You are browsing the archive for California Geology Archives - Magma Cum Laude.
20 September 2019
Recently, as chronicled in Scientific American, I was involved with amending the eruptive record at California’s Mount Shasta to remove an eruption that was supposedly seen by a French mapping expedition in 1786. USGS researchers had already been puzzling over it for years – evidence was slim, since the area was already prone to forest fires and there was nothing in the geologic record to suggest that it happened. William …
2 February 2018
In the past few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to help run several “tabletop” exercises with the USGS and our partners where we walk through a timeline of what might happen during a volcanic eruption, and ask participants to make decisions about how they would need to respond and work together. I find them both fascinating and exhausting.
24 February 2017
Everyone (in California, at least) has seen those clips that get run every winter of the snow surveys: people walking out into a white-blanketed meadow to shove a pole into the snow and record the depth. Or, in the case of the 2015 broadcast, walking out onto muddy grass and gesturing sadly at a lack of snow in which to do this. It’s a good photo op, but the broadcasts rarely follow up with much of the science behind the survey.
27 January 2017
Right now it’s incredibly important for scientists to hammer home why science is essential, important and needs to be practiced rigorously, transparently and without censorship. It’s clear that we can no longer limit ourselves to broader impact statements in our next grant applications. I thought I’d do my part by starting a new blog series and highlighting United States geoscientists and their work in action.
15 January 2016
My first hike of the new year was to the Lexington Reservoir near Los Gatos. Fellow USGS postdoc Kayla Iacovino (@kalyai) came along to help search for blueschist-facies rocks in what’s locally known as Franciscan Complex melange. Now, I’m getting pretty good at spotting serpentinite – not that it isn’t fairly distinctive – but I’ve been hoping to see some blueschist as well. I found this USGS publication which shows a sample of blueschist from a spot “near” Lexington Reservoir in Santa Clara county, so that was where we headed.
31 December 2015
It’s the last day of my eighth year of blogging. I’ve had a pretty amazing year, and though I haven’t gotten to writing about every bit of it, I’ve amassed some great photos of my travels. So here are a few things you’ve already seen, and a preview of a few things yet to come!
14 September 2015
I’ve been neglecting this series, but I didn’t stop “collecting” benchmarks when I moved to California. In fact, working at the USGS makes it really easy to find markers, because there are at least three on campus.
28 June 2015
Being the guest lecturer on a geology trip is great, especially if you get to talk about your favorite geologic features. But what does one do when volcanology day is over and it’s time for the students to do a moraine mapping project? Naturally, sit on a convenient rock and observe some lovely lava domes.
9 June 2015
Oh, man. Summer is a terrible time for keeping up with blog posts, but I’ve had a good reason to be absent – I was off in Denver on business and slightly wilder parts of California with my alma mater’s summer field course. I mean, what geologist could pass up the chance to tag along on a trip to Long Valley and Yosemite? During the Long Valley and Mono Lake portion of the trip, I actually did do a little work, serving as the trip’s volcanology expert and talking about lava domes as much as anyone would let me. Because Long Valley may be a beautiful caldera and the site of one of the world’s largest eruptions, but it also has domes. Boy, does it ever have domes.
17 May 2015
Sometimes I spend so much time out looking at geological features in the Bay area that I forget to blog about them. But this weekend I had the chance to go for a wonderful tour of the South Bay and Peninsula via Cessna, and I’m convinced that it’s an awesome way to check out geology. (Of course, anyone who’s seen Michael Collier’s photographic work knows that already, but in case you needed convincing, take my word for it. Also, not having to brave security at the airport is lovely.)