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16 July 2013

Signs you may be a geologist (Accretionary Wedge #58)

I don’t get out for field work much anymore (in fact my entire summer has been reserved for thesis writing – grr!), but Evelyn’s call for the July Accretionary Wedge is a good chance for me to look back on past field trips and reminisce. Geologists come across a lot of signs when they do field work, and volcanologists in particular get some doozies. I had a hard time deciding on just one, so I’ve got several offerings for the Wedge, all of them from the two trips I’ve taken to Hawaii.


22 April 2013

Remembering to be small: Accretionary Wedge #56

As geologists, we spend a lot of time looking for the big picture. We want to know how a mountain range formed, or where tectonic plates were millions of years ago, or what global repercussions an eruption could have, or what effect the melting of an ice sheet could have on sea level around the world. We think about time in boggling spans that far exceed anything we could experience in a single lifetime – millions, even billions of years. And we are always trying to tell far-reaching stories to explain the history of our planet, using words and figures and photos.


14 February 2013

Love (of fieldwork) hurts! Accretionary Wedge #55)

Maitri’s hosting this month’s Accretionary Wedge, and she’s asking us to share our battle scars (or “geo-injuries”). For some reason, this struck me as an excellent topic to talk about on Valentine’s day, so instead of showing you photos of heart-shaped lava fountains or volcanic bombs, I’m getting into the real bloody side of field work.


1 November 2012

High Magmafication: Geopoetry, Accretionary Wedge #51

I’m cutting it close this time, I know – today is the deadline for Geosphere’s Accretionary Wedge call for posts on Geopoetry. One of my favorite books is a slim little volume called “A Geological Miscellany”. It’s a collection of geology-related letters, stories, poems and prose reaching back all the way to Pliny, and it has some hilarious excerpts. One of my favorites is a poem that’s attributed to the Pick and Hammer Club of the USGS…okay, actually a song…okay, actually a song set to a very ear-wormy tune from 1950 called ‘Music, Music, Music’.


21 September 2012

Field memories (Accretionary Wedge #50)

Evelyn of Georneys is hosting this month’s Accretionary Wedge, and has asked us for fun field memories. Looking back on all the field trips I’ve taken, I have quite a few, but I think the one that still sticks in my memory is my first visit to a volcano, ever. I’m pretty sure I didn’t find it hugely funny at the time (you’ll find out why), but in retrospect I always find myself laughing at…well, myself.


28 August 2012

Danny Krysak: An out-of-this-world geologist (Accretionary Wedge #49)

For this month’s Accretionary Wedge, Dana Hunter over at En Tequila Es Veridad suggests that, in honor of the Mars Science Laboratory (and the rover Curiosity) making a successful landing on the Red Planet, we should talk about exogeology! Well, exogeologists, I’ve got a real treat for you. You know those photos that we all tweet and blog and comment on and drool over when they come down from Curiosity’s cameras? Well, I’ve got an interview with one of the camera team who is, quite literally, the first person on Earth to see some of those photos – Danny Krysak!


30 June 2012

Accretionary Wedge #47: Nostalgia for notetaking

Jennifer at Fuzzy Science is hosting this month’s Accretionary Wedge, and this time we’re talking about field notes. For me, this is a pretty nostalgic discussion, since I haven’t been out do to field work for my own research since 2010. I’ve been on field trips since then, certainly, but notetaking sometimes gets sidelined in favor of other trip activities when you’re not doing it for work or research. Also, my research right now involves a lot of time dealing with computer simulations, so I still take lab notes, but they’re not like recording a field experience.


22 February 2012

“Magnificent column of smoke” (Accretionary Wedge #43 Entry)

My choice of favorite geologic illustration, for Accretionary Wedge # 43, comes from a book that geobloggers (and others) have written about in the past: Sir William Hamilton’s Campi Phlegraei, Observations on the Volcanoes of the Two Sicilies. I won’t repeat all the background about Hamilton, who was a British natural historian who observed eruptions of Mount Vesuvius in the 1760s and 1770s. Campi Phlegraei, a three-part work, contained wonderful descriptions of the volcanoes and eruptions of Naples and Sicily, including the 1779 eruption of Mount Vesuvius (discussed and illustrated in a supplement to the first two volumes).


25 January 2012

Rocks in the kitchen (Accretionary Wedge #42 Entry)

Ian Saginor of Volcanoclast is hosting the next Accretionary Wedge, and it should be a neat one: we’re supposed to explore the geology of the indoors – specifically, countertops. Here’s the challenge:

Have you seen a great countertop out there? Sure, everyone says it’s “granite”, but you know better. Take a picture, post it on your own blog or send it to me and I’ll post it for you. Do you think you know what it is or how it was formed? Feel free to include your own interpretation and I’m sure others will enjoy joining in the discussion. Ron Schott suggested that we expand the entries by including any decorative stone material that has been separated by humans from it’s source. This includes buildings, statues, etc. There’s a lot of really unusual stuff out there, so make sure to find a good one.


