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4 June 2018

Losing Ron and Declan

Last week, I lost two of my colleagues, Declan De Paor and Ron Schott. Both were involved in Google Earth for On-site & Distance Education (GEODE), the 5-year project I serve as PI on. Declan had battled various forms of cancer for many years, and most recently had developed several brain tumors. His passing was preceded by knowledge of his condition, while Ron’s death was unexpected and therefore shocking. Both …


14 March 2018

New media to show off exemplary features of the Devonian-aged Hampshire Formation along Corridor H, West Virginia

Last week, I was in Morgantown, West Virginia, to deliver a colloquium talk to the geology department at West Virginia University of geological visualization. The next day, I took some time on the way home to geologize a bit on the road called Corridor H, a gorgeous transect through the eastern Allegheny Plateau and western Valley & Ridge provinces. I focused that day on the Hampshire Formation, Foreknobs Formation, and …


7 February 2018

A GigaPan teaching collection of relative dating imagery

Callan unveils a collection of 56 super-high-resolution images showcasing various principles of relative dating, aimed at a general education audience like undergraduate Historical Geology. He also offers a suggested lesson plan structure for instructors wishing to utilize the images.


6 February 2018

An update on the state of affairs with my GigaPan images

I love the idea of high-resolution imagery that users can explore for geological meaning from the comfort of their computer screens, tablets, or phones. I think that 3D models and gigapixel-resolution panoramas (GigaPans) are powerful media for connecting people with the Earth. They allow improved access for many populations. Long-time readers will report that I regularly used to embed GigaPans in this blog as part of the stories I tried …


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.


9 May 2017

Ripples in Foreknobs

The Foreknobs Formation is a Devonian unit in the Valley & Ridge province of the Mid-Atlantic Region. It was deposited in relatively shallow near-shore conditions during the Acadian Orogeny. On a field trip to Corridor H, a new highway transecting the West Virginian Valley & Ridge province on Monday, I stopped to document a couple of beds showing very nice ripple marks. These ones are symmetrical, and thus likely represent …


26 April 2017

Pseudocraters at Lake Mývatn, Iceland

Near the southern end of Lake Mývatn, astride the Mid-Atlantic Rift in northern Iceland, lies a field of “pseudocraters” that result from steam explosions beneath a fresh lava flow. Put on your head-net and join us to check it out!


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.


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.


9 February 2017


Do you remember the blog post four years ago about documenting the doomed outcrops at Scientists’ Cliffs, Maryland? It was the site of gorgeous Miocene fossil exposures in the Calvert Formation. Here’s what the site looks like now: Photo by Peter Vogt   That ugly thing at the base of the cliff is a gabion, protecting the houses on the clifftop and making fossil access impossible. I’m glad we got …


7 February 2017

Basaltic strata, faulting, and glaciation in western Iceland

Today, let’s journey to Iceland, to a bit northwest of Reykjavík. This is a view from the top of the Grábrók cinder cone, across the valley to the east. With very few exceptions, Iceland is a big pile of basalt, and that shows through in the walls of this valley, which display a stack of basaltic lava flows, intercalated in places with pyroclastic debris or volcaniclastic sediment. One portion of …


16 January 2017

Shear zones in Scottish gabbros

A quest to visit the “first shear zones” described in the scientific literature leads to an alternate location, and some GIGAmacro images of samples from the real, original spot.


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.


30 December 2016

Friday fold: one from the archive

As noted previously, my colleague Declan De Paor recently retired from Old Dominion University, and I was lucky enough to inherit some of his rock samples. I’ve been making super-high resolution images of the samples ever since. Here’s a particularly striking fold, weathered out differentially. Enjoy exploring it – and have a happy final Friday of 2016! [gigapan id=”194633″] Link 2.04 Gpx GIGAmacro by Callan Bentley (If the embedded GigaPan …


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?


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.


25 November 2016

Friday fold: intrafolial folds in Eriboll mylonite

At the birthplace of the term “mylonite,” we can find Friday folds hidden in the foliation.


21 November 2016

GIGAmacro sample preparation: 3 techniques

Here are three pairs of GIGAmacro images to illustrate a few techniques I’ve used in preparing the samples and the images. The image pairs here illustrate the effects of transparent acrylic coatings, pressure-washing, and post-imaging clean-up in Photoshop. Let’s begin with a meta-ignimbrite of the Catoctin Formation, cut with a rock saw and polished using a handheld grinding wheel with diamond grit pads, and then with one of the two …


16 November 2016

Cobble diversity of Fetlar’s beaches

Now that we’ve examined the geology of the outcrops at Funzie Bay on the island of Fetlar in northeast Shetland, let’s stroll along two beaches. Here we have cobbles from Funzie Beach and a small beach eroded from serpentenite and metaharzburgite of the island’s ophiolite complex. Compare. Contrast. Rejoice. [gigapan id=”193073″] Link GigaPan by Callan Bentley [gigapan id=”193071″] Link GigaPan by Callan Bentley Both of these were handheld panoramas of …


8 November 2016


Funzie Bay in eastern Fetlar, Shetland, is the place with a stretched-pebble metaconglomerate that triggered the development of the Flinn Diagram. Join Callan on a pilgrimage of structural geology to this special place.