Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Following an exhaustive geophysical and historical analysis, a research team led by the University of Colorado at Boulder believes there are no alternatives to one or more massive earthquakes occurring in India in the near future, threatening millions of lives. “Unfortunately, we have been forced to reach a very undesirable conclusion,” said Professor Roger Bilham of CU-Boulder’s geological sciences department. “We set out to try and eliminate the possibility of one or more large, overdue earthquakes in the Himalaya occurring very soon, and we have failed. “We looked for geophysical loopholes that might provide alternatives to such devastating events, including recent, large earthquakes, smaller earthquakes to relieve the underlying pressure or very slow-moving earthquakes,” he said. “But none of these scenarios fit.” A paper on the subject by Bilham, CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Peter Molnar and Vinod Gaur of the Indian Institute for Astrophysics in Bangalore, India, appears in the Aug. 24 issue of Science. The conclusion, said Bilham and Molnar, who also are fellows at the CU-headquartered Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, is that at least one 8.1 to 8.3 magnitude earthquake and perhaps as many as seven are overdue. The Himalaya face south toward India in an arc about 2,000 kilometers in length. “In the past decade using satellite technology we have measured India advancing toward Tibet at a rate of two meters per century,” he said. “The historic record indicates only two great earthquakes in the Himalaya in the past two centuries, suggesting that the slip along 70 percent of the arc potentially may exceed four meters,” he said. Looking at the data prior to 1800, the researchers found very few giant historical earthquakes. “In some parts of the Himalaya there may have been no great earthquakes for 500 years, yet they are known to have occurred over time since their effects can be viewed in trenches across the faults that lie beneath the frontal ranges of the Himalaya,” he said. Dividing the Himalaya into 10 regions of about 220 kilometers – each roughly corresponding to a past great earthquake – the team found that 70 percent of the arc could have a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and 40 percent could have one as large as 8.3, he said. The data indicate that the slip zone located about 12 kilometers underground between the Indian and Asian plates is comprised of hot, steamlike fluid. The temperature, pressure and amount of fluids affect the entire seismic system, said Bilham. “The main driving engine in the system is the movement of the Indian plate, which winds up the Greater Himalaya like a giant spring compressed against the Himalayan Plateau,” he said. “Deep beneath Tibet, India slides northward with comparative ease. “We know the inevitable outcome,” he said. “The lock holding the spring will break, propelling the Himalaya southward in a giant earthquake. A giant earthquake is the only solution to have these plates unzip and slide.” Less than one-third of the volatile Himalayan Mountains have slipped in the past 200 years, said Bilham. After calculating a slip rate of 20 millimeters a year along much of the Himalayan arc, six of the 10 regions show a slip rate of from 4 to 8 meters each 200 years – equivalent to movement that can trigger earthquakes magnitude 8 or above. “Sadly, to have the Indian and Himalayan plates ‘unzip’ to remove the geologic stress requires one or more giant earthquakes to occur,” said Bilham. “This is where we tried to prove ourselves and the geophysics wrong. We failed.” A large earthquake would cause devastating seismic shaking in the Ganges Plain in India, for example, where the urban population has increased 10-fold in the past century, he said. The staggering growth of India – the population has quadrupled since the turn of the century and doubled to 1 billion people since 1950 – puts an enormous number of people at risk, said Bilham. “Now we are talking about 10 million people at risk from a single earthquake. Never before have we seen such a huge human geological target.” Dennis Mileti, project director of CU-Boulder’s Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, said the potential for great earthquakes in developing countries like India require teams of international experts to advise policymakers on geology, social psychology and mitigation engineering in order to reduce loss of life. Relatively simple remedies can be effective, Mileti said. For example, people in such earthquake zones should be aware of the need to use rags to cover their faces and prevent suffocation. In addition, severe injuries to earthquake victims can cause them to die because crushed muscles release deadly toxins into their bodies, he said. If kidney dialysis machines and portable generators were available in such disasters, many more lives could be saved. Published: Aug. 22, 2001
Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: March 8, 2006 Screaming water, rising cakes and cooking without heat are some of the topics to be explored during the CU Wizards show “Chemistry in the Kitchen!” on Saturday, March 18, at 9:30 a.m. in the Cristol Chemistry building, room 140. University of Colorado at Boulder chemistry and biochemistry Professor David Nesbitt will present the free hour-long show that will explore the science lurking in the refrigerator and on the kitchen stove. Among other topics, Nesbitt will show why water makes such funny screaming sounds just before it boils, why cakes rise when you cook them and why bananas smell like bananas. He also will demonstrate how to “cook” a scrambled egg without any heat and how to make ice cream without a freezer. The principle that makes Old Faithful, the famous Yellowstone National Park geyser, erupt will be explained. CU Wizards is usually held the third or fourth Saturday of each month during the academic year and focuses on astronomy, chemistry and physics. Though intended primarily for students in grades five through nine, the shows are educational and entertaining to people of all ages. Anyone with a disability or special need should notify the CU-Boulder physics department office at (303) 492-6952 a few days prior to the show. For information about CU Wizards call (303) 492-5011 or visit www.colorado.edu/physics/Web/wizards/cuwizards.html.
Published: Sept. 27, 2006 The University of Colorado at Boulder School of Journalism and Mass Communication will host a homecoming celebration and open house on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Armory building on campus. The public event will include a tour of the student-run Campus Press multimedia newsroom and Mal Deans memorial in addition to a panel discussion titled “New media. New audiences. New journalism?” A light lunch also will be served. The Campus Press is an online daily newspaper. Deans, the late husband of Boulder Daily Camera Editor Susan Deans, was a longtime journalist and former faculty member in CU-Boulder’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication who created the Campus Press newspaper. He died in December 2005. Susan Deans has established an endowed fund, which enhances a memorial fund established by various donors, to support the Campus Press newsroom. The panel discussion from 11 a.m. to noon will include Fairlight Baer, managing editor, YourHub.com; Doug Conarroe, multimedia producer, DenverPost.com; Michael Noe, interactive media editor, Rocky Mountain News; and Dan Pacheco, senior product manager, The Bakersfield Californian. All of the panelists are School of Journalism and Mass Communication alumni. The newsroom renovation was made possible by a gift from Nonie Lann, a 1948 graduate of the school. For more information and to R.S.V.P. contact Elizabeth Gaeddert at (303) 492-0460 or [email protected] Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
Editors: Reporters and photographers are welcome to attend this event without charge. A playwright who uses wit and humor to describe his Minnesota boyhood and other adventures will be the keynote speaker at an assistive technology conference co-sponsored by the University of Colorado at Boulder. Kevin Kling, a frequent National Public Radio commentator, will speak at the ninth annual Accessing Higher Ground Conference on Assistive Technology and Accessible Media in Higher Education, which will focus on the latest advancements in high-tech applications for people living with disabilities. The conference will take place Nov. 7-10 at the Millennium Harvest House and feature national assistive technology experts. Sponsors include the Coleman Institute, Dolphin Computer Access, the Colorado/Wyoming Consortium of Support Programs for Students With Disabilities and several CU-Boulder departments, including the assistive technology lab and disability services office. “We’re bringing together experts who can educate students, staff, faculty and the general public on the availability and potential benefits of assistive technology in business and education,” said Howard Kramer, coordinator of both the conference and the university’s assistive technology lab. “Participants will learn about — and test drive — the latest software and other technologies that enable equal access to the Internet and other communication tools.” Participating organizations will include the National Center for Accessible Media, Web Accessibility in Mind, Equal Access to Software and Information, the Association on Higher Education and Disability, and Access Technologists Higher Education Network. More than 40 workshops and hands-on labs will be presented on topics such as Web and media access, Americans With Disabilities Act compliance, legal requirements and policy issues, and accommodations for students with learning, visual and physical disabilities. Keynote speaker Kling built a reputation in the 1990s with his groundbreaking plays “21A” and “Fear and Loving