Posts

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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6:50 PM | Geo 730: July 19, Day 565: Lavender Garnished with River Gravel and a Bonus Butterfly
Prior to chalking in the sundial in yesterday's photo, Tim and his son removed the cheatgrass that normally dominates the base of the pole, brought in some good soil, and planted a number of lavender starts. Then they tiled the bare areas with some river gravel. It's a refreshing change from the nasty invasive. A passing butterfly appears to agree.While the angle of the shadow with respect to 16th and Monroe is not evident in this photo, I'll first admit, I threw out a bit of a deceptive […]
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12:46 PM | Scientists Begin to Demystify Hole Found in Siberian Permafrost
Scientists start to demystify a mysterious crater found in Siberian permafrost.
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5:17 AM | Catastrophic Debris Avalanches - The Second Volcanic Hazard After Eruptions
Volcanic hazards aren't limited to eruptions, debris landslides can also cause a great deal of damage and loss of life.  Stratovolcanoes, with their steep, conical shapes made up of lava and unconsolidated mixed materials, can reach a critical point of instability when they overgrow their flanks. This leads to partial collapse, and the product of this slope failure is a large-scale, rapid mass movement known as a catastrophic landslide or debris avalanche. read more

July 18, 2014

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9:18 PM | Going on a Rock Cruise
Imagine two, 60-mile-thick slabs of rock running into each other. Which gives first and why? This is what happens when two oceanic plates go head to head, and one must buckle down, or subduct into a trench. In the western Pacific Ocean south of Japan, this is thought to have first occurred 52 million years…
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8:26 PM | Geo 730: July 18, Day 564: High Noon at Interzone
I'll be taking a few days' break from Quartzville to enjoy a spontaneous bit of art that happened at Interzone starting on Tuesday. Every hour, on the hour, IZ denizen Tim snapped a chalk line on the left edge of the shadow cast by the street lamp/telephone/power pole on the northeast corner of 16th and Monroe. Then the lines were bolded and times colored in with sidewalk chalk by Heidi and Erin. Shea drew a silhouette on the two o'clock line, which is the one most parallel to the street. This […]
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6:30 PM | Sparks Fly as Curiosity Laser Blasts Mars Rock
NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars has set off some fireworks on the Red Planet with the zap-zap-zap of its high-tech space laser.
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4:17 PM | Mount Rainier Magma Plume
McGary and others (2014) (nature.com/nature/journal) used electric and seismic sensors to produce an image of the subduction slab and magma plume associated with Mount Rainier.  Colors are resistivity which reflects the plume nicely as well as the cold blue ocean crust subduction slab. The red dots are recorded seismic events   The Nature article requires subscription, but Utah State has a news release that provides some good information about the […]

July 17, 2014

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10:36 PM | Geo 730: July 17, Day 563: Amygdaloidal Basalt
I'm pretty sure most of the mineral grains filling the vesicles (gas bubbles in igneous rocks) here are calcite. This rock has undergone quite a bit of weathering, so whether the voids were originally full of calcite is impossible to say. They may have been, and the mineral simply dissolved out. This is just behind the Green Peter Dam, and is a nice stop to look for zeolites and calcite. I don't have an off-the-cuff list of all the varieties of zeolite I've found here, but it would be pretty […]
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8:50 PM | USGS Updates Earthquake Map, 16 States at High Risk
Report's maps show geologists' predictions of where and how often future earthquakes may occur and how strongly they may shake the ground.
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7:15 PM | Detailed imaging of Mount Rainier shows subduction zone in glorious detail
New study shows us where magma is being generated.
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6:52 PM | Geo 730: July 16, Day 562: Wood, Ancient and Modern
A final shot of the petrified (permineralized, to be technically correct) tree stump closest to the intersection at the Sweet Home Community Museum. On the left side is an example of much younger wood, holding up the protective roof sheltering the stump. Other than the petrified wood itself, there are two features of interest to me.In the lower right portion of this crop, some of the surrounding rock matrix can be seen, still clinging to the outside of the stump. It's angular, suggesting it […]
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4:15 PM | Geo 730: July 15, Day 561: Squarshed Charcoal
As I described in the previous post, we see in this photo that the summer wood has collapsed, in this case, consistently to the right, and the winter wood is undeformed. The photo is a shot from the publication "Field Guide to Geologic Processes in Cascadia." This sample is not from the stumps in the five previous posts, but is a thin section of the permineralized charcoal from the Quartzville trip. The field location of the rock is reflected in the FlashEarth location, but the photo was […]

July 16, 2014

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10:33 PM | Geo 730: July 14, Day 560: Congratulations! It's a Conifer!
In this shot, we can see enough detail for me to be able to tell it's a conifer. How? Coniferous wood is dominated by a single cell type, tracheids, which make up 90-95% of the tissue volume. Deciduous wood has a greater variety of cell types, with greater specialization, and a more "disorganized" (my own mental construct) overall look. See this link for a nice introduction; the tissue diagrams on the right are the pertinent illustrations. Even at full size (see crop below), you can't make out […]
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8:15 PM | Geo 730: July 13, Day 559: Growth Rings
Zooming in from the last post, we're now close enough that the annual growth rings are evident. These form in wood that grows in temperate environments with distinct warm and cold seasons. During the cold weather, growth almost entirely stops, and the cells are much smaller and more densely packed, creating the dark portion of a ring. During warm weather, the cells grow more rapidly, and much larger, creating the lighter portion of each ring. In tropical areas, with no distinct seasons, tree […]
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7:18 PM | Geo 730: July 12, Day 558: Woody Texture
Over this and the next couple of posts, I'll be progressively zooming into the wood grain preserved in this specimen. Here, we can definitely see the woody texture and form, but not much detail. There are limits to what one can capture with a camera unaided by a microscope, but the detail one can capture is still pretty amazing. Photo unmodified. March 9, 2012. FlashEarth location.
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4:00 AM | Rainwater Found Below Earth's Crust
Rainwater can penetrate below the Earth's fractured upper crust, according to a new study. It had been thought that surface water could not penetrate the ductile crust, where temperatures of more than 300°C and high pressures cause rocks to flex and flow rather than fracture, but researchers have now found fluids derived from rainwater at these levels.  Fluids in the Earth's crust can weaken rocks and may help to initiate earthquakes along locked fault lines. They also concentrate […]
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