PUNTA ARENAS, Chile–After flying for several hours over a windswept Southern Ocean, the mission director announces that we will be slowly descending towards Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier. Just below are the Hudson Mountains, a small group of extinct volcanoes poking through the ice. As we approach our survey area, John Sonntag from NASA’s flight facility… read more

Nick Frearson, Gravimeter Instrument Team, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: PUNTA ARENAS, Chile–I have become a night watchman of sorts. The gravimeter we’re using in our flights over Antarctica must remain powered at all times, so between flights I hole up in the old terminal next to the aircraft watching, …and watching. We won’t be on the… read more

Nick Frearson, Gravimeter Instrument Team, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: The flight engineer ticks off instruments over the intercom. “LVIS, ready.” “Gravity, ready.” “DACOM, ready.” We are about to take the DC-8 on its first test flight before Antarctica. The pilots, clipped and professional, have just described the day’s flight plans and the plane is bustling with… read more

Before airplanes and satellite phones, polar exploration was a more dangerous undertaking than it is now. Many who set out for the frozen ends of the earth did not come back. Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen and British explorer Ernest Shackleton were some of the few who brought their entire crews home safely. Nansen began his… read more

Nick Frearson, Gravimeter Instrument Team, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: I’m a senior engineer at Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, and my role in Operation Ice Bridge is to work with the gravimeter. This instrument can see beneath ice sheets into the water and bedrock below to reveal the ice sheet’s hidden contours – critical information… read more

Michael Studinger, Instrument Co-Principal Investigator, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory: The scale and style of Operation Ice Bridge will be a new experience for me. I’ve been involved in airborne research for more than a decade using ice-penetrating radar systems, airborne laser scanning, gravity and magnetics to learn more about the polar ice caps and how they… read more

Bärbel Hönisch, an expert on ocean acidification at Columbia, will speak after a screening of the film “A Sea Change” this Thursday.

That rumbling you feel is not necessarily a passing subway. New York City and the surrounding region gets a surprising number of small earthquakes, and a 2008 study from the region’s network of seismographs, run by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, suggests that the risk of a damaging one is not negligible. This week, the federal government announced a major upgrade… read more

A power plant in Iceland is set to become the first in the world to try turning carbon dioxide emissions into solid minerals underground, starting this September.

Too little water for too many people is a growing problem in poor countries–and in thriving suburban Rockland County, N.Y., just north of New York City. A new website, Water Resources in Rockland County, lays out the case, and neatly puts it into global context. The site is run by the Earth Institute’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network… read more

Another world lies beneath the Hudson River, as scientists have shown using pulses of sound to map the bottom. In recent years, the bathymetry maps developed at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Stony Brook University have turned up hundreds of shipwrecks and a new channel off Battery Park City, drawing interest from treasure hunters and mariners alike. Now a new group is finding inspiration: artists.

Landslides kill thousands of people each year but because they’re often triggered by earthquakes or heavy rains, the danger remains poorly understood. “In densely populated areas, landslides take no prisoners,” said Art Lerner-Lam, a scientist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.  “They’ll wipe out an entire village at once. Even a small landslide can kill… read more

In 1968, 14-year-old Paul Olsen of suburban Livingston, N.J., and his friend Tony Lessa heard that dinosaur tracks had been found in a nearby quarry. They raced over on their bikes.  “I went ballistic,” Olsen recalls. Over the next few years, the boys uncovered and studied thousands of tracks and other fossils there, often working into the night.  It opened the… read more

Iran seems to be moving toward an atomic bomb; North Korea reportedly could build a half dozen; and terrorist attacks have revived the specter of a faceoff between nuclear-armed Pakistan and India. Yet the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, forbidding  nuclear testing, has failed to win ratification from the U.S. Senate and lawmakers of some other nations. Opponents say scientists cannot reliably detect clandestine tests: Why should… read more