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24 June 2022

Friday fold: Kinked Lynchburg metasediments near a soapstone body

Happy Friday! Here are some kink-folded metasediments from Virginia’s Lynchburg Group to help usher in the weekend.

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6 November 2021

Revisiting Tinker Creek

While my son takes banjo lessons downtown, I stroll Charlottesville’s walking mall and browse the bookstores. Last week, I dropped $40 at one of the used-book stores, walking away with an armful of volumes. Most were intended for my son (a voracious reader in addition to being banjo-philic), but on the shelf I also saw a trade paperback copy of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard (1974), a book …

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25 June 2021

Friday fold: The Blue Ridge Tunnel

Inside the Blue Ridge (in an 1850s-era railroad tunnel), Callan finds folds and boudinage that formed during Appalachian mountain-building.

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7 May 2021

Friday fold: Lynchburg Group

On his way to get his COVID vaccine, Callan visits a new outcrop showing folded and faulted strata of the Neoproterozoic Lynchburg Group.

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20 January 2021

Peering through

When hiking recently in my neighborhood, I saw this gleaming apparition appear in an eroded gully in a dirt road: Those multicolored stripes are varying compositions in a zone of ultramylonite: ductilely-sheared-out rock that formed in the deep equivalent of a “fault” in the Blue Ridge basement complex. We call it a “shear zone” most of the time, but a better descriptor would be “high strain zone.” These rocks are …

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31 July 2020

Friday fold: Two Mile Run Overlook

I spied an anticline last weekend while engaging in a day of solo geologizing along Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park. At Two Mile Run Overlook, I gazed west toward the southern tip of Massanutten Mountain, and noted what appeared to be an anticline in the Blue Ridge foothills: Annotated: And here it is in Google Maps,  with the perspective rotated to looking ~along strike to the north, and I …

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24 July 2020

Friday fold: Totier Creek phyllite

Exploring his new digs in Charlottesville, Callan is introduced to a large exposure of phyllite at a dam’s spillway. The foliation there is folded in many ways. Share in a dozen field photos of the site…

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22 March 2019

Friday fauxld: concentric weathering rinds

Here’s a deceptive Friday “faux”ld I saw last week on the South Page Valley Road whilst learning about the Martinsburg Formation outcrops there: Looks like an isoclinal fold in this slab of siltstone, but the curvy lines are just concentric weathering rinds. Not a real fold at all! I hope everything you see this weekend is more straightforward and less deceiving. Happy Friday!

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20 March 2019

The Dinosaur Artist, by Paige Williams

A book review of Paige Williams’ “The Dinosaur Artist,” a tale of international trade in dinosaur skeletons.

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18 March 2019

New discoveries in the Martinsburg Formation

A virtual field trip to examine some deepwater clastic sediments shed off the first phase of Appalachian mountain building, and deformed in the third phase. It’s a lovely day for a field trip to the late Ordovician!

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1 January 2019

2018 Yard List

New year’s day is the time I tally up and report the bird species seen in my yard on the forested slope of Massanutten Mountain in Shenandoah County, Virginia. This is my seventh such annual list. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) 2017 (56 species) It’s been a good year. Two new “seen for the first …

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9 November 2018

Friday fold: gneiss from the Southside Virginia Piedmont

Reader and former student Paxton DeBusk shared this lovely folded gneiss with me at the conclusion of the Virginia Geological Field Conference a few weeks ago: That’s a lovely hand sample, with a high folding:volume ratio! Happy Friday, all

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21 September 2018

Friday fold: quartz veins in metagraywacke of the Mather Gorge Formation

It’s Friday! Here’s a lovely sight, contributed by reader Fred Atwood: [youtube_agu id=Au-jIGfbs8g] Those are quartz veins in one of my favorite local rock units, the Mather Gorge Formation. Fred reports, This is at Madeira School in Great Falls between Black Pond and the Potomac. The rocks around Great Falls, particularly those on the Billy Goat Trail’s “A” Loop, are exemplary in many regards. That’s why I am taking my …

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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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22 August 2018

Q&A, episode 5

A reader asks: “What is foliation and what makes it so important to the structure of rock?”
Callan answers with a lot of images of beautifully foliated rocks.

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17 August 2018

Friday folds: Moomaw Reservoir outcrops

Break out your paddle and sunhat. We’re going kayaking on Lake Moomaw, in search of Friday folds…

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30 March 2018

Friday fold: Recumbent Harpers

Stop the presses! This late-breaking Friday fold has just been submitted here at Friday Fold Headquarters. This is from Philip Prince/Virginia Division of Geology and Mineral Resources: It’s a recumbent fold of Harpers Formation metasandstone in the James River Face area. Pretty lovely exposure. This outcrop would make a good 3D model. Happy Friday to all. Hope it’s a good one!

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26 March 2018

Raider of the Lost Anticlines

A solo hike in search of anticlines yields new outcrops and good views!

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23 January 2018

A kid and his slicks

On a family hike, Callan’s son finds some interesting smooth lines on a rock. What are they? What do they tell us? Tune in for a brief history of Appalachian geology.

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19 January 2018

Friday fold: crumpled quartz vein from VGFC

Remember the Virginia Geological Field Conference from back in October? Well here’s a folded quartz vein we observed along a small shear zone in the Blue Ridge basement complex. There are two views of it, from approximately perpendicular points of view: These rocks are Mesoproterozoic, but the vein would obviously be younger than that, and the deformation is likely Alleghanian in age (late Paleozoic). Annotated copies of the photos:

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