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21 May 2012

Eclipse + caldera = an excellent evening for a volcanologist

I had the excellent opportunity to view today’s annular eclipse from the top of Pajarito Mountain, just outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. I had the excellent opportunity to view today’s annular eclipse from the top of Pajarito Mountain, just outside of Los Alamos, New Mexico. What an amazing time!

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19 May 2012

Grab Bag: IVM-Fund T-shirts, solar power on campus, and an eclipse

The end of the semester is always a mess in terms of getting things done, and that includes writing blog posts. Compound this with a research trip to a national lab during which I’m spending a lot of time squinting at code, and I hope you’ll understand why my posting has been a bit sparse (and wildly varying in topic). There are a few posts that I’ve “orphaned” in the past few weeks, and I thought it would be worth it to do a quick rundown of things; I may or may not get to writing more about these in the future.

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13 May 2012

Sidetracked: Cave of the Winds, Los Alamos

Well, I had planned to work on my Bancroft posts this week, but in all the packing hoopla I realized that I left my field notes in Buffalo, which doesn’t help me much while I’m here in Los Alamos. So you’re just going to have to settle for some photos from the hike I took yesterday along the Quemazon trail to the Cave of the Winds.

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6 December 2011

AGU 2011: Days 0 & 1

AGU’s Fall Meeting is always a full-time job, and the beginning of the meeting is no exception. My week actually started Sunday night: I attended the first gathering of AGU’s student representatives, where we discussed our roles and how we will be developing them along with our sections’ Executive Committees. The Volcanology, Geochemistry and Petrology section (which I am the new student rep for) meets on Wednesday, and I hope …

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11 August 2011

What I did this summer:

Went to work at a not-so-super-secret government lab: Got in touch with my inner river rat: Did a little caving: Experienced a natural disaster (not good for my particular natural hazard┬áresearch, by the way): Explored some ruins: Split a few rocks: Drove through a volcano: Drove up a volcano: Put 5,000 miles on the car: Took in some scenery: And came across a W&M alum a bit west of where …

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5 August 2011

Purple everywhere! Samples from the Harding Pegmatite

All right, I’m finally getting to this post (cross-country driving trips aren’t good for keeping up with posting, apparently). My last post about the Harding Pegmatite Mine near Dixon, New Mexico had some lovely photos of the mine, but not so many of the rocks and minerals close-up. The samples I have are a little far from home (seeing as I’ve dragged them to the East coast from New Mexico), but they’re still as impressive as they were at the mine!

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27 July 2011

Harding Pegmatite Mine, New Mexico

Last weekend I went on a rock-hunting trip with a group of engineers who live in my apartment complex, and on the advice of a local rafting guide (from another trip) we visited the Harding Pegmatite Mine near Dixon. The mine is no longer active (except for visits), and was donated to the University of New Mexico for educational and collecting use – and it’s pretty famous for the variety of minerals that can be found there.

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10 June 2011

Valles Caldera

I meant to post this last year after my brief trip to Los Alamos, but now that I’m back on the Hill for the summer, it seems a shame not to show off the scenery!

The Jemez Volcanic Field in northern New Mexico – which includes the Valles Caldera – straddles the Rio Grande Rift in the east and the Colorado Plateau in the west. The Jemez contains volcanic rocks erupted from >13 to 0.13 million years ago, with compositions ranging from basalt (low silica content) to rhyolite (high silica). The best known of these is the Bandelier Tuff, a thick sequence of pyroclastic deposits which were erupted in several phases around 1.62 to 1.25 million years ago. The total volume of material in the Bandelier is around 300 cubic km (~75 cubic miles), and it covers much of the area in the Jemez Volcanic Field. (The Bandelier tends to be unwelded and relatively soft, and canyons have cut down through it in many places, creating wonderful vertical exposures as well as the mesas and plateaus that Los Alamos is built on.)

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