21 December 2011

Accretionary Wedge #41: Geology in progress

Ron Schott is hosting Accretionary Wedge #41, and he’s asking us to do a little reminiscing:

Right, then. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to relate the story of the most memorable or significant geological event that you’ve directly experienced.

What we seek for AccretionaryWedge #41 is an account of a geologic event that you experienced firsthand. It could be an earthquake, a landslide, a flood, a volcanic eruption, etc. (but don’t feel compelled to stick to the biggies – weathering, anyone?) – some geologic process that you were able to directly observe and experience.


31 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

After all, what better medium for a volcanologist than something that glows such a lovely orange?


30 September 2011

Back to school: Accretionary Wedge #38

Anne over at Highly Allocthonous wants to get us thinking back-to-school thoughts in this month’s Accretionary Wedge, and as a (grad) student, I’ll tackle the question aimed current geology students:

If you are a current or future student… what do you want to know about life and careers in the geosciences? Are there things you aren’t getting to learn or do in classes that you think are important? What sort of experiences do you want to get out of school and how do you think school can or should help you prepare for a career?

One of my biggest questions – and one that I think a lot of my peers share – concerns a deficiency that is built into the very academic system we “grow up” in. It’s our propensity for taking a graduate student, or someone with a newly-minted graduate degree, who up until this point may have been concentrating solely on learning geology, and plunking them into a classroom with little to no training on how to teach geology.


26 August 2011

Sexy Geology: Accretionary Wedge #37

Lockwood at Outside the Interzone wants to know what gets a geologist all shook up. (Hint: it’s not just earthquakes.)

Several hours of hiking on an exotic tropical island + one active cinder/spatter cone + standing on the exact spot where a fissure eruption started, that’s what!


17 July 2011

Left behind: Accretionary Wedge #36

In July’s Accretionary Wedge at geosciblog, we’re asked what we’ve regretted leaving behind in the field. There have always been outcrops where I’ve wished I had picked up one more sample, taken one more photo, made one more measurement – that’s probably true of any geologist. But the thing that I regret leaving behind the most is small, easily replaceable, and has only sentimental value: My first hand lens.


26 May 2011

Weird Geology: Accretionary Wedge #34

This month’s Accretionary Wedge, hosted at En Tequila es Veridad, wants us to talk about “Weird Geology”:

Let’s face facts, people. Geology can be strange. Outrageous. Bizarre. I’m sure you’ve all run into formations and landscapes and concepts that have left you scratching your head. Maybe they got less weird later. Maybe they stayed strange. But however transient or permanent that weirdness was, it got weird. So tell us about it. Hit us with the strangest stuff you’ve got.

One location where I definitely encountered some weird geology is a field trip stop I was at several years ago in Big Bend National Park, Texas


5 March 2011

Pink and blue: Accretionary Wedge #32

Ann’s Musings on Geology is hosting this month’s Accretionary wedge, and she’s looking for a little color for Carnivale:

The theme will be “Throw me your ‘favorite geologic picture’ mister”Lets have the floats (submissions) ready on March 4th so it can roll on March 8. Carnival time is all about having a good time and having some fun so lets get some colorful, fun pictures submitted. Laissez les bons temp rouler!! (Let the good times roll!)


25 January 2011

(Edible) rheomorphic tuff: Accretionary Wedge #30

Following up from my post on rheomorphic flow in volcanic tuffs, it’s geology bake sale time! For my submission to this month’s Accretionary Wedge, hosted at Mountain Beltway, I’m trying to draw a few parallels between a confection more commonly known as “zebra cake” and deformation in pyroclastic deposits. To do a quick recap, rheomorphic flow occurs when parts of a pyroclastic deposit – either during or after deposition – become viscous enough to flow like a syrup. If there is flow banding in the deposit, it can become deformed and folded back on itself to form some visually striking patterns (such as in this piece of rhyolite from Mono-Inyo craters in California). So let’s bake a flow-banded pyroclastic deposit!


28 October 2010

Spooky Deskcrop – Accretionary Wedge #28

The latest Accretionary Wedge is being hosted at Research at a Snail’s Pace by Matt Kuchta…and the theme is deskcrops (spooky if possible, for Halloween!) My favorite deskcrop is one that I acquired fairly recently on Montserrat, from the February 2010 dome collapse deposits of the Soufriere Hills volcano.


17 May 2010

Geo-image Accretionary Wedge

My geo-photo of choice is a bit of interplay between the forces of geology and biology: an ohi’a shoot growing from a crack of a lava flow on the flank of Mauna Ulu, on the Big Island of Hawaii. The photo is significant to me for a number of reasons: This was my second trip to Hawaii, but the first time I’d had a chance to learn the techniques of …


23 April 2010

Accretionary Wedge #24: My geologic hero

In considering who I would write about as my geologic hero, I of course had to consider my undergraduate advisor, who I’ve written about before. (You all know him from this blog, if you’ve been keeping up with the adventures of William & Mary’s Geology Department.) But that would essentially be a rehash of something I’ve already talked about. Although Chuck was (and still is) an immense influence on my …