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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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22 April 2016

A suite of plankton S.E.M. micro-GigaPans

My student Robin has been working (on and off) for more than a year to figure out the best way to make GigaPan-scale imagery using the new desktop scanning electron microscope that our academic division acquired. There are several technical challenges to be overcome, each different, and some with ‘solutions’ that cause other problems. Dealing with all that takes time and has caused a lot of frustration. (We have a …

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12 September 2015

New GigaPans from Team M.A.G.I.C.

Hampshire Formation outcrops on Corridor H, West Virginia: link (Marissa Dudek) link (Callan Bentley) Faults in the Tonoloway Formation, Corridor H, West Virginia: link (Marissa Dudek) Conococheague Formation, showing stromatolites and cross-bedding: link (Callan Bentley) link (Jeffrey Rollins) Tiny folds and faults, from a sample I collected somewhere, sometime… oh well, it’s cool regardless: link (Robin Rohrback) Fern fossil in Llewellyn Formation, St. Clair, Pennsylvania: link (Robin Rohrback) Cross-bedding in …

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10 April 2014

Fusulinids and stylolites, Hueco Formation

My colleague Joshua Villalobos shared this image with me the other day – it’s a thin section of fusulinid-bearing limestone of the (Permian aged) Hueco Formation, from the Tom Mays Unit of Franklin Mountains State Park, Texas. Click to enlarge Note the scale bar at lower left. The big fusulinid in the middle is 3mm in diameter! And that’s not even it’s longest axis! Fusulinids were big honking burrito-shaped protists …

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3 April 2014

Cribratina, an index fossil for the Albian age

These four slabs, collected at “Fossil Hill,” north of the Cristo Rey laccolith at the Chihuahua (Mexico) / Texas / New Mexico triple point, bear positively-weathering fossils of the benthic foraminiferid called Cribratina, an index fossil for the Albian age / stage: My field notebook serves as an imperfect sense of scale. Here’s the Albian in the context of the middle of the Cretaceous period of geologic time, from the …

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27 June 2012

Permian fusulinids from west Texas

Today, I’m going to show you some monster-sized single-celled organisms: giant fusulinid forams from the western flank of the Franklin Mountains in west Texas, beyond El Paso. I saw these critters in February when I went on a field trip there led by Josh Villalobos of El Paso Community College. Here’s the scene where we found these fossils (view is west towards New Mexico): To prepare you to check out …

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