Google the past

Check out this visualization tool that Google has pulled together (along with the United States Geological Survey). It allows you to view a couple decades of satellite images anywhere on Earth, which makes changes to the landscape easy to see. Watch, for example, as Las Vegas expands before your eyes.

US rivers go to doctor for check-up

The EPA recently released an overview of water quality in streams and rivers across the country. There’s some good news, but some bad news, too. Check out the story I wrote about it here.

NOVA – see Earth history as told by Australia’s rocks

There’s a great series playing on PBS NOVA right now (and for the next three weeks yet) that tells the story of Earth history using the geology of Australia. It’s called “Australia’s First 4 Billion years“. There’s plenty of way cool dino stuff in it, so you should check it out! I wrote a review of the series, if you want to learn a little more about it.

Scenes of an abandoned Japan

The area that was devastated by the 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami is still empty on account of the radiation release from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Here’s a tour of what the city of Namie looks like today. It hasn’t changed since everyone evacuated.

Eutrophication and fish kills

Because one of my classes will be talking about this on Tuesday, here’s a local example of a large-scale fish kill caused by excessive nutrient and organic matter input to a lake. As it decays over the winter, bacteria use up all the oxygen in the water, which is capped by the ice. In the end, fish suffocate.