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Andrew Alden

Andrew Alden earned his geology degree at the University of New Hampshire and moved back to the Bay Area to work at the U.S. Geological Survey for six years. He has written on geology for About.com since its founding in 1997. In 2007, he started the Oakland Geology blog, which won recognition as "Best of the East Bay" from the East Bay Express in 2010. In writing about geology in the Bay Area and surroundings, he hopes to share some of the useful and pleasurable insights that geologists give us—not just facts about the deep past, but an attitude that might be called the deep present.

Read his previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.

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Andrew Alden's Latest Posts

Scientists Discover Natural Glass Created by Volcanoes and Lightning

KQED Science | March 5, 2015 | 0 Comments

Scientists Discover Natural Glass Created by Volcanoes and Lightning

Geologists are familiar with something most of us have never seen—spherules, or microscopic balls of natural glass that hide in sediments all over the world. A new study reports a previously unknown kind of spherule that’s forged during volcanic eruptions as lightning lashes roiling clouds of hot ash.

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The Greenhouse Effect Is Truly at Work, Observations Show

KQED Science | February 27, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Greenhouse Effect Is Truly at Work, Observations Show

A long record of atmospheric observations has put an "official" stamp on the foundation of climate-change science: the greenhouse effect really works the way we've always said it does.

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Experts Recommend How to Deal With Artificial Earthquakes

KQED Science | February 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

Experts Recommend How to Deal With Artificial Earthquakes

Scientists must play catch-up to industry as we figure out ways to use the deep underground without triggering earthquakes.

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New Study: Global Warming Will Bring Megadroughts to the West

KQED Science | February 12, 2015 | 6 Comments

New Study: Global Warming Will Bring Megadroughts to the West

Our best climate models, combined with our best climate records, foresee at least a century of profound drought in the Midwest and Southwest.

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Scientists Tune in to the Earth’s Ambient Hum

KQED Science | February 6, 2015 | 0 Comments

Scientists Tune in to the Earth’s Ambient Hum

The background noise of the deep Earth resembles the random behavior of the sea surface. But advanced techniques can extract robust data from these whispers of information and help save marine life.

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The Supposedly Dry Little World of the Asteroid Vesta Reveals Signs of Water

KQED Science | January 29, 2015 | 0 Comments

The Supposedly Dry Little World of the Asteroid Vesta Reveals Signs of Water

The large asteroid Vesta has added flows of material rich in water to its bag of tricks. It's just one more way this small world acts like a proper planet.

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When Finding Faults, Geologists Must Sometimes Become Ditch-Diggers

KQED Science | January 22, 2015 | 0 Comments

When Finding Faults, Geologists Must Sometimes Become Ditch-Diggers

For geologists, even with the advent of modern technology, there are instances when older methods are more effective; picks and shovels are sometimes the best complementary tools available for trenching studies.

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New Climate Research Suggests Acceleration of Sea Level Rise

KQED Science | January 15, 2015 | 0 Comments

New Climate Research Suggests Acceleration of Sea Level Rise

A reassessment of historical data suggests that compared to previous estimates, the world's sea level rose more slowly during the 20th century—and is rising faster now.

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New Soil Erosion Study May Help Sustainable Farming Practices

KQED Science | January 8, 2015 | 1 Comment

New Soil Erosion Study May Help Sustainable Farming Practices

A new way of measuring soil erosion in the geologically recent past, before modern civilization, may help put sustainable agriculture on a firmer footing.

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Dinosaur Extinction: New Research Favors Volcanism as Cause

KQED Science | December 18, 2014 | 0 Comments

Dinosaur Extinction: New Research Favors Volcanism as Cause

A new set of rock dates have pushed volcanism back into the debate over the extinction of the dinosaurs.

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L.A.’s “Resilience By Design” Report Lays Out Ambitious Earthquake Infrastructure Plan

KQED Science | December 11, 2014 | 0 Comments

L.A.’s “Resilience By Design” Report Lays Out Ambitious Earthquake Infrastructure Plan

The just-released seismic resiliency plan for Los Angeles goes beyond just saving lives; it hopes to ensure that the nation's second-largest city will still work after a magnitude 7.8 earthquake.

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Earth’s Most Common Mineral is Bagged and Tagged: Meet Bridgmanite

KQED Science | December 4, 2014 | 0 Comments

Earth’s Most Common Mineral is Bagged and Tagged: Meet Bridgmanite

Thanks to a meteorite collected in 1879, we have finally given a name to the most abundant mineral in Earth. Here's why it took so long to christen this stuff.

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Using 3D Visualization, Geologists Explore the Complex Areas Where Faults Join and Split

KQED Science | November 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

Using 3D Visualization, Geologists Explore the Complex Areas Where Faults Join and Split

The cutting edge in earthquake research is mapping our most important faults in three-dimensional detail. A new paper finds some key hidden links in the Bay Area's fault system.

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What Can We Learn from the Italian Earthquake Trial?

KQED Science | November 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

What Can We Learn from the Italian Earthquake Trial?

When a court convicted earthquake scientists of manslaughter, seismologists everywhere feared the worst for their own efforts at informing the public. After the convictions were overturned on appeal this week, experts, journalists and the general public can consider the wider lessons learned.

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Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows: A Long-standing Geological Puzzle

KQED Science | November 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

Yosemite’s Tuolumne Meadows: A Long-standing Geological Puzzle

The iconic Tuolumne Meadows, in the high Sierra, is a geological puzzle. A newly published study traces the roots of the meadows to an incident deep in time and deep below the ground.

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With Residential Retrofit Scheme, Oakland Enters Next Phase of Quakeproofing

KQED Science | October 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

With Residential Retrofit Scheme, Oakland Enters Next Phase of Quakeproofing

Oakland gains character as well as affordable housing from its stock of small and mid-sized apartment buildings. A retrofit plan is being prepared to strengthen this crucial part of the city's fabric against earthquake damage.

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South Napa Quake Offers Key Test for Real-Time GPS Detection

KQED Science | October 23, 2014 | 0 Comments

South Napa Quake Offers Key Test for Real-Time GPS Detection

The familiar GPS system is being enlisted to help improve earthquake shaking alerts; an experimental system is now operating at the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory.

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New Paper Outlines Updated Look on San Andreas Fault System

KQED Science | October 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

New Paper Outlines Updated Look on San Andreas Fault System

A new study from our local earthquake experts has put new and clearer numbers on the risk of large earthquakes in the Bay Area's future--evidence of new progress in this slow process of enlightenment.

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Join a Series of Geological Treasure Hunts With Earth Science Week 2014

KQED Science | October 9, 2014 | 1 Comment

Join a Series of Geological Treasure Hunts With Earth Science Week 2014

The annual open-ended celebration of geology and its related sciences takes place all this coming week. See what's happening and where to take part.

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Computer-Generated Molecular Models Promise Greener Concrete

KQED Science | October 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Computer-Generated Molecular Models Promise Greener Concrete

More precisely targeted cement would use less calcium and use less energy to create it. A study at MIT exploring the molecular structure of cement promises substantial energy and greenhouse-gas savings in this crucial technology.

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