Featured Image: The middle zone of the Gerecse Mountains in Hungary via Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain.
Article: Springs regarded as hydraulic features and interpreted in the context of basin-scale groundwater flow
Authors: Tóth, Á., Kovács, S., Kovács, J., & Mádl-Szőnyi, J.
O Fount Bandusia, brighter than crystal,
worthy of sweet wine and flowers,
tomorrow shalt thou be honoured with
a firstling of the flock whose brow,
with horns just budding, foretokens love
and strife. Alas! in vain; for this
offspring of the sportive flock shall
dye thy cool waters with its own red blood.
Thee the fierce season of the blazing
dog-star cannot touch; to bullocks wearied
of the ploughshare and to the roaming flock
thou dost offer gracious coolness.
Thou, too, shalt be numbered among the
far-famed fountains, through the song I
sing of the oak planted o’er the grotto
whence thy babbling waters leap.
Horace (56BC-8BC) Ode 3.13
This ode by the Roman poet Horace is part of a long tradition of art and literature honoring groundwater springs, called ‘founts’ or ‘fountains’ in this translation. It is no wonder why: they can provide high-quality water that continues to flow even in the heat of a Mediterranean summer, “the fierce season of the blazing dog-star,” when surface water is often not available. But where does this water come from? Is it from large underground lakes, as the Romans suspected? Some of the same characteristics Horace names in this poem can help scientists figure this out.
Continue reading “Our enduring fascination with groundwater springs”
Featured image: an aerial photograph of the Capitolias/Beit-Ras theater, courtesy of the Aerial Photographic Archive of Archaeology in the Middle East (APAAME), CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Paper: Two inferred antique earthquake phases recorded in the Roman theater of Beit-Ras/Capitolias (Jordan)
Authors: M. Al-Tawalbeh, R. Jaradat, K. Al-Bashaireh, A. Al-Rawabdeh, A. Gharaibeh, B. Khrisat, and M. Kázmér
One of the biggest questions in earthquake seismology is whether we can see into the future, to forecast seismic activity based on what we know about faults and how they behave. We’re about as likely to accurately predict earthquakes as we are to see the future in a crystal ball, but one way we can improve our forecasts of seismic hazard actually involves looking in the other direction: back into the past.
Continue reading “Shaken, rattled, and rolled”
Featured Image: Areal view of the vertical shafts of a qanat in Jupar, Iran. S.H. Rashedi / CC BY-ND via UNESCO.
Paper: The millennium-old hydrogeology textbook The Extraction of Hidden Waters by the Persian mathematician and engineer Abubakr Mohammad Karaji (953 CE–1029 CE)
Authors: Ataie-Ashtiani, B., & Simmons, C. T.
Reliable sources of water are essential for every civilization. However, the Western science of hydrology is relatively young. It started perhaps at the turn of the 19th century when John Dalton completed the first water balance for England and Wales by estimating the amount of water that fell as precipitation and left as evaporation and flow from rivers to oceans. Since ancient times, civilizations have built water infrastructure like aqueducts and wells, and writings by Aristotle and Plato suggest that the ancient Greeks had a basic understanding of the water cycle. Though in many respects, the study of hydrology in Europe and the Mediterranean stagnated between the time of these early philosophers and the 19th century.
Continue reading “The Extraction of Hidden Waters: 11th century Persian scientist laid the foundations for hydrology and water engineering”
Feature image: “Tornado Alley” by Nikolas Noonan on unsplash.com (https://unsplash.com/photos/n_3kdpSkrJo)
Paper: Tornadoes in Northern Eurasia: From the Middle Age to the Information Era
Authors: A. Chernokulsky, M. Kurgansky, I. Mokhov, A. Shikhov, I. Azhigov, E. Selezneva, D. Zakharchenko, B. Antonescu, and T. Kühne
When most people are asked to picture a tornado in their mind, they probably imagine the violent column of swirling wind and debris tearing through an open field in rural Kansas, as depicted in the classic 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. However, while the United States Midwest, so-called “Tornado Alley”, is the most well-known tornado hot-spot in the world, tornadoes touch down on every continent except Antarctica. A recent study by Chernokulsky and his team has established a comprehensive history of tornadoes that have occurred in an area commonly neglected in tornado research: northern Eurasia.
Continue reading “We’re Not in Kansas Anymore: Documenting Historical Tornadoes in Northern Eurasia”