Postcards from The Field

Seneca Source And Impact Of Greenhouse Gasses In

SENECA - SourcE and impact of greeNhousE gasses in AntarctiCA

A team of scientists* from Italy, New Zealand, Norway and Switzerland are collecting data in the Dry Valleys in Antarctica as part of a two-year programme to investigate the natural gas emissions in this part of the continent.

Current global climate changes represent a threat for the stability of the polar regions and may result in cascading broad impacts. Studies conducted on permafrost (ground that remains at below 0°C for two years or longer) in the Arctic regions indicate that these areas may store almost twice the carbon currently present in the atmosphere. Therefore, permafrost thawing may potentially cause a significant increase of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, compounding the global warming effect. Although several studies have been carried out in the Arctic regions, there is a paucity of data available from the Southern Hemisphere. The SENECA project aims to fill this gap and to provide a first estimate of gas concentrations and emissions from permafrost and/or thawed shallow strata of the Dry Valleys in Antarctica. The Taylor and Wright Valleys represent one of the few Antarctic areas that are not covered by ice. These vast regions display frozen soil that extends over ~3,000 Km2 forming one of the most extreme deserts on Earth representing an ideal target for permafrost surveys.

The SENECA team is now investigating targeted regions of the Dry Valleys conducting a multidisciplinary field expedition. The scientists will camp for 40 days in harsh conditions collecting and analysing soil gas and water samples, measuring CO2 and CH4 flux exhalation, investigating the petrological soil properties, and acquiring geoelectrical profiles. The data obtained will be used to 1) derive a first total emission estimate for methane and carbon dioxide in this region of the Southern Polar Hemisphere, 2) locate the potential presence of geological discontinuities that can act as preferential gas release pathways, and 3) investigate the mechanisms of gas migration through the shallow sediments. These results represent a benchmark for measurements in these climate sensitive regions where little or no data are currently available.

To know more about the SENECA project and the ongoing field activities, search the link:

*SENECA team: Livio Ruggiero, Alessandra Sciarra, Fabio Florindo, Massimiliano Ascani (INGV), Maria Chiara Tartarello, Valentina Romano (Univ. Sapienza), Adriano Mazzini (CEED-Univ.of Oslo), Claudio Mazzoli (Univ. Padova), Gary Wilson (GNS-Otago Univ.), Bob Dagg, Jacob Anderson, Richard Hardie (Otago Univ.), Rachel Worthington (Blake Ambassador).

Greetings From Underground We Are Members Of A

Greetings from underground!We are members of a project in Italy that study cosmic rays for personal research.This photo is from our recent trip to make a kind of muon tomography in an abandoned mine. Actually this was an “international” collaboration since we also had prof. A. Grana who teaches physics in Luxembourg as special guest.Muon tomography also known as MU-RAY is alike to radiography, with X rays you can see inside your body, with mu rays you can see inside the mountains.Muons are subatomic particles coming from high atmosphere and produced by cosmic rays. They constantly cross everything at any time and can penetrate for several hundred of meters into the soil. By placing a muon detector underground is possible to obtain an image showing portions of hills and mountains.Today this technique is very spread around the world to investigate several target, from volcanoes to pyramids, from glaciers bedrock to buried archeological treasures.Using simple cosmic rays detectors we are trying to bring this investigation method into schools for educational purpose…

Hola We Are The Planeteando Team Geoscientists


We are the Planeteando team: geoscientists by day and communicators by night. We are at the Mexican Geophysical Union Annual meeting in Puerto Vallarta where we not only attend to exciting talks related to our fields of interest, but we also do interviews, photo-stories and film activities to share with the world.

This is a project that has been boosted by the AGU centennial grant. If you want to know more, search for our content on YouTube, Instagram, twitter and on 


Hello From The Kiamichi River My Name Is Lauren

Hello from the Kiamichi River!  My name is Lauren Haygood and I am a geoscience graduate student at The University of Tulsa (TU) focusing in geochemistry!  My thesis field location is the Kiamichi River located in southeastern Oklahoma.  My lab group was hard at work conducting chemical tests of the Kiamichi River!  We also collected lots of sediment and river water samples!  We took all our samples back to the lab and have been analyzing our samples for heavy metals and paleoenvironmental indicators.  This photo is from one of our field sites on the Kiamichi River.  

We all had a ‘fanclastic’ time doing field work and are enjoying all the lab work!  

Lauren Haygood- Accelerated Master’s Student at TU

twitter: @La_U_Re_N

Tracking Triggers Of Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms

Tracking Triggers of Harmful Cyanobacterial Blooms in an Urbanized Freshwater Estuary

Dear Everyone:

Nutrient-rich runoff from urban, agricultural, and industrial sources and the effects of climate warming are synergistically fueling the growth of harmful cyanobacterial blooms (cHABs) in water bodies across the world.  Globally, Microcystis is the most common genus of cHAB found in both tropical and temperate aquatic systems. Its distribution and abundance are steadily increasing in response to anthropogenic forcing, making its substantial environmental impacts, including toxin production, of great concern.  Water Resources graduate student, Jasmine Mancuso, is tracking the rise and fall of annually recurring cHABs in Muskegon Lake, an urbanized Great Lakes estuary in Muskegon, Michigan.  Jasmine is hoping to determine what conditions promote and terminate cHAB events in this drowned river-mouth ecosystem using a combination of weather and water quality data (including nutrients and algal pigments) from an automated high-frequency observing system, bi-weekly field sampling, and controlled nutrient bioassay experiments.  Understanding cHAB dynamics under variable conditions of land use and climate change is critical for maintaining the integrity of our freshwater resources.  Insights from this study should serve to inform better measures for prevention, control and mitigation of cHABs in similar systems everywhere.

