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8 February 2011

Volcano analogies for kids

I just had a great time talking with a first-grade class about volcanoes this afternoon – something that I love to do with kids of any age (and those who never really grow up, too). They came up with excellent, insightful questions about volcanoes and volcanic processes, and I was definitely kept on my toes when it came to answering. In fact, I definitely find it more challenging to talk to kids about geology than I do to adults, because kids are still learning about the world around them – they don’t necessarily have the background knowledge that an adult would, so I have to choose carefully how to explain things. It’s not a matter of “dumbing down” my answers at all, but a matter of putting them into context. This is where geologic analogies come into play.


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25 January 2011

(Edible) rheomorphic tuff: Accretionary Wedge #30

Following up from my post on rheomorphic flow in volcanic tuffs, it’s geology bake sale time! For my submission to this month’s Accretionary Wedge, hosted at Mountain Beltway, I’m trying to draw a few parallels between a confection more commonly known as “zebra cake” and deformation in pyroclastic deposits. To do a quick recap, rheomorphic flow occurs when parts of a pyroclastic deposit – either during or after deposition – become viscous enough to flow like a syrup. If there is flow banding in the deposit, it can become deformed and folded back on itself to form some visually striking patterns (such as in this piece of rhyolite from Mono-Inyo craters in California). So let’s bake a flow-banded pyroclastic deposit!


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