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22 September 2017
It’s the First Friday of Fall! Here’s a sort of fold to help you celebrate: a section through a ∧ shaped bend in a vesicular basalt flow from the eastern flanks of Mount Etna in Sicily. It’s due to volcanic lava flowing rather than ductile deformation of a pre-existing solid rock (our usual habit with this feature), but I think we can appreciate it regardless:
7 February 2017
Today, let’s journey to Iceland, to a bit northwest of Reykjavík. This is a view from the top of the Grábrók cinder cone, across the valley to the east. With very few exceptions, Iceland is a big pile of basalt, and that shows through in the walls of this valley, which display a stack of basaltic lava flows, intercalated in places with pyroclastic debris or volcaniclastic sediment. One portion of …
25 January 2017
A basalt flow in Iceland shows both enticing pahoehoe and fractures with a Y-shaped intersection pattern. Comparisons to bread loaves and east Africa suggest a reason why.
29 October 2016
In Shenandoah National Park, astride Virginia’s Blue Ridge, feeder dikes of Catoctin Formation (meta-)basalt cut across the Grenvillian-aged granitoid basement. Due to their mafic composition and columnar jointing, these feeder dikes generally weather more rapidly than their host rocks. I led a field trip in the park on Thursday for my son’s school, and my student Marissa was there the weekend prior, checking out the autumn leaves and geology with …
6 October 2016
Iceland does basalt really, really well. But there are a few non-basaltic igneous rocks to be found there, too. One of them is a green ignimbrite (pyroclastic conglomerate) that crops out in coastal Berufjörður, eastern Iceland. Check it out!
3 October 2016
Rathlin Island lies north of mainland Northern Ireland, a few miles offshore. I spent three lovely days there this past summer, investigating the geology and appreciating the wildlife (puffins and other sea birds, and seals). The geology is pretty straightforward: Paleogene basalt overlying Cretaceous “chalk” (really not so chalky here – technically, it’s the Ulster White Limestone). Here’s a suite of interactive imagery that you can use to explore Rathlin’s …
21 September 2016
Based on this photo, what do you think Stađarbjargavík might have to offer? If you guessed columnar jointing in basalt, you’d be right! Looking down the fjord, south of Hofsós (in Iceland): The place is basically a series of miniature Giant’s Causeways, full of unpopulated exemplars of cooling columns! Little coves separate the small peninsulas, each filled with rounded column bits: Here’s a spot where one more is about to …
15 September 2016
Since I showed off some Icelandic pillow basalts yesterday, today I thought I would showcase a new 3D model of big pillows in Columbia River basalt of eastern Washington, taken from a photo set I made when I was out there in May:
14 September 2016
Time is short these days, but I know you hanker for amazing geology. How about some pillow basalts from the Snæfellsnes* Peninsula, far western Iceland? Note the cm-demarcated pencil for scale. See if you can find it in the GigaPan version below: Link Handheld GigaPan by Callan Bentley, stitched with Microsoft ICE _________________________ * “Snay full snooze”
25 June 2016
Some of planet Earth’s best examples of basaltic cooling columns are found at the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland. In this post, explore four different kinds of interactive digital media as a way of experiencing the Causeway virtually, from the comfort of your computer.