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You are browsing the archive for March 2020 - Mountain Beltway.

30 March 2020

Stepping-Stones, by Katharine Fowler-Billings

This memoir by one of America’s earliest female geologists is an enjoyable read about adventure and professional working conditions in the 1920s and 1930s, and up though the 1950s and 1960s. Fowler-Billings (née Fowler) led an interesting life, ranging from growing up in an urban Boston that still had a significant horse population to post-retirement conservation and environmental activism. In between, Kay was a field geologist and an educator. She …

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27 March 2020

Friday fauxld: a false syncline in Titus Canyon

What day is it again? Hard to keep track in the days of raging coronavirus infections, but it is in fact Friday, which means that if you want a dose of the halcyon pre-COVID-19 days, you can enjoy this example of a false fold from Death Valley National Park’s Titus Canyon.

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25 March 2020

The Story of More, by Hope Jahren

Humanity faces a crisis today, and we struggle to find the right way to deal with it, to solve it, to live meaningfully within the constraints it imposes. You might think I’m referring to coronavirus, but it’s actually climate change that’s on my mind. Hope Jahren, author of the incandescent Lab Girl, has a new volume out, on the unsustainability of modern Western life, and what actions we can take …

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20 March 2020

Friday fold: more folds from lower Titus Canyon

We are living in surreal times. It hardly seems possible, but a week ago this evening, I drove down the Las Vegas strip with my students, ogling at the glitz and spectacle and crowds. Now, a mere 7 days later, Vegas has been shuttered, and it’s been shuttered for days. We traveled freely through California and now a week later, everyone in the state is ordered to stay home. What …

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13 March 2020

Friday fold: Bizarro folding in Titus Canyon

Hi everyone, and greetings from eastern California’s Death Valley, where I’m leading a field geology course over our spring break. I found an excellent Friday fold for you: That’s the Cambrian-aged Bonanza King Formation, a package of limestones, as exposed in lower Titus Canyon, Death Valley National Park. Here’s the thing: the lower part of that outcrop is Upper Bonanza King Formation, while the upper part of the cliff is …

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6 March 2020

Friday fold: an Extreme(adura) geological history question

The Friday folds are revealed in an elegant cross-section through fantastic rocks in the Extremadura region of Spain.

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5 March 2020

The Future of Another Timeline, by Annalee Newitz

What if geologists studied more than just Earth processes and history, but also how to go back in time and manipulate that history? That’s the job of the “cultural geologist” who is the flawed protagonist of Annalee Newitz‘s novel The Future of Another Timeline. (I’ve previously read her book Autonomous, and enjoyed it. I see her as a leading thinker about futurism’s intersection with feminism.) In TFOATL, the main character, …

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