Posts

February 27, 2015

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7:00 PM | A February First: CO2 Levels Pass 400 PPM Milestone
February is the first month of 2015 with an average carbon dioxide level above 400 ppm. Continue reading →
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5:12 PM | Patagonian Adventure Begins on February 28!
Join me on the Earthly Musings blog site as I partake in a Smithsonian Journeys expedition to Patagonian Argentina and Chile beginning on February 28. I will serve as the Study Leader for 22 folks from around the USA. You can view the itinerary here and I will be posting photographs and stories as often as possible.
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4:17 PM | Fossil Friday – juvenile mastodon femur
This week’s Fossil Friday specimen is a femur (thigh bone) from a mastodon, collected from the West Dam of Diamond Valley Lake. Like many of the Western Science Center specimens, this femur is only partially prepared, and still sits in … Continue reading →
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2:57 PM | A History of the Use of Illustrations in the Geosciences: I. Seeing is Believing...
The progress made in understanding realistic landscape-views and the rediscovery of ancient encyclopedias (like the works by Pliny the Elder) inspired Renaissance naturalists to adopt an exact and systematic approach to describe the curiosities found in the natural world. As most information as possible should be associated to every studied object – compiled from the works of ancient authors, own observations, may also supposed medical and magical properties, a good description should […]
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2:00 PM | The Most Astonishing Thing
The most astonishing thing about the universe, in my eyes, Is not merely its gargantuan, unfathomable size, But the way its vastness ferries gorgeous, primordial light, So that as we look up into the night, The farther afield our gaze penetrates, the higher we climb, The farther we can see back in time.
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12:25 PM | Friday folds: Three tweets
Back at the beginning of January, I asked for help on Twitter for Friday fold fodder. Here are three responses I got: @callanbentley one of my favorites from South Georgia Island. Have more on the laptop. pic.twitter.com/UaRtxM77Vm — John Van Hoesen (@Taconic_Musings) January 8, 2015 @callanbentley 2 folds from my SC Inner Piedmont MS thesis mapping field work (1997). biotite gneiss and amphibolite. pic.twitter.com/cnoyzwK3cL — Doug (@dropstones) January 8, 2015 …
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9:00 AM | George Monbiot and the Harbury landslide
The writer George Monbiot has linked the Harbury landslide with the removal of vegetation from the embankment that failed. This does not seem to be correct based on the images on Google Earth and from the scene
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8:26 AM | Barren Cliffs Reveal a Rich and Violent Past: Red Rock Canyon State Park
Deserts have such a fearsome reputation around the world, but deserts can be both beautiful and at certain times of the year a pleasant place to visit. The dry lands of the American Southwest are no exception. For geologists, the treat is made better by the marvelous exposures of barren rock that tell stories of the past when the landscape was very different. This is one of those places: Red Rock Canyon State Park in California. We paid a visit on our way to Death Valley a few weeks ago.The […]
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5:53 AM | Park Service to spend $5 million chasing water at Lake Mead
With Lake Mead projected to drop 15 feet between now and mid summer, to historic lows, the National Park Service is planning to spend another $5 million extending boat ramps, Steven Slivka at the Boulder City Review reported today: Vanover said drought conditions are expected to continue, and the Park Service is ready to deal ...Continue reading ‘Park Service to spend $5 million chasing water at Lake Mead’ »
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4:42 AM | Days on the JR
Mobile alarms, oh, it is already 23:20. ‘Wake up’, mind strikes and forces me to get up from the bed. After taking a shower, I prepare my backpack for the next 12-hour working shift. My roommate, who is working the opposite shift, is going to be here any time for the next twelve hours. After finishing all my morning ‘rituals’, I climb up the stairs full of enthusiasm to go to the core lab where we sedimentologists […]
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3:49 AM | Oklahoma Senator Illustrates Dunning-Kruger Effect
I wrote about the Dunning Kruger effect last week and a U.S.Senator took the floor of the Senate today to illustrate why you do not want to be a victim of this disease. In case your wondering about how the winter of 2015 is shaping up in the U.S. and around the world. Read this post from last week as well.Then there is also this research being published in the …

