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24 September 2018

Monday Geology Picture: More Airport Geology

I’m traveling again this week (4 weeks of travel in a row!), so today I’m sharing another picture of some “airport geology”. Specifically, this is a picture of some gorgeous decorative stones adorning a column at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. I took this picture yesterday when I was passing through the airport.  I particularly like the way the block of rock was split and the set …


17 September 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Airport Geology

I travel a lot for my job, and I often find myself traveling through O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa. The terminal buildings contain some lovely decorative stones, which I often admire as I’m navigating my way through the airport. For example, while I was waiting for my luggage today I admired, as I have before, some of the lovely decorative stones that make up part of the …


14 September 2018

Friday fold: Ferruginous sediments in Barberton Mountain Land

A trip back to Archean sedimentary rocks in Barberton, South Africa, reveals a few folds on the roadside…


5 June 2018

Cross-bedding in Archean komatiitic ash deposits

Cross-bedding isn’t just for modern sedimentary deposits; you can find it in truly ancient ash deposits too! Let’s head to South Africa and take a look.


26 February 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Airplane View of Table Mountain

Yesterday morning I flew back to Cape Town after a business trip. I arrived a little after 7 am and was treated to a stunning view of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head as I flew in. I’m sharing a picture I snapped of that view as this week’s geology picture. Here’s a closer look as well: I am lucky to live in such a beautiful city! However, you can see …


21 February 2018

Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is a South African stand-up comedian who rocketed into American awareness when he was selected as the successor to Jon Stewart as the host of Comedy Central’s news program The Daily Show. This book is Noah’s autobiography of growing up in South Africa, at first under apartheid, and then in the new post-apartheid era. It is the best account I’ve read of the institutional and cultural structure of …


19 February 2018

Monday Geology Picture: West Coast Fossil Park

Today I’m sharing a picture of some Pleistocene age fossils that are on display at the West Coast Fossil Park, which is located about an hour’s drive north of Cape Town, South Africa. If you ever find yourself in the area I highly recommend a visit to the park.


12 February 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Nooitgedacht Glacial Pavement

Today I’m continuing with my recent theme of blogging about glacial pavements, and I’m sharing a picture of me sitting on top of a glacial pavement at Nooitgedacht, which is near the town of Kimberley in South Africa. I’ll share more pictures and information about this pavement soon. For now, however, you can read a little about the pavement on Wikipedia here. Although this pavement is located about 700 km …


9 February 2018

Oorlogskloof Glacial Pavement

Last week I shared the above picture of the Oorlogskloof Glacial Pavement for my “Monday Geology Picture” series. Today I’d like to share some more pictures and also a little more information about this incredible geologic site. Oorlogskloof is the name of the farm where the glacial pavement is located. The name is Afrikaans and translates as “War Valley”. Oorlogskloof is located about 4 hours drive north of Cape Town, …


5 February 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Gold Train

This week I’m sharing a picture of a bullion coach, or a special train that was used to transport gold from the mines in the Johannesburg area to the seaside towns of Durban and Cape Town in South Africa. This particular train is on display at Gold Reef City, a gold mining themed amusement park. You can go and see the train yourself if you visit the park. Gold theft …


29 January 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Oorlogskloof Glacial Pavement

This week I’m sharing a gorgeous picture of the Oorlogskloof Glacial Pavement, which is located in the Northern Cape Province here in South Africa. You can read more about this pavement here. I’ll be blogging more about this pavement soon, so stay tuned!


1 January 2018

Monday Geology Picture: Lion’s Head Inselberg

Happy New Year! I’m going to do my best to blog more regularly in 2018, starting with this first “Monday Geology Picture” post. This week I’m sharing a view of Lion’s Head (the distinctive mountain in the background of the picture), an inselberg here in Cape Town, South Africa, the city where I live. I took this picture a few weeks ago during a walk with my family along Sea Point …


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 …


29 May 2017

Monday Geology Picture: Kimberlite in Kimberley

For this week’s “Monday Geology Picture”, here’s a snap of a mine cart filled with kimberlite rocks — and a mantle xenolith or two. I took this picture last year when I visited The Big Hole Museum in Kimberley, South Africa. The rock kimberlite was named after the town of Kimberley, of course! For those who are unfamiliar, kimberlite is the ore that is mined for diamonds, and many of the …


25 May 2017

Chert-slab conglomerate from the Fig Tree Group, Barberton

Deep in the Archean, things suddenly got violent in the deep water of the Mapepe Formation’s oceanic setting. What was a quiet precipitation of chert suddenly was torn apart and tumbled downslope. Was an earthquake to blame? A bolide impact? This is the result.


22 May 2017

Monday Geology Picture: A Vineyard & the Cape Fold Belt

For this week’s “Monday Geology Picture” here’s a view of the Cape Fold Belt with a vineyard in the foreground. I took this picture yesterday when I took a short walk with some friends through a vineyard located in the Stellenbosch winelands, just outside of my home city of Cape Town. You can see some impressive folding in those distant mountains!


8 May 2017

Monday Geology Picture: Sandstone Rock Art

First and foremost, I must apologize for the long gap in my blogging. I started the year with great intentions to revive this blog with my monthly science book posts… and then I didn’t post for several months! However, I think I have a good excuse: in January I found out that I am pregnant. Unfortunately, I have been suffering from an extreme form of morning sickness. I’ve been really, …


1 May 2017

Accretionary lapilli from Archean volcanic eruptions

Volcanic “hailstones” called accretionary lapilli rained down on South Africa 3 billion years ago, and have survived to be seen in the present day, along the R40 road through Barberton Mountain Land, near the Bulembu border crossing into Swaziland.


10 March 2017

Friday fold: Sheba Mine sample

When touring the geology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt last August, our group visited the Sheba Mine, a gold mine high in the hills. Their geologist kindly showed us around and allowed us to visit his history-laden office. I have no idea where this sample originated, but it was the only fold I saw in the place, nestled between sepia-toned photographs and old lanterns and rusty picks. I wonder what …


2 February 2017

Banded iron formation in Barberton Mountain Land

Banded iron formation is an “extinct rock” that can be found in ancient marine strata such as those found in the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Visit an outcrop on the Barberton GeoTrail and contemplate the bizarre anoxic world that Earth used to be.