Posts

August 26, 2014

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2:22 PM | Douglas Maple and few other plants
When I am out in the field with plant folks I try to learn a new plant per day. A picture and writing the name helps set the plant in memory. Drawings would be even better.  From a recent outing in Ross Lake National Recreation Area: Acer glagrum (Douglas maple)Adenocaulon bicolor (Pathfinder)Goodyera pubesceus (Rattlesnake plantain). This is a native orchid.Salix scouleriana (Scouler willow)The last one has some uncertainty as I did the identification myself.
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12:25 PM | The evolutionary history of walruses, part 2: the larger imagotariines: Pseudotaria, Pelagiarctos, Imagotaria, and Pontolis
The previous post dealt primarily with the […]
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11:00 AM | Quake vs. Volcano: Which One’s Worse?
Both can cause widespread human and ecological devastation. But picking a winner in a destruction derby is a tough call.
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10:57 AM | Invertebrate of the Week #8 – Golden Tortoise Beetle (Charidotella sexpunctata)
Today we are featuring the beautiful metallic beetle Charidotella sexpunctata, also known as the Golden tortoise beetle.  These North American beetles are small, measuring approximately 5 – 7 mm in length and are […]
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10:00 AM | Kanops reymondi Trilobite Fossils
These pictures depict the trilobite fossils Kanops reymondi. Fossils date to lower Devonian Period. They were found in Coal County, Oklahoma, USA. Thanks to Kenny for the images.
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8:32 AM | Announcement: Two New Categories on the Home Menu
Just a general announcement:  I’ve  cleaned up the blog a bit and added two new categories to the menu.  The Invertebrate of the Week and Weekly Wallpaper features are now filed under their own eponymous categories […]
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7:10 AM | Northern Convergence: Stories on Trees, the Totems of the Northwestern First Nations
During the flurry of planning for our Northern Convergence journey through Canada and the Pacific Northwest, I was barely keeping up with the geology, and any background information on the anthropology/archaeology of the region fell to my colleague from our anthropology department. There were certainly some intriguing sights related to the First Nations people of  Canada, and the one of these impressed itself on me early in the trip.We were rushing from one part of Vancouver Island to […]
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6:23 AM | Intrigued by Earthquakes and Volcanoes? It’s Easy to Become Geologically Literate
Meteorologists in general do not know much about Geology, but broadcast mets are usually the first person newsroom producers (and the public) turn to when there is an earthquake, tsunami, meteor showers etc.  I had a couple of great courses in Geology working on my masters, and a field trip to the Washington State was a fantastic learning experience, and it left me with a lifelong fascination of rocks and …
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4:45 AM | Four Bears
Churchill, Manitoba: August, 2014 After three days of helicopter-based collecting up the Churchill River, we were planning to start today on a few days of fieldwork close to Churchill. The helicopter work was strenuous at times, with slogging up creekbeds and carrying fossil samples up steep slopes, so I was looking forward to driving to some of […]
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2:23 AM | The Napa Valley quake, and why California is (geologically) not part of America at all.
In the early hours of Sunday morning, the Napa Valley region north of San Francisco was shaken by a magnitude 6 earthquake, the largest to hit this region since the magnitude 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. An earthquake in … Continue reading →

