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8 January 2019

Geology of the Galapagos Islands

Dozens of delectable geological images from the Galapagos Islands, showing fluid basalt flows and violent pyroclastic deposits along with many primary volcanic features (and a bit of sedimentology thrown in for good measure).

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25 June 2018

Mafic volcanics atop felsic instrusives: Sonora Pass, California

Sonora Pass, California, is a lovely place to examine a volcanic-on-plutonic nonconformity that spans about 80 million years of missing time. Let’s check it out on a photo-rich virtual field trip!

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22 September 2017

Friday fold: bend in a vesicular lava flow, Etna

It’s the First Friday of Fall! Here’s a sort of fold to help you celebrate: a section through a ∧ shaped bend in a vesicular basalt flow from the eastern flanks of Mount Etna in Sicily. It’s due to volcanic lava flowing rather than ductile deformation of a pre-existing solid rock (our usual habit with this feature), but I think we can appreciate it regardless:

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7 February 2017

Basaltic strata, faulting, and glaciation in western Iceland

Today, let’s journey to Iceland, to a bit northwest of Reykjavík. This is a view from the top of the Grábrók cinder cone, across the valley to the east. With very few exceptions, Iceland is a big pile of basalt, and that shows through in the walls of this valley, which display a stack of basaltic lava flows, intercalated in places with pyroclastic debris or volcaniclastic sediment. One portion of …

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25 January 2017

Y-shaped joints on a basalt flow, Lake Mývatn, Iceland

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.

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29 October 2016

New digital media of Shenandoah National Park feeder dikes

In Shenandoah National Park, astride Virginia’s Blue Ridge, feeder dikes of Catoctin Formation (meta-)basalt cut across the Grenvillian-aged granitoid basement. Due to their mafic composition and columnar jointing, these feeder dikes generally weather more rapidly than their host rocks. I led a field trip in the park on Thursday for my son’s school, and my student Marissa was there the weekend prior, checking out the autumn leaves and geology with …

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6 October 2016

Oddball Icelandic rocks, part I: A green ignimbrite

Iceland does basalt really, really well. But there are a few non-basaltic igneous rocks to be found there, too. One of them is a green ignimbrite (pyroclastic conglomerate) that crops out in coastal Berufjörður, eastern Iceland. Check it out!

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3 October 2016

A virtual field trip to Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland

Rathlin Island lies north of mainland Northern Ireland, a few miles offshore. I spent three lovely days there this past summer, investigating the geology and appreciating the wildlife (puffins and other sea birds, and seals). The geology is pretty straightforward: Paleogene basalt overlying Cretaceous “chalk” (really not so chalky here – technically, it’s the Ulster White Limestone). Here’s a suite of interactive imagery that you can use to explore Rathlin’s …

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21 September 2016

Stađarbjargavík

Based on this photo, what do you think Stađarbjargavík might have to offer? If you guessed columnar jointing in basalt, you’d be right! Looking down the fjord, south of Hofsós (in Iceland): The place is basically a series of miniature Giant’s Causeways, full of unpopulated exemplars of cooling columns! Little coves separate the small peninsulas, each filled with rounded column bits: Here’s a spot where one more is about to …

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15 September 2016

Pillow basalts from eastern Washington: a 3D model

Since I showed off some Icelandic pillow basalts yesterday, today I thought I would showcase a new 3D model of big pillows in Columbia River basalt of eastern Washington, taken from a photo set I made when I was out there in May:

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