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Posts

April 23, 2014

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5:36 PM | Geo 730: April 23, Day 479: Transition
We're looking at a rugged, but more or less flat-lying, marine terrace here. The sedimentary component seems to becoming more sparse, and the basaltic component- both pillows and breccia- more dominant, as compared to earlier exposures farther south along the sidewalk.Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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4:50 PM | Could a Warning System Save Lives in a Landslide?
Technology can be used to predict landslides, issue warnings and forecast the time of failure.
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1:20 PM | Antarctic Lava Lake Huffs, Puffs Like Dozing Dragon
The coldest place on Earth is also one of the rare spots where a roiling lava lake offers a window into the heart of a volcano.

April 22, 2014

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6:29 PM | Geo 730: April 22, Day 478: Puzzling Pillows
This is perhaps one of the nicest exposures along the waterfront sidewalk in Depoe Bay. There's a cleft in the rock, coming right up to the sea wall, near the crosswalk in the middle of town. Looking down onto the rock, you can see individual pillows and clumps of them suspended in a mixture of sandstone and breccia. I presume the latter formed by spalling off the pillows as they formed. Glassy breccia of this sort is pretty standard with pillow basalt, and can be seen in a post from last […]
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4:25 PM | Researchers Use Noble Gas Krypton to Precisely Date Antarctic Ice
Scientists led by Dr Christo Buizert of Oregon State University have successfully used an innovative radiometric-Krypton-dating technique to determine the age of ice from Taylor Glacier, the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. The new technique is much like the more-heralded carbon-14 dating technique that measures the decay of a radioactive isotope and compares it to a [...]
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2:59 PM | Landslide Discussion with Whatcom County Council
Whatcom County Council wants to start a dialog on landslide hazards and I was asked to make a presentation. The following are the images from the presentation with just a few notes. John Thompson, geologist with Whatcom County Public Works River and Flood and Natural Resources will present some information as well. A strength Whatcom County has had has been staff geologists that have played a role in reducing hazard risks. I decided to start the talk with a brief overview of the […]
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1:00 PM | California Edging Closer to Regulating Groundwater for the First Time
Power players in California water policy seem to agree for once: it's time to get serious about groundwater.
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9:09 AM | Putnisite: New Mineral Discovered in Australia
A multinational group of scientists led by Dr Peter Elliott of South Australian Museum and the University of Adelaide has described a new mineral from the Polar Bear peninsula, Southern Lake Cowan, Australia. The new mineral is named putnisite after Drs Christine and Andrew Putnis from the University of Münster, Germany, for their outstanding contributions [...]

April 21, 2014

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5:43 PM | Geo 730: April 21, Day 477: Muddled Mix
Some sections of the basalt/sedimentary mixture at Depoe Bay seem at least somewhat stratified- not organized, per se, but not exactly chaotic either. The above shows a disorganized muddle of pillows, breccia and sediment. It's hard to tell the finer breccia material from the sediment at this distance, so I don't have a good sense of how much there really is of the latter here, and how much is purely volcanic in origin.Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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5:00 PM | Across the West and Back Day 2: Beyond the Wasatch
It was a cloudy and soon to be stormy day, and we were just about over the Wasatch, just about to U.S. 189, which runs in a northeasterly direction through Provo Canyon toward Heber City, where we planned to meet up with U.S. 40. On our way to 189, still on S.R. 92, we passed by one or two roadcuts exposing some tilted beds, a general configuration that was rapidly becoming familiar on our trip, one I soon came to think of as "another tilted section." In this case, it turned out that we were […]
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5:00 PM | Across the West and Back Day 2: Beyond the Wasatch
It was a cloudy and soon to be stormy day, and we were just about over the Wasatch, just about to U.S. 189, which runs in a northeasterly direction through Provo Canyon toward Heber City, where we planned to meet up with U.S. 40. On our way to 189, still on S.R. 92, we passed by one or two roadcuts exposing some tilted beds, a general configuration that was rapidly becoming familiar on our trip, one I soon came to think of as "another tilted section." In this case, it turned out that we were […]
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1:30 PM | Venus’ crust heals too fast for plate tectonics
On Earth, fractures stayed fractured and created plate boundaries.
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12:30 PM | How mountains grow when continents crash India and...
How mountains grow when continents crash India and Eurasia’s collision should have been too brief for the Himalayas to grow tall, but it now seems one just pushed past the other and ploughed on Full story: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25270#.U1Q1sFcU9xM via New Scientist Video.

