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18 August 2017

Friday folds: the Roman Forum

When in Rome, do Friday folds as the Romans do? Here are some images from my brief, sweltering visit to the Roman Forum(s) this past summer. The whole region is a jumblepile of ancient ruins in a thousand styles. Almost nothing is labeled. It looks like this: This particular building held up a bit better, and its lovely columns sported some folded marbles: Close-up shots to show the folding internal …

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5 June 2017

3D models of sedimentary structures

I’ve been busy making 3D models lately. Here are three ones united by a theme of being sand that was deposited relative to mud. In one case we have scouring to make flutes, in another case we have have localized sagging to make “ball & pillow” structures, and in the third case we have an extraordinary submarine landslide deposit. For two of them, the shale has been preferentially etched away, …

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17 April 2017

Liesegang rings in a natural sandstone “tile”

An easter egg on a piece of toast? No, it’s a nice example of Liesegang rings in a slab of sandstone. Explore more in this blog post.

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12 April 2017

Weathering along perpendicular joint sets, Arran

Check this out: That’s a beautiful example of weathering in a dolerite dike on Arran. The igneous rock was broken along two more or less perpendicular joint sets, and then fluid flow along those fractures helped “rot” the adjacent rock through oxidation and hydrolysis. The resulting brownish weathering rind  grows at the expense of the unweathered black rock. Because there is more surface area at the corners of the rock …

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28 March 2017

P-sol in a conglomerate countertop slab

A hardware parking lot in rural Virginia showcases an elegant slab of pressure-solution induced compaction of a conglomerate.

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13 February 2017

Q&A, episode 2

A new edition of “science and nature question and answer.” This week: why Massanutten Mountain isn’t longer, and why you’re never going to walk on the Sun.

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13 January 2017

Friday fold: Smaull Graywacke at Saligo Bay, Islay

On the western coast of Islay, Saligo Bay showcases turbidites of the Neoproterozoic Colonsay Group. The Smaull Graywacke shows Caledonian (late Ordovician) folding and cleavage superimposed on world-class graded bedding. There’s also a nice dolerite dike to examine.

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8 December 2016

Silent samples, holey samples

Two very different samples tell stories that are full of holes. What’s going on with this weathered sandstone? What’s going on with this fossil scallop shell?

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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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3 October 2016

A virtual field trip to Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

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 …

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