Posts

November 19, 2014

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2:00 PM | Want to Go to Mars? A Cheaper Alternative Resides in Chile’s Atacama Desert
If you want to go to Mars but can’t quite afford the hundreds of billions of dollars for a ticket, there is another solution: consider instead a trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile
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1:13 AM | trespassing
Geologists, do you trespass? Do you chase your outcrop over hill and dale? Sneak over a fence to collect a nice rock specimen?I do not. I'm pretty careful about lining up my permissions and access agreements. Even when a resident tells me straight out to just let myself in and not bother them with notifications, I still send a reminder before I go, and once I'm done with my sampling, leave a business card with a note thanking them. Part of this is personality - I wouldn't want some service […]
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12:02 AM | Geo 730: November 14, Day 683: Source of the Bridge II
This is more similar to the last post than I'd like, but it's a panorama composed of two more zoomed shots, so looking at the full-size version should allow you to see more easily the rocks composing the two major cliffs here. The amphitheater-like headwall I pointed out in the previous post is the source of a large landslide that occurred maybe one or two centuries before the first European explorers come through this area. Native American legend has it that it blocked the Columbia River at […]

November 18, 2014

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9:58 PM | Geo 730: November 13, Day 682: Source of the Bridge
Looking across the Columbia River at Cascade Locks, the peak on the right, the same as in yesterday's shot, appears to be sedimentary rock. The peak on the left looks like Columbia River Basalt. Given the essentially horizontal bedding in both exposures, it seems pretty certain there's a significant fault between the two, close to the left peak. In closing, note that the pair of cliffs seems to create an amphitheater-like wall, curving around to the south (we're looking close to west, in this […]
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7:25 PM | This Is the Most Destructive Process on Earth
It reduces boulders to smears of ions. It dissolves and disintegrates the tallest mountains. Geologists call it "weathering." It sounds harmless enough, but weathering is one of the most destructive forces on the face of the planet.Read more...

November 17, 2014

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11:10 PM | Geo 730: November 12, Day 681: Cascade Cliff
We're standing inside the Cascade Locks visitor center here; you can see the fuzzy reflection of the chandelier in the window in the top center. There's a sight-seeing paddlewheel boat departing in the foreground. I haven't done that excursion, and likely won't, so I have no idea if they discuss the geologic events the led to the creation of this scene. It would be a shame if they didn't; the geology is beautifully laid out. The large cliff to the left of center plays a major role. Given the […]
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10:20 PM | Incredible Details Emerge About An Ancient Landslide That Rocked Utah
For years, geologists have been intrigued by landslide deposits in the the Marysvale volcanic field in southwest Utah. It was assumed that these formations were produced by multiple events. But a new study suggests it's the result of a single massive landslide that happened 22 million years ago, the likes of which boggle the imagination.Read more...
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9:32 PM | Update on the Dropout
Last Wednesday, we puny humans landed on a comet- kudos and sincere admiration to ESA. I fully expected that I would lose a day or two focused entirely on that, and I did. Then, due to the (hilarious) foibles of the landing, as I was struggling to get caught up with my reading Friday, Philae was sputtering out of battery power, and was apparently headed into "hibernation mode," or as one wag put it, "a coma." So again I was largely distracted, watching breathlessly to see if the last batches of […]
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4:16 PM | View from the Handlebars
The blistering heat has dissipated. The jostling summer crowds have disappeared from the trails. Shuttle buses still whoosh quietly up and down the main canyon, but only on the weekends. The sun casts its lengthening shadows on the towering cliffs of Navajo Sandstone. There is a definite chill in the air. This is Zion National Park in November, and it is a perfect time for a bicycle ride.View from the handlebarsA bicycle offers opportunities to pause anytime, anywhere. In Zion, this means the […]
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3:45 PM | Links: Headwaters of the Susan River and Lassen Volcanic National Park
Geologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:main page at USGSGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 1, geologic mapGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 2, correlation chartGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 3, figuresGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:pamphlet (write up of the geology)Susan River (Wikipedia)Susan […]
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3:45 PM | Links: Headwaters of the Susan River and Lassen Volcanic National Park
Geologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:main page at USGSGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 1, geologic mapGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 2, correlation chartGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:Sheet 3, figuresGeologic Map of Lassen Volcanic National Park and Vicinity, California:pamphlet (write up of the geology)Susan River (Wikipedia)Susan […]
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3:42 AM | Effective stress and FDL science
"It's a very dynamic slope," Margaret Darrow said, standing in front of frozen debris lobe -A. FDL-A is a slow landslide; among the frozen debris lobes documented it's the closest to the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Although the lobes likely began their life as debris left over when Pleistocene glaciers disappeared 10 to 14 thousand years ago, their speed has recently increased. Now when Darrow describes FDL-A she states truly: "It moves so fast that you can watch it... […]
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3:42 AM | Effective stress and FDL science
"It's a very dynamic slope," Margaret Darrow said, standing in front of frozen debris lobe -A. FDL-A is a slow landslide; among the frozen debris lobes documented it's the closest to the Dalton Highway and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. Although the lobes likely began their life as debris left over when Pleistocene glaciers disappeared 10 to 14 thousand years ago, their speed has recently increased. Now when Darrow describes FDL-A she states truly: "It moves so fast that you can watch it... […]

