by Rachel Armstrong

SOCORRO, N.M., Aug. 24, 2004 — The New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources (NMBGMR) has published the most recent issue of its newsletter Lite Geology. The current issue focuses on rubber duckies.

The featured article, “Earth Briefs: Toys on the Run,” discusses how researchers are refining ocean current models by tracking thousands of floating toys in the North Pacific Ocean.

According to the article, in early 1992 on a ship en route from China to Seattle, 29,000 floating toys were washed overboard during a storm. Since then, oceanographers have been tracking the toys while testing and refining OSCURS, a computer program that simulates ocean currents. By using this program, the researchers have projected that the toys will trek around the north pole this summer.

The second featured article, “Have You Ever Wondered Why Geologists Study Fossils?,” details why and how paleontologists study fossils and explains how organisms are preserved as fossils and which fossils are the most useful.

The article also explains how scientists use fossils to determine the relative ages of rocks and to determine environments of deposition.

“New Mexico’s Most Wanted Minerals” page features aargonite, giving its description, most common uses, formation, location, and other names for the mineral.

The “Postcard From the Field” section, titled “Studying Ice and Volcanoes in Antarctica” tells a story about the author’s adventure as part of a team of research scientists collecting climate-related ice samples at Mt. Moulton in West Antarctica.

Lite Geology, an award-winning magazine published by the NMBGMR, is devoted to increasing Earth science awareness by showcasing contemporary geological topics, issues, and events in an easily understood, fun-to-read format. It is designed to be less technical than most of the NMBGMR's other publications and is primarily directed toward educators and other members of the public who have an interest in geology and the related Earth sciences. Subscriptions to the magazine are available free of charge for New Mexico residents. Out-of-state subscribers are charged a subscription fee of $4 for four issues to cover the cost of printing and mailing the periodical.

For more information about Lite Geology, or any other NMBGMR publications, write to the Bureau Publications Office, New Mexico Tech, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM 87801, call 505.835.5410, or visit the Bureau's website at http://geoinfo.nmt.edu.