USGS March science picks

We're 125 years old this month, and still going strong. And just to prove it, we're sending along top science story ideas to help ease the transition from winter to spring. This monthly collection can help you cover ongoing earth and natural science research and investigations at USGS--photos and web links are provided to enhance your story. If you are not receiving this and would like to, would like to change the recipient, or no longer want to receive it, please email bkinerney@usgs.gov.

Included this month:

  • Kissing the Blarney Stone
  • USGS Celebrates 125 years of Science for America
  • Stop using the Richter Scale!
  • How the Irish Named Civilization


Would you kiss a 300-million-year-old limestone? Bending over backwards to kiss the Blarney Stone will either give you the gift of gab or the taste of a 300-million-year-old Carboniferous limestone, depending on whether you listen to the Irish legend or USGS geologists. The stone is part of Blarney Castle, located in the southern part of Ireland, about five miles northwest of the town of Cork. Legend says that kissing the Blarney Stone bestows the gift of blarney, or sweet flattering talk. USGS geologists will tell you that if you've ever kissed the Blarney Stone, then you've kissed a piece of limestone formed about 300 million years ago during the Carboniferous age, the same period that produced the thick coal beds of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The castle is built out of limestone blocks and the Blarney Stone is indistinguishable from its fellow stones in size, shape, and general appearance. It is assumed that laborers toted the limestone blocks, including the Blarney Stone, from any of several nearby quarries that are known sources of Carboniferous limestone. To learn more about limestone, coal (USGS National Coal Assessment), and energy, go to:

Contact: Butch Kinerney
United States Geological Survey

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