Bopi Biddanda and Anthony Weinke

Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University, Muskegon, Michigan, USA.

Hello From The Southern Tip Of South America The

Hello from the Southern tip of South America !The SouthTRAC campaign is an atmospheric research project lead by German research centres and universities. Its main star is the German High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft (HALO). In September and November 2019 it will be located in the city of Río Grande (Tierra del Fuego, Argentina) at the southern tip of South America. In this cold region there were some wind surges during the last days of almost 90 km/h. The project aims to measure meteorological quantities and trace gases in this poorly observed geographical region of the lower and middle atmosphere. The scientific objectives are the study in this region of: the coupling processes at the tropopause, the generation, propagation and dissipation of gravity waves, the impact of the Antarctic vortex on the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere and the biomass burning and biogenic emissions in the upper troposphere. Previous studies have shown that this zone is unique regarding the intensity of gravity waves. The aircraft is equipped with a set of 13 instruments which allow to study the composition and dynamical parameters by in-situ sampling and remote sensing of the atmosphere. The campaign is conducted in two stages taking place in September and November. The HALO measurements are complemented by ground-based measurements (lidar, meteor radar, radiosondes, etc) and measurements onboard a glider operating at El Calafate (Argentina). These activities include participations from groups in Europe, Argentina, Chile and USA. Detailed information can be found at,,,, and (Spanish). In the photo you can see HALO and its “nose” which contains the BAHAMAS measurement system for in situ velocity, pressure, temperature, humidity and aircraft position.Peter AlexanderGrupo de Dinámica AtmosféricaCONICETArgentina

Greetings From Fairbanks Alaska Scientists From

Greetings from Fairbanks, Alaska!

Scientists from USGS, NASA, ABR Inc, George Mason University, Michigan Technological University, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and University of Maryland conducted a field campaign to measure soil moisture and other surface and subsurface parameters at sites near Fairbanks, Alaska. This was done in conjunction with an airborne campaign sponsored by NASA’s Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE).

Soil moisture is a critical yet dynamic biophysical parameter in the high-latitude region due to increased fire disturbances, permafrost thaw, change in precipitation regime and surface/ subsurface hydrology, and the rapid change in wetland distributions and conditions. The scarcity of field data for calibration and validation of remote sensing products is a challenge for soil moisture and wetland mapping in Alaska. 

The simultaneous soil moisture measurement effort was part of an Alaska Soil Moisture and Wetland Mapping Validation Workshop hosted at the University of Alaska Fairbanks from September 9th-13th, 2019. Soil moisture was measured in the field at multiple depths using Hydrosense II probes provided by ABoVE, and through bore-hole profiles using a Dart nuclear magnetic resonance instrument provided by the USGS. Airborne imagery was obtained nearly simultaneously with the field measurements by NASA’s L -band fully polarimetric UAVSAR (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar) instrument. In addition, drone-based multispectral imagery was also obtained over the sites, in collaboration with ABR, Inc. The photo shows the field team ready to visit a site near the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory (CRREL) permafrost tunnel outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. For more information, please contact Dr. Hélène Genet, University of Alaska Fairbanks.

From left to right: Bruce Chapman (NASA), Liz Hoy (NASA), Nancy French (Michigan Tech University), Chengquan Huang (University of Maryland), Matt Macander (ABR Inc.), John Qu (George Mason University), Zhiliang Zhu (USGS), Burke Minsley (USGS), Neal Pastick (USGS)

#submission, #eos, #earthandspacenews, #postcards from the field, #earth and space news #alaska #wetlands #soil moisture

Hello From Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge

Hello from Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on Assateague Island, VA! 

The students in Marine Geology have been hard at work collecting sediment through vibracoring in Swan Cove Pool, an important wetland habitat on the Refuge.  These tubes contain a continuous record of environmental change caused by both natural processes and human action. The cores we’re holding are just a few of the more than 50 taken from this region of the Delmarva Peninsula. Through their analysis, we can study barrier island formation and movement; the effects of sea level rise, storm events, and erosion on coastal zones; and salt marsh evolution and restoration on the Eastern Shore of VA.  This region is experiencing sea level rise at twice the global average!

Next stop, the lab, where we will begin our analysis by slicing open the cores. Can you smell the marsh mud from there?


Dr. Adrienne Oakley, Associate Professor of Geology and Marine Science, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

Photo credit: Ashley Crist, Chincoteague Bay Field Station Marketing & Media Intern

#cbfieldstation #passhe

#chincoteaguenwr #submission

Lwen Wo From Kosrae Federated States Of

Lwen wo from Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

We were back on-island to re-measure surface elevation tables (SETs) established in mangrove wetlands within multiple Micronesian river basins. Originally set up in 1997, the SETs enabled a new project to model future sea-level rise vulnerability of these mangroves. We now have two decades of joint USDA Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Kosrae Island Resource Management Authority data collection. Pictured here is our team of US and Kosraean scientists installing rod SETs – newer technology that, with new insertion depths to refusal of 14-18 m, gives us greater vertical stability than our original SETs. Working with our team of Kosraean scientists and technicians to re-measure and analyze data from these new rod SETs, we can track future vertical land movement of the island’s mangroves in response to management action (e.g., harvesting, regeneration), upland erosion, subsidence, and sea-level rise in the Western Pacific. On Kosrae, we instrumented mangroves occurring in interior (near upland transition), riverine (within ~40 m of a river), and fringe (nearest ocean) environments of the Yela, Utwe, and Innem Rivers, along with additional non-river settings of interest. Similar studies are also underway on the Islands of Pohnpei (FSM) and Babeldaob (Republic of Palau).

Richard A. MacKenzie, USDA Forest Service, Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, Hilo, Hawaii

Ken W. Krauss, U.S. Geological Survey, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Karen M. Thorne, U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center, Davis, California, USA