November 16, 2014

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6:00 PM | One of world’s largest landslide deposits discovered in Utah
A landslide with a 90 kilometer-long debris field? That's pretty big.
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4:30 PM | BNSF Railroad and Unstable Bluffs near Bellingham
In late 2012 and early 2013 there were close to 100 shallow landslides that closed the rail line between Seattle and Everett, Washington due to wet weather and slopes above the railroad tracks becoming repeatedly saturated (railroad-landslide-closures). There was even a landslide that hit a moving train during that period.The rail line just northwest of Bellingham has not been closed by landslides, but faces a significant risk of landslides in the future as the railroad track runs along […]

November 14, 2014

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8:40 PM | Scientists Have Climbed To The Bottom Of The Mysterious Siberian Crater
Remember that dramatic 260-foot crater that was discovered in Siberia this past summer? In an effort to learn more about this mysterious hole, a team of Russian geologists has successfully climbed down to the bottom where they managed to perform tests and take some stunning photos. Read more...
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3:00 AM | The Complete Illustrated Guide to Minerals, Rocks & Fossils of the World
By John Farndon and Steve Parker (2006 Cover above) Synopsis: The Complete Illustrated Guide to Minerals, Rocks & Fossils of the World provides a comprehensive reference guide to over 700 minerals, rocks and plant and animal fossils from […]

November 13, 2014

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8:58 PM | What Can We Learn from the Italian Earthquake Trial?
When a court convicted earthquake scientists of manslaughter, seismologists everywhere feared the worst for their own efforts at informing the public. After the convictions were overturned on appeal this week, experts, journalists and the general public can consider the wider lessons learned.
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8:19 PM | How To Make Diamonds Out Of Peanut Butter
Diamonds are not rare. Relative to other gemstones, they're actually pretty common . Scientists have even found ways to make them in the lab from all manner of carbon-containing matter. Like carbon dioxide, or various foodstuffs. Foodstuffs like peanut butter.Read more...
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1:30 PM | A Hanging Valley in Lamoille Canyon
Getting back to Lamoille Canyon, a place of stunning cliffs and glacier carved valleys, I'm going to take us to an up-canyon viewpoint where we can see one of many hanging valleys. MOH and I initially came to this valley by way of the last stop on our second-day, GBR field trip. The roadside pullout, compleat with descriptive sign, can be reached easily by paved road by driving about 1.5 miles past Thomas Canyon campground.The hanging valley, as seen from a pullout along NF-650,looking up (way […]
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1:30 PM | A Hanging Valley in Lamoille Canyon
Getting back to Lamoille Canyon, a place of stunning cliffs and glacier carved valleys, I'm going to take us to an up-canyon viewpoint where we can see one of many hanging valleys. MOH and I initially came to this valley by way of the last stop on our second-day, GBR field trip. The roadside pullout, compleat with descriptive sign, can be reached easily by paved road by driving about 1.5 miles past Thomas Canyon campground.The hanging valley, as seen from a pullout along NF-650,looking up (way […]
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12:22 AM | The Amazing Life of Sand There’s a story in every grain of...
The Amazing Life of Sand There’s a story in every grain of sand: tales of life and death, fire and water. If you scooped up a handful of sand from every beach, you’d have a history of the world sifting through your fingers. From mountain boulders to the shells of tiny ocean creatures, follow the journey that sand takes through thousands of years across entire continents to wind up stuck between your toes. By: Deep Look.

