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Hubble Space Telescope Obtains Best-Ever Size Measurement of Xena; Still Larger Than Pluto
04/11/2006

Hubble Space Telescope Obtains Best-Ever Size Measurement of Xena; Still Larger Than Pluto

Robert Tindol
To paraphrase a certain young lady from literature, the tenth planet Xena is getting curiouser and curiouser. Data released today by the Space Telescope Science Institute reveals that Xena is about 5 percent larger than Pluto, which means that it must be the most reflective planet in the solar system.
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Caltech Unveils New Virtual Exhibit for Historical Earthquake Archives
04/04/2006

Caltech Unveils New Virtual Exhibit for Historical Earthquake Archives

Deborah Williams-Hedges
April 18 marks the centennial of the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. In commemoration of that event and the landmark developments that followed it, the California Institute of Technology Archives is presenting a new digital exhibit, Documenting Earthquakes: A Virtual Exhibit in Six Parts. This online display, for use by the public, media, and educators, can be viewed at http://archives.caltech.edu/exhibits/earthquake/index.html.
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Watson Lecture: Bacterial Biofilms
04/03/2006

Watson Lecture: Bacterial Biofilms

Kathy Svitil
Next time you're brushing your teeth in the morning, give a thought to biofilms, the complex communities of bacteria that form the slippery scum you're scouring off your teeth, along with the slime on river rocks, the gunk in clogged drains, and filmy coatings on just about any surface, anywhere, that's exposed to water.
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Fault That Produced Largest Aftershock Ever Recorded Still Poses Threat to Sumatra
03/30/2006

Fault That Produced Largest Aftershock Ever Recorded Still Poses Threat to Sumatra

Robert Tindol
A mere three months after the giant Sumatra-Andaman earthquake and tsunami of December 2004, tragedy struck again when another great earthquake shook the area just to the south, killing over 2,000 Indonesians. Although technically an aftershock of the 2004 event, the 8.7-magnitude Nias-Simeulue earthquake just over a year ago was itself one of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded. Only six others have had greater magnitudes.
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Study of 2004 Tsunami Disaster Forces Rethinking of Theory of Giant Earthquakes
03/01/2006

Study of 2004 Tsunami Disaster Forces Rethinking of Theory of Giant Earthquakes

Robert Tindol
The Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of December 26, 2004, was one of the worst natural disasters in recent memory, mostly on account of the devastating tsunami that followed it. A group of geologists and geophysicists, including scientists at the California Institute of Technology, has delineated the full dimensions of the fault rupture that caused the earthquake.
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Watson Lecture: The 10th Planet
02/17/2006

Watson Lecture: The 10th Planet

Kathy Svitil
In 2005, after seven years scanning half the sky for planets in our solar system beyond Pluto and discovering dozens of large new objects, Michael E. Brown and his colleagues finally found 2003 UB313, aka "Xena," the first object larger than Pluto, and the first that might be called a new planet.
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Dust Found in Earth Sediment Traced to Breakup of the Asteroid Veritas 8.2 Million Years Ago
01/18/2006

Dust Found in Earth Sediment Traced to Breakup of the Asteroid Veritas 8.2 Million Years Ago

Robert Tindol
In a new study that provides a novel way of looking at our solar system's past, a group of planetary scientists and geochemists announce that they have found evidence on Earth of an asteroid breakup or collision that occurred 8.2 million years ago.
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Kuiper Belt Moons Are Starting to Seem Typical
01/10/2006

Kuiper Belt Moons Are Starting to Seem Typical

Robert Tindol

In the not-too-distant past, the planet Pluto was thought to be an odd bird in the outer reaches of the solar system because it has a moon, Charon, that was formed much like Earth's own moon was formed. But Pluto is getting a lot of company these days. Of the four largest objects in the Kuiper belt, three have one or more moons.

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Caltech researchers invent new technique for studying the thermal history of rocks
12/08/2005

Caltech researchers invent new technique for studying the thermal history of rocks

Robert Tindol
The beautiful valleys of the southern Coast Mountains of British Columbia exist for us to enjoy today because of glacial action in the past. Geologists know, for example, that a giant glacier carved a deep groove in the mountain range to form the present-day Klinaklini Valley. But how fast the cutting actually took place, and when, has hitherto been conjecture.
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Powerful New Supercomputer Analyzes Earthquakes
11/29/2005

Powerful New Supercomputer Analyzes Earthquakes

Jill Perry
One of the most powerful computer clusters in the academic world has been created at the California Institute of Technology in order to unlock the mysteries of earthquakes.
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