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24 December 2022
A new week, a new nonfiction geology book by John Dvorak! This one is a biography of Thomas Jaggar, who founded the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. It was a really interesting portrait of a man driven to spend time with erupting mountains. The book begins with the eruption of Mt. Pelee in Martinique, a harrowing pyroclastic flow that kills almost everyone in St. Pierre. The son of a bishop, young Jaggar …
9 December 2022
Reader Nancy Weidman (who supplied the Wind River boudinaged basaltic dike images from earlier in the week) sent me this interesting note: Your ichnoanalogue post reminds me of the insect or pillbug tracks I found in Mt. St. Helens ash deposited in Missoula, Montana. At least some of the tracks, if I recall correctly, ended in dead bugs, presumably dead after its breathing tubes clogged with ash. No fossils from …
25 November 2022
Think about what types of things burn: wood, grasses, fossil fuels… mostly things that were formed by life. Fire also requires oxygen, which is largely produced by life. Did Earth have fire before life evolved? Could any other planets have fire? If there were an exoplanet with fires burning, would we have any way to detect that?
18 November 2022
When the Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano began filling with water in 2019 it wasn’t unprecedented, volcanic crater lakes aren’t uncommon; but, it was surprising for active volcano that hadn’t seen any water at the summit in at least 200 years.
24 June 2022
For many of us, the word “extinctions” conjures up images of dinosaurs, asteroids, and (maybe?) volcanos. And while that last point did likely play a role in the demise of the dinosaurs, volcanos in their own right can go extinct. In this episode, we chatted with volcanologist Janine Krippner, Honorary Research Associate at the University of Waikato, about what exactly makes a volcano extinct, the difference between volcanic ash and smoke, …
10 June 2022
When you hear the word “extinction,” chances are you probably think of the extinction of the dinosaurs and a big rock. But did you know that there were other factors at play that lead to that extinction including volcanos and sea-level rise?
13 May 2022
Callan reviews the debut book by volcanologist Robin George Andrews. It details the diverse eruptive histories of Kilauea, Yellowstone, Ol Doinyo Lengai, the oceanic ridge system, our Moon, the planets Mars and Venus, and the cryovolcanoes of the outer solar system moons.
16 August 2021
In a parking lot behind the Comstock Art Facility at Syracuse University, geologist Jeff Karson and sculptor Bob Wysocki cook up something almost unimaginable – homemade lava. Using a gas furnace the size of a small truck, the two professors melt gravel typically used for roadbeds into hot molten rock that they pour onto sand to recreate natural lava flows seen in places like Hawaii, Iceland and Italy.
20 February 2021
Jess Phoenix first came onto my radar when she ran for Congress in 2018. Since that time, and thanks to Twitter’s ability to connect geologists, Jess and I co-hosted a 2019 Pardee Symposium on geoscience communication at the GSA annual meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. Jess stepped in at the last minute to cover for Iain Stewart, who was unable to be there due to a family emergency. Like Iain, Jess …
13 July 2020
About 3,600 years ago, a colossal volcanic eruption blew apart the Greek island Thera, now the popular tourist destination known as Santorini. Falling volcanic rock and dust buried the Bronze Age settlement Akrotiri, on the south side of the island, preserving multi-story buildings, frescoes, tools, furniture and food, until archaeological excavations uncovered them in the last century, much like the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 CE famously buried Pompeii and Herculaneum. But unlike the Roman cities, Akrotiri has a notable lack of bodies.
15 June 2020
Volcanic craters could be the largest musical instrument on Earth, producing unique sounds that tell scientists what is going on deep in a volcano’s belly.
18 May 2020
On May 18, 1980, Mt. St. Helens erupted in Washington state, capping off a series of volcanic events that began on March 27th of that year. The May 18th explosions is credited with causing 57 deaths, >$1 billion in property damage, and forever changed the surrounding landscape.
24 March 2020
In 44 BCE, a momentous event occurred. Somewhere on Earth, a volcano erupted—one of the largest of last 2,500 years terms of climate impact. Traces of the eruption can be found in ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica, in signs of cold weather in the growth rings of trees around the world, and records of famine and agricultural disaster from Egypt to China. The eruption caused global climate effects lasting several years.
13 December 2019
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.
23 September 2019
Many people have emergency kits packed to flee or survive forces of nature like floods, hurricanes, or wildfire. But what do you throw in your bag when you expect to rush toward a natural hazard? Geologist John Ewert has his go-kit packed with portable seismometers and gas-monitoring equipment, ready to mobilize when a volcano starts to rumble.
9 August 2019
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.
22 April 2019
I have been terribly neglecting my blog this year. However, I have a good excuse: over the past few months I have accepted a new job working as a geologist for Anglo American… and I have moved my family to beautiful Brisbane, Australia. On top of that, I am mother to a young son (18 months old now) and I’m also studying part-time… so, I have my hands very full! …
25 March 2019
I’ve been fortunate lately to get to meet and interact with Phil Torres, independent scholar of existential risks. At my prompting, Phil came to a GSW meeting where Peter Brannen was talking about mass extinctions, and later he came to my class to talk to my Historical Geology students at NOVA about risks humanity faces. I figured it was about time I read his books, and now I can report …
22 February 2019
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.