April 20, 2014

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6:27 PM | Geo 730: April 20, Day 476: Weathered Wall
Taking a break from the basalt and sandstone of the surf area (though you can still see a bit a blue from the bay at the top), this is a close-up of the wall along the sidewalk of the Depoe Bay waterfront. I would describe this as cavernous weathering, with ribs between pits forming in vesicular (bubbly) basalt.Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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2:24 PM | Notes from the West Side of Marrowstone
I had a project on the southwest shore of Marrowstone Island near the upper end of Mystery Bay. The beach here is primarily gravel at the surface but with a mix of sand and silts under the gravel as well. Except for the upper beach the tidelands here are crunchy with various tidal sea life too the point of influence where I walked.barnacle encrusted beach gravelGreat heron sharing the beach with meThe protected nature of the bay is such that the gravel remains undisturbed for long periods and […]

April 19, 2014

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10:34 PM | Space Metal!! We take iron for granted these days.  Before human...
Space Metal!! We take iron for granted these days.  Before human cultures mastered the art and science of metallurgy, the ability to purify and alloy Earth’s various metals, especially iron, into useful stuff like swords, spoons, and steel, pure iron was rare stuff. Despite being common in the crust, Earth’s iron isn’t sitting there in huge nuggets like California gold. It is trapped in ores and require extensive science magic to extract.  Yet iron artifacts have […]
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7:49 PM | Geo 730: April 19, Day 475: Pillows and Beds
One notable feature of the Depoe Bay basalts is the way the pillows are interbedded with sediments. In some spots, such as this one, the pillows appear to be completely surrounded by, and supported in, the sandstone. My best guess would be that discrete pillows formed on the sea floor, then foundered into the underlying unconsolidated sediment. Alternatively, they might be invasive- that is the pillows may have formed by intrusion of lava into the sediment below- but that seems less likely, to […]

April 18, 2014

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8:04 PM | Asteroid, Meteorite Impacts Can Preserve Biodata for Millions of Years
In two separate studies, geologists led by Dr Haley Sapers from the University of Western Ontario and Dr Pete Schultz of Brown University have found floral, microbial and organic matter in glass created by ancient asteroid, comet and meteorite impacts. Such glass samples could provide a snapshot of environmental conditions at the time of those [...]
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7:03 PM | Geo 730: April 18, Day 474: Confluence
Somewhere in the OR/WA/ID tri-state area, a spring surfaced in the Miocene. The liquid did as liquids will, and flowed downhill, rushing across the landscape. Gurgling, bubbling, and chortling across the territory later to become known as Oregon, it charged toward its confluence with the great basin of saltwater we now call the Pacific Ocean. When the torrent finally reached that shore, it playfully plunged in.And froze solid.Because this was no ordinary, aqueous, spring, but a vast cauldron of […]
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4:09 PM | Lost World: 3-Million-Year-Old Landscape Still Exists Under Greenland Ice Sheet
Parts of the landscape underlying the massive Greenland ice sheet may have been undisturbed for almost 3 million years, since the island became completely ice-covered, say researchers who based their discovery on an analysis of the chemical composition of silts recovered from the bottom of an ice core more than 3,000 meters long.  The find suggests "pre-glacial landscapes can remain preserved for long periods under continental ice sheets."  In the time since the ice sheet formed "the […]
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2:17 PM | Church Mountain and Sanford Pasture Landslides
LiDAR imagery does not extend all the way up to Glacier, Washington. As noted in my last post, the Church Mountain Landslide fills the valley floor of the North Fork Nooksack River near Glacier. DEM (digital elevation model) of Church Mountain LandslideSummit of Church Mountain is on the upper leftLumpy area in lower center filling the valley is the thicker part of the slide depositThe slide deposit extends nearly all the way to the left edge of the imageNote the change in image sharpness […]

