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Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences

The Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences has a great diversity of programs and intersecting disciplines, with faculty and students studying in fields such as severe weather, the solar system, stable isotopes, and geophysics. We are committed to four strategic initiatives: Energy and the Environment, Severe Weather Science, Planetary Exploration, and Geodata Science.

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Feel that shake? It wasn’t just you

Hoosiers experienced some tremors Thursday afternoon after an earthquake struck just north of Terre Haute. The United States Geological Survey reported a magnitude 3.8 earthquake around 3:18 p.m. Thursday. The earthquake happened in Montezuma Indiana at a depth of 7.7 KM. EAPS Professor Bob Nowack is interviewed by FOX59 News about yesterday's earthquake that could be felt at Purdue University.

Earthquake centered in west central Indiana with 3.8 magnitude

A minor earthquake centered in a small town in west central Indiana shook the Midwest on Thursday afternoon. The U.S. Geological Survey said the 3.8 magnitude quake at 3:18 p.m. Thursday was centered about 2 miles west of Bloomingdale, a town of 300 in Parke County. The temblor was about 2 miles beneath the Earth’s surface and lasted about 15 seconds. An assistant professor in Earth, atmospheric and planetary sciences at Purdue University, Xiaotao Yang said having an earthquake in this part of Indiana was a surprise. Usually, Indiana earthquakes hit the southwestern part of the state.

New analysis shows microbial sources fueling rise of atmospheric methane

The sudden and sustained rise in atmospheric levels of the potent greenhouse gas methane since 2007 has posed one of the most significant and pressing questions in climate research: Where is it coming from? Fossil fuel emissions? Biological sources? A diminished capacity by the atmosphere to break down methane? A climate tipping point? Professor Qianlai Zhuang worked with NOAA Research for this study which has joint project supported by NASA. Other Purdue University contributors include students Licheng Liu and Youmi Oh.

Springs that discharge a large proportion of old groundwater are more resistant to the effects of the drought

Researchers at Purdue University’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), including Dr. Zach Meyers, recent Ph.D. alumnus, and his advisor, Dr. Marty Frisbee, have studied data from the groundwater-dependent ecosystems of the Owens Valley, CA region including the eastern Sierra Nevada and White Mountains. Their findings, recently published in Environmental Research Letters, show that springs which discharge a large amount of older groundwater are more likely to persist over time than those that discharge younger groundwater.

Scientists simulate alien volcanoes here on Earth

A small volume of liquid iron snakes across the top of the molten rock as narrow rivers flowing ten times faster than that underlying lava. Despite initially being a whopping 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, these rivers rapidly cool and solidify before the snail-like shimmying of the ropey lava below snaps them into pieces. Most of the liquid iron, though, sinks into the lava. It bunches up toward the front of the lava flow before exploding out of it as braided, winding streams — silvery strokes of an altogether alien calligrapher. Dr. Brandon Johnson of Purdue EAPS is cited in this article by Supercluster.

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