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23 May 2013

Gaining Ground, by Forrest Pritchard

Gaining Ground, by Forrest Pritchard

Last week, I got a great new book from Amazon. I had pre-ordered it months ago, so when it finally arrived, I was delighted, and dove right in. Within 24 hours, I had finished it. It’s the story of how my friend Forrest Pritchard re-made his family’s farm into a sustainable enterprise by going organic. The book is called Gaining Ground, and it’s less academic than something like The Omnivore’s …

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18 February 2013

Scouting out the geology of Doukénie Winery

Scouting out the geology of Doukénie Winery

On Saturday, Lily and I went out for a date. It was only the second time since Baxter was born that we were able to get away for quality time, just the two of us. We headed up to Doukénie Winery near Hillsboro, Virginia. Here it is on a topographic map: Here’s what it looks like from the ground: In a couple of weeks, I’m giving a geology talk at …

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22 January 2013

Fold mystery – UPDATED

Fold mystery – UPDATED

What can you tell me about this new fold sample I recently acquired? Width of sample is 12.5 cm. The face you’re looking at was cut but not polished. Here’s a close up: With layering annotated, to highlight the disharmonic nature of these folds: Anyone have any guesses what’s going on here? ——————– UPDATE —————— Simon Wellings guessed it – this is a lasagna! I changed the color in Photoshop …

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30 October 2012

Geology and wine in northern Virginia, part II: the Valley & Ridge

Geology and wine in northern Virginia, part II: the Valley & Ridge

Callan attends the Geological Society of Washington’s fall field trip, examining the relationship between grape-growing and the underlying geology of two provinces in northern Virginia: the Blue Ridge and the Valley & Ridge. With GSW compatriots, Callan visited Hume Vineyards in the central Blue Ridge province and North Mountain Vineyard and Winery in the Shenandoah Valley. This is part II of the field trip report.

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28 October 2012

Geology and wine in northern Virginia, part I: the Blue Ridge

Geology and wine in northern Virginia, part I: the Blue Ridge

Callan attends the Geological Society of Washington’s fall field trip, examining the relationship between grape-growing and the underlying geology of two provinces in northern Virginia: the Blue Ridge and the Valley & Ridge. With GSW compatriots, Callan visits Hume Vineyards in the Blue Ridge basement complex and North Mountain Winery in the Shenandoah Valley. This is part I.

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17 October 2012

Convection in a dirty dish

Convection in a dirty dish

Saw this in a greasy / soapy baking pan in my kitchen sink the other day: Do you see those lobe-shaped light areas, separated by dark septae? I think that’s the semi-gelled signature of gravitational instability, perhaps thermally driven. I’m speaking of convection: upwelling in the round light areas, and sinking of denser material in the dark seams in between. A closer look at the structure of the suspension, and …

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4 October 2012

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan

In the delivery room last week, while we waited for Lily’s labor to ramp up, I finished reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. I think it was one of the most insightful, important books I’ve ever read. I was pre-disposed to like it, because I really enjoyed Pollan’s earlier book The Botany of Desire, which served as four botanico-cultural “micro-histories” in one book (one on apples, one on marijuana, …

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29 January 2012

Tofu with hackle fringe

Tofu with hackle fringe

We were making dinner last week and took out a block of “silken” tofu* with less care than we should have, and it broke. But what a break! The fracture showed a gorgeous elliptical joint face that broken up into a twisted series of hackles along its fringe: That’s something nice homogeneous fine-grained rocks do, too! I hereby challenge all my tofu-eating readership to attempt similar tofu-fracturing experiments, and to …

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5 December 2011

AGU 2011, day 1

I got to San Francisco on Saturday afternoon, flying in on the same flight from DC as Rob Simmon and Maria-José Viñas. MJ and I took the BART downtown, and then met up with Jess Ball for Thai dinner and a yummy dessert of banana wrapped in roti with Nutella and coconut ice cream. Then, jet lag informing me it was time for rest, I went to bed. I had …

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5 March 2011

Buzzard Rock

Buzzard Rock

Took a hike this morning with my bride-to-be, out to Buzzard Rock on the northeastern corner of Massanutten Mountain. There, we observed numerous boulders of Massanutten Sandstone float, many bearing charismatic cross-beds. Here’s one more slab of float, presumably weathered out along the main bed, showing gorgeous internal cross-stratification: A closer look at the left side of this sample, animated via GIF: Why animated? Because I can. The object of …

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