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29 January 2015
I promised photos of the second part of my trip to see pillow basalts at the Marin Headlands, and here we are, just as the fog was lifting in the early afternoon. After exploring the Point Bonita lighthouse and its vicinity, we decided to hike down through the abundant succulents (Carpobrotus edulis, if I’ve got it right) to Rodeo Cove and its beach.
6 November 2014
I was inspired to think about the topic of drawing (and markerboards) by the great post by Miles Traer on using stick figure animations to explain complex science concepts. I don’t know if geoscientists are a special breed in that they often default toward drawing out their ideas and thoughts, but I’ve always found it to be an invaluable part of my research process.
31 October 2014
26 July 2013
In between bouts of hottish weather (I don’t count it as hot unless it’s well into the nineties and the humidity is fairly high) and the occasional cool day like today, we’ve been having some fairly spectacular thunderstorms in Buffalo. That’s no unusual thing in the summertime, but after teaching a chunk of an intro course about streamflow and what happens after it rains, I’ve started paying more attention to water features in my area.
16 July 2013
I don’t get out for field work much anymore (in fact my entire summer has been reserved for thesis writing – grr!), but Evelyn’s call for the July Accretionary Wedge is a good chance for me to look back on past field trips and reminisce. Geologists come across a lot of signs when they do field work, and volcanologists in particular get some doozies. I had a hard time deciding on just one, so I’ve got several offerings for the Wedge, all of them from the two trips I’ve taken to Hawaii.
3 July 2013
Any of you who’ve followed this blog for a while know that after doing my fieldwork in Guatemala, I worked with Dr. Jeff Witter to put his organization, the International Volcano Monitoring Fund (IVM-Fund), in touch with the fantastic folks at the Santiaguito Volcano Observatory and the Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología (INSIVUMEH). Jeff’s organization is dedicated to supplying volcano observatories who lack funding with the tools to conduct critical volcano research and monitoring activities. After the initial introductions, my role has mainly been in a cheerleader, but I’m still always excited to see a new update about their activities. Jeff has been working in Guatemala for several years now, and what follows is summarized from his latest report on the IVM-Fund’s work with Guatemalan volcano observatories.
19 June 2013
Last April, I had a discussion with some of my fellow graduate students in the geology department here at UB about teaching. One topic raised by those of us working with senior undergraduates was the skills our students would need to have by the time they left the department. We realized that many students take winding paths on the way to finishing a major for various reasons, including that they transferred from another school, they switched majors, or they are double-majoring and have time conflicts. A winding path isn’t necessarily detrimental as long as the students come out of the process with a solid geoscience skillset. But what should that skillset include?
5 June 2013
Buffalo is actually a lovely place to be in the summer even though it’s feeling very summerlike right now. But I wouldn’t pass up another chance to revisit the Big Island, because it’s a fantastic place to be at any time of the year. One of my favorite parts of the island, aside from the malasada shops, is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (Bet you couldn’t see that one coming!) I’ve been lucky enough to go there three times – once with William & Mary’s regional geology course, once with UH Hilo’s volcanology field course, and once with my parents for vacation. I loved showing my parents the park, since I’d been there with the William & Mary crowd the year before, and because I was finally getting a chance to show them what a volcano is really like.
23 May 2013
Today’s guest post was written by Alison Graettinger, a postdoc in the UB Geology department who’s working with the Center for Geohazard Studies. She was in charge of the series of maar-creation experiments I helped out at a few weeks ago, which are a followup to the experiments that I wrote about last year. She offered to put together this post so you could learn a bit about the science and international collaborations behind the experiments.
22 April 2013
As geologists, we spend a lot of time looking for the big picture. We want to know how a mountain range formed, or where tectonic plates were millions of years ago, or what global repercussions an eruption could have, or what effect the melting of an ice sheet could have on sea level around the world. We think about time in boggling spans that far exceed anything we could experience in a single lifetime – millions, even billions of years. And we are always trying to tell far-reaching stories to explain the history of our planet, using words and figures and photos.