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  • Scientists have discovered vast systems of flowing water in Antarctica -- and that worries them | The Washington Post
    Thursday, April 20, 2017
    The surface of the remote Antarctic ice sheet may be a far more dynamic place than scientists imagined, new research suggests. Decades of satellite imagery and aerial photography have revealed an extensive network of lakes and rivers transporting liquid meltwater across the continent's ice shelves. Knut Christianson, a glaciologist at the University of Washington who was not involved in the research, is quoted. Read More
  • Retreating Yukon glacier caused a river to disappear
    Tuesday, April 18, 2017
    The massive Kaskawulsh Glacier in northern Canada has retreated about a mile up its valley over the past century. Last spring, its retreat triggered a geologic event at relatively breakneck speed. The toe of ice that was sending meltwater toward the Slims River and then north to the Bering Sea retreated so far that the water changed course, joining the Kaskawulsh River and flowing south toward the Gulf of Alaska. Read More
  • Prof. Schreiber Co-Author on Norman Falcon Award Receiving Paper
    Monday, April 17, 2017
    Charlotte Schreiber is a co-author on a paper that has received an award for excellence. The European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers has awarded the annual Norman Falcon award for best paper of the year published in their journal to “The Messinian salinity crisis: Open problems and possible implications for Mediterranean petroleum systems” published in Petroleum Geoscience (2016) v. 22, p. 283. Read More
  • Nearly all the elements needed for life found on Saturn's moon | USA Today
    Friday, April 14, 2017
    Scientists have found a potential food source for life on a world in our solar system, raising the tantalizing possibility that organisms could thrive in a place besides Earth. David Catling, professor of astrobiology and of Earth and space sciences at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • Life on Mars: Volcanic activity on ancient Mars may have supported alien life | Inquisitr
    Wednesday, April 12, 2017
    New research is now suggesting that volcanic activity on ancient Mars may have been conducive to the formation of a habitable environment. Steven Sholes, a doctoral candidate in Earth and space sciences and astrobiology at the UW, is quoted. Read More
  • WWLLN lightning used to track Bogoslov volcano island growth
    Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    Volcano Watch: Bogoslof Volcano, Alaska: ongoing eruption through the Bering Sea. The World Wide Lightning Location Network ( provides automated alerts – within minutes – of lightning near Bogoslof that often coincides with explosions of ash. Read More
  • Volcanic activity on ancient Mars may have produced organic life | Live Science
    Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    A new paper suggests that volcanoes on Mars may in fact have created an environment habitable to ancient microbes. Lead author Stephen Sholes, a UW doctoral student in Earth and space sciences, is quoted. (This article originally was published on Seeker) Read More
  • Earthquake warning system to go West Coast-wide | KIRO-TV
    Tuesday, April 11, 2017
    Researchers at the University of Washington are unveiling a first-of-its kind West Coast system of earthquake alerts. The Washington alert system is being combined with the alerts from California and Oregon. UW seismologist John Vidale is quoted. Read More
  • USGS, partners launch a unified, West Coast-wide earthquake early warning system
    Monday, April 10, 2017

    The U.S. Geological Survey and university, public and private partners held an event April 10 at the University of Washington to introduce the ShakeAlert earthquake early warning program as a unified, West Coast-wide system. The event also introduced the first pilot uses of the earthquake early warning in Washington and Oregon.

    The first Pacific Northwest pilot users of the system are Bothell, Wash.-based RH2 Engineering, which will use the alerts to secure municipal water and sewer systems so these structures remain usable after a major quake. Oregon’s first test user, the Eugene Water & Electricity Board, will use alerts to lower water levels in a canal above a residential area in Oregon, and to stop turbines at a river power plant. A parallel launch event was held in Eugene the same day.

    Both utility providers participated in a beta test group that has been learning about the system since early 2015 from the UW-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, which coordinates the system in Washington and Oregon.

    “We are thrilled to take the first steps in integrating earthquake early warning into life in the Pacific Northwest,” John Vidale, UW professor of Earth and space sciences and director of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. “Our teamwork has made it possible to reach this milestone so quickly.”

    The ShakeAlert system will provide seconds to minutes of warning before damaging shaking arrives. That would be enough time to get out of a dangerous building, turn off a vehicle, stop surgeries and other delicate activities, and prepare for the imminent ground sha king.

    Other speakers at the event included David Applegate, USGS acting deputy director; Doug Given, USGS coordinator of earthquake early warning; U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Port Angeles); Maximilian Dixon, earthquake program manager at Washington State Emergency Management Division; and Dan Ervin, chair of RH2 Engineering.

    The system’s development at the USGS and four partner universities has been funded with a combination of public and private grants. Development of ShakeAlert at the UW has been supported by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Amazon Catalyst program and Puget Sound Energy.

    Three new staff members have been hired in the UW Department of Earth and Sp ace Scie nces as part of the effort. Mouse Reusch is the Pacific Northwest’s new ShakeAlert coordinator, and will be answering questions about the system and obtaining permits for approximately 200 new Pacific Northwest sites. Alex Hutko is a new programmer who will work on improving quality control for the alerts. Brendan Pratt and Sarina Patel are new field technicians who will assist with upgrading existing seismometers and assist with installing new sensors.

    Given, of the USGS, said the agency plans to begin limited public alerts in 2018, but that more seismometers will be needed to provide reliable alerts for communitie s throug hout the earthquake-prone regions.

    “At the UW College of the Environment, ShakeAlert is a shining example of our commitment to engaging public, private, nonprofit and academic partners in solving the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” UW College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich said in her remarks. “Together, we co-create scientific solutions that have real impacts on people's lives.”

    The USGS estimates $38.3 million in initial costs to complete a reliable, public system for the entire West Coast, and $16.1 million each year to maintain and operate the ShakeAlert system. About half of the operational costs have been funded so far, researchers say.


    For more information, contact Vidale at 310-210-2131 or, or seismic network communications manager Bill Steele a t 206-685-5880 or

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  • Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world
    Wednesday, April 5, 2017
    When ESS Professor David Montgomery embarked on a six-month trip to visit farms around the world to research his forthcoming book, “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life,” the innovative farmers he met showed him that regenerative farming practices can restore the world’s agricultural soils. In both the developed and developing worlds, these farmers rapidly rebuilt the fertility of their degraded soil, which then allowed them to maintain high yields using far less fertilizer and fewer pesticides. Read More