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25 April 2019

How We Got To Now, by Steven Johnson

I was very impressed with Steven Johnson’s The Invention of Air when I read it last summer. So recently, I decided to sample another of his books, this one a six-part microhistory about innovations that altered the course of human history. The six are: 1) cleanliness/hygiene (specifically in medicine and drinking water), 2) measurement of time, 3) glass (think lenses!), 4) understanding of light, 5) refrigeration, and 6) the recording …

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8 March 2019

Friday fold: Dent de Morcles

The Friday fold is a recumbent anticline/syncline pair, deforming the K/Pg boundary in the Swiss Alps, as photographed from the air by Bernhard Edmaier.

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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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24 April 2018

T. rex and the Crater of Doom, by Walter Alvarez

Walter Alvarez has a new book out, and its publication reminded me that though I read and appreciated The Mountains of St. Francis, I had never read his most famous work — the account of how he and his father and a team of other researchers zeroed in on an extraterrestrial impact explanation for the end-Cretaceous extinction. So last week I read T. rex and the Crater of Doom (1997). …

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27 November 2017

Visiting the K/Pg boundary at Bottaccione Gorge, near Gubbio, Italy

A trip to one of the most famous outcrops in the world, a place with a stratum that marked a profound shift in the state of the planet, and a profound shift in geologic thinking. Plus, for the author, it’s a romantic journey back in time.

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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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27 March 2016

Another trio of 3D models

Here are three more of my Photoscan-generated, Sketchfab-hosted 3D models of rock samples: Mud cracks in Tonoloway Formation tidal flat carbonates, Corridor H, West Virginia: Diorite from the eastern Sierra Nevada of California: Vein cross-cutting foliated & lineated gneiss, Blue Ridge basement complex, Virginia:

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20 March 2016

3D and GIGAmacro views of Cerro Toro conglomerate

Six years ago, I went to Patagonia*, and collected this sample there. It’s a deep-water conglomerate from the Cerro Toro Formation. I’ve imaged it here in two media: the Sketchfab-hosted (Photoscan-generated) 3D model, and GigaPan-hosted (GIGAmacro-generated) views of both the front and the back. In combination, these three digital items can probably give you a pretty good sense of the sample: Link Link _______________________ * In case you missed it …

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4 December 2015

Friday fold: interference patterns on Elba

Samuele J√¶ger Papeschi shares one more fold with us: some deformation here… type III (Ramsay…) interference pattern in Cretaceous calcschists… Cavo, Elba Island Awesome! I hope everyone has a great Friday.

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7 August 2015

Friday fold: Yin-Yang at Swift Dam

What is Matt looking at here? Matt was one of my Rockies students this summer, a geology major at the University of Virginia. Together with another UVA student and students from Mary Washington University and George Mason University, Matt embarked on a mountain-climbing hike during our evening camping at Swift Dam, near Depuyer, Montana. The hikers were treated to an extraordinary sight when they attained the summit: Click to embiggen; …

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