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14 June 2019

Friday fold: kinked cleavage at Harpers Ferry

Last weekend was the annual meeting of the eastern section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. On Friday afternoon, we visited Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and my colleague Beth Doyle led a great field trip to examine the rocks exposed there. This was my favorite outcrop we saw: Here is a close up of this outcrop, which is framed by (anthropogenic) rock wall: Dipping shallowly from upper left to …

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20 May 2019

Digital manipulation as a teaching aid

Photoshop is a powerful image editing program. Its “cloning” tool allows the removal of “distracting” data from geological imagery. Examine these four examples and consider the ethical limits of the technique. Is it okay to remove fractures and lichens from an outcrop photo in order to allow novices to focus on the geological content you want them to learn from?

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11 February 2019

When Bugs Were Big, Plants Were Strange, and Tetrapods Stalked the Earth: A Cartoon Prehistory of Life Before Dinosaurs, by Hannah Bonner

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed any kids’ books here, but this one was so good that I just have to tell you about it. My son is now 6 and a half years old, and he’s interested in all sorts of natural history topics. Given that I’m a geologist, he’s probably more Earth-science-focused than the average kid, but my wife is a biologist, so he’s got plenty …

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7 December 2018

Welcome to D.C. for #AGU2018

A summary of resources to learn about the geology of Washington, D.C. and the surrounding region, in anticipation of AGU’s Fall Meeting being held in the nation’s capital city.

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11 September 2018

Drawing geological structures, by Jörn Kruhl

After blogging about geovisualization, reader James Safranek alerted me to this new book about two of my favorite things: drawing and structural geology! I requested a review copy from the publisher, who kindly provided one. It’s great! This is “a whole book” about drawing and geology and specifically structural geology. As such, it’s not going to be as pertinent to every reader as it was to me. But I found …

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15 December 2017

Aerial Geology, by Mary Caperton Morton

There’s a lovely new coffee table book out, just in time for holiday shopping. My fellow EARTH magazine contributor Mary Capterton Morton is the author of Aerial Geology, a beautiful massive tome that profiles a hundred geologically interesting locations across the North American continent. Mary was kind enough to forward me a copy for review, and I was delighted to flip through its gorgeous pages. It’s a visual feast, with …

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8 December 2017

Friday fold: Alpine cross sections by Albert Heim

The Friday fold is a figure from a 1922 book about the geology of the Alps by Swiss structural geology genius and artistic master Albert Heim. Marvel at his gorgeous depiction of the internal and long-since-eroded structure of these mighty mountains.

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6 December 2017

My GSW Presidential address

I can hardly believe it but tonight I wrap up my tenure as the 2017 President of the Geological Society of Washington. In our Society, it’s a tradition for the President to give the final talk of the year, a Presidential Address that takes up the entirety of the final regular meeting. I’ll be talking tonight about the art of geology. Specifically, my title is “Visualization in geology: A brief …

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24 October 2017

The View from the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman

I’ve been reading a fair bit of Neil Gaiman over the past year or so: American Gods, Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Each of those books is good in its own way, and each is fiction. I just finished a compilation of Gaiman’s nonfiction, and there is enough about it that I think is applicable to the audience of this blog …

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11 October 2017

Pompeii vs. Herculaneum

Italy’s celebrated archaeological site of Pompeii is compared and contrasted with nearby Herculaneum in terms of art, architecture, visitor experience, and (of course) geology.

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