Posts

October 22, 2014

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5:59 PM | Geo 730: October 22, Day 660: Punchbowl Strata
All three major components of the stratigraphy at Devils Punchbowl are visible here: the Astoria Formation forms the bedrock of the punchbowl itself. Contemporaneous Columbia River Basalt forms Otter Rock, offshore, as well as the headland on the far right horizon. Finally, flat-lying, probably Pleistocene, terrace sands have created the eroding bluff along the right and bottom edges. The role of plant cover in assisting the latter unit maintain some degree of coherence is evident in the grassy […]

October 21, 2014

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8:07 PM | Geo 730: October 21, Day 659: Full Punchbowl
I've mentioned Devils Punchbowl quite a number of times, but shown a photo of it only once before in this series. That one was at a low-ish tide, though clearly not unusually low. At negative tides, the interior is easily accessible on foot, and it looks as if in that photo, there's water in the right portal, where one would enter. But here we see it at high-ish tide, and in relatively calm conditions. Even calm, you wouldn't want to get stuck in here; the water is extremely cold. I don't […]
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5:38 PM | The Structure of Earth by jtotheizzoe: Human beings have only...
The Structure of Earth by jtotheizzoe: Human beings have only been able to drill down a third of the way into Earth’s crust. That’s only about 0.3% of the radius of the Earth. So how we know so much about its internal structure? In this week’s It’s Okay To Be Smart, you’ll earn why the Earth is organized like an onion filled with sizzling magma and metal as hot as the sun, plus how it got to be that way. You’ll also discover how the leftovers from dying […]
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4:14 PM | Meteorite Impact May Have Triggered Largest Pulse Of Deccan Basalt Eruptions
What caused the mass extinction 65 million years ago?a) It was a meteorite impact and the resulting environmental crises.b) No,  it was the Deccan basalt eruptions and the resulting environmental crises.c) It was both, the meteorite impact and the eruptions.The two mechanisms were distinct. One, a calamity from space and the other a gigantic eruption whose cause was from deep within the earth. Now, it seems they may be more intimately linked. The meteorite impact may have triggered the […]
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3:08 PM | The north pole moved to the North Pole in a single human lifetime
New record shows last flip of Earth’s magnetic poles happened quickly.
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3:05 PM | Great Earthquakes Doubled In The Most Recent 10 Year Period - What That Means
Since December 2004 there have been 18 quakes of 8.0 or greater on the moment magnitude (Mw) scale – a rate more than twice that seen from 1900 to mid-2004. Some of that difference could be due to unprecedented advances in technological and scientific capacity to detect earthquakes. Like the distance of Babe Ruth's homeruns, anecdotes about past earthquakes have the mist of legend shrouding them, but modern earthquakes have a variety of ways they can be understood - and that […]
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5:22 AM | Sunday dispatches from GSA: Vancouver
View the story “GSA Day 1″ on Storify

October 20, 2014

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11:57 PM | Antarctica 2014: Success at Lewis Bay
Join Ken Sims as he tackles perilous ice-encrusted volcanoes in the attempt to study their geological past in Antarctica.
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11:18 PM | October 19, 2014: Creating Electricity From Food Waste, Arresting Poachers and More
This week on National Geographic Weekend radio, join host Boyd Matson and his guests as they unearth the habits of the world's largest-ever carnivore, digest kitchen waste to cook dinner, eat like a 500 year old king, stalk Chernobyl's ruins, trace tree rings' roots, write a novel about elephants with a plot twist, kayak to protest dams, prosecute poachers in Mozambique, and see the unseen as a large format film.
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10:40 PM | New Evidence Suggests Hawaii Could Be Hit By A Massive Tsunami
The discovery of a massive debris pile in a giant sinkhole in the Hawaiian islands suggests that the region was hit by a mammoth tsunami about 500 years ago. It was larger than any in Hawaii's recorded history, so scientists are now worrying that a similar disaster could happen again.Read more...
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7:20 PM | The Supervillain's Guide to Causing Natural Disasters
For the new supervillain starting out, there are endless choices when it comes to tools of world domination. But nothing works better than natural disasters. That's why you need our essential guide to harnessing the powers of the Earth to rule puny humans with volcanoes, landslides, earthquakes, and more.Read more...
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6:43 PM | Geo 730: October 20, Day 658: Looking Back
This is the view from Devils Punchbowl, looking back north to the site of yesterday's photo, Otter Crest. That headland and the next one beyond are composed of Columbia River Basalt. The yellow to gray tilted beds in the middle promontory are Astoria Formation, which was deposited but not yet lithified when the basalt arrived. Those beds, in turn, were beveled off to create a flat marine terrace, upon which the much lighter, flat-lying sands were deposited. The the whole kit and kaboodle was […]
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4:00 PM | Watch Your Step: the Alpha Predator of the Ordovician
Frozen into the stone floor of a stairway landing, several flights up in Columbia’s Lewisohn Hall, sits a stark reminder of how life has evolved in the sea. Part 6 of the Columbia Geology Tour.
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2:00 PM | Natural underground CO2 reservoir reveals clues about storage
CO2 has stayed down there for over a million years, but it dissolves slowly.
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11:00 AM | Earth Shots: Must-See Planet Pics (Oct. 20)
A NASA jet tests biofuel, an ice waterfall forms from a glacier and Super Typhoon Vongfong whips into a category 5 storm.

