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21 July 2017

Friday fold: Sardinia

My friend Ander Sundell at the College of Western Idaho is the source of today’s Friday fold. It’s from somewhere in Sardinia, and I think you’ll find it visually striking: Ander says: The rocks here are Silurian phyllites generated from mudstones that were deposited on the floor of the rheic ocean basin. The color and grain size variation do an excellent job highlighting compositional layering. They were deformed during the …

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18 July 2017

The Mountains of Saint Francis, by Walter Alvarez

I’ve just finished three weeks of travel in Italy, and I was absolutely delighted to read this terrific book by Walter Alvarez while I was there. Alvarez is famous the world over for being the nucleus of the team that proposed an extraterrestrial meteorite impact as the cause of the end-Cretaceous extinction, prompted to that bold hypothesis by the discovery that the clay seam marking the boundary between the Mesozoic …

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15 July 2017

Flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, Italy

I collected only a single rock on my summer travels in France and Italy. (Those of you who know me will realize how extraordinary this low number is!) It’s a flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily a few weeks ago. It contains porphyritic vesicular basalt xenoliths. I featured a similar sample on Twitter yesterday on the occasion (supposedly) of “International Rock Day”: For #InternationalRockDay , …

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14 July 2017

Friday fold: chevrons in the Scaglia Rossa, Apennines

The Friday fold visits the Apennine Range of central Italy.

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7 July 2017

Friday fold: marble in a thermopolium at Herculaneum

It’s Friday. Let’s find a historic sort of Friday fold in the ruins of Herculaneum, Naples, Italy.

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23 June 2017

Friday fold: Canoeing the Célé River, France

I was in southern France last week, exploring an awesome suite of caves cut into the Causses limestone plateau. My family and I took an afternoon to paddle a canoe down 5 kilometers of the Célé River. While floating along, we spied a gentle, open fold in the limestone layers that crop out along the banks. This low-amplitude fold is highlighted with the “horizontal” reference line of the river’s edge. …

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26 May 2017

Friday fold: Macigno turbidites II

It’s Friday. We return to Italy’s Macigno Formation for a fold, courtesy of blog reader Samuele Papeschi.

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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

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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20 June 2016

Cushendun Conglomerate of the Cross Slieve Group, Northern Ireland

Want a geological irony? Here’s one! You’re looking at a rounded boulder of Cushendun Conglomerate, a Devonian “Old Red Sandstone” unit (Cross Slieve Group) exposed at Cushendun Caves, Northern Ireland, U.K. The irony lies in the repetition of history – a tumbling environment of high water energy, rounding cobbles and boulders and depositing them, in order to make the conglomerate. And now, ~400 million years later, history repeats itself, with …

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13 May 2016

Friday fold: 3D syncline in Macigno Formation

Alan Pitts is the source of today’s fold, a beautiful 3D model of a differentially-weathered sycline in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene deep water Macigno Formation from western Tuscany, Italy. Here’s a photo: Now for the 3D model, hosted by Sketchfab; After it loads, use your mouse to grab this thing and finesse it around. What an outcrop! What a great 3D model! Thanks for sharing this, Alan!

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