November 28, 2014

11:34 PM | Geo 730: November 28, Day 697: Hood River Rubble
I was not able to get a good, clear photo of the lahar deposits around the river at this stop, but this is the best of them. In the little slice of whitewater right near the center of the shot, you can see some of the rounded boulders that characterize much of the upper stretch of this river. And though it's over exposed, you can see more of the poorly sorted and essentially un-bedded deposits on the far bank. Near the top, it looks as if we're seeing a talus pile from a still higher (though […]
10:02 PM | Geo 730: November 27, Day 696: Another Knockoff
Well, okay, yes, this photo is very similar to the previous one in the series, and maybe doesn't add much in the way of information. On the other hand, look at that talus pile of loose boulders behind the barrier; it has taken a lot of beating. And the fact that one of those boulders was able to knock that large chip right off the reinforced concrete is really pretty impressive. At least it was to me.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location (possibly maybe).

November 27, 2014

1:11 AM | Climate Politics With Hank Green! In this episode of Thought...
Climate Politics With Hank Green! In this episode of Thought Café Today, Jon and Hank Green tackle the issue of climate change. Following the September NYC UN Summit on Climate Change, Hank talks about his hope for the future of the climate, the reluctance of many world leaders when it comes to addressing their country’s emissions, and the sense of urgency we should feel when it comes to implementing concrete measures to deal with this issue. Plus, we find out what grades Hank and […]

November 26, 2014

10:10 PM | Geo 730: November 26, Day 695: School of Hard Knocks
Looking over later photos of this outcrop, I found I'd misremembered it somewhat in yesterday's description- it appears to be a lava flow- likely andesite or similar- overlain by lahar deposits, not simply piles of those debris flows. However, there's still plenty of bouldery, loosely consolidated and poorly sorted debris up above that andesite (?) cliff, and pieces obviously fall out and off frequently. This poor, beaten up Jersey barrier testifies clearly to that.Photo unmodified. October 10, […]

November 25, 2014

11:11 PM | Geo 730: November 25, Day 694: Alluvial Fan
There's a tendency to think of alluvial fans as an arid landscape landform, and they often are. But they can occur anywhere debris flows are a major component of sediment transport. (I almost called the phenomenon "erosion," which technically, debris flows aren't.) And volcanoes generally are highly vulnerable to debris flows; in that setting, they're called "lahars." Volcanoes are steep, catch a lot of precipitation as a result of orographic lift, and often have large amounts of unconsolidated […]
7:27 PM | 7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Iceland by braincraft: Ready to be...
7 Mind-Blowing Facts About Iceland by braincraft: Ready to be amazed?! Here’s a little something I put together from my recent trip to Iceland. The landscapes there are a science lovers’ paradise!
3:21 PM | Slope Fractures Before the Nile Landslide of 2009
DEM of Sanford Pasture Landslide A landslide on the Naches River west of Yakima in 2009 diverted the Naches River and closed a State Highway. That slide was a very small part of a much older ancient massive landslide, the Sanford Pasture Landslide. The part that failed was a small section on the northwest end of the larger ancient landslide complex. Sliding Thought Blog put up a nice post about the Sanford Pasture Landslide HERE. Alas, the posts at Sliding Thought have been […]

November 24, 2014

11:20 PM | Geo 730: November 24, Day 693: Veiled Hood
Getting closer to Mount Hood, some details, such as the upper snowfields, started to emerge. However, the smoke still veils much of the scenery. I imagine with better clarity, this is a beautiful drive. In these conditions, though, it was kind of sad. Good stuff lay ahead of us though...Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location (approximate).
10:17 PM | Geo 730: November 23, Day 692: Hooded Hood
After our stop at Cascade Locks, we drove through the gorge, and got off I-84 at Hood River. The smoke and low water flows at the falls made spending any further time in the gorge pointless. I believe this photo was taken just a bit out of Hood River, on Route 35, AKA the Mount Hood Highway. Right smack in the middle of the photo, the eponymous mountain is well camouflaged in the smoke.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location (approximate).
8:45 PM | Ancient Canyon Found Under a River in Tibet
A vast ancient canyon lies buried underneath a present-day river that cuts through the Himalayas in Tibet.
7:45 PM | Researchers rule out a “tectonic aneurysm” in the Himalayas
Does erosion allow mountains to rise, or do rising mountains enhance erosion?
7:27 PM | Hottest Year Ever, and Amazing Gecko-Man Getup! by...
Hottest Year Ever, and Amazing Gecko-Man Getup! by scishow: SciShow News explains the latest climate weirdness, and why the Global Warming Hiatus wasn’t really what it sounded like. Plus, see how humans have harnessed the climbing power of the gecko! Support on Subbable:

