Geology & Geophysics News

Read Them Again: Eos’s Most Viewed Stories of 2017

From mesmerizing maps to glacial floods and massive earthquakes, here’s a look back on last year’s most popular stories.

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Last year, we saw record-breaking hurricanes pummel Texas, Puerto Rico, Florida, and islands in the Caribbean; new climate change fears stoked by wildfires in Greenland; and the end of a 20-year-long space exploration mission. Scientists took to the streets in 2017 to protest antiscience rhetoric, millions gathered to witness a once-in-a-lifetime solar eclipse, and the U.S. government released a report that definitively points to humans as the main cause of global climate change.

As the country wrestles with scientific integrity under attack and immigration bans that block students from pursuing science on our soil, we’ve also marveled at the possibilities that await us beyond our planet.

Here we look back on 2017’s most read coverage and celebrate you, our readers, for helping us win two awards and break 4 million cumulative pageviews barely 3 years after we launched Eos.org. Without further ado, here are the top 10 most viewed stories that published on Eos.org in 2017.

Cassini view of Enceladus
A view of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, captured by the Cassini spacecraft in 2013. The image shows plumes of ice and water shooting out of Enceladus’s south pole, plumes that helped scientists discover Enceladus’s internal ocean. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

10. Saturn Unveiled: Ten Notable Findings from Cassini-Huygens, 19 July

8,376 pageviews

In September, scientists and space lovers said goodbye to a beloved NASA mission: Cassini-Huygens, which explored Saturn, its rings, and its neighborhood moons for nearly 2 decades. The mission revealed stunning views of Saturn’s atmosphere and rings, never-before-seen moons, and a new place to look for life beyond Earth.

Top findings include an internal ocean beneath the icy shell of Enceladus that contains the ingredients necessary for life; huge storms forming and dissipating in Saturn’s atmosphere; and weird, periodic waves that propagate through the gas giant’s vast rings, giving scientists a peek into the behavior of Saturn’s deep interior.

Earthquake-damaged school
A Kern County school devastated by southern California’s magnitude 7.5 earthquake in 1952. Recent research revealed that this earthquake could have been human induced. Credit: NOAA National Geophysical Data Center

9. How to Trigger a Massive Earthquake, 19 October

8,802 pageviews

In 1952, a magnitude 7.5 earthquake shook southern California—the second-largest recorded earthquake in the Golden State in the 20th century. After coming across reports of oil drilling in southern California during that time, Susan Hough of the U.S. Geological Survey and her colleagues hunted down the missing mechanism behind oil-drilling-induced quakes. Their research reveals that oil drilling at Wheeler Ridge, near the earthquake’s epicenter in Kern County, could have triggered the quake.

8. “Do You Expect Me to Just Give Away My Data?,” 14 September

9,825 pageviews

Yes, wrote Peter Brewer, editor in chief of Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

Journals published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) no longer permit the statement “Data available by contacting the author.” Instead, data must be readily available.

“We need the numbers—all the numbers—behind the published figures, graphs, contour plots, etc.,” Brewer wrote. “Your readers may well wish to re-plot these data to test a pet theory, or to assign them as a class problem, or to combine the results in a major review article. That is what your work is for.”

7. 2017 Class of AGU Fellows Announced, 27 July

11,121 pageviews

For the past 5 decades, AGU has annually elected Fellows, people who “have expanded our understanding of the Earth and space sciences, from volcanic processes, solar cycles, and deep-sea microbiology to the variability of our climate and so much more.” Here are 2017’s Fellows.

6. New Style for AGU Journals and Books, 9 August

Eos received two EXCEL awards last year.
Eos received two awards last year: a gold EXCEL award for design in its circulation category and a bronze award for excellence spanning all circulation categories for a magazine editorial/opinion piece. The awards were given by the Association Media & Publishing (AM&P) organization. Credit: Eos

11,947 pageviews

AGU recently announced its decision to adhere to American Psychological Association (APA) style, “a standard in scholarly publishing,” which “is already used across most other Wiley journals,” wrote Brooks Hanson, senior vice president of publications. “By standardizing AGU’s style across Wiley’s systems, we will be ready for new technological capabilities,” he wrote. Notable changes include using parentheses instead of brackets around citations and more-generous hyphenation rules.

5. Responding to Climate Change Deniers with Simple Facts and Logic, 30 March

13,696 pageviews

Climate scientists today have it hard. Have dinners with the extended family become awkward? Do you wish you had a snappy response to that old high school friend on Facebook?

When it comes to talking about climate change with someone who doesn’t understand it or outright denies its existence, it can be hard to word your answers to their questions. Never fear; this top article gives you a list of tips.

4. Glacial Outburst Flood near Mount Everest Caught on Video, 14 March

19,306 pageviews

One day while researching in Nepal, hydrologist Elizabeth Byers heard a rockfall, then saw a “black tongue of water, boulders, and silt” racing downhill toward a village called Chukhung. She whipped out her camera and caught a video of the tumult.

The wave came from Lhotse Glacier, a glacier near Mount Everest that holds more than 200 ponds on its surface. Scientists and local Nepalese governments are currently working to spread awareness of this unpredictable hazard. Watch the video:

Lhotse Flood Supplement V3 from David Rounce on Vimeo.

3. Data Illuminate a Mountain of Molehills Facing Women Scientists, 25 January

19,471 pageviews

Recent research found that only 20% of AGU’s reviewers are women. This is just one of the many ways women are underrepresented in science. Why does this happen? Is it because men are viewed as smarter and more competent, even when compared to women with the exact same qualifications? Is it because women face the risk of sexual harassment and assault in the field, at conferences, and even at their home universities?

This feature indicates that it’s all of these combined, plus the casual, gender-specific slights that occur along the way.

2. A 1.4-Billion-Pixel Map of the Gulf of Mexico Seafloor, 24 May

High-resolution Gulf of Mexico
A zoomed-in look at Alaminos and Perdido canyons and their associated fans in the western Gulf of Mexico, using the new high-resolution map. The image is about 100 kilometers wide. Credit: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

39,027 pageviews

The year 2017 was great for maps. In the spring, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management released the highest-resolution map ever of the Gulf of Mexico: 16 times higher resolution than what scientists used previously.

Each pixel on the map is roughly equal to the footprint of an American single-family home, and there are more than a billion of them. Scientists hope the new map will help them understand the puttylike salt deposits that ooze upward toward the seafloor as well as trace the evolution of the basin.

As one commenter said, “No map can be too detailed. The more we learn, the better off we are!”

1. Geological Insights from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Search, 6 March

43,113 pageviews

In the wake of a tragedy, something beneficial emerged: Between June 2014 and June 2016, shipboard survey teams scoured the Indian Ocean in search of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which had vanished. In turn, these teams produced the most detailed map ever of this section of the seafloor. The new map covers an area about the size of New Zealand. Not only do the data provide future search teams a clearer view of a vast swath of the Indian Ocean, they will also help future scientists understand that ocean’s tectonic history.

—JoAnna Wendel (@JoAnnaScience), Staff Writer

Citation: Wendel, J. (2018), Read them again: Eos’s most viewed stories of 2017, Eos, 99, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018EO089991. Published on 02 January 2018.
© 2018. The authors. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0