February 26, 2015

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8:54 PM | See How Sahara Dust Jets to the Amazon in 3-D
New satellite data shows how Sahara dust in the wind makes it to the Amazon, ensuring its survival. Continue reading →
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6:53 PM | Tutorial 29, Appendix B: good, bad, and ugly titles of Matt’s papers
Last October, Mike posted a tutorial on how to choose a paper title, then followed it up by evaluating the titles of his own papers. He invited me to do the same for my papers. I waited a few days to allow myself to forget Mike’s comments on our joint papers – not too hard […]
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6:32 PM | Greenhouse Effect Is Witnessed...and Getting Worse
The climate-changing greenhouse effect exists and has been directly measured in the United States. Continue reading →
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5:03 PM | Russia Moves to Support ISS through 2024, Create New Space Station
The future of the International Space Station is a little clearer this week, following a statement from Russia supporting an extension of the orbiting complex through 2024.
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4:23 PM | Dinos in Pop Culture - Camp Makela T-Shirt
So I recently permanently retired one of my favorite t-shirts. It was from the Museum of the Rockies Paleontology Field Camp program to Camp Makela. My favorite thing about the t-shirt was the "I dig dinosaurs" on the back, which I never noticed for the longest time. I just assumed it was the same as the front.I met quite a few good friends through the program when I did it in 96' and 97', many of whom I am still friends with today, and I am sad to see the shirt finally die. The program seems […]
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3:58 PM | Hoover Dam’s cobwebbed spillway*
Erika Moonin, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s engineering project manager for construction of the agency’s new Lake Mead intakes, showed me a picture yesterday of water pouring over Hoover Dam’s spillways in 1983, the last time the reservoir spilled. When she was a youngster, her dad took her out to see the spectacle. Looking at ...Continue reading ‘Hoover Dam’s cobwebbed spillway*’ »
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8:29 AM | A Different Kind of "Snow" in California, and a Coming World of Hurt
 There is a different kind of snow falling in California right now. It might look vaguely like that cold stuff that has been falling back east, but the resemblance stops at "white". The almond orchards of the Great Valley have been blooming for the last two weeks or so, and the flower petals are starting to fall to the ground as the buds break out into an explosion of green (green leaves now, and green piles of money later). The almond blossoms are one of the earliest fruit and nut trees […]
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7:41 AM | My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships
Or so says Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat in the colonies. In which case, he’s an idiot1. He’s a politicain. He should be used to, he should expect, daily to be talked to, to be lobbied, by people with strong political motivations, some or many of which will be hidden from him. He…
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7:28 AM | Non Washington Post: Blackhawk Landslide
Heading homebound I recognized this landscape that is familiar to many geologists: Blackhawk Landslide, Lucerne Valley, CAShreve (1959, http://thesis.library.caltech.edu/691/1/Shreve_rl_1959.pdf and 1968, http://specialpapers.gsapubs.org/content/108/1.short) suggested the slide mechanics that caused the slide of rocks to travel so far was that it was conveyed on a layer of trapped and compressed air. The slide took place 17,000 years ago and Shreve noted that there were other […]
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6:36 AM | Understanding adjustments to temperature data
This is a guest post by Zeke Hausfather There has been much discussion of temperature adjustment of late in both climate blogs and in the media, but not much background on what specific adjustments are being made, why they are being made, and what effects they have. Adjustments have a big effect on temperature trends in the U.S., and a modest effect on global land trends. The large contribution of adjustments to century-scale U.S. temperature trends lends itself to an unfortunate narrative that […]
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3:42 AM | At last, Ceres is a geological world
I've been resisting all urges to speculate on what kinds of geological features are present on Ceres, until now. Finally, Dawn has gotten close enough that the pictures it has returned show geology: bright spots, flat-floored craters, and enigmatic grooves.
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3:13 AM | Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, Nev.
LAS VEGAS – I like the fact that Las Vegas, Nev., is preserving the relics of its water origin story. From “spring hill” at the Springs Preserve municipal park, you can see the towers of Las Vegas’s gambling strip. Visitation at the park this afternoon when I snuck away for a bird-watching walk after a morning ...Continue reading ‘Springs Preserve, Las Vegas, Nev.’ »

February 25, 2015

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11:34 PM | Bends in Plumbing Cause Geysers to Erupt
The Chilean geyser called El Jefe provides new insight on how these natural wonders work. →
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11:33 PM | Geo 1095: February 24, Day 785: Ground Ground Underground
I think this is in the same room as yesterday's dike, but wherever it is, I looked down and was struck by the beauty of the ground and polished stalagmite under my feet. This photo nicely shows the concentric growth pattern of these features. The light/dark variations probably represent differing crystallization habits of the calcite across the duration of its deposition. My guess would be that darker areas represent coarser crystals (think water ice), while lighter areas represent finer […]
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11:28 PM | Blink and its gone – spectacular time-lapse of ice retreat at Fox Glacier
This spectacular time-lapse video1 captures the dramatic retreat of the Fox Glacier in Westland over the last year — 300 metres between January 2015 and January this year. As the ice retreats, the hillside becomes unstable and collapses down into the valley. To get a sense of the scale, you can see people watching from […]
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8:46 PM | Exit Pachi, pursued by no-one
We interrupt your regular diet of Willie Soon for a brief break (the S+B controversy, 2003 is seeing active work). IPCC agrees on Acting Chair after R.K. Pachauri steps down said the IPCC press on the 25th. That PR is not merely coy but completely silent as to the reasons why he stepped down; coy…
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8:00 PM | Dawn Journal: Ceres' Deepening Mysteries
Even as we discover more about Ceres, some mysteries only deepen. Mission Director Marc Rayman gives an update on Dawn as it moves ever closer to its next target.
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7:54 PM | Gonfoterio, no mastodonte.
En Somosaguas contamos con la presencia de un taxón que se ha convertido en emblemático de los yacimientos. Por supuesto, me refiero a nuestro proboscídeo Gomphotherium angustidens.Quizás, en alguna ocasión, hayais escuchado la muy difundida palabra mastodonte. Incluso puede que la hayais escuchado erróneamente para referirse a Gomphotherium. Mastodonte se emplea para definir cosas muy voluminosas, para nombrar coloquialmente a proboscídeos […]
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7:33 PM | New Blended Course on Emerging International Education Trends
Education advisors from Columbia University in collaboration with Avanti Fellows (www.avantifellows.org) and Central Square Foundation (www.centralsquarefoundation.org) are implementing a blended course, Emerging International Education Trends with Focus on the Indian Education System, in early to mid-2015, at Hindupat Institute of Teacher Training, Jiwaji University in Raghogarh, Madhya Pradesh, India. A pilot to improve teacher education [...]
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