Posts

August 20, 2014

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12:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill II
GSN field trip Day 2: we're still at Majuba Hill.Continuing with our progression from left to right of rhyolite porphyry hand samples, we move on to Rock Number 3, a weakly mineralized version of the tourmalinized porphyry. (Rock 1 and 2 were seen here.)The feldspar sites in this rock sample contain needles of tourmaline, and powdery white sericite with a soft, blue green copper mineral.An enlargement of the left part of the same photo.I'm unclear as to the timing of mineral deposition in the […]
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12:00 PM | Rhyolite Porphyry from Majuba Hill II
GSN field trip Day 2: we're still at Majuba Hill.Continuing with our progression from left to right of rhyolite porphyry hand samples, we move on to Rock Number 3, a weakly mineralized version of the tourmalinized porphyry. (Rock 1 and 2 were seen here.)The feldspar sites in this rock sample contain needles of tourmaline, and powdery white sericite with a soft, blue green copper mineral.An enlargement of the left part of the same photo.I'm unclear as to the timing of mineral deposition in the […]
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11:52 AM | Climate Change Impacts in Labrador
In 1534, famed explorer Jacques Cartier described Labrador as "the land God gave to Cain". This comparison is inevitably linked to Labrador’s rugged coastal landscapes dotted with deep inlets, fiords and rugged tundra. Culturally the region is steeped in complexity with three distinct indigenous populations intertwined with settlers and settler descendants. In the north lies the Inuit settlement area of Nunatsiavut, where its predominantly Inuit residents are spread across 5 small […]
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11:51 AM | The evolutionary history of walruses, part 1: Introduction, and the earliest walruses
Note: A bit of a disclaimer is necessary. This will probably be one of my most indulgent post series, as this is probably my most favorite topic in paleontology. Walruses are a totally weird and fascinating group to study, and I hope some of my enthusiasm for these fantastic blubbery beasts shines through.IntroductionThe walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is one of the most peculiar and charismatic of all modern mammals, and easily the most […]
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11:30 AM | Iceland's Biggest Volcano Rumbles, Threatens Flights
Iceland has warned that its largest volcano is in danger of erupting, four years after millions of air travelers were grounded by a huge ash cloud from another peak.
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11:01 AM | Will Increase in Icebergs Lead to Another Titanic?
A new study suggests that the 1912 Titanic disaster may have been caused by an increase in icebergs -- a condition that might threaten ships now. Continue reading →
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10:30 AM | GeoEd: The Future’s Bright
What got you hooked to science in the first place? More importantly, what or who persuaded you that making science your career was, not only worth considering, but should be actively pursed? I’m sure, I am preaching to the converted; we all think science is not only cool, but a worthwhile and rewarding career path; […]
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8:26 AM | Laser Ablation Tomography – Natural History’s “Hot” New Imaging Technique
Imagine for a moment that you were given access to a nanosecond, Q-switched, ultraviolet laser on; a servo-driven sample stage; a high resolution microscope-mounted CCD camera with a theoretical resolving […]
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7:43 AM | Northern Convergence: Vancouver Island, the Plan That Was, Part II
Ah, the lost opportunities! I don't want to make it sound like we had a bad Northern Convergence trip; we actually had a great time taking our students through an exploration of the geology of Vancouver Island,  but the trip we made was different than the one we planned. In the last post we talked about the Sooke Potholes, and in today's post we are talking about the opportunity to understand why the basalt exists.East Sooke Regional Park is a large wilderness park just 20 kilometers or so […]
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6:56 AM | Conversation With An Ecologist About Fossils And Conservation
T R Shankar Raman, an ecologist who blogs at View At Elephant Hills and tweets @mizoraman wrote in last week with a question about fossils, field work and conservation. It ended up being a long conversation via email and so with his permission I am posting our conversation below.In geology, field sampling does lead to outcrops being damaged and in-situ context of important fossils being lost. At least when I was a student, these issues about how to go about working an outcrop so as to cause […]
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2:06 AM | Best Toilet in Whatcom County
Composting toilet at Desolation Peak
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12:46 AM | The Dwarf Pirate – Tales of the Finger
So, you’re wondering what I did. What happened that I needed five stitches on my index finger. Well let me tell you. It was raining. Raining a lot. Completely bizarre for Wyoming at this time of year – for any … Continue reading →
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12:00 AM | Not quite News yet – Part II
In this series we present fictive “News Articles” which some of us wrote when participating in a Science Communication Workshop at ANU. If you want to know more about the Why and How, please see this post here. While the … Continue reading →

