Posts by Hannah Mark

The erstwhile king of Siluria

A planet shrinking over a few thousand years, wrinkling like an apple. Vast underground caverns filled with seawater that rises to the surface to form oceans. Volcanic eruptions powered by coal beds. All of those sound like ridiculous ideas in this day and age, but just a few hundred years ago, they represented some of…

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A brief history of the Wide Receiver Functions

Back in 2015, when my cousin set up a fantasy football league for my extended family, I named my first (and only) fantasy football team the “Wide Receiver Functions.” At the time I thought this was rather funny, but I was the only seismologist in the league, so instead of laughter I got confusion. Wide…

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Harry Potter and the 12-minute conference talk

One of my favorite podcasts, Harry Potter and the Sacred Text, begins each episode with a segment called the “30 second recap”: Vanessa and Casper, the two hosts, get 30 seconds each to summarize everything that happened in a single chapter of a Harry Potter book*. They start out speaking normally, covering everything in detail,…

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SCARF 2017: A modern-day transatlantic crossing

At 16:00 UTC (12 noon, EST) on October 8 2017, midway across the Atlantic Ocean, Earth’s magnetic field strength dropped to 0. Had we just made an exciting new discovery? Was this evidence of an imminent geomagnetic reversal? Was a mysterious lump of magnetite on the seafloor cancelling out the ambient field?…or did the magnetometer…

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