Posts

July 27, 2014

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7:50 PM | Geo 730: July 27, Day 573: Final Amygdules
A final shot of the calcite amygdules near Green Peter Dam on the Quartzville trip. Both of these have the typical almond-like shape, though there's a bit of moss growing on the blunt end of the left example.Photo unmodified. July 9, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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2:30 PM | Western Drought: Underground Water Loss Greater Threat To Water Supply Than Previously Realized
A new study has found that more than 75 percent of the water loss in the drought-stricken Colorado River Basin since late 2004 came from underground resources., which means the extent of groundwater loss may pose a greater threat to the water supply of the western United States than previously thought. This study is the first to quantify the amount that groundwater contributes to the water needs of western states. According to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal water management agency, […]
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12:27 PM | How to Find Sapphires… Sort Of [Northeast Tasmania]
Intro: I’ve never considered myself to be much of a rock hound, but being a geologist I guess I’m naturally attracted to pretty rocks and minerals… and so up sparked an idea to go panning (i.e. fossicking) for sapphires with some other Geo-friends in northeast Tasmania. What could be more fun than paddling knee high in […]

July 26, 2014

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6:51 PM | Scenic Saturday: Crossbeds on the Edge
Some of the famous features of the Peak District are not really peaks at all – but there is nothing more scenic than a wander along one of the ‘Edges’. These sheer cliffs, scattered along the eastern and western edges … Continue reading →
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6:28 PM | Geo 730: July 26, Day 572: More Amygdules
There are a number of calcite amygdules in this photo; the largest is in the upper center, and there are several smaller ones nearby. This spot sometimes gets overgrown with brambles, then a road crew will come through and clear them out. Over the next few years, the brambles will grow back, and the cycles repeats. So don't count on being able to find this spot, but it's definitely worthwhile looking for it.Photo unmodified. June 14, 2014. FlashEarth location.
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2:42 PM | Closer Look at The Nooksack Flow Split
As a bit of follow up on the DEM (digital elevation model) messing about I zoomed in a bit at the Nooksack River avulsion (course change) location near Everson.The river flows into the image from the south across a broad braided-channel flood plain. The river then bends sharp to the left at Everson just before it passes under a State highway bridge. It appears almost delta-like as over bank deposits on either side of the river cover a broad flood plain down stream of the Everson Bridge. If […]

July 25, 2014

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10:41 PM | Fresh Focus on Siberian Permafrost as Second Hole is Reported
A report of a second odd hole in the Siberian permafrost draws fresh attention to the warming Russian tundra.
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5:41 PM | Geo 730: July 25, Day 571: Calcite Amygdules
At the southwest (downstream, toward the dam) end of the basalt outcrop near Green Peter Dam, there is what I would guess is a different flow of vesicular basalt. (It's unclear to me just how many individual flows are present in this outcrop.) The vesicles in this flow are less abundant, but much larger than elsewhere, and entirely filled with calcite. In addition, due to shearing in the flowing lava, they are typically pulled out into flattened teardrop-shaped lenses, reminiscent of almonds, […]

July 24, 2014

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11:38 PM | Geo 730: July 24, Day 570: Stilbite Closeup
A closer view of yesterday's vesicular basalt. This shot is close enough that in crops of the full-size image, one can make out the individual blades. Compare the shape of the circled bits below to the diagrams and photos at this site. I will say, I take issue with their claim that "single individual crystals are very uncommon." Larger crystals that are not in clusters are not common, but smaller crystals, easily identified with the naked eye or with a hand lens, are pretty common, in my […]
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10:23 PM | Like The Bahamas' Great Bank? Thank Dust From The Sahara
A new study suggests that Saharan dust played a major role in the formation of the Bahamas islands. Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science showed that iron-rich Saharan dust provides the nutrients necessary for specialized bacteria to produce the island chain's carbonate-based foundation.read more
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3:01 PM | A few DEM Images of the Nooksack
A bit of messing around with some DEM (digital elevation model) and came up with some visuals of the lower Nooksack River in northwest Washington. By shifting the elevations of the colors one can enhance features that would otherwise be hard to see.The first image shows the complicated story of part of the Nooksack River and some late ice age drainage patterns. The dark green is lower elevation. The Nooksack flows towards the west into a broad valley formed by an […]

July 23, 2014

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9:35 PM | Geo 730: July 23, Day 569: Stilbite Vesicles
I'll be mixing in photos from three different trips to Quartzville over the last couple years for this portion of the series; this one is from the middle of June, and shows a bit of vesicular basalt. The gas bubbles are partly filled with (mostly) stilbite. Note that I can't make that identification from this photo; the resolution isn't good enough. You need to get up close and personal with a hand lens to make that call. With the exception of natrolite, that's generally the case at this […]
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8:08 PM | Mysterious Fossils in 3D
Emily Hughes brings us tales of adventure and discovery from the Australian Outback as she and her mother search for unbelievably ancient fossils. Pteridiniums are ancient organisms full of mystery—and those found in the Outback are much older than anyone previously thought.
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3:49 PM | Pseudo-poo! All that glitters isn’t fecal gold
Fossil feces are the stuff of legend. Not only do they have the “gee-whiz-gross” factor, but they also preserve evidence of diet, parasites, and paleoecology in long-dead animals. An paleontological urban legend holds that the technical term–”coprolite”–was coined …The post Pseudo-poo! All that glitters isn’t fecal gold appeared first on The Integrative Paleontologists.
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2:57 PM | GEER Report on OSO Landslide is Out
The GEER report on the Oso slide has been released. http://www.geerassociation.org/GEER_Post%20EQ%20Reports/Oso_WA_2014/index.htmlGEER stands for Geotechnical Extreme Events Reconnaissance. I believe this is the first landslide the program has looked at. They visit sites shortly after huge floods, tsunamis and earthquakes to gather evidence of the event before it weathers away. I utilized a GEER report for assessing scour potential from tsunami in a tsunami inundation area.
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6:36 AM | Bahama Carbonate Precipitation Triggered By Saharan Dust
Interesting paper in Geology : The fertilization of the Bahamas by Saharan dust: A trigger for carbonate precipitation? - P.K. Swart, A.M. Oehlert, G.J. Mackenzie, G.P. Eberli and J.J.G. ReijmerAbstractThe enigma of the Bahamas is that this highly productive carbonate system has existed for at least 100 m.y., building a vast edifice of carbonates, thousands of meters thick, in an essentially nutrient-poor environment. Based on measurements of the insoluble material, the Fe and Mn in the […]