November 23, 2014

8:42 PM | Wetlands, Farmland and Drainage on the Nooksack Flood Plain
Before our November sunny break I headed north to Lynden and noted the water logged Nooksack River flood plain south of town.  Nooksack River flood plain south of river and south of Lynden The river was not flooding. The source of water standing over acres of land was the result of lots of local rain and poor drainage. The silty soils, high ground water and subtle topography cause water to accumulate in the fields. The DEM of the area shows the problem of drainage on […]
4:17 AM | Mars, Rainbow Planet
In fact, Mars is still our solar system’s beloved “Red Planet”, so-named for the abundance of iron oxide on its surface. And if held in your hand, Mars rocks most Mars rocks will appear rather similar to rocks from our home planet. However, also like rocks from Earth and other planetary bodies, very thin slices, or thin […]
12:36 AM | Fault Y in the Kittitas Valley
Waitt (1979)  identified three faults cutting across the Kittatas Valley. While the faults do off set Pleistocene sediments of the Thorpe Gravel, no definitive off sets have been identified within younger (last 11,000 years) sediments. The off set of the Thorp Gravel alluvial plain north of Ellensburg can readily be seen in the DEM: Fault off set is an east-west fault cutting across the center of the DEM with up to the south This DEM has the fault marked in blackThere are two […]

November 22, 2014

11:42 PM | Geo 730: November 22, Day 691: Gorge Statuary III - Seaman
So this one was entirely new to me: Lewis and Clark had a Newfie! I love Newfies; they are infallibly loving, friendly, and gentle dogs that look like little black bears, and they love swimming. In fact, my understanding is that they were bred as life savers for fishermen on Canada's east coast. The fact that one was able to take on a deer while swimming is pretty amazing. As an aside, "large Newfound" is redundant.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location.
9:49 PM | Geo 730: November 21, Day 690: Gorge Statuary II - Sacagawea
Another gorgeous statue at the Cascade Locks Visitor's Center. Apparently- at least according to Wikipedia, the most common spelling is "Sacagawea," rather than "Sacajawea," which is the way I've always spelled it. It's quite interesting to read that page and learn just how much is asserted in our cultural mythology, but how little is actually known about this amazing woman. Whether she died tragically young, at 24, or lived among the Comanches to the ripe old age of 86 is immaterial, I guess. […]
8:52 PM | Geo 730: November 20, Day 689: Gorge Statuary I - Cougar
As we headed back to the car to continue with our gorge transit, we found a nice collection of bronze statues saluting the history- both human and natural- of the area. I really liked the pose of this cougar.Photo unmodified. October 10, 2012. FlashEarth Location.

November 21, 2014

11:35 PM | Geo 730: November 19, Day 688: The Other Bridge of the Gods
There was a bit of confusion at this stop. Dana didn't realize that "Bridge of the Gods" referred to both the landslide-created "bridge" AND to the engineered steel truss bridge. Nor did she realize "Cascade Locks" referred to both the town and the now-disused shipping locks. I think we got that all straightened out, though. This bridge is the one I've crossed the Columbia on most often, probably more than all the others put together. The reason is that I was a student worker in Forest Soils […]
9:51 PM | Geo 730: November 18, Day 687: Bonneville Slide
Back to the cliffs I've pointed out in earlier posts, this slide was very likely due in part to oversteepening caused by incision during the Missoula Floods. Indeed, the many waterfalls in the gorge, particularly along the north-facing Oregon side, are thought to have their origins in these monstrous floods, which left nearly vertical cliffs in many places. The nice thing about this shot is that you can see both the headwall- the slide's source- and the runout into the river. I don't recall the […]
12:42 AM | Notes on Tree Rings, and Old Forests and an Old Terrane on Orcas Island
I came across a couple of blow down trees that had been cut in order to reopen the road that they blocked. Both trees were Douglas fir and the site was on the dryer, western part of Orcas Island. Both trees were growing in very thin to almost non existent soil over Turtleback Complex bedrock. Knowing how old trees are can be helpful in evaluating slopes. In this case the trees were not really important for that purpose, but for other reasons I was curious about the age of the trees so I did […]

November 20, 2014

10:03 PM | Geo 730: November 17, Day 686: Bonneville's Toe
This is the view downstream from the footbridge across the former ship channel at Cascade Locks. The "toe" of the Bonneville Landslide, if you want to be picky, is really the outer perimeter of the whole debris lobe. However, I've been tending to think of it as the point where it's closest to the south shore. I'm pretty sure there's no narrower portion of the river downstream from here, and suspect it's quite a ways upstream before you'd find a similar neck, so this is indeed a good spot for a […]
8:30 PM | Using 3D Visualization, Geologists Explore the Complex Areas Where Faults Join and Split
The cutting edge in earthquake research is mapping our most important faults in three-dimensional detail. A new paper finds some key hidden links in the Bay Area's fault system.
12:06 AM | Geo 730: November 16, Day 685: Make Way For Geeselings
Not exactly geology, but I've always been fond of Canadian geese. These are technically dusky Canadian geese (or so I'm told), but I'm not really sure what distinguishes the subspecies. These appeared to have established permanent residence here, and were quite unperturbed by humans wandering toward them. It's a situation to be careful in. Geese can be quite mean, and that's more likely to happen when they've lost most of their fear of people. They'd slowly amble away from us as we approached, […]

November 19, 2014

11:01 PM | Geo 730: November 15, Day 684: Bridge of the Gods
See the bridge? No, not the steel truss cantilever bridge on the left, but the land bridge that extends out to it. According to the latter link, there is considerable disagreement in the radiometric carbon dates obtained for the landslide's age, with the most recent measurements suggesting a date of about 1450, but ranging from 1060 to 1760 AD. My take on these wide ranges is that it's not likely due to inaccuracy of lab measurements, but difficulty ascertaining which wood samples are directly […]
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
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 […]
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

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 […]
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...
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