in Minneapolis.” His NPR pieces include “Acting the Swan to Overcome the Duck,” an essay in which he discusses how Shakespeare’s “Richard III” helped him come to terms with a disability. “When I get discouraged, I just look at our two wiener dogs because they are the best example of a can-do attitude in a can’t-do body,” Kling wrote four months after an Aug. 11, 2001, motorcycle accident forced him to undergo extensive medical treatments, including reconstructive plastic surgery. Other conference events will include a screening of “Sound and Fury,” followed by a question-and-answer session with the film’s director, Josh Aronson, and a final lunchtime panel on the issues of deaf cultural identity, technology and the concept of disability raised by Aronson’s film about cochlear implants and their affect on two families. For a complete agenda, workshop listing and registration form visit the conference Web site at http://www.Colorado.EDU/ATconference or call CU Conference Services at (303) 492-5151. Published: Oct. 30, 2006 Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
Joseph Ryan Forest fires that have burned thousands of acres near Durango over the last several years may be responsible for unlocking the mercury trapped beneath the soil in the San Juan National Forest and allowing it to wash into Vallecito Reservoir northeast of Durango, according to preliminary findings by a University of Colorado at Boulder engineering professor.Vallecito is one of five reservoirs in the Four Corners region under fish consumption advisories due to elevated mercury levels in fish. The reservoir is used for recreational fishing, irrigation and water sports.Professor Joseph Ryan in the department of civil, environmental and architectural engineering at CU-Boulder has been studying the issue of mercury mobility in southwestern Colorado with the Mountain Studies Institute in Silverton for the last one and a half years. Recently, he and his colleagues received a $690,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to expand on the work.Coal-fired power plants in the Four Corners region are believed to be the primary source of mercury in La Plata and Montezuma counties. The mercury would be harmless if not for the sulfate-reducing bacteria beneath the soil that turns it into methylmercury, a toxic substance that is readily absorbed in the fatty tissues of organisms, according to Ryan.When a large forest fire such as the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire burns through an area containing mercury from atmospheric deposition, it appears to make matters worse by oxidizing sulfur molecules that bind the mercury in organic matter in the soil. This causes the mercury to be released and allows it to be more readily converted to methylmercury.”We think the Missionary Ridge fire might have resulted in the fish consumption advisories for mercury that are now in effect at Vallecito Reservoir,” Ryan said.Ryan’s initial research on the mercury problem was funded by university sources, including the CU-Boulder Outreach Committee, Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and College of Engineering and Applied Science. The new grant will allow for more detailed studies, with $150,000 of the grant going directly to the Mountain Studies Institute.Ryan will collaborate with Koren Nydick of the Mountain Studies Institute, George Aiken at the U.S. Geological Survey and Kathryn Nagy of the University of Illinois at Chicago. Students from CU-Boulder and Fort Lewis College will participate in the studies, which will include analyzing soil samples both before and after various prescribed burns planned in the area.The project is one of several technical studies undertaken as part of the San Juan Collaboratory, a program established to facilitate research that serves the needs of rural southwestern Colorado and expand learning opportunities for Fort Lewis College students by creating a bridge with CU-Boulder.For more information on the Colorado Fish Tissue study and fish consumption advisories, go to http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/wq/FishCon/index.html . Categories:AcademicsScience & TechnologyGetting InvolvedEnvironmentCampus CommunityNews Headlines Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: July 15, 2010