August 19, 2014

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10:39 PM | Geology Sonnet 2
As mentioned previously, I am writing Geology Sonnets for National Science Week.  These are articles from the high-profile scientific journal Geology, presented in the form of Elizabethan verse. I don’t know how many of these I will get through this week, but here is the second: The Central Atlantic Magmatic Province Erupted tholeiitic and potassic. C O two upset atmospheric balance.
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9:04 PM | “Every time you hit a paywall, that’s a publisher announcing that their role is to prohibit the progress of science as much as possible.”
“Every time you hit a paywall, that’s a publisher announcing that their role is to prohibit the progress of science as much as possible.”.Filed under: Uncategorized
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8:53 PM | Extinction
When it seemed that, without intervention, the Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) would become extinct due to a chytrid fungus infection, conservation scientists removed as many of the remaining population as they could, to give the species the best chance of survival in a controlled, fungus-free environment.Seeds of the world's smallest water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) were collected before the plant's habitat was destroyed forever, to preserve genetic diversity and grow new plants with a […]
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8:53 PM | Extinction
When it seemed that, without intervention, the Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) would become extinct due to a chytrid fungus infection, conservation scientists removed as many of the remaining population as they could, to give the species the best chance of survival in a controlled, fungus-free environment.Seeds of the world's smallest water lily (Nymphaea thermarum) were collected before the plant's habitat was destroyed forever, to preserve genetic diversity and grow new plants with a […]
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8:09 PM | Von Wettervorhersagen und Klimawandel
Bei Diskussionen um und über den Klimawandel bekommt man ja sehr häufig die Frage gestellt, wie denn die Wissenschaft einen langfristigen Trend, also den Wandel des Klimas vorhersagen kann, wo sie doch ( häufig) bereits bei kurzfristigen Vorhersagen des Wetters, beispielsweise der nächsten Woche so grandios scheitert. In diesem kurzen Video erklärt Neil deGrasse Tyson auf einfache und sehr anschauliche Art, was der Unterschied zwischen Klima und Wetter ist.  
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7:23 PM | Earth Institute Fall 2014 Internships
This fall, the Earth Institute is offering Columbia students opportunities to intern within various departments and research centers at the institute.  All full-time Columbia and Barnard students are eligible to apply.  These internships are funded at a rate of $15/hr for 10 hours per week and up to a maximum of 120hrs for the Fall [...]
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7:14 PM | Beneath an Icelandic Glacier, Another Eruption Brewing
The 2,000-meter tall Bárðarbunga volcano in Iceland is at risk of eruption, an event that could send a cloud of ash and steam high into the atmosphere and cause extensive disruptions in air travel, among other effects, according to media reports. Earth Institute scientist Ben Orlove looks into it on the Glacier Hub blog.
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7:01 PM | Geo 730: August 19, Day 596: Pyrite Patch
I *think* this is the same patch of pyrite as seen in yesterday's photo, but from more of a head-on perspective. The rock here is tough, and highly silicified. For the most part I tend to pull out "the heavy artillery," that is, a sledge hammer, for this stop (in the top right, a four pound hand sledge). It's definitely a spot for eye protection, and even with that, flying splinters can draw blood. But kids loved it; it was obvious they were willing to risk an owie and a Band-Aid for a piece of […]
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5:34 PM | Record number of downloads of AZGS maps and publications
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3:50 PM | Satellite Image Shows Massive Forest Fire Burn
Firefighters are still putting out a huge forest fire that erupted in Washington state last month, but the fire's devastating effects may be felt for years to come. Continue reading →
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3:09 PM | Drought and those yummy California almonds
Via Brett Walton: Continuing a decades-long trend, California farmers will increase their almond acreage next year, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. An estimated 48,000 acres of new almond orchards will be planted next year, an estimate based on a first-ever survey of nursery sales. The increase is roughly 40 percent higher than the ...Continue reading ‘Drought and those yummy California almonds’ »
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2:38 PM | Update on Bárðarbunga volcano at 14:37 UTC
This is a short update on Bárðarbunga volcano activity. Little has changed since yesterday (18-August-2014) in Bárðarbunga volcano. Earthquake activity has been moving east and north-east since yesterday but continues at same rate as before. It is not … Continue reading →
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2:24 PM | Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Is our hero (El Niño) abandoning us?
There was a great bit of humorous business that my offspring Reed helped me cook up over the weekend for this column, which ended up on the self-editing floor. The column was in part about how we all put too much stock in El Niño as our savior from drought, and Reed reminded me of that great ...Continue reading ‘Stuff I wrote elsewhere: Is our hero (El Niño) abandoning us?’ »
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1:21 PM | Curiosity wheel damage: The problem and solutions
Now that a Tiger Team has assessed the nature and causes of damage to Curiosity's wheels, I can finally answer your frequently-asked questions about what wheel damage means for the mission, and why it wasn't anticipated.
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11:17 AM | Farewell to Mike Gottfried - annual NZ research visit
Today is visiting paleoichthyologist Dr. Mike Gottfried's last day on his research visit to our department. Mike comes down to New Zealand once a year during the southern winter to collaborate on various research projects with Ewan. Prior projects have resulted in the description of an associated dentition and vertebral column of the giant shark Carcharocles angustidens, the giant moonfish Megalampris keyesi, and the billfish Aglyptorhynchus hakataramea.Mike's current visit has been to identify […]
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11:00 AM | Weird Things That Wash Up on the Beach: Photos
Summer crowds at the beach may thin, as the season heads into its final month, but the waves keep coming, and with them some seriously strange things.
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6:40 AM | Northern Convergence: Vancouver Island, the Plan That Was...Part I
Our Northern Convergence tour continues. Our first full day in Canada was to be an exploration of geological sites on south Vancouver Island between Victoria and the ferry port at Nanaimo. There was lots of research, and Mrs. Geotripper and I headed out to the island a few days before our students met us in Seattle. We had a plan...But of course, there are plans that are made and there is what actually happens. So this post and a few more are explorations of the places we thought we were going […]
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