The Schist of It with Cate Larsen
By Cate Larsen
Geologist Cate Larsen deciphers newly published research, breaks down complicated concepts, and talks with professionals across the many fields of geoscience.
The Schist of It with Cate LarsenSep 20, 2023
24 - Fighting the Effects of Sediment Pollution on Fish Population feat. Njahi Mwangala of Geoscientists Without Borders (recorded live at IMAGE23)
I met with geophysicist Njahi Mwangala while at IMAGE23 in Houston, TX to learn about her work with Geoscientists Without Borders, a non-profit that provides funding for humanitarian projects all around the world. Her project revolves around Lake Tanganyika, a massive body of water that runs along the East African Rift system, and its long standing sediment pollution problem that's drastically impacting the fish population and the fishing industry its surrounding countries rely on.
Read about this project:
Learn more about GWB:
23 - Permian Plants with "Sunblock Chemicals" Hint at Depleted Ozone During Mass Extinction
Just like how we can infer the UV index on a public beach by counting the empty bottles of sunblock in the trash, we can do the same with the largest mass extinction of all time. By analyzing levels of UV-B absorbing compounds in 250 million year old fossilized pollen, researchers have uncovered a link between intense solar radiation, ozone layer depletion, and volcanic outgassing during the End Permian Mass Extinction.
Source material: Feng Liu et al. Dying in the Sun: Direct evidence for elevated UV-B radiation at the end-Permian mass extinction. Science Advances, 2023 https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abo6102
This episode is sponsored by Earthjustice, because the Earth needs a good lawyer. To learn more, visit http://bit.ly/3IKDmsf
[Earthjustice Partner, science, research, biodiversity]
22 - New Model for Crystallization in Sierra Nevada Batholith feat. Maddie Lewis
You know that crystals form out of molten rock, right? Well it isn't as simple as Bowen's Reaction Series always told us it is! As it turns out, the depth of the magma has an effect on what crystals are able to form in certain parts of a body. Researcher Maddie Lewis, PhD studied various minerals in the Sierra Nevada Batholith and developed a model of fractional crystallization that takes the polybaric (changing depth) factor into effect.
Learn more about Maddie's work at https://madelinejlewis.com/
And read her paper at https://madelinejlewiscom.files.wordpress.com/2021/10/lewis_et_al-2021-contributions_to_mineralogy_and_petrology.pdf
21 - Can Pokemon Games Teach Geology? feat. Lewis Alcott
Read the pre-print via EGU:
Learn more about Lewis' work:
20 - Clues in Ancient Pottery Say the Magnetic Poles Aren’t About to Switch
The South Atlantic Anomaly is a huge weak spot in Earth's magnetic field and there's been plenty of speculation (and panic) about the possibility of a pole reversal, which some believe could spell disaster for humanity. Scientists already thought a magnetic doomsday wasn't all that likely, but now we have even more proof there's nothing to worry about thanks to a new model built with data from volcanics, sediments, and ancient clay pottery. This model gives us a look at the magnetic field over the past 9,000 years and sheds some light on what its future may hold. Spoiler alert: we're good.
Andreas Nilsson, Neil Suttie, Joseph S. Stoner, Raimund Muscheler. Recurrent ancient geomagnetic field anomalies shed light on future evolution of the South Atlantic Anomaly. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2022; 119 (24)
Read it for yourself, it's free! https://www.pnas.org/doi/full/10.1073/pnas.2200749119