April 17, 2014

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8:02 PM | Biologists’ Paradox: Killing and Collecting Rare Creatures to Prove They’re Not Extinct
A group of biologists asks their peers to start documenting newly discovered and "rediscovered" species by non-destructive techniques instead of killing a specimen to bring home.
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7:57 PM | 2.7-Million-Year-Old Forested Landscape Discovered under Greenland Ice Sheet
U.S. geologists have discovered what they say is a Pleistocene landscape preserved about 3 km beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. “We found organic soil that has been frozen to the bottom of the ice sheet for 2.7 million years,” said Dr Paul Bierman, a geologist with the University of Vermont and the lead author of [...]
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7:33 PM | Geo 730: April 17, Day 473: Whale Cove Sandstone
Looking more or less north from the southern end of the city of Depoe Bay, in the foreground we see the basalt of Depoe Bay. The buff cliffs under the buildings in the distance are composed of sandstone, referred to as the sandstone of Whale Cove (a small cove just to the south), and the darker rocks out on the point are made of Cape Foulweather basalt. Overall, this represents a pair of Columbia River Basalt flows separated by an interval of sedimentation. It wouldn't surprise me to find that […]
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7:31 PM | A Visit To The Science Museum
Last Friday, budding paleontologist O, his mother and I visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Its paleo hall walks you through geologic time and is one of the best in the world! The gems and minerals exhibit isn’t bad either, but can use a larger variety of minerals and better labels. Speaking of labels, take some […]
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7:31 PM | A Visit To The Science Museum
Last Friday, budding paleontologist O, his mother and I visited the Houston Museum of Natural Science. Its paleo hall walks you through geologic time and is one of the best in the world! The gems and minerals exhibit isn’t bad either, but can use a larger variety of minerals and better labels. Speaking of labels, take some […]
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2:11 PM | Mountainous Fib: Andes Lie About Their Age
New research into the height of a very remote Andean plateau reveals just the latest surprise from the Earth's second-greatest mountain belt.
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5:06 AM | A Few Deep-Seated Bedrock Landslides in Whatcom County
Shortly after the Oso/Hazel slide John Stark with the Bellingham Herald contacted me and asked if Whatcom County has any comparable landslide risks. In terms of likely imminent threat, there are no sites in Whatcom County that are directly comparable to the Hazel Slide in terms of size and pending risk. The Clay Banks (nooksack-river-temporarily-blocked-by-landslide, nooksack-river-blocking-landslide-notes, further-update-on-nooksack-river/clay-banks-via-DT, and […]

April 16, 2014

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7:22 PM | The Chemical Secrets Found In Ancient Mars Rocks
Geologists have analyzed 40 meteorites that fell to Earth from Mars those chemical signatures have revealed some secrets of the early Martian atmosphere. The atmospheres of Mars and Earth diverged in important ways very early in the 4.6 billion year history of our solar system. Of course, what everyone wants to know is if life ever existed there and how water flowed in the past. Those answers are still waiting to be found but researchers are learning where to look. read more
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5:57 PM | Geo 730: April 16, Day 472: Depoe Bay, Abridged
Looking south-southwest from fnder the Depoe Bay Bridge, you can see the narrow notch the fleet must navigate to get into and out of the harbor. As hair-raising a prospect as that sounds to me, the lack of major currents- even those of tides, due to the restricted size of the basin- means that it's probably a less complicated and risky proposition than in larger estuaries. I'm pretty much guessing here, but I've heard stories about "crossing the bar" from several other Oregon locations, […]
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