You are browsing the archive for May 2017 - Mountain Beltway.

25 May 2017

The World’s Religions, by Huston Smith

The World's Religions, by Huston Smith

I’ve just finished an excellent book about religion. It’s a survey of major world religions by Huston Smith, titled straightforwardly The World’s Religions. I find religion to be fascinating. It’s a distinct human phenomenon that provides structure and meaning to so many people’s lives, and yet seems entirely superfluous to my own life. That’s so strange – it motivates me to understand it better. I found this survey to be …

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23 May 2017

Silurian tidal flat carbonates of the Tonoloway Formation

Silurian tidal flat carbonates of the Tonoloway Formation

Journey to the Silurian period in what is today the Valley & Ridge province of eastern West Virginia to see some exquisite sedimentary rocks that represent deposition in a very arid, very shallow setting.

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13 May 2017

Slump palimpsest, Corridor H

Slump palimpsest, Corridor H

There’s a section of my favorite road, the lovely nowhere-to-nowhere Corridor H, that seems to be having some issues with slumping. I noted this in November of 2015, and I return to the topic today. Here’s a look at the slope, with old drainage “French drains” installed, and a fresh scarp transecting it just the same: I see at least three small scarps there. A short distance further to the …

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11 May 2017

The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City, by Grant Heiken, Renato Funiciello, and Donatella de Rita

The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City, by Grant Heiken, Renato Funiciello, and Donatella de Rita

I’m preparing for some time in Italy this summer, and picked up a couple of books to bring me up to speed geologically. The first is a geological guide for Rome. It’s structured around the archetypal “seven hills” of Rome, but the story is simpler in many regards than some other seven-hilled European capitals I could name. Rome’s geology appears to consist of four major units: older sedimentary rocks (which …

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9 May 2017

Ripples in Foreknobs

Ripples in Foreknobs

The Foreknobs Formation is a Devonian unit in the Valley & Ridge province of the Mid-Atlantic Region. It was deposited in relatively shallow near-shore conditions during the Acadian Orogeny. On a field trip to Corridor H, a new highway transecting the West Virginian Valley & Ridge province on Monday, I stopped to document a couple of beds showing very nice ripple marks. These ones are symmetrical, and thus likely represent …

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5 May 2017

Friday fold: sea monster in stone

Friday fold: sea monster in stone

It’s Friday, the end of the workweek, but also the beginning of the celebration of folded rocks. Examine a particularly sinuous example from the buckled Cambrian limestones of Canada’s Kootenay National Park.

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4 May 2017

Passing Strange, by Martha Sandweiss

Passing Strange, by Martha Sandweiss

Clarence King was a legend. He led one of the four great surveys of the American west (along with Wheeler, Powell, and Hayden) and eventually convinced Congress to establish One Survey To Rule Them All, an institution that ended up being called the United States Geological Survey. King was its first director, but he didn’t last too long in that position before resigning so he could pursue his own mining …

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3 May 2017

Storm beaches have I loved

Storm beaches have I loved

The answer to yesterday’s geo-puzzle is revealed to be a storm deposit of boulders, 20 m above sea level!

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Geopuzzle: what’s going on here?

Fancy taking a guess? Answers tomorrow…

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2 May 2017

Leafing out to bring down CO2

Leafing out to bring down CO2

It’s getting green outside – what’s it mean for the planet? Find out in this blog post contemplating the relationship between spring leaves and atmospheric CO2.

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