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21 June 2019

Friday fold: The University of Wisconsin rock garden

I’m at a workshop in Madison, Wisconsin, this week. I took the lunch hour today and walked over to the geology department to check out their rock garden and geology museum. I was pleased to find a Friday fold in the rock garden: a limestone with cherty nodules/layering that has been folded…. Bonus: some nice bookshelfing/boudinage of the chert: …And here’s another boulder of the same lovely stuff. And here …


15 April 2019

The Feather Thief, by Kirk Wallace Johnson

In 2009, a thief broke into England’s Tring Museum and stole hundreds of curated bird skins. The thief was a talented American musician attending school in London. He broke apart specimens collected by Alfred Russel Wallace and Lionel Walter Rothschild and sold the feathers to men who tie salmon flies (originally for fishing, but now an art form in its own right). The story of this crime is well documented by an author who became obsessed with solving the case of the missing birds.


13 October 2017

Friday fold: ptygmatic vein from Finland (NMNH)

Happy Friday! Here’s a sample from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History in DC: As the label says, we have a nice example of ptygmatic (“intestine like”) buckle folding here. It comes from Finland. The coarse equigranular crystals in the vein appear to be mainly potassium feldspar and quartz. The surrounding matrix has a pronounced foliation. Note the cuspate “flames” of matrix between the broad “lobes” of folded …


4 August 2017

Friday fold trio: Samples from UNM, ABQ

It’s Friday and that means “fold time” here at Mountain Beltway. Today, we feature a trio of samples on display in the halls of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico.


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 …


28 September 2016

Virginia Museum of Natural History specimens in GIGAmacro view

One of the small sub-projects of my 2015-2017 Chancellor’s Commonwealth Professorship is to create some GIGAmacro images of cool fossil specimens from the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville. Curator of paleontology Alex Hastings was good enough to loan us a few specimens to image, and hopefully there will soon be more where they came from. Here are three examples: a fossil plant, and two fossil vertebrates: Strobilus cone …


19 June 2011

Forget Rent… I’m Moving to the Smithsonian

Elephant in the Rotunda, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Picture taken from wikipedia here. There is nothing better than having an empty museum all to yourself. If I ever become wealthy, I think that I’ll rent out the great museums of the world at odd hours so that I can quietly appreciate them. Or maybe I’ll just hone my burglary skills and sneak it at night. I’m not interested in …