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October 7, 2012

Geology Word of the Week: W is for Widmanstätten Pattern

def. Widmanstätten Pattern: An interweaving pattern of the extraterrestrial minerals kamacite (a low nickel content iron-nickel alloy, similar to the terrestrial mineral ferrite) and taenite (a high nickel content iron-nickel alloy, similar to the terrestrial mineral austenite) that appears in some iron-nickel meteorites when a cut section of the meteorite is etched with weak acid. Widmanstätten patterns appear during acid etching because kamacite is more easily dissolved by weak acid than taenite. Widmanstätten patterns are believed to …

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June 30, 2011

Chondrite Town

The road to the chondritic uniform reservoir. Switzerland, June 2010. Last June I spent ten days in Switzerland and Italy exploring the geology of The Alps as part of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s annual Geodynamics Program. As we were driving one day on the trip, several geochemists in the group became very excited about the above sign. Apparently, the mysterious chondritic uniform reservoir (CHUR) is located in Switzerland! We tried …

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June 19, 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 …

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