Geology

This page provides references and capsule descriptions of my recent articles on geology.

All Stirred Up. New Scientist, 1 December 2007, p. 54.

Drop a bottle into the ocean, and who can predict where it will end up? A mathematical technique called “Lagrangian coherent structures” uncovers the hidden roadmap underneath the seemingly random motion of ocean currents.

Journey to the Center of the Earth, SIAM News, December 2007, 1.

A geologist and an applied mathematician collaborate on a new way of creating images of the core-mantle boundary, and find an unexpectedly complex pattern of reflecting layers. They might be signals of a phase transition that was previously only theoretical, and if so they will help to pin down how rapidly heat flows from Earth’s core.

What Killed the Dinosaurs? Ask, October 2005.

My first foray into writing for kids, this article describes the widely accepted theory that a meteorite impact caused the catastrophic climate change that killed the dinosaurs. I also mention an alternative theory, that volcanic mega-eruptions did the dirty work of climate change, and the meteorite impact was only the straw that broke the dinosaur’s back. 

Seismic Shift. Discover, September 2001, 60-67.

Seismologist Terry Wallace was the first person to tell what really happened in the Kursk submarine disaster — even though he was thousands of miles away.

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