Can you guess which state is snow-free? USA Today has the answer for you. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/02/13/snow-cover-usa/5454645/
Courtesy David BesaJust in time for Valentine's Day, a new book outlines the aphrodisiac properties of different fruits and vegetables. Author Helen Yoest shares insights from her book Plants with Benefits in this interview. After reading this, head to the nearest produce section and select just the right ingredients to make a memorable Valentine's Day.
Courtesy Science Museum of Minnesota
Courtesy Science Museum of MinnesotaDecember 2013 through February 2014, Heritage Crew went out to do outreach activities at North Dale Rec Center. For six days we taught elementary school aged kids about archaeology and the Sheffield Site. Some activities were learning Oneota pottery, identifying animal bones in archaeology, and stone tools. We created excavation boxes allowing the kids to get a an idea of what an archaeological dig is like. The kids measured a unit, and then dug down layer by layer until they found "artifacts" and "features" that we had set up. Archaeologist, Dr Ed Fleming, let us use copies of the level sheets that were used at Sheffield Site, so the kids could record their findings. We taught them about mapping each level to record artifacts and features, and why archaeologists use this method in the field. We had fun during this experience, and hope to do more outreaches like this in the future.
The Heritage Crew did an interview with the Sheffield Site research associates. Check it out!
Courtesy Public domain via USGSBy studying magnetic and electrical data, geologists have found further evidence that the town of Decorah, Iowa is built upon an ancient impact crater created around 460 million years ago.
Courtesy Vkil via Wikipedia Creative CommonsDecorah is located in northeast Iowa near the Minnesota border about 150 miles south of Minneapolis. Scientists think the Decorah Impact Structure resulted from the same meteorite barrage - known as the Ordovician meteor event - that produced similarly-aged craters found in Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and the Slate Islands in Lake Superior. The Decorah crater lines up nicely with the others.
The first evidence that an ancient crater might exist under Decorah came in 2008 when well-drilling cores from the area collected and examined by Iowa's Department of Natural Resources and Geological and Water Survey indicated that a wide-ranging layer of an unusual type of shale set beneath the surface and encircled the town. Recent aerial geophysical measurements (both gravity and electrical magnetic) by the US Geological Survey and other agencies, including the Minnesota Geological Survey, affirmed the crater's existence.
The unusual shale layer is situated 50 feet under the bed of the Upper Iowa river and was probably deposited after the crater's creation when an ancient seaway invaded the area and filled in the basin with mud and sediment. Shocked quartz found in the rock layer directly beneath the shale adds further evidence that some sort of major impact took place. Shocked quartz is a highly stressed and shattered quartz produced only one of two ways: either by a bolide impact or from a nuclear blast. The impact that created the Decorah structure is estimated to have released the energy equal to the blast of 100 megatons of TNT. To put things in perspective, the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II was equal to 15 kilotons of TNT. One megaton equals 1000 kilotons so the bolide blast in Decorah would have released the energy of more than 6500 Hiroshima bombs!
Paleobiologist Bevan French, an adjunct professor at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History studied quartz samples from the underlying layer of breccia and concluded they held characteristics indicative of an extra-terrestrial impact event.
When it slammed into Earth, the Decorah impactor created a 3.5 mile-in-diameter crater in the planet's surface and shattered existing layers of Early Ordovician and Cambrian rocks pushing them deeper underground. Several other meteor craters discovered on earth date back to around the same time period 450 to 470 million years ago, causing French to wonder if the Decorah crater should be included in that spike in impact frequency.
According to French the shale above the breccia layer is very well preserved and contains "a very fascinating biological assemblage,"which could also be of interest to paleontologists.
"Finding structures like these and being able to study them in the geological context," French said, "is going to yield a lot of very fascinating information about the relations between the terrestrial system and the extraterrestrial influences."
Courtesy Mark RyanHas past life on Earth been influenced by these impacts? If you consider the Chicxulub impact crater in the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico and its alleged effect on non-avian dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous Period, you have to wonder if similar impact events weren't responsible for other extinctions and biological radiations during Earth's long history.
SOURCE and LINKS
We have lots of cool, clear water on our planet. But ever think about how it first got here? The folks at MinuteEarth have been thinking about that.
New materials seem to make an appearance at every Olympic Games, and this 2014 Winter Games is no exception. Materials and equipment can be a major factors in Olympic competitor's success or failure, and teams are always looking to get any advantage they can.
NBC's "Science of Sports" video series profiles a wide range of science and engineering topics related to this year's Winter Games ranging from the science of snow to advances in new materials.
The video, "Stability and Vibration Damping in Alpine Skiing"
describes how engineers are redesigning skis using nano materials to increase flexibility and stability. A University of Nevada, Reno mechanical engineering associate professor Kam Leang describes how he and his team are using nanocomposite materials to reduce unwanted vibration in high performance skis.
To read more about this research visit:
To learn more about nanotechnology, science, and engineering, visit:
To see other nano stories on Science Buzz tagged #nano visit:
Courtesy City of Saint PaulCome join us on Saturday, Feb. 8, noon to 4 p.m., to talk to the KAYSC Heritage Crew about the Sheffield Site at Northdale Recreation Center! We will be joined by Rod Johnson from the Minnesota Archaeology Society, and Dr Ann Merriman from Maritime Heritage Minnesota. North Dale Rec Center is located at 1414 Saint Albans Street, Saint Paul, MN.
Enter to win a 4 pack of tickets to Ultimate Dinosaurs, "a huge new exhibition featuring 20 fascinating specimens from the other side of the world". It will open at the Science Museum on March 1!
Go to http://www.smm.org/dinos for more information!
Courtesy Mark RyanOnce again it's time for Draw A Dinosaur Day.
Each year, on January 30th, anyone and everyone who loves dinosaurs is invited to draw a picture of their favorite and upload it to the official Draw A Dinosaur Day site. This is the 8th year for the annual event, and as I've boasted proudly before, it's also my birthday which I think is really great - and apropo - because like millions of other kids, I drew lots of dinosaur pictures in my younger years.
My drawing skills never really blossomed but I've enjoyed collecting vintage dinosaur artwork and paleontology illustrations done by others. Last summer, I had the good fortune of having some of my paleo-art collection put on display at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts as part of a collectors exhibition. What was really cool is that the curators included some of my grade school drawings of dinosaurs, including the one pictured here. So, grab your favorite drawing instrument, sketch out a picture of your favorite dinosaur, upload it to the site, and share it with the rest of the dinosaur renderers in the world. Remember, it's all for fun. Besides the official website, you can also view work done by other contributors on Flickr.
Draw A Dinosaur Day