To begin with, I remind you that I am a geologist, not a nuclear physicist, but I do have some basis for understanding and divulgation as well. I want to do this because as a person of science, I should not have also believed certain scientific inaccuracies that have become almost stereotypes. One only has to delve a little deeper into the subject (from scientific sources) to discover that it is not all as dark as it is painted. We are usually afraid of things we do not know. Culture is freedom.
Let’s start with clarifying: in nature we observe 4 types of energy, electromagnetic energy, gravitational energy, weak nuclear energy and strong nuclear energy. The first two we can experience in everyday life. Light itself is an expression of electromagnetic energy, but so are wifi connections and radio waves. Nuclear energies are less visible because they act within atoms.
I often notice that even other well-trained scientists when talking about geology sometimes make trivial mistakes. Perhaps, because Geology is a relatively new science, it is little known. for example, its other “cousin” science (because it is also a “historical” science) Astronomy, is far better known. Probably looking up, toward the stars, makes us dream more than looking down, underground. Furthermore many associate the geologist with her or his freelance profession, the one related to construction, surveys, and the study of the technical characteristics of soils. But that is only one of the many applications of Geology. Others may be the search for subsurface resources, the study of geological risk (earthquakes, eruptions, landslides, floods-themes that perhaps explain the greater fascination of Astronomy than Geology). I could go on but I want to dwell here on what is really typical of the geologist, whatever activity he or she does: the geologist’s field work.
Continue reading on Substack…
And again a major earthquake fills the pages of the newspapers because of the many thousands deaths. Again no geologist, geophysicist or seismologist is surprised that there was such a strong earthquake in that area. Insiders are well aware of the most dangerous seismic areas in the world. The Anatolian Peninsula, mostly occupied by Turkey, is one of them, on a par with California and Mexico, Japan, Chile and Peru, to give a few examples of states on plate margins. By now we know well the different plates into which the Earth’s lithosphere is divided and where they interact releasing large amounts of energy. So why so many deaths?
Continue reading on Substack…
In a strange corner of our solar system live two alien blobs.
With sprawling, amorphous bodies the size of continents, these oddities are thought to spend their time lying in wait for their food to rain down upon them – then simply absorbing it.
But their natural habitat is, if anything, even more unusual than their diet. It could be described as “rocky” – all around, there are exotic minerals in unknown shades and forms. Otherwise it’s fairly barren, except for a glittering sea in the far distance – one so large, it holds as much water as all of Earth’s oceans put together.
Every day the “weather” is the same: a balmy 1827°C (3321°F), with some areas of high pressure – equivalent to around 1.3 million times the amount at the Earth’s surface. In this crushing environment, atoms become warped and even the most familiar materials start to behave in eccentric ways – rock is flexible like plastic, while oxygen acts like a metal.
But this blistering wonderland is no extra-terrestrial planet – and the blobs aren’t strictly wildlife. It is, in fact, the Earth itself – just very, very deep underground.
Continue reading on BBC Future…
I admit that having grown up with Marvel comics, rock music and US TV shows, the American myth has accompanied me for almost all my life. Studying a scientific subject such as geology has also strengthened it, seeing that many of the fundamental discoveries have been made through Americans, while in Italy very little has been done and even less is being done for topics that concern my field of study. In fact, I had quite a few difficulties entering the working world as a geologist. Therefore, it was natural for me to see the USA as the land of opportunities even in geology. I was immature and I had no idea how the “system” worked in my country. If I had been aware of it, maybe I wouldn’t have missed the opportunities that came my way but that I recognized only in hindsight, when the train had already passed….