Geologists face off over Yukon frontier

Nature Newsblog - Tue, 2014-10-21 20:41

Posted on behalf of Alexandra Witze. 

The walls of the Geological Survey of Canada’s Vancouver office are, not surprisingly, plastered with maps. There’s one of the country of Canada, one of the province of British Columbia, and even a circumpolar Arctic map centered on the North Pole.

The Klondike schist of Canada (shown in green) stops at the border with the United States.

Alexandra Witze

All display that distinctive rainbow mélange so typical of professional geologic maps. Each major rock formation is represented by its own colour, so that pinks and purples and yellows swirl in great stretches representing mountain ranges, coastal plains, and every conceivable landscape in between.

But lying on the table of the survey’s main conference room is a much more problematic map. It shows part of the far northern boundary between the United States and Canada, along a stretch between Alaska and the Yukon territory. And the two sides, on either side of the international border, do not match.

It’s not a question of Canada using one set of colours for its map and the United States using another. The geology simply does not line up. To the east, Canadian mappers have sketched a formation called the Klondike schist, which is associated with the gold-rich rocks that fueled the Klondike gold rush in the late 1890s. To the west, US maps show nothing like it.

“We don’t know why,” says Jamey Jones, a geologist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Anchorage, Alaska. “We have got to figure out why these aren’t matching.”

He and two dozen scientists from both sides of the border — but clad equally in plaid shirts and hiking boots — met in Vancouver on 20 October to try to hammer out the discrepancies. For two hours they compared mapping strategies, laid out who needed to explore what next, and swapped tips about the best ways to get helicopters in the region.

The last frontier

At one level, the differing maps are a relatively minor academic point to sort out. Such glitches are fairly common whenever geologists have to match one ‘quadrangle’ mapped from one era or with one technique against another from a different time. And it’s not unusual for geology to not quite line up across international borders.

But American and Canadian geologists have reconciled their maps along nearly the entire northern stretch where Alaska and the Yukon meet, says Frederic “Ric” Wilson, a geologist with the USGS in Anchorage. This last bit is the only one that does not match — and it may well be because the Canadian maps are four years old, while the American ones are four decades old.

The US maps stretch back to the days of legendary geologist Helen Foster, who mapped large parts of Alaska after making her name as a post-war military geologist in former Japanese territories. “With her, you walked every single ridge,” recalls Wilson. “Every single ridge.”

All that walking produced maps of huge stretches of the remote Alaskan landscape. They include the 1970 quadrangle map now in question, which abuts a much newer Canadian quadrangle to the east. Together the maps span part of a massive geological feature known as the Yukon-Tanana Terrane, a collection of rocks caught up in the mighty smearing crush where the Pacific crustal plate collides against North America.

The Canadian side of the map is in good shape. Prompted in part by intense mining interest, geologists there have mapped the Klondike in modern detail.  “I’m willing to integrate any piece of data that comes in,” says Mo Colpron, a geologist with the Yukon Geological Survey. “If you guys come up with things that affect how our side of the border works, then we can sit down and talk and try to mesh it.”

That leaves the burden of work on the US side, to update the Foster maps. “The reconciliation project is what it’s called,” says Rick Saltus, a geologist with the USGS in Denver, Colorado, who served as meeting emcee. “We’re taking a three-year look at cross-border tectonic connections, because things look a little different from one side to the other.”

This summer, Jones and his colleagues hired a helicopter to take them everywhere the Foster maps ran up against the Klondike formation. “We’ve seen a lot of rocks we didn’t anticipate seeing,” he says. That data will go into the new and improved US maps.

There is, however, only so much scientists can do. Citing border regulations, Jones says, the helicopter pilot was unwilling to take them just a tiny bit over into Canada so they could see the geology on the Yukon side.

Categories: General, News

Tarantula venom illuminates electrical activity in live cells

Biology News - Tue, 2014-10-21 18:19

Researchers have created a cellular probe that combines a tarantula toxin with a fluorescent compound to help scientists observe electrical activity in neurons and other cells. The probe binds to a voltage-activated potassium ion channel subtype, lighting up when the channel is turned off and dimming when it is activated.

