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18 October 2017

VGFC 2017: Limbs of arkose

The 2017 Virginia Geological Field Conference had a heavy arkose infusion. Meet some of these feldspar-rich Neoproterozoic sediments of the Lynchburg Group.

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28 July 2017

Friday fold: Big kink fold in Grinnell Formation

It’s Friday! How about we celebrate with a beautiful kink fold from a gorgeous national park?

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15 April 2017

Basement xenoliths in Catoctin Formation, Compton Pass

My son and I hiked Compton Peak in Shenandoah National Park this morning, and saw these two lovely examples of xenoliths. The example above is small, but it shows clearly the difference between the coarse, felsic basement rock (Mesoproterozoic granitoid, comprising the xenolith) and the surrounding fine-grained dark green metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation (Neoproterozoic). Here’s another, bigger example: These two Blue Ridge examples both illustrate the principle of relative …

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6 April 2017

Stac Fada

The evidence for a meteorite impact origin for the Stoer Group’s Stac Fada member seems to stack up. Engage in a virtual field investigation on Mountain Beltway.

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21 December 2016

Stromatolites of Bunnahabhain

Remember the diamictite I featured here a few weeks ago, from Islay? It was the one that might be a Snowball Earth diamictite. Well, if you follow Snowball Earth science at all, you’ll doubtless be aware that the glaciogenic sediments are characteristically overlain by “cap” carbonates. There’s a stratigraphic successor to the Port Askaig Tillite, too – it’s called the Bonahaven Dolomite. Unlike what you might expect for a cap …

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9 December 2016

Friday fold: Machir Bay I

It’s Friday! Today’s fold comes to you from Neoproterozoic metasediments on the west side of Islay, at Machir Bay.

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30 November 2016

“Drumsticks” of Islay tillite

One fun thing about examining the Port Askaig Tillite in the field is to find odd-shaped exemplars of the unit lying on Islay’s beaches. My favorites were shaped like wands, or antennae, or perhaps the drumsticks freshly detached from a Thanksgiving turkey… a big clast at one end and then a thin septum of the finer-grained matrix to hang on to: Here’s an example: The shape results from differential weathering …

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29 November 2016

Islay’s Port Askaig tillite

The Port Askaig Tillite is a Neoproterozoic diamictite on the eastern shore of Islay (Scotland) that may record a “Snowball Earth” glaciation.

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29 October 2016

New digital media of Shenandoah National Park feeder dikes

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 …

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3 September 2016

Viewing the Sea Point migmatite through the lens of GigaPan

It was five years ago when I first visited Sea Point, the outcrop on the coast of the Cape Peninsula where the Cape Granite (~540 Ma) intrudes the (meta-)sedimentary rocks of the Malmesbury Group. The outcrop is (a) beautiful and evocative, and (b) of historical importance, as Charles Darwin visited it while on the voyage of the Beagle, contemplating and confirming Lyell’s assertions of the validity of plutonism as he …

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