Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Amanda Schmidt's latest post from China: digging for snails

Assistant Professor of Geology Amanda Schmidt is studying the properties of loess in China, as part of an effort to understand the natural hazards of a region characterized with this sediment. She writes from China: "These [samples] will be used to determine how strong [loess] is, what makes it break in blocks, and what makes it flow. We suspect that the original loess is rather weak and flows easily, but that once it has flowed and set up again, it is quite a bit stronger." Schmidt's posts appear in the New York Times Scientist at Work blog. The bit about snails refers to finding snails buried in undisturbed loess sediments, to use for dating the deposition age. Schmidt includes a great photo of the 3-year old daughter of the park science translator, enjoying her first time "playing in dirt," and helping to sort snails from sediment.

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