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11 August 2020

Strange creatures: book reviews about mysterious animals in the sea

Callan reviews two well-written books about of enigmatic creatures of the deep: eels and lobsters.

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27 August 2018

Beautiful Swimmers, by William Warner

The subtitle of this wonderful book is “Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay.” It’s an excellent account of crab ecology in the Chesapeake Bay as it stood in the mid-1970s, and simultaneously a sympathetic portrait of the lives of the locals who capture those crabs for sale to the seafood market. The writing is thoughtful and calm, paced very similarly to John McPhee’s writing, rich in quotes from the watermen …

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23 May 2017

Silurian tidal flat carbonates of the Tonoloway Formation

Journey to the Silurian period in what is today the Valley & Ridge province of eastern West Virginia to see some exquisite sedimentary rocks that represent deposition in a very arid, very shallow setting.

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8 February 2017

Parasite Rex, by Carl Zimmer

I’ve always been fascinated by parasitism. Parasites are organisms that live on or in another organism (or organisms) in a way that detracts from the vitality of the host. Nothing in nature is redder in tooth and claw than the parasite. They represent a stark repudiation of the naive way many people think of evolution, with humans at the pinnacle, with a historical sense of purpose or progress, and with …

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4 July 2016

Virtual field trip to Kinkell Braes, Scotland

Walking along the shore east from St. Andrews, Scotland, along the seaside sandstones of Kinkell Braes, you encounter several extraordinary examples of geology. It’s a great place for the next stop on our Grand Tour of the geology of the British Isles. Here’s the scene: The first stop is a giant eurypterid trackway, potentially the largest invertebrate trackway in the world (Whyte, 2005), on the underside of an overhanging sandstone …

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23 December 2015

Four new GIGAmacro images of sedimentary rocks

It’s been a week and a half since Mountain Beltway has seen any publishing action, given the overlapping timesucks of the AGU Fall Meeting and the end of the semester. But now I’m back in the Appalachian mountain belt, and my grades are all in, and I have time to think about indulgences like blogging again. Let me make up for it now with a suite of four new macro …

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25 October 2015

Cool fossils from the Clearville member of the Mahantango Formation

On Saturday, I took my historical geology class on their field trip out to Corridor H, West Virginia. We made a stop at the Mahantango Formation outcrop exposed on the eastbound exit ramp near Baker, and poked around there for fossils. These Devonian-aged siltstones are chock full of invertebrates including rugose corals, crinoids, articulate brachiopods, and even trilobites. Here are two of the best fossils we encountered there: A trilobite …

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10 February 2015

Pisolites in the Tansil Formation, Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico

Pisolites are large primary concretions that develop in backreef or lagoonal settings such as the Permian Tansil Formation of New Mexico, into which is cut the enormous hole called Carlsbad Caverns.

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