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5 December 2022

Mafic blocks in Wind River Range granite

Got these photos from a reader, showing outcrops in the northern Wind River range (ESE of Island Lake). The question, inevitably, is are these MMEs (microgranular mafic enclaves) or xenoliths? They’re fine grained and mafic… but some lithologies of xenolith could be too! This next set shows what appear to be a bunch of blocks strung out in a line… This one is shaped like a toaster or a television …

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20 August 2022

Two erratics from coastal Maine

Happy Saturday! Here are two erratics (glacially transported boulders) that I saw last week in coastal Maine. This one shows prominent subparallel striations: And this one, in the town of Penobscot, next to the greasy spoon called Bagaduce Lunch, shows aligned feldspars that suggest magmatic flow: Nothing like a good erratic to get the weekend started off right!

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16 August 2022

Kinked metavolcanics of the Castine Formation, eastern Maine

Callan shares a few outcrops from coastal Maine, part of the Avalonia terrane that accreted to ancestral North America during the Acadian Orogeny. They are volcaniclastic rocks, coarse and fine, and showing both overprinting kink bands and cross-cutting basaltic dikes.

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13 December 2019

Friday fold: blueschist & eclogite at Jenner, California

A pre-Fall Meeting field trip to the coast of northern California yields rare sights of garnet-bearing blueschist, plus eclogite, some pillow basalts, birds, waves, wind, and a lot of rain.

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6 December 2019

Friday fold: a secret Santa rock exchange gift!

I participated this year in the Secret Santa Rock Exchange, wherein I shipped out a mystery rock to a random person, and got back a mystery rock from another random person. What fun! My mystery rock has folds in it! It’s from Matt Bruseke at Kansas State University. Check it out: Matt writes that this is a piece of the Silver City rhyolite, from the Owyhee Mountains, Idaho. The sample …

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9 August 2019

Friday fold: crumpled green metavolcanics from St. Anthony

The Friday fold erupted out of a volcano, completing the second part of its two stage cooling history, then later got folded and metamorphosed. It was found atop a high cliff near the northern Newfoundland town of St. Anthony.

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11 July 2019

A submarine slump complex at Sandy Cove, Newfoundland

Traveling in Newfoundland, Callan visits a seaside outcrop showing a Proterozoic submarine slump complex, overprinted by tectonic cleavage and weathered by the sea.

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22 February 2019

Friday folds: Sardinian tuff

It’s the last day of the work week. Some photos of isoclinal syn-depositional folding in Sardinian tuff will get your Friday off on the right foot.

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17 November 2018

Flow banding in pseudotachylyte, South Mountains, Arizona

Watch the flow of frictional melt in a “fossil earthquake,” frozen in time atop the South Mountains metamorphic core complex in Phoenix, Arizona.

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1 March 2018

A GIGAmacro view of a cool outcrop in Scotland

As noted previously, the old way of viewing gigapixel imagery is no more. But there is a new, better way. The GIGAmacro company has a better viewing platform that can be used either with images uploaded to their server or  with pre-existing images that currently “live” at GigaPan.com. Here’s an example: a roadcut of limestone of the Grudaidh Formation (Durness Group) in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland, near Ardvreck Castle, …

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8 February 2018

A spectacular display of Earth science in the Alabama Hills

A detailed examination of an elegant photo of the eastern front of California’s Sierra Nevada, from the perspective of the Alabama Hills. How many different geologic phenomena can be packed into a single image? Let’s find out!

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12 January 2018

Friday folds: Hayden Butte (“A Mountain”), Tempe

In keeping with the Arizonarific theme of this week’s posts (thanks to my participation in the 2018 Structural Geology and Tectonics Forum), I thought I would wrap up my ‘geology of the Phoenix area‘ posts with a walk I took on my last day there. This was to what Google Maps calls “Hayden Butte,” but the locals call “A Mountain.” Not “a mountain,” but “the mountain called ‘A‘.” It has …

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11 January 2018

Landslide breccias in Papago Park

A visit to Papago Park, north of Tempe, Arizona, reveals hanging wall rocks from the South Mountain detachment fault, a long way from South Mountain. Also, feast your eyes on these gorgeous red sedimentary breccias, interpreted to be landslide deposits from the Neogene.

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2 November 2017

Weathering in komatiite

This morning on Twitter I was reminded of komatiites, those “extinct” ultramafic lavas that were relatively common eruptions during the Archean. I’ve actually got a good number of komatiite photos to share from my time last year in South Africa’s Barberton Greenstone Belt. But since time is short this morning, I’ll start with a short photo set of three images, all showing different aspects of how these ultramafic rocks weather …

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22 September 2017

Friday fold: bend in a vesicular lava flow, Etna

It’s the First Friday of Fall! Here’s a sort of fold to help you celebrate: a section through a ∧ shaped bend in a vesicular basalt flow from the eastern flanks of Mount Etna in Sicily. It’s due to volcanic lava flowing rather than ductile deformation of a pre-existing solid rock (our usual habit with this feature), but I think we can appreciate it regardless:

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15 July 2017

Flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, Italy

I collected only a single rock on my summer travels in France and Italy. (Those of you who know me will realize how extraordinary this low number is!) It’s a flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily a few weeks ago. It contains porphyritic vesicular basalt xenoliths. I featured a similar sample on Twitter yesterday on the occasion (supposedly) of “International Rock Day”: For #InternationalRockDay , …

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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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25 January 2017

Y-shaped joints on a basalt flow, Lake Mývatn, Iceland

A basalt flow in Iceland shows both enticing pahoehoe and fractures with a Y-shaped intersection pattern. Comparisons to bread loaves and east Africa suggest a reason why.

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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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11 January 2017

More Messengers from the Mantle

Since I showed off the 3D kimberlite intrusion breccias yesterday, I feel as if I owe you some other photos from that lovely exhibit at the IGC. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos – the gorgeous samples were behind glass and brightly lit, which made photography difficult. But the rocks are sooooooooo pretty, I think you’ll enjoy viewing them just the same. Let’s start with a gargantuan …

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