Children of the Soil

The soil under our feet is teeming with life, and understanding and nurturing it has a positive impact on our lives   A memory. My friend and I followed the ball as it bounced towards the pit in the backyard. Heat wafted up, and the air was saturated with a warm, earthy smell that wasn’t […]

Rock Stars

How geologists connect the dots to tell stories of the Earth’s evolution   It was a clear but cold July evening in the Kumaon Himalayas in Uttarakhand. Prakash Chandra Arya and his younger brother, Vikas, were on day one of their 15-day trek from a village called Munsiyari to the Milam glacier, more than 4000 […]

When Continents Collide

Seismologists have their work cut out when it comes to understanding and predicting earthquakes and their impact   Beneath the serene snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas, danger lurks. Scientists are increasingly worried about a big earthquake overdue in the Himalayan region, anticipated to have a magnitude greater than 8.0 on the Richter scale. To give […]

Terra Indica: Decoding Pranay Lal’s books

In November 2016, biochemist and author Pranay Lal’s ground-breaking book Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent was published. It was a first-of-its-kind, definitive book on natural history and geoheritage celebrating everything from fossils to fish, volcanoes to viruses, in a quest to understand the processes that shaped Earth and the life on […]

Soil Sleuths

Geotechnical engineers, who investigate soils and their properties, play an important and sometimes overlooked role in civil engineering   A vacation on a Spanish beach in the 1960s sparked a revolution in the construction industry. French engineer Henri Vidal was piling up sand to build a sand castle when he realised that no matter how […]