Published: Oct. 25, 2013 Categories:Science & TechnologyEnvironmentNews Headlines The heat is on, at least in the Arctic.Average summer temperatures in the Eastern Canadian Arctic during the last 100 years are higher now than during any century in the past 44,000 years and perhaps as long ago as 120,000 years, says a new University of Colorado Boulder study.The study is the first direct evidence that the present warmth in the Eastern Canadian Arctic exceeds the peak warmth there in the Early Holocene, when the amount of the sun’s energy reaching the Northern Hemisphere in summer was roughly 9 percent greater than today, said CU-Boulder geological sciences Professor Gifford Miller, study leader. The Holocene is a geological epoch that began after Earth’s last glacial period ended roughly 11,700 years ago and which continues today.Miller and his colleagues used dead moss clumps emerging from receding ice caps on Baffin Island as tiny clocks. At four different ice caps, radiocarbon dates show the mosses had not been exposed to the elements since at least 44,000 to 51,000 years ago.Since radiocarbon dating is only accurate to about 50,000 years and because Earth’s geological record shows it was in a glaciation stage prior to that time, the indications are that Canadian Arctic temperatures today have not been matched or exceeded for roughly 120,000 years, Miller said.“The key piece here is just how unprecedented the warming of Arctic Canada is,” said Miller, also a fellow at CU-Boulder’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. “This study really says the warming we are seeing is outside any kind of known natural variability, and it has to be due to increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”Miller and his colleagues compiled the age distribution of 145 radiocarbon-dated plants in the highlands of Baffin Island that were exposed by ice recession during the year they were collected by the researchers. All samples collected were within 1 meter of the ice caps, which are generally receding by 2 to 3 meters a year. “The oldest radiocarbon dates were a total shock to me,” said Miller.Located just east of Greenland, the 196,000-square-mile Baffin Island is the fifth largest island in the world. Most of it lies above the Arctic Circle. Many of the ice caps on the highlands of Baffin Island rest on relatively flat terrain, usually frozen to their beds. “Where the ice is cold and thin, it doesn’t flow, so the ancient landscape on which they formed is preserved pretty much intact,” said Miller.To reconstruct the past climate of Baffin Island beyond the limit of radiocarbon dating, Miller and his team used data from ice cores previously retrieved by international teams from the nearby Greenland Ice Sheet. The ice cores showed that the youngest time interval from which summer temperatures in the Arctic were plausibly as warm as today is about 120,000 years ago, near the end of the last interglacial period. “We suggest this is the most likely age of these samples,” said Miller.The new study also showed summer temperatures cooled in the Canadian Arctic by about 5 degrees Fahrenheit from roughly 5,000 years ago to about 100 years ago – a period that included the Little Ice Age from 1275 to about 1900.“Although the Arctic has been warming since about 1900, the most significant warming in the Baffin Island region didn’t really start until the 1970s,” said Miller. “And it is really in the past 20 years that the warming signal from that region has been just stunning. All of Baffin Island is melting, and we expect all of the ice caps to eventually disappear, even if there is no additional warming.”A paper on the subject appeared online Oct. 23 in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal published by the American Geophysical Union.Photo of Professor Gifford Miller on Baffin Island courtesy of Matthew Kennedy, Earth Vision Trust. Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
By the University of Colorado Student Government It’s that time of year again: nervous freshmen are moving in, the bookstore is buzzing, and the ever-popular syllabus week is in full swing. The beginning of the year is an exciting time for all Buffs; although it’s bittersweet to say goodbye to summer, an exciting new year awaits us, filled with friends, fun, caffeine, and… studying until 4 a.m. in Nolin every now and then.The beginning of the year also marks a special time, as we prepare to break out our black and gold and head on down to the state capitol for not only the first, but the most important football game of the season: Buffs vs. Rams.This Friday, Aug. 29, marks the annual Rocky Mountain Showdown at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. We Buffs take pride in our city, our school, and our team, and it’s time once again to support the Buffs in Denver as they take on Colorado State. While we all share the excitement for this important game, it’s worth remembering that your actions at the stadium reflect on our university, our students, and our legacy.We all know that the rivalry between CU and CSU is in overdrive this time of year, and that emotions can run high. But, it’s important to remember that inappropriate behavior has repercussions not only down Denver, but back home, too. We take pride in our university, so let’s take the responsibly seriously for showing our state that the Buffaloes value good sportsmanship.Think before you act, take care of one another, have fun, and stand proud, Shoulder to Shoulder.GO BUFFS! Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Aug. 28, 2014
