Navigating Nature

A globe-trotting activist communicates science and the environment



Chile Part 4: One Week North

Even though it’s now been two months since my trip to Chile (sorry for the blogging hiatus – moving to Chicago and starting a new job took over my life), I am still immensely grateful for my six-week adventure there. My last big adventure in Chile was to the Atacama Desert, which is the most arid place in the world (besides the poles), and receives the highest radiation and celestial exposure – which means it is very dry, the sun is extremely strong, and the stars are incredible. Even though I was there during a full moon, I could still see the Milky Way and thousands of stars filling every corner of the night sky. Continue reading “Chile Part 4: One Week North”

A Scary New Source of Energy

Deep below the crashing waves, the ocean rumbles. Away from the boats, away from the people, away from the species we are familiar with – the ones we eat, the ones we admire on snorkeling trips to coral reefs. Down here, the enormous pressure would blow a human to smithereens in a fraction of a second. Down here, it is dark and vast. But it is not empty – there are creatures we could not even dare to dream of, like 20-foot-long worms and gigantic crabs. There is something else here though, something we are daring to dream of, and something some people want desperately. They are called methane hydrates. Continue reading “A Scary New Source of Energy”

Canyons of the West (And a Few Odds and Ends)

It’s been a few too many weeks since I last actively participated in the blogosphere (as an excuse, I was finishing up final exams at Stanford) but I had a fabulous spring break last week that I want to write about. We had nine days, so my boyfriend Bryant and I hopped in the car and took off for the Southwest from Palo Alto. Our ultimate destination: the national parks of southern Utah and northern Arizona, none of which I had ever visited before. For those of you that know me well, you’ll know that I was thrilled about exploring this uncharted territory. Continue reading “Canyons of the West (And a Few Odds and Ends)”

El Niño, From the Mountains to the Sea

In case you don’t know, I’m back in California, enjoying the warm weather and being back on campus. Even though I’m now needing to study a lot more than I was during my traveling episode of 2015, I’m still managing to find time to go on adventures and travel to different parts of the state on the weekends. I’d like to share two of my adventures with you within the context of a phenomenon that has been hitting up the media a lot recently: El Niño. Continue reading “El Niño, From the Mountains to the Sea”

The Mysterious Origins of the Rocky Mountains

This summer, I have been living at home in Boulder, Colorado, a true Mecca of environmental and social activism, hundreds of health food trends, outdoor adventures, and active lifestyles. Before I left for college, I lived in Boulder for six years, so it’s been amazing to be back for a solid chunk of time. Boulder is nestled right up against the Rocky Mountains, along Colorado’s Front Range. A defining mountain feature in Boulder is the Flatirons, which are essentially giant flat slabs of rock leaning against the foothills.  Continue reading “The Mysterious Origins of the Rocky Mountains”

Splintering the Seafloor: The Grave Consequences of Deep Sea Mining

Until quite recently, the bottom of the ocean was thought to be barren, devoid of life, and utterly insensitive to human impacts. As land dwellers and air breathers, it is hard for us to imagine what life in the ocean must be like, especially at depths where light no longer penetrates. In 1960, Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh took a submarine to the deepest part of the ocean in the Mariana Trench, and observed an extensive ecosystem teeming with diverse life. The Mariana Trench is in the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which sits on a plate boundary, so there is a lot of volcanic activity there. Continue reading “Splintering the Seafloor: The Grave Consequences of Deep Sea Mining”

Conglomerate Coastline: The Geology of Big Sur

Two weeks ago, I went down to Big Sur for a camping trip, and stayed in Andrew Molera State Park. Big Sur is a 90-mile section of Highway 1 that stretches from Carmel down to San Simeon. The area features beautiful California coastline, famous views, and numerous state parks and national forests. In Big Sur, the Santa Lucia Mountains rise to 5,000 feet within two miles of the ocean – the most abrupt rise in elevation along the Pacific coast.  Continue reading “Conglomerate Coastline: The Geology of Big Sur”

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