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6 November 2014

Getting sketchy (when it comes to geology)

I was inspired to think about the topic of drawing (and markerboards) by the great post by Miles Traer on using stick figure animations to explain complex science concepts. I don’t know if geoscientists are a special breed in that they often default toward drawing out their ideas and thoughts, but I’ve always found it to be an invaluable part of my research process.


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.


16 October 2012

Benchmarking Time: Fish Lake Hightop, Utah

For this week’s benchmark, I thought I’d share one of my favorites: the USGS marker on the highest point in my undergraduate field area, the Fish Lake Plateau in Utah. Fish Lake itself, which sits in a graben, is bounded by Mytoge Mountain on its southeast side and the Fish Lake Hightop on the northwest. The Hightop is accessible from the Pelican Canyon Trail, which leads you over a moraine and up a lovely glacial valley.


28 September 2012

Benchmarking time: Mauna Kea, Hawaii

In the course of my field work, I’ve gotten in the habit of ‘collecting’ benchmarks with photos, but I didn’t know hunting for benchmarks was an actual named activity! The great Wikipedia assures me that ‘benchmarking’ or ‘benchmark hunting’ is an actual thing, with its own fansites and everything. The website even has a section devoted to benchmarking. It’s a big thing. At any rate, I thought it would be a fun activity to post photos of my benchmarks each week – and, like Callan’s Friday Fold, to ask for photos of your favorite benchmarks! I’ll start with my favorite, the USGS benchmark on top of Mauna Kea’s highest point.


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.


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.


19 March 2010

The Santiaguito Volcano Observatory

It’s Friday! Which means picture day, because pictures are easy and fun. I thought – as a lead-in to a fundraising project I’m starting, and which I’ll talk about in the next post – that I’d give you all a tour of the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory. I’ve been there twice, on my last trip to Guatemala and for a couple of days on this year’s trip. After five days of …


5 March 2010

Watch your step: Field work on lava domes

I suppose I’ve left you all hanging long enough, so now it’s time to show off the first batch of photos from Guatemala. The trip started out in Guatemala City, where we loaded up our rental car and drove to Quetzaltenango (known as Xela or Xelaju to most people). From Xela we drove to a finca, or farm/plantation, and then spent three hours hiking through jungle, over landslide scars and …


1 March 2010

Back in los Estados Unidos

Just a quick note to let you all know that I’m finally back from Guatemala with samples in hand and only a bit of surface damage. (Much better than last time.) It was a really successful trip, minus the bits where we had to deal with driving around Guatemala, and I’m really happy that the field work went as well as it did.I’m still in the process of unpacking and making …


13 February 2010

Roughing it – Guatemala la segunda parte

Yes, I’ve been hinting at some fieldwork that I’m going to do for the next two weeks – and it’s back in Guatemala! If  you remember the posts I put up last year about my first visit, you’ll also remember that quite a bit less science happened than I was hoping, thanks to some nasty little microscopic critter that found its way into my food. I really, really don’t want …


5 July 2009

A geology geek to the core (Accretionary Wedge #18)

Sitting here in Zion National Park, one of the last spots I visited on my first geology field course, I feel like I’m coming full circle to some of the reasons that I’m still doing geology. (I also feel like I could receive wifi through my teeth. Twenty plus wifi points? Really?) Anyway, it’s a perfect chance for me to answer Volcanista’s question: So July’s topic is about your inspiration …


17 April 2009

In the field, “Geologists wear gray and khaki”

And it’s true, as you can see by the lovely photo of my foot in Guatemala. (There are very few photos of me because I wasn’t exactly photogenic after the whole food poisoning and not eating for three days episode.) There have been a few field gear posts going around recently, and I thought I’d contribute a few photos of myself in full field attire. (OK, I’m way behind and …


27 March 2009

Santiaguito lava dome complex

If seeing this first thing in the morning doesn’t both make you want to jump up and down in excitement AND say, “Oh, shit, I just spent the entire night unconscious and three klicks away from an erupting volcano,” you are either clinically dead or an alien. A composite of Santiaguito, gently steaming in the 6AM sunlight. This is both a fascinating and depressing time – fascinating because I could …


6 December 2008

The Fish Lake Plateau: “A most eligible summer camping-place” (Accretionary Wedge #14/15)

I haven’t done a whole lot of research yet, but I always enjoy a good chance to get out in the field. For my undergraduate thesis, this meant spending a few weeks in south-central Utah, on the High Plateaus. The work was part of the 2006 NSF Fish Lake Research Experience for Undergraduates, a joint effort between the College of William & Mary and Coastal Carolina University. The project was …