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18 July 2017
I’ve just finished three weeks of travel in Italy, and I was absolutely delighted to read this terrific book by Walter Alvarez while I was there. Alvarez is famous the world over for being the nucleus of the team that proposed an extraterrestrial meteorite impact as the cause of the end-Cretaceous extinction, prompted to that bold hypothesis by the discovery that the clay seam marking the boundary between the Mesozoic …
15 July 2017
I collected only a single rock on my summer travels in France and Italy. (Those of you who know me will realize how extraordinary this low number is!) It’s a flow-banded rhyolite from Vulcano, in the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily a few weeks ago. It contains porphyritic vesicular basalt xenoliths. I featured a similar sample on Twitter yesterday on the occasion (supposedly) of “International Rock Day”: For #InternationalRockDay , …
14 July 2017
The Friday fold visits the Apennine Range of central Italy.
7 July 2017
It’s Friday. Let’s find a historic sort of Friday fold in the ruins of Herculaneum, Naples, Italy.
23 June 2017
I was in southern France last week, exploring an awesome suite of caves cut into the Causses limestone plateau. My family and I took an afternoon to paddle a canoe down 5 kilometers of the Célé River. While floating along, we spied a gentle, open fold in the limestone layers that crop out along the banks. This low-amplitude fold is highlighted with the “horizontal” reference line of the river’s edge. …
26 May 2017
It’s Friday. We return to Italy’s Macigno Formation for a fold, courtesy of blog reader Samuele Papeschi.
11 May 2017
The Seven Hills of Rome: A Geological Tour of the Eternal City, by Grant Heiken, Renato Funiciello, and Donatella de Rita
I’m preparing for some time in Italy this summer, and picked up a couple of books to bring me up to speed geologically. The first is a geological guide for Rome. It’s structured around the archetypal “seven hills” of Rome, but the story is simpler in many regards than some other seven-hilled European capitals I could name. Rome’s geology appears to consist of four major units: older sedimentary rocks (which …
20 June 2016
Want a geological irony? Here’s one! You’re looking at a rounded boulder of Cushendun Conglomerate, a Devonian “Old Red Sandstone” unit (Cross Slieve Group) exposed at Cushendun Caves, Northern Ireland, U.K. The irony lies in the repetition of history – a tumbling environment of high water energy, rounding cobbles and boulders and depositing them, in order to make the conglomerate. And now, ~400 million years later, history repeats itself, with …
13 May 2016
Alan Pitts is the source of today’s fold, a beautiful 3D model of a differentially-weathered sycline in the Late Oligocene to Early Miocene deep water Macigno Formation from western Tuscany, Italy. Here’s a photo: Now for the 3D model, hosted by Sketchfab; After it loads, use your mouse to grab this thing and finesse it around. What an outcrop! What a great 3D model! Thanks for sharing this, Alan!
2 April 2016
Here are a few new images I’ve been working on with my home-based Magnify2 imaging system from GIGAmacro. Strophomenid brachiopods from Mississippian Mauch Chunk Formation, West Virginia: Link Boninite from New Caledonia: Link Lepidodendron scale-tree bark from Poland: Link Potassium feldspar crystal, from a pegmatite: Link Catoctin Formation greenstone from a feeder dike east of Linden, Virginia: Link Enjoy exploring them for details.