Friday Headlines: 1-3-14

Friday Headlines, January 3, 2014

THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES

 

It’s a new year!!!

Today’s round-up:

Hercules

More evidence of water on Mars

 

Winter Storm Hercules Forecast

I suspect that this link will be dead in a few days, but here it is nevertheless.

The Weather Channel has decided to start naming winter storms and right now, as I type, we’re being pummeled by winter storm Hercules.

It’s fascinating to live in the Great Lakes region when such storms pass by. See, if you just consider the forecast of western New York state (where we are), you’d see that storm totals are supposed to be not quite a foot.

Except, of course, if you’re close to Lake Ontario, where there is some additional snowfall from what’s called lake enhancement. You see, Lake Ontario is not yet fully frozen over. In fact, it very seldom freezes over. Since it’s not frozen, it’s warmer than the air blowing over it, causing evaporation. (I know. It seems counter intuitive.) The result is extra water in the atmosphere, which promptly freezes into more snow, and then suddenly those living close to the lake get two feet of snow.

And naturally, we’re right in the lake enhancement area. Click over here to see some photos taken today in and around our home. And there’s more on the way for tonight and tomorrow.

Lessons learned?

1) Make sure your snow thrower is in full working order before winter hits.

2) Don’t live in western New York unless you really like snow.

 

Recurring slope lineae in equatorial regions of Mars

The sad thing about this article is that it’s paywalled. My apologies to all of you without subscriptions to Nature Geoscience, but here’s the gist.

There are these interesting dark lines that form on the insides of craters on the surface of Mars. These lines are called Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL), and called as such because they are only present during certain times of the year, when it is warmest and the surfaces get the greatest amount of sunlight.

The thinking is that these are due to minute quantities of highly saline waters melting in the warmth, then flowing down hill. Scientists have realized that not much water is necessary for RSL activity to be obvious. In fact, so little water is necessary, that it spectroscopic methods would not detect the water.

So what we have then, is another line of evidence that water may be present on Mars.

If you’re interested, there are some great high-resolution GIF animations of RSL activity here. Be patient. These GIFs take a while to load, but they’re totally worth it.

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