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04/10/2008

A Grand Canyon as Old as the Dinosaurs?

elisabeth nadin
How the Grand Canyon was carved has been a topic of scientific controversy for nearly 140 years. Now, with new geochronologic data from the canyon and surrounding plateaus, geologists from the California Institute of Technology present significant evidence that the canyon formed nearly 50 million years earlier than previously thought.
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03/18/2008

Water Vapor Detected in Protoplanetary Disks

elisabeth nadin

Water is an essential ingredient for forming planets, yet has remained hidden from scientists searching for it in protoplanetary systems, the spinning disks of particles surrounding newly formed stars where planets are born. Now the detection of water vapor in the inner part of two extrasolar protoplanetary disks brings scientists one step closer to understanding water's role during terrestrial planet formation.

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12/14/2007

Tracking Earth Changes with Satellite Images

elisabeth nadin

Sebastien Leprince, a graduate student in electrical engineering at the California Institute of Technology, working under the supervision of geology professor and director of Caltech's Tectonics Observatory (TO), Jean-Philippe Avouac, wrote software that correlates any two optical images taken by satellite. It has proved extremely reliable in tracking large-scale changes on Earth's surface, like earthquake ruptures, the mechanics of "slow" landslides, or defining the fastest-moving sections of glaciers that, due to global warming, have recently increased their pace.

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12/12/2007

Earthquake Season in the Himalayan Front

elisabeth nadin

Recent research spearheaded by Jean-Philippe Avouac, professor of geology and director of the Tectonics Observatory at the California Institute of Technology, shows that in the Himalayan mountains, at least, there is indeed an earthquake season. It's winter.

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12/05/2007

Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Commits $200 Million Support for Thirty-Meter Telescope

Jill Perry
The California Institute of Technology and the University of California have received a $200 million commitment over nine years from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation toward the further development and construction of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT). Funding under this commitment will be shared equally between the two universities, with matching gifts from the two institutions expected to bring the total to $300 million. When built, TMT will be the largest telescope in the world.
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11/30/2007

Pulselike and Cracklike Ruptures in Earthquake Experiments

elisabeth nadin
Lab experiments that mimic the way the ground moves during destructive earthquakes require some sophisticated equipment, and they yield valuable insights. Caltech scientists studying how sliding motion spreads along a fault interface conducted a series of experiments involving ultrafast digital cameras and high-speed laser velocimeters to replicate a range of realistic fault conditions.
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10/26/2007

Tracing the Roots of the California Condor

elisabeth nadin
At the end of the Pleistocene epoch some 10,000 years ago, two species of condors in California competed for resources amidst the retreating ice of Earth's last major glacial age. The modern California condor triumphed, while its kin expired.
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10/10/2007

Caltech's Ingersoll Receives Achievement Award

Kathy Svitil
Andrew P. Ingersoll of the California Institute of Technology has been awarded the 2007 Gerard P. Kuiper Prize by the Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society in honor of his outstanding contributions to planetary science. The award was presented this week during the annual DPS meeting in Orlando, Florida.
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09/12/2007

New Method of Studying Ancient Fossils Points to Carbon Dioxide As a Driver of Global Warming

Robert Tindol
A team of American and Canadian scientists has devised a new way to study Earth's past climate by analyzing the chemical composition of ancient marine fossils. The first published tests with the method further support the view that atmospheric CO2 has contributed to dramatic climate variations in the past, and strengthen projections that human CO2 emissions could cause global warming.
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08/06/2007

Astronomers Find Largest Exoplanet to Date

Robert Tindol
An international team of astronomers has discovered the largest-radius and lowest-density exoplanet of all those whose mass and radius are known. It is a gas-giant planet about twice the size of Jupiter, and is likely to have a curved cometlike tail. It has been named TrES-4, to indicate that it is the fourth planet detected by the Trans-atlantic Exoplanet Survey (TrES) network of telescopes.
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