August 25, 2014

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11:00 PM | My favourite megafauna; a tribute to Dippy and Dusty
By Kelly If you haven’t been following my last few posts, I have been discussing my adventures post PhD submission that include participating in a camel expedition into the Simpson Desert (see Gallery). I was lucky enough to be joining the … Continue reading →
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10:43 PM | Weekly Wallpaper #2 – Polar Bear in the Hudson Bay
This photograph was the Grand Prize Winner in National Geographic’s Photo Contest 2013.  Photographer Paul Souders captured this polar bear peering up from beneath melting sea ice on Hudson Bay. […]
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10:26 PM | Geo 730: August 25, Day 602: Yellowbottom Falls
The next stop after the quick pull-off to see the Boulder Creek boulder (which, depending on time constraints, I more often than not didn't do with middle-schoolers) is Yellowbottom Falls. This spot is not really visible from the road, but it's about 0.2-0.3 miles up the road from the Yellowbottom Campground and day use area (The latter has parking and vault toilets, and we'd generally stop there first for a bathroom break. If you choose to swim here- highly recommended for people who don't […]
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10:18 PM | Running Out of Ground - Trekking to the Roof of Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro - Part 3 - Skirting the Mountain's Base - Days Three, Four, and Five
Shira 1 Camp to Moir Hut - August 15 Leaving Shira 1 Camp, the porters set out for their destination - Moir Hut Camp.The landscape has definitely changed since the rainforest.The Shira Plateau is a lava flow-filled caldera. The Shira Volcano was likely the first cone built in this area, less than one million years ago. It is incredible young for being so large. Trekkers are walking on the lava-flow surface here.This is a close-up of the main type of rock seen on Kilimanjaro - the rhomb porphory […]
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10:00 PM | grad school worth it?
Back when I was in grad school, I discussed the value of a masters' degree as an investment. Now I'm more than 5 years out from grad school. Was it worth taking 2 years out of my life? Did I recoup the salary I'd missed while I was living on a poverty-level TA/RA?As I'd suggested in that old post, the value of a Masters degree isn't that easy to quantify.I didn't get a big salary bump after I graduated. But I was able to find work in my field a couple months after I finished my thesis, right […]
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9:41 PM | Cool animations of Phobos transits from Curiosity
Shooting video of a lumpy moon crossing the Sun and turning it into a giant googly eye is not a new activity for Curiosity, but I get a fresh thrill each time I see one of these sequences downlinked from the rover.
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9:37 PM | Running Out of Ground - Trekking to the Roof of Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro - Part 2 - The Approach - Days One and Two
In spite of the inevitable delays on such a grand undertaking, we were trekking by about 4 PM on August 13. At first we walked on a 4X4 road, then a bonafide trail. Our route up the mountain would be the Lomosho Route.Near the start of the trek, we travel through carrot and potato fields.After entering the National Park, the forest is preserved and quite beautiful.One of our porters carrying eggs for the trip.Forest hiking.Colubus monkeys were quite numerous in the trees overhead. The are […]
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9:35 PM | What Caused California's Napa Earthquake?
High-tech instruments and old-fashioned groundwork remain important in the aftermath of an earthquake.
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9:00 PM | MPA Students Explore Urban Parks
During the second half of the summer semester for Columbia University’s MPA class in Environmental Science and Policy program, the students extended their classroom learning on urban ecology to outdoor field trips in Brooklyn and the Bronx to focus on how restorations of wetlands, forests, and rivers are changing the city.
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8:49 PM | Bárðarbunga volcano update at 20:49 UTC
This information is going to get outdated quickly. Minor spelling note. It appears that dike is spelled with a simple “i” not a “y”. Information on what volcano dyke is can be found here on USGS website. Added: … Continue reading →
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8:06 PM | Calcit und die Doppelbrechung – Mineralogisches Alphabet C
Letztes mal hatte ich beim Epidot die Doppelbrechung erwähnt. Nun braucht man nicht immer einen Dünnschliff und ein Polarisationsmikroskop, um dem Phänomen auf die Spur zu kommen. Das geht auch ohne, besonders natürlich, wenn das betreffende Mineral eine extrem hohe Doppelbrechung zeigt und zudem noch klar ist. Dies trifft auf manche Calcite zu, die man manchmal unter dem Namen Islandspat oder Doppelspat im Mineralienhandel findet. In dem kleinen Film über Calcit und […]
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7:04 PM | The Energy to Fight Injustice
The enormity of these anti-nuclear policy decisions is difficult to exaggerate. Energy consumption is an inescapable requirement of development, and renewable energy sources alone cannot satisfy the energy demands of China and other developing nations. They now have no choice but to burn massive amounts of coal if they wish to raise their living standards.
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6:27 PM | Running Out of Ground - Trekking to the Roof of Africa on Mt. Kilimanjaro - Part 1 - The Set-Up
Many of you know that I have been in Africa this August traveling with my wife Helen. We have been on safari to Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, as well as partaking in a trek with friends to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro. We have just returned home and are beginning to process the myriad emotions, information, photographs, and memories. A blog posting seems too simple a venue to express all that we have experienced in these 19 days. In a word, the trek was hard but doable, especially with the […]
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4:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill III
GSN field trip Day 2: We've taken a few Majuba Hill samples out of the bag.We'll now take a look at the farthest right sample, having already seenRocks #1 & #2 and Rock #3.One side shows a weathered surface, with dark brown iron oxides and the copper carbonates malachite and azurite.I suspect that the reason I picked up this rock was because of the mineralized appearance of the outer surfaces. I probably had no idea this rock would turn out to be yet another sample of rhyolite […]
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4:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill III
GSN field trip Day 2: We've taken a few Majuba Hill samples out of the bag.We'll now take a look at the farthest right sample, having already seenRocks #1 & #2 and Rock #3.One side shows a weathered surface, with dark brown iron oxides and the copper carbonates malachite and azurite.I suspect that the reason I picked up this rock was because of the mineralized appearance of the outer surfaces. I probably had no idea this rock would turn out to be yet another sample of rhyolite […]
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3:58 PM | Best-ever Neptune mosaics for the 25th anniversary of Voyager 2's flyby
In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Voyager 2 flyby of Neptune, image magician Björn Jónsson has produced two new global mosaics of the distant ice giant, the highest-resolution ever made.
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1:59 PM | Mediterranean Environmental Research Group (GRAM)
By Marc Oliva   The Mediterranean Environmental Research Group, (GRAM) from the University of Barcelona has over 20 years of working experience in the field of the effects of forest fires on soil properties. In 1998 the doctoral thesis entitled “Fire effects on soil properties, the role of fire intensity” carried out by Xavier Úbeda […]
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12:31 PM | Logging without an axe
Though structural geologists use our smaller sample of cored rock to form the larger picture of what its surrounding rock may look like, confirmation about the hole’s physical and chemical traits comes from the work of our logging staff scientist, Sally Morgan. read more
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11:30 AM | Imaggeo on Mondays: The Valley of the Souls
Simon Gascoin captured this image of the badlands of the Palca canyon. The Palca canyon is located near the city of La Paz, Bolivia. Like much of the geology in the vicinity of La Paz, the canyon comprises mainly unconsolidated glacial formations, which are highly susceptible to wind and water erosion. The imposing spires, which […]
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10:00 AM | Bicidiocrinus wetherbyi Crinoid Calyx
Over the weekend my cousin went fossil hunting in Grayson County, Kentucky USA for Mississippian Period fossils. He got extremely lucky and found a nice crinoid calyx. It appears to be a Bicidiocrinus wetherbyi (Wachsmuth and Springer, 1886). It was found in the Glen Dean formation.   A retired professor at the University of Kentucky, Dr. Don Chesnut has a number of posted images on the
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