July 22, 2014

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10:54 PM | The Live Volcano Of Jeju Island
In Jeju, a place emerging as a world-famous vacation spot with natural tourism resources, a recent study revealed a volcanic eruption occurred on the island. The Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) indicated that there are the traces that indicated that a recent volcanic eruption was evident 5,000 years ago. That is the first time to actually find out the date when lava spewed out of a volcano 5,000 years ago in the inland part of the island as well as the one the whole […]
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10:26 PM | Geo 730: July 22, Day 568: Apparently Uninteresting
Just plain-ole basalt. Dull, right? Well, yes, it can get tedious in a state so well endowed with that rock, but it can be interesting if there's something more than just plain-ole black ugly rock. In this case, the white splotches down lower are mostly Queen Anne's Lace. But the speckles up higher are calcite and zeolites, and those are pretty and interesting. The best way to look for them here is by splitting the cobbles and boulders that have fallen off the face and into the ditch/berm. The […]
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4:55 PM | Oso disaster had its roots in earlier landslides
The disastrous March 22 landslide that killed 43 people in the rural Washington state community of Oso involved the "remobilization" of a 2006 landslide on the same hillside, a new federally sponsored geological study concludes.
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2:00 PM | Coal Ash Conundrum
What happens when 39,000 tons of coal ash spill into a river?
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1:57 PM | A simple explanation for awe-inspiring sandstone arches
Gravity is not the arches' enemy—it's their secret.

July 21, 2014

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9:49 PM | Geo 730: July 21, Day 567: Sidewalk, Redux
Okay, it's a pretty lousy photo, and the shadows from the fence when I was out taking pictures don't help at all, but here's the same stretch of sidewalk I featured five years (!) and a month ago. I've annotated just two of the more distinctive pebbles, but you can see the full deal here. That photo seems to have a big impact in presentations I've done over the past few years. In a field trip a month ago, participants found quite a few nice agates at our first stop, and were somewhat distracted […]
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8:40 PM | Geologists finally understand how sandstone arches get their shape.
Geologists finally understand how sandstone arches get their shape. By studying cubes of sand, researchers showed that areas squeezed by vertical stress are strengthened and protected from erosion. This means that it's gravity — and not erosion — that gives rise to elegant sandstone arches, pillars, and alcoves. Read more...
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5:40 PM | DNews: What Could Have Made Siberia's Mystery Crater?
It's big, it's deep, it's just all-around spooky, and so far no one has a clue how it got there! But the big honkin' crater in Siberia didn't just appear there out of thin air ... er, did it?
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1:00 PM | Could Deep Oceans Hide Life?
What could live in the world’s deepest ocean? We aren’t talking about the Mariana Trench or Challenger Deep; recent diamond finds support a long-running theory that there is an ocean of water trapped underneath the upper mantle. As anyone in the… Read more › The post Could Deep Oceans Hide Life? appeared first on Ricochet Science.
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1:00 PM | Could Deep Oceans Hide Life?
What could live in the world’s deepest ocean? We aren’t talking about the Mariana Trench or Challenger Deep; recent diamond finds support a long-running theory that there is an ocean of water trapped underneath the upper mantle. As anyone in the… Read more › The post Could Deep Oceans Hide Life? appeared first on Ricochet Science.

July 20, 2014

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10:15 PM | Geo 730: July 20, Day 566: 9 to 5, and Nighttime, Too
Interzone's sundial is marked from nine AM to five PM, and oddly, "Night" is marked, too. How does that work? When the sun goes down, the street light comes on, and casts a shadow along the marked path. We're on a spnning ball of rock, which means the sun appears to move through the sky, but the lamp spins with it, so it appears fixed.Photo unmodified. July 18, 2014. FlashEarth location.
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6:30 PM | Red Planet: Global Geologic Map Of Mars Shows It's Older Than Thought
A new global geologic map of Mars is the most thorough representation of the "Red Planet's" surface, bringing together observations and scientific findings from four orbiting spacecraft that have been acquiring data for more than 16 years. read more
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2:30 AM | Why There's A Bend In The Appalachian Mountain Chain
The Appalachian mountain chain runs along a nearly straight line from Alabama to Newfoundland— 1,500 miles - except for a curious bend in Pennsylvania and New York. Why it bends has been a mystery. When the North American and African continental plates collided more than 300 million years ago, the North American plate began folding and thrusting upwards as it was pushed westward into the dense underground rock structure—in what is now the northeastern United States. The dense […]

July 19, 2014

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10:46 PM | Now you see it, now you don’t: the disappearing and reappearing waters of the River Manifold
We’re just back from a couple of weeks in the UK, which included a week exploring the scenic Peak District in northern England. Interesting geological features abounded from day one, when we took a hike along part of the very … Continue reading →
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