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2 November 2017
This morning on Twitter I was reminded of komatiites, those “extinct” ultramafic lavas that were relatively common eruptions during the Archean. I’ve actually got a good number of komatiite photos to share from my time last year in South Africa’s Barberton Greenstone Belt. But since time is short this morning, I’ll start with a short photo set of three images, all showing different aspects of how these ultramafic rocks weather …
25 May 2017
Deep in the Archean, things suddenly got violent in the deep water of the Mapepe Formation’s oceanic setting. What was a quiet precipitation of chert suddenly was torn apart and tumbled downslope. Was an earthquake to blame? A bolide impact? This is the result.
1 May 2017
Volcanic “hailstones” called accretionary lapilli rained down on South Africa 3 billion years ago, and have survived to be seen in the present day, along the R40 road through Barberton Mountain Land, near the Bulembu border crossing into Swaziland.
10 March 2017
When touring the geology of the Barberton Greenstone Belt last August, our group visited the Sheba Mine, a gold mine high in the hills. Their geologist kindly showed us around and allowed us to visit his history-laden office. I have no idea where this sample originated, but it was the only fold I saw in the place, nestled between sepia-toned photographs and old lanterns and rusty picks. I wonder what …
2 February 2017
Banded iron formation is an “extinct rock” that can be found in ancient marine strata such as those found in the Barberton Greenstone Belt. Visit an outcrop on the Barberton GeoTrail and contemplate the bizarre anoxic world that Earth used to be.
25 January 2017
A basalt flow in Iceland shows both enticing pahoehoe and fractures with a Y-shaped intersection pattern. Comparisons to bread loaves and east Africa suggest a reason why.
11 January 2017
Since I showed off the 3D kimberlite intrusion breccias yesterday, I feel as if I owe you some other photos from that lovely exhibit at the IGC. I apologize for the poor quality of these photos – the gorgeous samples were behind glass and brightly lit, which made photography difficult. But the rocks are sooooooooo pretty, I think you’ll enjoy viewing them just the same. Let’s start with a gargantuan …
10 January 2017
While in Cape Town for the 35th meeting of the International Geological Congress in August/September, I was delighted at the “Messengers from the Mantle: Craton Roots and Diamonds” exhibit on kimberlites. It was a world-class collection of excellent specimens that traveled to the Congress from across the city at the University of Cape Town. I took some photos of two specimens to make 3D models from, and my student Marissa …
28 October 2016
Have a look at this week’s Friday fold – but be aware that it will be looking back!
26 October 2016
Archean meteorite impact evidence from the Fig Tree Group in Barite Valley, Barberton Greenstone Belt, South Africa
What does the sedimentary record of a giant meteorite impact look like? Turns out it is full of tsunami breccia, fine ash, hail-like spherules, and a barium-rich ocean’s crystal precipitates. Join us in the Barberton Greenstone Belt of South Africa to learn more.