Wednesday, December 16, 2009

AGU 2009: Day 2 and Day 3

Part of being a major conference is going to a lot of talks and asking questions, so I was quite busy yesterday and today. Yesterday, I attended many talks on the South American monsoon, the Asian monsoon, the African monsoon, changes in dust transport, and glacial... moraines. I also attended a session at the end of the day called 'Providing Climate Policy Makers with a Strong Scientific Base', at which I learned of some interesting research on the perception of climate change science and the actions people take based on climate science. Maggie Walser, who just finished a stint as AGU's Congressional Science Fellow, made some good recommendations to scientists about communicating with policy makers about climate change. Here are a few major ones:

-Make language accessible but not condescending

-Be concise -don't give all the details of every part of your research

-Keep political reality in mind

-Have an 'ask' -tell the person why you are there

-Follow up regularly

These are some points that I think a lot of scientists can keep in mind for communicating not just with policy makers but with teachers as well.

Today (Day 2 of the conference) I presented a poster about GEOP -the second poster given this year at a national conference about our program.

An exciting development from this poster session is that GEOP may collaborate with UC Irvine's CLEAN climate change outreach program. More on this in the new year!


Cassy Meyers

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quake Catcher Network

Hey Everybody!

The Quake Catcher Network (QCN) has been very popular at this year's AGU meeting! The Quake-Catcher Network is a collaborative initiative for developing the world's largest, low-cost strong-motion seismic network by utilizing sensors withinin and attached to internet-connected computers. The QCN project uses USB-connectable sensors and accelerometers built-in to many laptops to study and monitor earthquakes. With your help, the Quake-Catcher Network can provide better understanding of earthquakes, give early warning to schools, emergency response systems, and others. The Quake-Catcher Network also provides educational software designed to help teach students about earthquakes, ground motion and earthquake hazards. We have a real-time demonstration of QCNLive at the University of California, Riverside Academic Exhibit here at AGU. Many people have stopped by our booth and inquired as to how they can install a sensor and download software to record local earthquakes in their owns homes, offices, and classrooms.

In addition to our booth, Dr. Elizabeth Cochran just gave a presentation in the Moscone West building detailing the current status of QCN project and the future the project as it relates to studying aftershocks following major earthquakes in metropolitan regions through the Rapid Aftershock Mobilization Project (RAMP) as well as earthquake early warning advancements.

To find out more about how you can participate in the Quake Catcher Network, visit the official website at


AGU 2009: Day 1

Hello everyone!

The AGU Fall Meeting 2009 began yesterday at the Moscone Convention Center in San Francisco, California. Thousands of geoscientists have been roaming the halls of the two buildings housing the conference, going to talks, seeing posters, or discussing their research in the halls.

AGU also has had a series of 'town hall' meetings on various issues; one of them was about communicating with Congress, and the content of the meeting was reproduced in a fantastic cartoon board for everyone to see.

Since I am studying paleoclimate for my master's thesis (Owens Lake core OL-92, lake sediment geochemistry), I attended a lot of talks about climate yesterday. There are many good records of paleoclimate that scientists use to tease out the mechanics of the climate system: lake records, stalactites/stalagmites ('speleothems'), sedimentary rocks, marine microfossils (foraminifera, radiolarians, etc.), and much more.

Dr. Fawcett of the University of New Mexico gave a talk about a new lake record from the Valles Caldera, northern NM. This lake record is very detailed; parts of the core are laminated (creating a lake texture called a 'varve') and capture a very short amount of time in each layer, a 'snapshot' of what the lake (and climate) was like at a particular point in time. Laminated sediments look like stripes in a sediment core (a long cylindrical mass of sediment extracted from a lake); when you see stripes, you know that it has been disturbed very little (burrowing clams and snails mix up a lot of sediment, in a process called 'bioturbation') and thus you have a good chance of taking samples of each thin lamina, which you can process geochemically to find proxies for paleoclimate. One of the geochemical proxies we look at is total organic carbon (TOC), which is an indicator of how much life was supported by the lake; changes in TOC might indicate the availability of nutrients for life in the lake, which is affected by changing rainfall over time -climate! The core from Valles Caldera will shed light on climate 360,000 to 560,000 years ago, and tell us how it varied over time.

Thanks for your time, and look for more updates later today or tomorrow!


Cassy Meyers

Thursday, December 10, 2009

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting next week

Hello everyone!

I will be attending the AGU Fall Meeting next week in San Francisco. This week-long conference gathers thousands of geoscientists every year, and offers hundreds of talks about current research going on across the country. I will be blogging about talks that I attend each day; I hope that you find the information interesting and useful. If you are interested, the meeting's website can be found here.


Cassy Meyers

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

GEOP in the news again!

'Inside UCR' reported on the Geoscience Education Outreach Program in its December 9, 2009 issue. Read the article here!


Cassy Meyers

Friday, November 13, 2009

Extreme Biology Blog -high school teacher uses internet to teach biology


I recently heard an NPR Science Friday interview of a high school teacher called Stacy Baker at the Staten Island Academy, who teaches biology. She has come up with an ingenious way to teach biology: through blog posts! Her students discuss topics, current research, and help each other study amongst many other things. This is an incredibly creative way to teach; this model seems very simple to reproduce in your own classroom, given how easy it is to start websites and blogs today, along with all the great activities to teach your students with available for free!

You can listen to the NPR show here.

Ms. Baker's blog can be found here.

I first heard about Ms. Baker when I was sent a link to a fantastic video that her students made, which you can watch here. The geoscientists here at UCR were blown away by this, and we are taking notice and trying to fulfill their request here in Riverside!


Cassy Meyers

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Geoscience Education Resources -Geological Society of America

The Geological Society of America provides a lot of free resources online for lesson plans, ideas for activities, and teacher support (try this link here), all of which is excellent material if you want to diversify your teaching a bit. Enjoy the site!

-Cassy Meyers