Earth & Climate

Early armored dino from Texas lacked cousin’s club-tail weapon, but had a nose for danger

First-ever CT scans of the early armored dinosaur Pawpawsaurus campbelli reveal that although the Texas dino lacked its cousin’s club-tail it had a sharp nose for danger.

A relative of Ankylosaurus, Pawpawsaurus’s saving grace from predators may have been an acute sense of smell, says SMU vertebrate paleontologist Louis Jacobs. Pawpawsaurus lived 100 million years ago, preceding Ankylosaurus by 35 million years. Continue reading

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Dallas Morning News: Fracking-related activities have caused majority of recent Texas earthquakes

earthquake, causes, SMU, oil, fracking, seismologyScience journalist Anna Kuchment with The Dallas Morning News covered the research of SMU seismologists on the historical record of North Texas earthquakes and their causes.

The SMU seismology team on May 18 published online new evidence of human involvement in earthquakes since the 1920s in the journal Seismological Research Letters. The study found that human-caused earthquakes have been present since at least 1925, and widespread throughout the state. While they are tied to oil and gas operations, the specific production techniques behind these quakes have differed over the decades, according to Cliff Frohlich, Heather DeShon, Brian Stump, Chris Hayward, Mathew J. Hornbach and Jacob I. Walter.
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Study: Humans have been causing earthquakes in Texas since the 1920s

earthquake, causes, SMU, oil, fracking, seismology
Earthquakes triggered by human activity have been happening in Texas since at least 1925, and they have been widespread throughout the state ever since, according to a new historical review of the evidence publishing online May 18 in Seismological Research Letters.

The earthquakes are caused by oil and gas operations, but the specific production techniques behind these quakes have differed over the decades, according to Cliff Frohlich, the study’s lead author, and co-authors Heather DeShon, Brian Stump, Chris Hayward, Mathew J. Hornbach and Jacob I. Walter. Continue reading

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Live Science: Fearsome Dinosaur-Age ‘Hammerhead’ Reptile Ate … Plants?

Hammerhead reptile, vegetarian, Jacobs, SMU

Science journalist Laura Geggel tapped the expertise of SMU Earth Sciences Professor Louis L. Jacobs for a recent article about a prehistoric plant-eating reptile.

A professor in Dedman College‘s Roy M. Huffington Department of Earth Sciences, Jacobs is a world-renowned vertebrate paleontologist.

He joined SMU’s faculty in 1983 and in 2012 was honored by the 7,200-member Science Teachers Association of Texas with their prestigious Skoog Cup for his significant contributions to advance quality science education. Continue reading

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Dallas Morning News: Could Texas’ dirty coal power plants be replaced by geothermal systems?

geothermal map, SMU, Maria Richards, conference, Dallas

Biz Beat Blog reporter Jeffrey Weiss at The Dallas Morning News covered the 2016 SMU Geothermal Conference, “Power Plays: Geothermal Energy in Oil and Gas Fields.”

The conference was April 25-26 on the SMU campus in Dallas. The eighth international conference focused on using the oilfield as a base for alternative energy production through the capture of waste heat and fluids. Continue reading

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Nearby massive star explosion 30 million years ago equaled brightness of 100 million suns

A giant star that exploded 30 million years ago in a galaxy near Earth had a radius prior to going supernova that was 200 times larger than our sun, say astrophysicists at SMU.

The massive explosion, Supernova 2013j, was one of the closest to Earth in recent years. Analysis of the exploding star’s light curve and color spectrum found its sudden blast hurled material from it at 10,000 kilometers a second. Continue reading

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SMU “Power Plays” conference to promote development of oil and gas fields for geothermal energy production

SMU’s renowned SMU Geothermal Laboratory will host its eighth international energy conference April 25-26 on the Dallas campus, focused on using the oilfield as a base for alternative energy production through the capture of waste heat and fluids.

In addition to oil and gas field geothermal projects, experts will discuss coal plant conversion for geothermal production, the intersection of geothermal energy and desalination, and large-scale direct use of the energy source produced by the internal heat of the earth. Continue reading

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SMU seismology team response to March 28, 2016 U.S. Geological Survey hazard forecasts

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) today released maps showing potential ground shaking from induced and natural earthquakes, including forecasts for the DFW metropolitan area. The North Texas Earthquake Study at Southern Methodist University provided data, and SMU scientists co-authored peer-reviewed publications cited in the report. Continue reading

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Daily Mail: Earth’s moon threw a ‘wobbly’ after it formed: Lunar poles wandered 125 MILES as volcanic bubbles threw them off balance

327EC6E200000578-3506346-Scientists_say_they_have_discovered_evidence_that_the_Moon_s_axi-a-3_1458751653451Science reporter Richard Gray with The Daily Mail covered the research of SMU planetary scientist and research assistant professor Matthew Siegler and a team of scientists who discovered the moon wandered off its axis billions of years ago due to a shift in its mass most likely caused by volcanic activity.

The article, “Earth’s moon threw a ‘wobbly’ after it formed: Lunar poles wandered 125 MILES as volcanic bubbles threw them off balance,” published March 23. Continue reading

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