Geology

Drylands design students walking a ditch in the Embudo Valley

Designing Democracy Around a Ditch

How a ditch irrigation system in the arid Southwest became the backbone of local democracy

A stepwell in India

Rebuilding Rainwater Collection in India

From one conservationist's perspective, harvesting rainwater doesn't mean high-tech strategies—traditional techniques have been around for centuries

A future vision of Fresno, California, as proposed by architect Darin Johnstone and environmental consultant Mark Merkelbach

Futureproofing California Farmland

Design teams propose new models for farming and suburban development in California's water-scarce Central Valley

Hydrologic Commonwealths for the American West, proposed by John Wesley Powell, 1879

Design for a Water-Scarce Future

Design strategies for arid regions go back centuries, but in the face of climate change, drylands design is a whole new ballgame

The Shape of Fruits to Come

How our need for convenience is redesigning our food supply

A thermal infrared image of orchard water levels

Drones: The Citrus Industry’s New Beauty Secret

In the future, farmers will use unmanned drones to improve the appearance of their crops

Airships and Oranges: The Commercial Art of the Second Gold Rush

How citrus crate label design fueled a boom that caused the art form's own demise

On May 29, 2006, mud and steaming hot water squirted up in a rice field in Sidoarjo, East Java, marking the birth of the world's most destructive mud volcano.

The World’s Muddiest Disaster

Earth’s most violent mud volcano is wreaking havoc in Indonesia. Was drilling to blame? And when will it end?

The contiguous bedrock on the east coast allows energy to pass more efficiently and travel farther. That is why the earthquake on Tuesday was felt over such a broad geographic range.

Q&A: Smithsonian's Elizabeth Cottrell on the Virginia Earthquake

A Smithsonian geologist offers her expertise on the seismic event that shook much of the mid-Atlantic this week

Several months ago, the Hope Diamond was taken from the National Museum of Natural History for an overnight stay in the mineralogy lab.

Testing the Hope Diamond

Scientists at the Natural History Museum search for the elusive "recipe" that endows the famed gem with its unique blue color

The region's legacy of acid rain is clearly visible in the black crust on the gravestones at the Madison Street Cemetery in Hamilton, New York.

Acid Rain and Our Ecosystem

More than 150 years after acid rain was first identified, scientists now see success in recovery from its damaging effects

The Lunar Electric Rover is a prototype for the vehicle that NASA hopes to send with astronauts to the moon by 2020.

NASA's New Lunar Rover

The Smithsonian Institution pitches in to help NASA prepare for its next lunar mission with a new "home on wheels"

Bacteria produces the vivid colors in the Gran Prismatic Spring.

From Close Up or Far Away, Amazing Volcano Photos

Geologist Bernhard Edmaier has been photographing the majestic beauty of active and dormant volcanoes for over 15 years

Sam Osmanagich claims that 12,000 years ago, early Europeans built "the greatest pyramidal complex" on earth, in Bosnia.

The Mystery of Bosnia's Ancient Pyramids

An amateur archaeologist says he's discovered the world's oldest pyramids in the Balkans. But many experts remain dubious

Meteor Crater in Arizona is 4,000 feet wide and almost 600 feet deep.

The Ten Most Spectacular Geologic Sites

Smithsonian picks the top natural wonders in the continental United States

Scott Wing points out the red and gray strata visible in the distant hills.

Day 2: Uncovering Earth’s History in the Bighorn Basin

Secretary Clough tours the different Smithsonian excavation sites and discovers some prehistoric fossils while there

Secretary of the Smithsonian, G. Wayne Clough, traveled to Worland, Wyo. to observe Scott Wing and his team mine the fossil lode they found.

Day 1: A Geological Trip Back in Time

Smithsonian Secretary Clough flies to Wyoming to learn about a period of intense global warming that occurred 55 million years ago

Antietam remains the bloodiest day in American history—23,000 men died or were wounded on that battlefield.

Civil War Geology

What underlies the Civil War’s 25 bloodiest battles? Two geologists investigate why certain terrain proved so hazardous

William Chadwick Jr. and a team from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration were the fist to video tape an erupting underwater volcano

Underwater Discovery

Watch an erupting underwater volcano

Jeweler Harry Winston donated the famous Hope Diamond—the largest-known deep blue diamond in the world—to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958. It arrived in a plain brown package by registered mail, insured for one million dollars. Surrounded by 16 white pear-shaped and cushion-cut diamonds and hanging from a chain with 45 diamonds, the rare gem attracts 6 million visitors a year to the Natural History Museum.

Glow-in-the-Dark Jewels

How the Hope Diamond's mysterious phosphorescence led to "fingerprinting" blue diamonds

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