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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

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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Four Bay Area Cities Selected as Future Models of Resilience

KQED Science | December 5, 2013 | 0 Comments

Four Bay Area Cities Selected as Future Models of Resilience

A $100 million effort to push the world's cities toward better disaster resistance is making a test case with a "gang of four" Resilient Cities: Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland and San Francisco.

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Arctic Algae Offer New Insights on Prehistoric Climate Data

KQED Science | November 21, 2013 | 0 Comments

Arctic Algae Offer New Insights on Prehistoric Climate Data

The short list of climate proxy species gains a new member in the critical Arctic Ocean region, a crusty red alga named Clathromorphum compactum.

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The Physics and Sounds of Seismicity, or Earthquake “Music”

KQED Science | November 14, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Physics and Sounds of Seismicity, or Earthquake “Music”

Listening to the sped-up vibrations of earthquakes offers a tantalizing glimpse of the deep physics behind seismicity as well as everyday sounds.

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Where Should We Look for the World’s Oldest Ice?

KQED Science | November 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

Where Should We Look for the World’s Oldest Ice?

Ancient ice is an important source of information about global climates of the past. Although the ice itself is a valuable record, the real prize is the air bubbles preserved in it, some that could be as much as 1.5 million years old.

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A New “Golden Spike” Monument in Colorado Marks Geologic Time

KQED Science | October 31, 2013 | 0 Comments

A New “Golden Spike” Monument in Colorado Marks Geologic Time

Slowly and painstakingly, geologists are turning the imaginary time scale of Earth's deep history into exact boundaries marked on the ground with metal disks.

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Forecasting the Risk of Earthquake-Related Landslides

KQED Science | October 24, 2013 | 0 Comments

Forecasting the Risk of Earthquake-Related Landslides

A newly published study from the University of Washington demonstrates how we can forecast landslides that will follow a major earthquake in the Bay Area.

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24 Years Later, The Legacy of Loma Prieta Lives On

KQED Science | October 17, 2013 | 1 Comment

24 Years Later, The Legacy of Loma Prieta Lives On

Nature shows almost no signs of the Loma Prieta earthquake 24 years later. But the human landscape still carries scars that should remind us to practice continual preparedness.

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The Science of California’s Seismic Pests, or Earthquake “Swarms”

KQED Science | October 10, 2013 | 3 Comments

The Science of California’s Seismic Pests, or Earthquake “Swarms”

Scientists are creeping their way toward better understanding of earthquake swarms, those annoying and sometimes damaging seismic pests we get in California.

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Remembering Professor Terry Wright, A Creative Juggler of Scientific Ideas

KQED Science | October 3, 2013 | 2 Comments

Remembering Professor Terry Wright, A Creative Juggler of Scientific Ideas

The practice of science is like the practice of juggling: it all depends on the skill and trust of partners. The late Terry Wright, professor emeritus at Sonoma State University, was an exemplar of the type.

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