Categories: Biology News, General

Physicists solve longstanding puzzle of how moths find distant mates

Biology News - Tue, 2014-10-21 18:19

The way in which male moths locate females flying hundreds of meters away has long been a mystery to scientists.

Categories: Biology News, General

Academia and industry: Companies on campus

Nature - Wed, 2014-10-15 13:45

Academia and industry: Companies on campus

Nature 514, 7522 (2014). doi:10.1038/514297a

Authors: Jana J. Watson-Capps & Thomas R. Cech

Housing industry labs in academic settings benefits all parties, say Jana J. Watson-Capps and Thomas R. Cech.

Categories: General, Nature

New book list, October 8, 2014

Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Thu, 2014-10-09 13:24

Aggression in humans and other primates: biology, psychology, sociology.
Edited by Hans-Henning Kortüm & Jürgen Heinze. Berlin; Boston: De Gruyter, [2013]. HOLLIS# 014173649
BF575.A3 A5237 2013

Amphibian conservation: global evidence for the effects of interventions.
By Rebecca K. Smith and William J. Sutherland. Exeter: Pelagic Publishing, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014173581
QL644.7.S65 2014

Bee time: lessons from the hive.
By Mark L. Winston. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014. HOLLIS# 014020511
SF523.3.W547 2014

Between land and sea: the Atlantic Coast and the transformation of New England.
By Christopher L. Pastore. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2014. HOLLIS# 014020516
GB459.4.P37 2014

Biota rossiĭskikh vod ͡IAponskogo mor͡ia (Biota of the Russian waters of the Sea of Japan). Volumes 1-9.
Glavnyĭ redaktor serii, V.L. Kasʹ͡ianov. Vladivostok: Dalʹnauka, 2004-. HOLLIS# 013416629
QH95.24.B56 2004

Cerambycidae sul-americanos (Coleoptera): taxonomia: subfamília Cerambycinae. Vol. 5: Cerambycini-Subtribo Sphallotrichina subtrib. nov., Callidiopini Lacordaire, 1869, Graciliini Mulsant, 1839, Neocorini trib. nov. Vol. 13: Subfamília Lamiinae, Hemilophini Thomson, 1868, parte I. Suplemento 3.
Ubirajara R. Martins, organizador. São Paulo: Sociedade Brasileira de Entomologia, 1997-. HOLLIS# 012107944
QL596.C4C47 1997 v. 5, 13 (pt. 1)

Catalogue of the living bivalvia of the continental coast of the Sea of Japan (East Sea) = Katalog sovremennykh dvustvorchatykh molli͡uskov kontinentalʹnogo poberezhʹi͡a I͡Aponskogo mori͡a.
By K.A. Lutaenko and R.G. Noseworthy. Vladivostok: Dalʹnauka, 2012. HOLLIS# 014202897
QL430.6.L88 2012

Crabs and shrimps of the Pacific Coast: a guide to shallow-water decapods from southeastern Alaska to the Mexican border.
By Gregory C. Jensen, Ph.D. 2nd edition. Bremerton (3808 Sundown Dr.), Washington: MolaMarine, ©2014. HOLLIS# 014203678
QL444.M33 J46 2014

Deepwater megabenthos of south-western Australia.
Edited by F.R. McEnnulty. Perth, W.A.: Western Australian Museum, 2011. HOLLIS# 014203554
QH95.55.A8D34 2011

Diversity, prevalence, and host specificity of avian Plasmodium and Haemoproteus in a Western Amazon assemblage.
By Maria Svensson-Coelho, John G. Blake, Bette A. Loiselle, Amanda S. Penrose, Patricia G. Parker, and Robert E. Ricklefs. Washington, D.C.: American Ornithologists’ Union, 2013. HOLLIS# 014174436
QL696.P2 S84 2013

Dolphin confidential: confessions of a field biologist.
By Maddalena Bearzi. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012, ©2012. HOLLIS# 013165175
QL737.C432 B43 2012 [e-book]