November 12, 2014

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9:06 PM | Weird Places: Mexico’s Giant Crystal Cave by scishow: SciShow...
Weird Places: Mexico’s Giant Crystal Cave by scishow: SciShow explores a place that’s as beautiful as it is dangerous: Mexico’s Giant Crystal Cave, where chemistry has created the world’s largest crystals — but in an environment so hostile that you’d only survive a few minutes if you saw them without the right protection. But it’s safe inside! Come on in! Support on Subbable: https://subbable.com/scishow
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7:05 PM | Russia’s River Villages: An Icy Grave
Jon Waterhouse as he and his team trek to eastern Russia to bring the Network of Indigenous Knowledge (NIK) and its water tests to the peoples of Yakutia in this multi-part series. In a brief stopover, the team descends into the ice of Russia's Permafrost Institute.
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5:24 PM | Philae: "Hey Folks, I Got You a Comet"
At some point, I'll copy over some tweets and retweets from the past couple of hours, but for the time being, science people on Twitter are being like this. And I'm one of them. I'm not sure that anything else will be happening today. Thanks, ESA!

November 11, 2014

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11:09 PM | Geo 730: November 11, Day 680: Wood, Quartz, Agate and Ash
Above is a closer shot of the same general area on the petrified log at the Cascade Locks Visitor Center as in the previous post. Looking even more closely in a crop from this photo, there's some very pretty agate with a botryoidal (grape-like) texture.I've been meaning to discuss just why these ash-rich sedimentary environments tend to have such rich and well-preserved fossils. This is not just a feature of the Cascades; many renowned fossil localities are in ash-rich sediments, including […]
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7:40 PM | Geo 730: November 10, Day 679: Red Wood
No, not a redwood, but there's a fair chance this was a dawn redwood, or Metasequoia. Peavy Hall, the Forestry building at Oregon State, has a living dawn redwood near the north entrance, and two petrified logs of it, one near the east entry, and another in the atrium. Both were from the Eagle Creek Formation, as I suspect the above is. Not a terribly informative photo, but I love the color, and the contrast with the fern below.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location.
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7:15 PM | Scientists Engage With the Public During Lava Flow Threat
On 27 June, lava from Kīlauea, an active volcano on the island of Hawai`i, began flowing to the northeast, threatening the residents in Pāhoa. Eos recently spoke with Michael Poland, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) and a member of the Eos Editorial Advisory Board, to discuss how he and his colleagues communicated this threat to the public.
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12:48 AM | L’Aquila decision against geoscientists overturned
In an update to a story that shook geoscientists around the world, almost all of the people formerly found guilty in the L’Aquila earthquake prediction manslaughter case have been acquitted. Verdict Overturned for Italian Geoscientists Convicted of Manslaughter | WIRED. Today, after a surprisingly swift-by-Italian-standards appeals process, the three-judge panel acquitted six of the men.… Source: Doubtful News

November 10, 2014

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11:40 PM | Geologists Found "Not Guilty" of Causing Deaths in Italian Quake
An appeals court has cleared seven experts of manslaughter charges after being accused of failing to adequately warn citizens of the risk before an earthquake struck central Italy in 2009. The verdict had outraged many in the scientific community. Read more...
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