Fossils & Ruins

Satellite view of volcanoes finds the link between ground deformation and eruption

Great Rift Valley in East Africa volcano upliftUsing satellite imagery to monitor which volcanoes are deforming provides statistical evidence of their eruption potential, according to a new study in Nature Communications.

The European Space Agency’s Sentinel satellite, launched April 3, should allow scientists to test this link in greater detail and eventually develop a forecast system for all volcanoes, including those that are remote and inaccessible. Continue reading

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The Texas Tribune: Surprise quakes stir up Tarrant County residents

bucolic azle texas daniel jamesJournalist Jim Malewitz with The Texas Tribune tapped the expertise of SMU geophysicist Brian Stump, whose research has looked at the operation of saltwater injection disposal wells and small earthquakes that have occurred in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

Stump is Albritton Professor of Earth Sciences in SMU’s Dedman College. His research includes seismic wave propagation, seismic source theory, shallow geophysical site characterization, and characterization of explosions as sources of seismic waves.
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New fossil species discovered in Mozambique reveals new data on ancient mammal relatives

[caption id="attachment_6738" align="alignleft" width="220"]A female Niassodon mfumukasi protecting its calf in its natural environment by the end of the Permian (~256Ma). Illustrated by Fernando Correia.‬ A female Niassodon mfumukasi protecting its calf in its natural environment by the end of the Permian (~256Ma). Illustrated by Fernando Correia.‬[/caption]A new species and genus of fossil vertebrate has been identified from the remote province of Niassa in Mozambique, according to an international team of paleontologists.

The species is a distant relative of living mammals and is approximately 256 million years old, the researchers reported Dec. 4 in the scientific journal PLoS ONE. Continue reading

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SMU dean, earth science professor James Quick elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Vulcanologist James E. Quick, SMU’s associate vice president for research and dean of Graduate Studies, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AAAS is the world’s largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science. Quick is the fourth professor at Southern Methodist University recognized with the prestigious honor. Continue reading

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Fossil supervolcano discovered in Italy by SMU-led team is now key feature of new UNESCO Geopark

Sessia Valley geopark 400x300“It is a rare event that geology is a catalyst of public cooperation and celebration,” says SMU geologist and volcano expert James E. Quick. The new Sesia-Val Grande Geopark is an example of just that, says Quick, whose international team in 2009 discovered a fossil supervolcano that now sits at the heart of the new geopark. The discovery sparked worldwide scientific interest and a regional geotourism industry. Continue reading

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NPR: “Boiling Hot: How Fracking’s Gusher of Geothermal Energy is Wasted”

geothermal_400x300In an energy and environment report on Texas, NPR covered the SMU Geothermal Laboratory‘s research to locate and quantify the huge geothermal resources available for production from existing oil wells within Texas. The NPR report relied on the expertise of SMU geothermal expert Maria Richards, director of the SMU Geothermal Laboratory. Continue reading

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NatGeo: Shark-like Tails Sped Ancient Sea Monsters Through Oceans

Science journalist Jane J. Lee with National Geographic reported on the research of SMU Research Associate Michael J. Polcyn, who co-authored a new study that found the ancient sea monsters known as mosasaurs were not as slow as paleontologists once thought, thanks to their shark-like tails.
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Bloomberg: Ancient Angola Crocodile Ate Fish as Oil Fields Formed

Angola%20006a.jpgThe research of an international paleontological team working in Angola and co-led by SMU paleontologist Louis L. Jacobs has been covered by Bloomberg news service.

Fossils in the rock outcrops of the coast of Angola in Africa are a “museum in the ground,” says SMU vertebrate paleontologist Jacobs. Reporters Colin McClelland and Manuel Soque with Bloomberg interviewed Jacobs for Ancient Angola Crocodile Ate Fish as Oil Fields Formed.
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Fox News: Oldest dinosaur embryos ever discovered?

dinosaur-eggs-theropod-nest_220-240Science news reporter Stephanie Pappas covered the research of SMU Earth Sciences doctoral student Ricardo Araújo, “ Oldest dinosaur embryos ever discovered?.”

Araújo published new findings in his scientific paper published May 30 in the journal Nature, “Filling the gaps of dinosaur eggshell phylogeny: Late Jurassic Theropod clutch with embryos from Portugal.” Continue reading

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