Melissa Sevigny

Nuclear power has gained more attention as a clean energy source. The raw material needed to make that power is uranium; and the highest-grade uranium deposits in the nation are near the Grand Canyon. The federal government has halted new uranium mining in the region, but old mines can still reopen.

National Park Service, Flickr

Scientists have a new worry about a special group of organisms that protects soil on the Colorado Plateau. They’re called “biocrusts,” and they’re easily destroyed when trampled—but new research shows there’s another menace: climate change.

Biocrust is created by mosses and lichens glued together with photosynthetic bacteria. It forms a kind of bumpy shield on the soil surface.   

NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona

A new study co-authored by a Flagstaff researcher deepens the mystery of what happened to Mars’ ancient atmosphere.

Christopher Edwards of the U.S. Geological Survey is the lead author of the study. He examined the idea that Mars once had a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide that eventually ended up buried, or “sequestered,” underground. His research shows that hypothesis is unlikely.

Arizona Republic

A recent study by the U.S. Geological survey has found high levels of Mercury and Selenium in fish and other food sources along the Colorado River in Glen Canyon and Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, Sept. 7, 2012, PDT

Later this year, the Mars Rover Curiosity is scheduled to begin its longest road trip yet, to Mount Sharp.  That’s a three-mile-high mountain on Mars that tells the planet’s geologic history in the same way the Grand Canyon’s exposes earth’s.  But getting Curiosity to its ultimate destination depends on maps and cameras.  That’s where Flagstaff’s office of the U.S. Geological Survey comes in.