14 May 2013
Time to get caught up on the benchmark queue! I’m a few submissions behind, but this summer should be a good opportunity to get caught up on them. This submission comes from Marty, who has taken some great photos of the Los Angeles Harbor Light (or the Angels Gate Light) and San Pedro Breakwater in the Los Angeles Harbor.
6 May 2013
…and I finally, finally have a chance to breathe. It’s been a really busy couple of months for me – not just because I was teaching a lecture class for the first time, but because I was also getting ready for my technical thesis defense.
22 April 2013
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.
10 April 2013
A recent discussion that I’ve been having with my fellow grad students lately has been about this question: What are the core skills undergraduate geoscience students should have when they graduate?
Sometimes, because of crazy course schedules, majors joining the department late in their college career, etc etc., it seems like skillsets can be acquired haphazardly or in an order that doesn’t benefit the student. Those of us who teach as grad students sometimes find that it’s necessary to do more review than we’d expect when we’re dealing with a lab or a course. Although review isn’t a bad thing, it can take away time from the main course topics. As a teacher, my goal is to get my students to learn the course material as effectively and efficiently as possible – and make it stick.
So, like any good geoblogger, I’m going to ask for help ‘crowdsourcing’ the answer to this question. If you could put together a guide of core skills for geology students, what would be on it? What do you want them to know before they attempt specific classes? What should they know by the time they graduate to be well-grounded in the field?
30 March 2013
I spent yesterday in downtown Washington DC, hoping to see a few cherry blossoms (it’s a big thing here), but unfortunately it’s been a bit too cold for them lately, and the peak bloom won’t be for another few days. There are a few trees out, just not in the popular areas around the Tidal Basin. What I did find were a couple of benchmarks!
8 March 2013
Being deep in the throes of thesis-wrangling has left me little time for blogging lately, but as a woman and a geoscientist I definitely thought it was important to write a little bit about International Women’s Day, and about my own experiences. I first became aware that this was a day of celebration when my graduate advisor and I encountered a parade in downtown Xela when we were in Guatemala doing fieldwork for my thesis. It was a beautiful day and the parade-goers were lively and excited and enthused.
24 February 2013
In addition to my blogging and on-again-off-again relationship with Twitter, I like to take my geologizing to places outside the office. Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to talk with a girls’ STEM club at my old elementary school about being a volcanologist. I actually do this fairly often, and I’m always really impressed by the questions the students come up with. They’re always inquisitive and thoughtful, and often catch me off guard – which is good!
14 February 2013
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.
27 January 2013
The next benchmark in my collection is another from Fish Lake in Utah. This is one of my favorite places to do field work, despite the fact that quite a bit of it is vertical and I was cursed with a malfunctioning set of knees. Occasionally I do make it to the top of things, and as we know, geologists like to put benchmarks in high places. Mount Terrill, on the northern part of the Fish Lake Plateau, is one of them. It’s an interesting mountain – long and lean instead of round and bulky – and it’s one of the best places on the Plateau to get a look at the Osiris Tuff, which is the volcanic unit I studied as an undergrad.
18 January 2013
Water in really big groups of hot rocks: When you can’t say “hydrothermal alteration and lava dome collapse hazards”
By now you’ve hopefully seen the geo-meme that Anne Jefferson over at Highly Allocthonous started using the Up-Goer-Five text editor, which forces you to write a description of something using only the thousand most commonly used words in the English language. (It’s based off of this XKCD comic.) Anne challenged the geobloggers to write about their own research using this method, and as much as I enjoy adapting my writing for a wide audience (that’s why I got into blogging!), it’s darn hard to write about hydrothermal alteration in lava domes when you can’t use any of those words (not even dome). Thank goodness rock is still in there, or I’d be in trouble! As it is, I had a bit of trouble describing lava domes and hydrothermal circulation: