time to have an internship, but sometimes those plans do not work out. I am just excited to finally be done with this semester and relax for the summer.

P.S. I would like to thank Heatkins4coal for the idea on what to blog about, once again you are a life saver.

As I was looking through geology current events to do a blog on, I came across an article about meteorites being sold in different ways online.  Many online sites such as Ebay and star-bits.com have been selling these items.  These sites started selling them because they have become increasingly popular with people collecting and studying them.  However, most geologists believe that this is creating a black market just like any illegal drugs.  Since they are becoming so popular the areas that they can be found are becoming scarce with the meteorites for people who are actually trying to find them to do research.  Since they are so popular right now the prices of them are getting higher causing people who want them to do research to not be able to afford to buy the fragments.  But, there are some collectors who think what they are doing is good for the scientists because they feel the scientists are too busy to go find their own samples and would need someone to do it for them anyways.  The way I see it is if they don’t try to fine people or become more strick they won’t be able to do much about people taking these items.  If you would like to read more about this here’s the link…http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/05/science/05meteorite.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2

Why I chose geology

Back in 2007, I was pre-pharmacy. Then I job shadowed at several pharmacies, and was disillusioned by the long hours indoors, the monotony, and the overall setting. The spring of 2008 changed everything. I took an introductory course in environmental geology, did some research, and was amazed by the variety of opportunities. That spring, I changed my major, and have been on the geology track ever since. One site I used really changed my mind. It is the Bureau of Labor Statistics website; their occupational outlook handbook gives statistics on current employment and employment projections for many fields. For those who haven’t found a career path or are merely curious, I recommend it.



Just wanted to learn more about internships and when is a good time to get one? I have not gotten one for this summer due to various reasons but i know that i will be attending UPJ for another semester after next year so i plan to get an internship for that summer or whenever i could get one. I just wanted to know some good places to look for internships and if i would get paid or not. If anyone has any helpful information on internships please feel free to let me know.



Last year when I took historical geology, we learned about pterosaurs.  They were winged dinosaurs that had toothed beaks, feathers, and claws.  I always thought they were pretty cool until I read this article and now have a new respect for them.  The article was published January 21, 2011 in The New York Times.  It describes how a pterosaur was found by a Chinese farmer, and that the find has changed pterosaur studies.  The specimen was found with an egg, that’s right, an egg was preserved within the body of the pterosaur.  Scientist can now decipher between the genders of pterosaurs.  Males are somewhat smaller in the pelvic area and they had crests on their heads.  Females are wider through the hips and do not have the identifying crest on their heads.  Also, the egg is different from those of birds today.  The egg appears to be soft-shelled like a crocodile, so that implies that pterosaurs buried their eggs rather than nesting on them. 


I just watched a video on Bill Stone, and in my own opinion he is a genius. This man has explored and mapped the deepest caves in the world using science fiction equipment that his crew developed. The missions will involve 30 days at extreme depths and complete darkness. Bill Stone is someone with a dream with a lot of power, his main goal is to in the next 7 years begin industrializing a portion of the moon to acquire fuel. This goal is a lot less extreme as compared to going to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, to drill through thousands of meters of ice to take samples of water in the underground oceans to hopefully find life. The Europa mission needs to be done unmanned though, so they are working on robots that can fully function and make decisions to navigate through the ice and water, not too possible, right? wrong. They already have a robot that completely mapped and flooded geothermal cave in Mexico. The heavens need to be explored, but there is no initiative, Bill Stone is our hope of moving into space and tap some of the moon’s natural resources and hopefully one day find life on another world. This video is pretty good, it explains his missions.

The Permian extinction, 250 million years ago, had an extinction of 95% of marine species and 70% of land species.  Massive amounts of volcanic eruptions during this time may have caused coal beds to catch on fire.  The ash produced from the burning coal would have a broad impact on global oceans.  Layers of coal ash in rocks from the extinction boundary found in Canada is proof to support this.  It has been unclear what caused the Permian extinction, many thought it was just widespread volcanic eruptions that generated significant greenhouse gases causing global warming.  The layers of coal ash found is exactly like that produced by modern coal burning power plants.  Magma would have ignited the huge coal deposits relatively close to the surface sending enough carbon into the atmosphere to create anoxic conditions.



Hurricane Hunters

Hurricane Hunters are individuals that literally fly into a hurricane to obtain crucial information on the storm. The U.S Air Force, Navy and NOAA have all been active in these missions. They do not fly over the storms, but rather into them. This is because they are interested in the weather at lower altitudes which is what will hit and affect the coastlines. The aircraft’s must fly through the eyewall of hurricanes to obtain information, which is the ring of strongest winds near the center of the storm. Knowing the exact center of the storm is very helpful for forecasters back on land. Although satellites can give a picture of where the eye of the storm is, this is just a good start for the Hunters to know where to fly into. Once there, they can collect data like air pressure and wind speeds that satellites cannot detect. All of this data helps determine where the storm is going, if it is getting weaker/stronger, and when it will make landfall along a coast. At different places in the storm, those on the aircraft will release something called a dropsonde. This is a tube attached to a parachute with weather instruments inside that send data back to the plane. From the time it is released and until it hits water, the dropsonde will record temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed and direction. I am very interested in severe weather research and I think it would be incredible to do this. Below are some pictures as well as an intro video on Hurricane Hunters that can supply some more background information!