Ecogeographic patterns of morphological variation in Elepaios (Chasiempis Spp): Bergmann’s, Allen’s, and Gloger’s rules in a microcosm.
By Eric A. Vanderwerf. Washington, D.C.: American Ornithologists’ Union, c2012. HOLLIS# 014174410
QL696.P255 V36 2012

Evolutionary dynamics of mammalian karyotypes.
Editors, Roscoe Stanyon, Alexander Graphodatsky. Basel; New York: Karger, 2012. HOLLIS# 014173617
QH390.E983 2012

An evolutionary perspective on germ cell specification genes in insects.
A dissertation presented by Benjamin Ewen-Campen. Thesis, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2014. HOLLIS# 014101226
QH607.E83 2014

Frogs: genetic diversity, neural development, and ecological implications.
Henry Lambert, editor. New York: Nova Publishers, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014122144
QL668.E2 F7747 2014

The influence of anthropogenic noise on birds and bird studies.
Edited by Clinton D. Francis and Jessica L. Blickley. Washington, D.C. : American Ornithologists’ Union, 2012. HOLLIS# 014174421
QL698.95.F73 2012

Linking bacterial symbiont physiology to the ecology of hydrothermal vent symbioses.
By Roxane Beinart. Thesis, Ph.D., Harvard University, 2014. HOLLIS# 013966038
QH548.B34 2013

Microbiology of the avian egg.
Edited by R.G. Board and R. Fuller. 1st ed. London; New York: Chapman & Hall, 1994. HOLLIS# 013599679
QR116.M53 1994

Mosquito eradication: the story of killing “Campto”.
Editors, Brian H. Kay and Richard C. Russell. Collingwood, VIC: CSIRO Publishing, [2013]. HOLLIS# 014173623
RC116.M66 2013

A natural history of Australian bats: working the night shift.
By Greg Richards and Les Hall; principal photographer, Steve Parish. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Pub., ©2012. HOLLIS# 014173628
QL737.C5R478 2012eb [e-book]

Ninth International workshop on Agglutinated Foraminifera, Zaragoza, Spain, September 3-7, 2012: Abstract volume.
Edited by L. Alegret, S. Ortiz and M. A. Kaminski. London: The Grzybowski Foundation, 2012. HOLLIS# 014199577
QE772.I57 2012

North American amphibians: distribution and diversity.
By David M. Green, Linda A. Weir, Gary S. Casper, and Michael J. Lannoo. Berkeley: University of California Press, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014019981
QL651.G74 2014

A photographic guide to some common birds of Aravallis.
By Shriyans Bhandari. Rajasthan: Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation Ltd., [2013]. HOLLIS# 014169384
QL691.I4 B53 2013

Planting for wildlife: a practical guide to restoring native forests.

Nicola Munro and David Lindenmayer. Collingwood, Vic.: CSIRO Publishing, 2011. HOLLIS# 014173633
SD409.M86 2011eb [e-book]

Predictors of juvenile survival in birds.
By Terri J. Maness and David J. Anderson. Washington, D.C.: American Ornithologists’ Union, 2013. HOLLIS# 014174443
QL698.2.M25 2013

Regenerat͡sii͡a u goloturiĭ. [Regeneration in holothurians].
[By] I. I͡U. Dolmatov, V.S. Mashanov. Vladivostok: Dalʹnauka, 2007. HOLLIS# 014202898
QL384.H7D65 2007

Report of the seventh session of the sub-committee on aquaculture: St Petersburg, Russian Federation, 7-11 October 2013.
Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014202550
SH3.F66 2013

A sparrowhawk’s lament: how British breeding birds of prey are faring.
By David Cobham; with illustrations by Bruce Pearson. Princeton, New Jersey; Woodstock, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Princeton University Press, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014173635
QL696.F3 C63 2014

Vyrashchivanie lichinok donnykh morskikh bespozvonochnykh v laboratornykh uslovii͡akh :prakticheskie rekomendat͡sii. [Rearing of benthic marine invertebrates under laboratory conditions :practical recommendations].
[By] S.D. Kashenko. Vladivostok: Dalʹnauka, 2010. HOLLIS# 014196398
QL362.8.K37 2010

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