Categories:Lectures & PresentationsEvents & Exhibits Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail Published: Nov. 30, 2016 If you goWho: Professor Peter PilewskieWhat: “Monitoring Climate from Space: Challenges, Opportunities, and LASP Contributions”Where: LSTB, 1234 Innovation Drive, East Campus Research ParkWhen: Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7:30 p.m.Earth’s climate is a manifestation of a long-term balance of energy flows. Climate change occurs when there are energy imbalances, but these accumulate on much longer time scales than regular seasonal or annual cycles, for example. Monitoring climate trends globally from space thus presents a challenge to our observational capabilities: Measurements must be accurate, and instruments must maintain accuracy over long periods of time.In this Dec. 7 talk, LASP Atmospheric Scientist and CU Boulder Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Peter Pilewskie will discuss some of the challenges of monitoring Earth’s climate trends from space.Pilewskie will address the accuracy needed to detect trends in the climate and attribute underlying causes, the limitations of instruments currently flying and new initiatives to develop a robust climate-observing system. The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) is at the forefront of these initiatives, with novel instruments and mission concepts to meet these challenges.The event is free and will take place at 7:30 p.m. at the LASP Space Technology Building (LSTB), room 299, on East Campus. Doors open at 7 p.m.
Ask a nonscientist what memories are made of and you’ll likely conjure images of childhood birthday parties or wedding days. Charles Hoeffer thinks about proteins.For five years, the assistant professor of integrative physiology at CU Boulder has been working to better understand a protein called AKT, which is ubiquitous in brain tissue and instrumental in enabling the brain to adapt to new experiences and lay down new memories.Key takeawaysCU Boulder researchers have identified the distinct roles and locations in the brain of a protein called AKT believed to be instrumental in memory formation.They found that one version of the protein influences brain growth, another may be associated with brain cancer, and a third plays a key role in synaptic plasticity—or the strengthening of neuronal connections.Ultimately the research could lead to more targeted drugs with fewer side effects for neurological disorders.Until now, scientists have known very little about what it does in the brain.But in a new paper funded by the National Institutes of Health, Hoeffer and his co-authors spell it out for the first time, showing that AKT comes in three distinct varieties residing in different kinds of brain cells and affecting brain health in very distinct ways.The discovery could lead to new, more targeted treatments for everything from glioblastoma—the brain cancer Sen. John McCain has—to Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia.“AKT is a central protein that has been implicated in a bevy of neurological diseases yet we know amazingly little about it,” Hoeffer said. “Our paper is the first to comprehensively examine what its different forms are doing in the brain and where.”Discovered in the 1970s and known best as an “oncogene” (one that, when mutated, can promote cancer), AKT has more recently been identified as a key player in promoting “synaptic plasticity,” the brain’s ability to strengthen cellular connections in response to experience.“Let’s say you see a great white shark and you are scared and your brain wants to form a memory of what’s going on. You have to make new proteins to encode that memory,” he said. AKT is one of the first proteins to come online, a central switch that turns on the memory factory.But not all AKTs are created equal.For the study, Hoeffer’s team silenced the three different isoforms, or varieties, of AKT in mice and observed their brain activity.They made a number of key discoveries:AKT2 is found exclusively in astroglia, the supportive, star-shaped cells in the brain and spinal cord that are often impacted in brain cancer and brain injury.“That is a really important finding,” said co-author Josien Levenga, who worked on the project as a postdoctoral researcher at CU Boulder. “If you could develop a drug that targeted only AKT2 without impacting other forms, it might be more effective in treating certain issues with fewer side-effects.”The researchers also found that AKT1 is ubiquitous in neurons and appears to be the most important form in promoting the strengthening of synapses in response to experience, aka memory formation. (This finding is in line with previous research showing that mutations in AKT1 boost risk of schizophrenia and other brain disorders associated with a flaw in the way a patient perceives or remembers experiences.)AKT3 appears to play a key role in brain growth, with mice whose AKT3 gene is silenced showing smaller brain size.