Rose Houk

Land Lines

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Earth Notes
8:43 am
Wed June 18, 2014

Earth Notes: Watering Fields with the Sun

Solar-powered automated headgates on the Verde River.
Credit Courtesy photo

The Verde Valley, watered by the Verde River, is named for the ultra-green cast it gives to central Arizona’s desert.

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Earth Notes
3:17 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Earth Notes: Greenstripping the West’s Grasslands

Burning cheatgrass, a plant species heavily disliked by land managers.
Credit USDA Forest Service

Today, the West’s amber waves of grass are more often than not a species land managers cringe to see. Cheatgrass, a Eurasian species that most likely arrived on ships a century ago, now runs across millions of acres of the Intermountain West and Colorado Plateau. 

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Earth Notes
10:00 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Earth Notes: Removing That Pesky Bluegrass

A elk grazes at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Credit National Park Service

Many visitors to Grand Canyon like to have a picnic when they visit the national park. And they’re not alone. The trouble is that their fellow South Rim diners have often been big, and hungry, elk.

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Earth Notes
8:40 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Earth Notes: Herbert E. Gregory

A notebook owned by Herbert Ernest Gregory.
Credit Clay Martin/USGS

Herbert Ernest Gregory isn’t exactly a household name among Colorado Plateau residents. But, for more than 40 years, Gregory spent several months each summer exploring and explaining the plateau’s geologic wonderland.  About all that commemorates him here now is his weathered canteen hanging in the visitor center at Zion National Park.

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Earth Notes
8:48 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Earth Notes: Utah’s King of Gore

Lythronax argestes, the great uncle of the famed T. rex.
Credit Natural History Museum of Ut

A dinosaur recently found in southern Utah has reshaped paleontologists’ ideas of the fierce group of carnivores known as tyrannosaurs.

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Earth Notes
2:27 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Earth Notes: The Line on Fishing Line

Untangling birds from discarded fishing line
Credit Arizona Game and Fish Department

Arizona claims a unique population of desert-nesting bald eagles. Those eagles often build their big bulky nests near water, including lakes and rivers in the northern part of the state. The birds use about anything they can find in nest construction—including used fishing line.

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Earth Notes
11:52 am
Wed January 22, 2014

Earth Notes: Early Cotton

Early cotton from the Colorado Plateau
Credit National Park Service

A thousand years ago, farmers on the Colorado Plateau were known for their classic crop trio of corn, beans and squash. But, in some places, they were also growing, using and trading cotton.  

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Earth Notes
10:13 am
Wed December 18, 2013

Earth Notes: Counting The Flies Of Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Flies
Credit Rose Houk/KNAU

Grand Canyon river guides work long hours. In the last 2 years, some of them took on a seemingly unlikely new duty: collecting flies. By doing so, they've helped scientists learn more about the big canyon's aquatic food web.

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Earth Notes
8:45 am
Wed October 16, 2013

Earth Notes: Potash and the Petrified Forest

Potash map of Arizona
Credit Arizona Geological Survey

The Colorado Plateau is endowed with a world-class collection of geological eye candy, like the Technicolor badlands of Arizona's Petrified Forest. But conflicts arise when some of that geology is useful for more than a grand view.

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Earth Notes
9:20 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Earth Notes: The Accidental Anthropologist

Gladys Reichard
Credit Museum of Northern Arizona

She said she started her study of Navajo society "by accident." But, that "accident" turned into a lifetime career for anthropologist Gladys Reichard.

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