New Carbon Minerals

The Carbon Mineral Challenge is a worldwide hunt to find new carbon-bearing minerals by 2019. An estimated 145 such minerals remain undiscovered. Both professional and amateur geologists can get involved. This poster shows some recent discoveries:


Poster for the Carbon Mineral Challenge (click for full-res pdf)

Listed in the poster are:


Abellaite, NaPb2(CO3)2(OH) – photo: Matteo Chinellato


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National Science Week 2016

National Science Week is here again in Australia. See the website for events during the week. You can also read a science book or visit a museum. Even if you’re not in Australia, there’s the chance to get involved in a citizen science project to identify wildlife in photographs. So why not take part?

Creating an Australian Feather Map


Photo: Louise Docker, 2007

Australian scientists are encouraging people to collect feathers found on the ground or in the water in wetlands (with details of where they were collected). After analysis using mass spectrometry and high resolution X-ray fluorescence, a feather map will be constructed. All aspiring citizen scientists, young and old, can get involved and follow the project on Instagram. It looks like a great way to monitor bird populations in wetlands!


Firefly watch!


A firefly at night (photo: “Emmanuelm”)

The Museum of Science, Boston has an interesting citizen science project running – their Firefly Watch. Anybody can register and add observations of fireflies in their local area.

The project has been running since 2008, and has accumulated over 30,000 observations so far (mostly from the US – see map above), which are available online. The graph below shows the result of fitting a family of Gaussian “bell curves” to the data. Observed firefly numbers peaked around June 23 each year (day 174 when it’s not a leap year), with a slight increase in the height of the peak over time. There seems to be no significant change to the timing of the peak.

National Science Week 2014

National Science Week in Australia is here again. See the website for events during the week. Even if you’re not in Australia, there’s the chance to get involved in a citizen science project to extract weather observations from old ship log books. You can also read a science book or visit a museum. So why not take part?