“Before this, there was an assumption that they all did basically the same thing in the same cells in the same way. Now we know better,” Hoeffer said.He notes that pan-AKT inhibitors have already been developed for cancer treatment, but he envisions a day when drugs could be developed to target more specific versions of the protein (AKT1 enhancers for Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia, AKT2 inhibitors for cancer), leaving the others forms untouched, preventing side-effects.More animal research is underway to determine what happens to behavior when different forms of the protein go awry.“Isoform specific treatments hold great promise for the design of targeted therapies to treat neurological diseases with much greater efficacy and accuracy than those utilizing a one-size-fits-all approach,” the authors conclude. “This study is an important step in that direction.”Lead author and postdoctoral researcher Josien Levenga, and postdoctoral researcher Helen Wong and graduate student Ryan Milstead also contributed to the study. Published: Jan. 24, 2018 • By Lisa Marshall Categories:Health & SocietyNews Headlines Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail
Share Share via TwitterShare via FacebookShare via LinkedInShare via E-mail At its regular meeting on Thursday at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, the Board of Regents approved updates to its policies on freedom of expression and academic freedom, heard preliminary enrollment numbers for the four campuses and awarded six CU Boulder faculty members the distinguished professor title, and more.Freedom of expressionAs part of a broad-based revamp of Board of Regents Laws and Policies, the regents voted to update policies articulating free speech guidelines for the campuses that are aligned with policy updates related to academic freedom. The process had input and support from faculty, students and staff.Read more about the freedom of expression policy.Enrollment updateThe board heard a report on preliminary enrollment estimates for this semester. Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Fox reported CU Boulder’s is continuing to see an uptick in applications and students due, in part, to the campus’s new affordability measures. These include the four-year tuition guarantee, the elimination of all course and program fees, increased merit scholarships for Colorado resident students and more financial aid to low-income students.She noted the battle to keep Coloradans in state is increasingly difficult due to ramped up competition from out-of-state schools who are offering very robust scholarships. Fox suggested the regents consider discussing with the state opportunities to increase merit and other aid from the state to assist Colorado institutions in retaining Colorado’s students.Fox said the campus has done a good job in retaining more of our students year to year and in attracting transfer students for an overall increase in the total student body of 4.1 percent. The census for the final fall enrollment numbers will occur later in September, and final numbers will be shared at that time.Fox also told board members that CU Boulder’s enrollment initiatives are focused on retention and graduation rates, first-year experience for students; increased collaboration with other institutions and online education.William Kuskin, vice provost and associate vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and professor of English, discussed educational disruption related to online education, sharing an example from the birth of printing in the late Middle Ages. Specifically, he displayed an image of the 1483 Canterbury Tales to explore how technology both disrupts and heals community.Kuskin explained CU Boulder is disrupting traditional higher educational models by developing a stackable, online masters of science in electrical engineering degree program. He emphasised this was one of a number of degrees that faculty champions are bringing forward.“Our faculty-led strategy is premised on the observation that 21st century disruption is not going away,” Kuskin said. “Understanding this, we must leverage tech to bring our teaching and enrollment management strategies to bear in the most fearlessly creative way possible.”Read more about the preliminary fall 2018 enrollment numbers.CU Boulder distinguished professorsThe board unanimously voted to award three CU Boulder faculty members the university’s highest faculty honor, designation as distinguished professor. The CU Boulder honorees are Natalie Ahn, James Anaya, Elizabeth Fenn, John Lynch, Warren Motte and Roy Parker.Distinguished professors are honored for demonstrating exemplary performance in research or creative work, a record of excellence in classroom teaching and supervision of individual learning and outstanding service to the profession. Read more about the CU Boulder distinguished professors.In other CU Boulder-related board newsThe board approved an employment agreement for Doreen Jokerst, the new CU Boulder chief of police. Published: Sept. 14, 2018 Categories:Leadership CornerDeadlines & AnnouncementsCampus Community