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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

Plastic Substance Created by Pollution Yields a New Word: Plastiglomerate

KQED Science | May 29, 2014 | 0 Comments

Plastic Substance Created by Pollution Yields a New Word: Plastiglomerate

When future geologists, whatever species they may be, look for our signs in the fossil record of the future, it may be this newly described amalgam of plastic and sediment.

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Progress in Earthquake Forecasts May Come from Studying Foreshocks

KQED Science | May 15, 2014 | 0 Comments

Progress in Earthquake Forecasts May Come from Studying Foreshocks

Recent cutting-edge techniques are opening a new approach for earthquake forecasts by matching foreshocks -- small quakes occurring on the same stretch of fault that subsequently fails in the large mainshock -- to changes on the seafloor.

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NOAA Expedition Finds Asphalt Volcanic ‘Tar Lilies’ in Gulf of Mexico

KQED Science | May 1, 2014 | 0 Comments

NOAA Expedition Finds Asphalt Volcanic ‘Tar Lilies’ in Gulf of Mexico

A research expedition in the Gulf of Mexico has stumbled on a field of beautiful natural sculptures made of asphalt on the sea floor.

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Biologists’ Paradox: Killing and Collecting Rare Creatures to Prove They’re Not Extinct

KQED Science | April 17, 2014 | 2 Comments

Biologists’ Paradox: Killing and Collecting Rare Creatures to Prove They’re Not Extinct

A group of biologists asks their peers to start documenting newly discovered and "rediscovered" species by non-destructive techniques instead of killing a specimen to bring home.

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New Stanford Study Examines Geologic Impact of a Massive Asteroid Collision on Ancient Earth

KQED Science | April 10, 2014 | 1 Comment

New Stanford Study Examines Geologic Impact of a Massive Asteroid Collision on Ancient Earth

A new paper attempts to describe a realistic picture of the unimaginable: a colossal cosmic impact that left a crater 500 kilometers across on the ancient Earth.

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Study Reveals New Suspect in the ‘Great Dying’ Mass Extinction Murder Mystery

KQED Science | April 3, 2014 | 4 Comments

Study Reveals New Suspect in the ‘Great Dying’ Mass Extinction Murder Mystery

The latest microbial hypothesis published in a recent paper addresses the ongoing drama of the "Great Dying", a monstrously deadly event that occurred about 250 million years ago and drove some 90 percent of the world's species to extinction.

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50 Years Ago, Alaskan Earthquake Was Key Event for Earth Science

KQED Science | March 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

50 Years Ago, Alaskan Earthquake Was Key Event for Earth Science

50 years ago today, the Good Friday earthquake in Alaska sent shockwaves through earth science itself.

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Digging Up New Info on Old Earthquakes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

KQED Science | March 20, 2014 | 0 Comments

Digging Up New Info on Old Earthquakes in the Santa Cruz Mountains

New research has mapped 19th-century earthquake ruptures along the San Andreas Fault in a study that combines geologic and human records.

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Newly Unveiled Porpoise Fossil Has “Jay Leno-Esque” Proportions

KQED Science | March 13, 2014 | 2 Comments

Newly Unveiled Porpoise Fossil Has “Jay Leno-Esque” Proportions

A porpoise fossil has been unveiled as a unique mammal that skimmed the seafloor with its sensitive, protruding lower jaw.

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Martian Meteorites Traced to Their Source: Mojave Crater

KQED Science | March 6, 2014 | 0 Comments

Martian Meteorites Traced to Their Source: Mojave Crater

Experts have tracked a group of rare meteorites back to a single source on Mars—the crater Mojave near the red planet's equator.

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New Trove of Canadian Fossils Expands Knowledge of Cambrian Explosion

KQED Science | February 13, 2014 | 0 Comments

New Trove of Canadian Fossils Expands Knowledge of Cambrian Explosion

A new trove of soft-body fossils promises to expand the range of time and life-forms available to science as we explore the Cambrian Explosion of a half-billion years ago.

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Could We Find Tomorrow’s Water Supply Under the Ocean?

KQED Science | February 6, 2014 | 3 Comments

Could We Find Tomorrow’s Water Supply Under the Ocean?

We've thought about drilling offshore for oil and gas long before we thought about finding fresh water there. A recent review paper in Nature has brought the topic of offshore fresh groundwater to wider visibility.

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Co-Existing with the Dynamics of California’s Changing Coastline

KQED Science | January 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Co-Existing with the Dynamics of California’s Changing Coastline

A rising sea makes things only a little worse than what we're used to, or at least what geologists are used to. Geoscientists are ready to help with this foreseeable future.

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The Next New Madrid Earthquake: Busy Being Born, Not Busy Dying

KQED Science | January 23, 2014 | 2 Comments

The Next New Madrid Earthquake: Busy Being Born, Not Busy Dying

For long-term earthquake planning in the Mississippi Valley region, we need to know whether earthquakes are fading away, as some suggest, or not. A new study argues that we're in a "steady as she goes" phase.

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U.S. Ecosystem Research Receives $5 Million Boost from the NSF

KQED Science | January 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

U.S. Ecosystem Research Receives $5 Million Boost from the NSF

Critical Zone Observatories, or CZOs, are designated sites around the world where scientists study the crucial environmental interactions that occur on the Earth's surface. This new frontier in research can lead to further insights on sustainable civilization.

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3 of the World’s Best Scientific Aircraft Team Up for Climate Science Research

KQED Science | January 9, 2014 | 5 Comments

3 of the World’s Best Scientific Aircraft Team Up for Climate Science Research

A tag-team of all-star research aircraft, including a robot, set out next week on a quest to explore a great atmospheric engine in the West Pacific with a powerful influence on global climate.

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Seismology Semantics: Researchers Successfully ‘Anticipate’ Costa Rican Earthquake

KQED Science | January 2, 2014 | 0 Comments

Seismology Semantics: Researchers Successfully ‘Anticipate’ Costa Rican Earthquake

Coastal subsidence and precision GPS data helped scientists "anticipate" a major earthquake in Coast Rica, placing us one small step closer to earthquake prediction.

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The 2013 Geological Holiday Quiz

KQED Science | December 26, 2013 | 0 Comments

The 2013 Geological Holiday Quiz

The third in this challenging set of questions, most of them related to Bay Area geology: rocks, resources and activity. Answers are now posted.

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Geological BFF’s: Mud Microbes Require Rare Earth Metals to Thrive

KQED Science | December 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

Geological BFF’s: Mud Microbes Require Rare Earth Metals to Thrive

The obscure rare-earth metals turn out to be unexpectedly essential to life in hot volcanic mud--and probably elsewhere.

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Changes in Earth’s Magnetic Field Lead to Renamed Oakland Airport Runways

KQED Science | December 12, 2013 | 15 Comments

Changes in Earth’s Magnetic Field Lead to Renamed Oakland Airport Runways

A geological change of glacial speed finally made itself felt in a way the civil authorities had to acknowledge.

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