This map of the New Madrid Seismic Zone shows earthquakes with magnitudes larger than 2.5 as yellow circles. USGS Dec. 3, 1990, was a day of anxiety for America. A prediction made by climate consultant Iben Browning held that there'd be a "50 percent chance" of a magnitude 7 earthquake rocking the nation on this date. Browning also said that, if the quake came, it'd probably originate near the city of New Madrid (pronounced "MAD-rid") in southeastern Missouri. Panic ensued as the moment of truth drew closer. A St. Louis Red Cross doled out 230,000 earthquake preparedness kits, the Memphis "Commercial Appeal" ran daily "Quake Watch" columns, and schools in four states let students stay home on the third of December. But there was to be no major catastrophe that day. Browning's earthquake never manifested itself. Earth scientists weren't surprised. Browning was no seismologist, and the experts had dismissed his predictions. So why did the public take them seriously? After all, most … [Read more...] about Earthquakes on the Mississippi: The New Madrid Seismic Zone
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U.S. Black Hawk helicopter pilots are taking part in a joint-training exercise in Germany with soldiers from the Army's 3rd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, in anticipation of working together during future missions. U.S. Army/Spc. Thomas Scaggs For 27 years Alan Gropman served in the U.S. Air Force, accumulating more than 4,000 flying hours in two tours in Vietnam. He participated in 670 combat missions, including many that delivered the Army's battle-hardened 101st Airborne to the fight. When he returned home, the Lt. Col. Gropman became Professor Gropman and taught military history and strategy at the Air Force Academy, Georgetown University and George Mason University. He's considered the leading authority on African-Americans in the military. You would think that a man with such a pedigree would be in favor of reinstituting the military draft and creating, what some contend, would be a more muscular army. He's not. In fact, he's dead-set against it. "I don't think the draft … [Read more...] about Why a Draft Would Weaken the U.S. Military
Fissure 7 (including a massive lava bubble burst) opened up on May 7, 2018 and actively spewed lava for several hours. USGS If you've been following the news lately, you know about the lava devastating Hawaii's Big Island. Maybe you also saw that viral time lapse video of a fiery blob engulfing someone's car at the scene. Recently, part of the Kilauea volcano — which is located by the island's southern shores — collapsed. This was followed by a series of earthquakes, including one that measured 6.9 on the Richter Scale. Since then, hot lava has been seeping up out of the ground through fissures in or near residential areas. Several Hawaiians have lost their homes and geologists don't yet know when the episode will end. Hawaii's Hot Spot The same geologic force that built this state is currently destroying some of its communities. Without volcanism, there'd be no Hawaii. The tropical island chain was forged by a hot spot, an upwelling of magma that's located beneath the … [Read more...] about Fissures, Quakes and Lava: Explaining Kilauea’s Volcanic Crisis
For a middle school-aged kid, there's not much worse than being forced to do pull-ups in front of your peers. Steven Errico/Getty Images Few of my middle school memories are as distinct as the ones involving a pull-up bar. To be more specific: the ones of me avoiding the pull-up bar at all costs. To this day, after 200-plus hours of yoga training and far too many hours test-driving workout trends, I still cannot do a single pull-up. While that failing no longer affects my life in any substantial way, in seventh grade, the shame was palpable. That's because I was one of the millions of American kids subjected to the public humiliation otherwise known as the Presidential Fitness Test, a battery of physical feats designed to assess the health of school-age children. The test has since been retired and replaced by the less arbitrary and more forgiving physical fitness test (known as FITNESSGRAM), but it left a significant mark on scholastic history. "The physical fitness tests students … [Read more...] about Could You Pass Your Kid’s Middle School Fitness Test?
Waves crash around the Oceana Pier as the outer edges of Hurricane Florence begin to affect the coast in Atlantic Beach. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images As Hurricane Florence took aim at the East Coast of U.S. on Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper stood before news cameras and issued a stern warning in the most sober of terms: "This is a powerful storm that can kill. Now is the time to get yourself to a safe place and stay there." It was, and is, a simple fact. Hurricanes will kill you. In many, many ways. Hurricane Florence was packing sustained winds of 140 mph (225 kph) Wednesday night before they dropped to 105 mph (168 kph) and it was downgraded to a Category 2. But as the storm approaches the coast, the area covered by hurricane-force winds has doubled, meaning more people will be impacted by winds 74 mph (119 kph) or greater. The Storm Surge But the weakening winds shouldn't ease anyone in the impact zone because it's the rain and storm surge with … [Read more...] about Why Hurricane Florence’s Storm Surge Could Be So Deadly