October 19, 2014

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10:05 PM | Geo 730: October 19, Day 657: Otter Crest Outlook
The view from Otter Crest has become my favorite along the central coast. It's a spot I visited once, maybe twice early in my undergrad years, then forgot how to get to it. It's off of 101, and access is easy to miss if you're not looking for it. So on my first recent visit, last year, I was pretty well blown away by the view. On our July trip this year, we arrived near high tide; during my previous two visits last year, the tide was low. You can see the difference it makes by comparing the […]
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7:15 PM | How do we really know the Earth has a solid core? I mean, we...
How do we really know the Earth has a solid core? I mean, we can’t go down there, despite what Jules Verne would lead you to believe. As I mentioned in my “Structure of the Earth” video this week on It’s Okay To Be Smart, Earth’s tendency to shake and rumble up here on the crust has allowed us to discover a lot about its inner structure. Earthquakes don’t only send waves along Earth’s surface, they send certain kinds of waves (P-waves and […]

October 18, 2014

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8:13 PM | Geo 730: October 18, Day 656: Stonecrop
Poking around on the roadcut across from the pullout, many of the joints were inhabited by these pretty little succulents. I don't know plants terribly well, but I'm guessing this is some kind of Sedum, a very diverse genus of plants also known as stonecrops. They seem, in my experience, to be good pioneers, and are some of the earliest colonizers of fresh rock exposures before soil development has progressed very far.Photo unmodified. July 15, 2014. FlashEarth Location.
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8:05 PM | World’s Most Asked Questions: How Old is Earth? by...
World’s Most Asked Questions: How Old is Earth? by scishow: People ask Google everything under the sun. One of the most commonly searched questions in the world is “How old is Earth?” SciShow has the answer! Hosted by: Caitlin Hofmeister Support on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow
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3:34 PM | How many lakes are there?
How many lakes are there? We don’t actually know. Lakes are often undercounted, or small lakes ignored, in larger scale geophysical surveys. It is hard to count the small lakes, or in some cases, even to define them. A recent study (published in Geophysical Research Letters) examines this question. We want to know how many…
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3:34 PM | How many lakes are there?
How many lakes are there? We don’t actually know. Lakes are often undercounted, or small lakes ignored, in larger scale geophysical surveys. It is hard to count the small lakes, or in some cases, even to define them. A recent study (published in Geophysical Research Letters) examines this question. We want to know how many…

October 17, 2014

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7:11 PM | Geo 730: October 17, Day 655: Otter Crest Rockfall
This was just a random stop- "Oh, look. A pullout. Let's see what we can see." And as you can see from yesterday's post, there's a nice view overall. But there's also a very nice example of a coastal rockfall. The pounding surf undercut and weakened the headland. Ultimately unable to support itself, a large chunk collapsed into the ocean, leaving an impressive pile of boulders. Coastal landforms, even this resistant block of Columbia River Basalt, are short-lived in such an energetic […]
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4:35 PM | How Do We Know How Old The Earth Is?
The folks at SciShow teamed up with Google and YouTube to bring us answers to 10 of the most commonly searched questions on the Internet. Today's question? How old is the earth?, or, an even better question: How do we know how old the earth is?Read more...
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4:29 PM | Prehistoric climate – wish you were there?
Last week I wrote about how cyclical variation in Earth’s orbit influences the long-term climate here on the surface. I also left you on a cliff-hanger promising knowledge of how we know what we know regarding climate in the deep past. This week, I give you the answer: oxygen. Atoms or isotopes? A very quick […]
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4:11 PM | Geo 730: October 16, Day 654: Otter Crest and Otter Rock
I'm still not convinced I have the place names down correctly for this area, but I think the headland is Otter Crest, while the island farther out and to the south is Otter Rock. And of course, currently, there are no native otters in Oregon. There is a Washington population, and a California population, and occasionally one or a few will come into our state. But other than otters in captivity at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport, and (I think) at the Oregon Zoo in Portland, we have none […]

October 16, 2014

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11:40 PM | Hundreds of Earthquakes In Ohio Linked To Fracking
You can't blame hydraulic fracturing for every natural disaster , but newly published research has linked 400 small earthquakes in Ohio last year to the geology-busting technique.Read more...
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10:45 PM | Does the Anthropocene, the Age of Humans, Deserve a Golden Spike?
A meeting of geologists and other analysts explores whether Earth has entered a geological age made by humans.
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10:00 PM | Journey To The Center Of The Earth Finds Primordial Signatures From The Early Solar System
A study of Samoan volcano hotspots has found evidence of the planet's early formation still trapped inside the Earth. Volcanic island chains such as Samoa can contain ancient primordial signatures from the early solar system that have survived for billions of years. To make their determination, the researchers utilized high-precision lead and helium isotope measurements to unravel the chemical composition and geometry of the deep mantle plume feeding Samoa's volcanoes.  In most […]
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9:44 PM | Meet Scott McVay: A Pioneer in Arctic Exploration In 1973,...
Meet Scott McVay: A Pioneer in Arctic Exploration In 1973, Scott McVay and a team of scientists were the first to document the bowhead whale. Dr. McVay shares some of the key findings and exciting moments from that expedition, including the moment they captured footage of the reticent sea creature. By: World Science Festival.
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4:48 PM | Earth’s magnetic field could flip within a human lifetime
Earth’s last magnetic reversal took place 786,000 years ago and happened very quickly, in less than 100 years — roughly a human lifetime. The rapid flip, much faster than the thousands of years most geologists thought, comes as new measurements show the planet’s magnetic field is weakening 10 times faster than normal and could drop … Continue reading →
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