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7 December 2022

The coastal section at Esterillos Oeste, Costa Rica

Callan documents a geological stroll along the coast of Esterillos Oeste, in central southern Costa Rica, investigating the sequence of sediment in the Punta Judas Formation (Mid-Miocene) exposed there. Fossils, sedimentary structure, diagenetic features, structural deformation, and modern weathering all make prominent appearances.

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13 November 2022

A Geological Miscellany, by G.Y. Craig & E.J. Jones

A fun, if a little musty, compendium of random writings about geology and geologists from a wide variety of sources, excerpted and packed together into a slim paperback volume. It begins with Mark Twain and concludes with Russell Baker, and there are hundreds of entries in between – some poems, some short essays, some clipped correspondence, some newspaper articles, and so on. It’s miscellaneous, as the title suggests. Many of …

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12 October 2022

Geopedia, by Marcia Bjornerud

My favorite popularizer of modern geology is Marcia Bjornerud. Her sensibility for what is interesting and important matches very nicely with my own – I feel she is a kindred spirit, though one infinitely more talented with language than I am. Lovers of geology found much to delight them in Reading the Rocks. She took the geological into the realm of the philosophical and political in Timefulness. This book (her …

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30 March 2020

Stepping-Stones, by Katharine Fowler-Billings

This memoir by one of America’s earliest female geologists is an enjoyable read about adventure and professional working conditions in the 1920s and 1930s, and up though the 1950s and 1960s. Fowler-Billings (née Fowler) led an interesting life, ranging from growing up in an urban Boston that still had a significant horse population to post-retirement conservation and environmental activism. In between, Kay was a field geologist and an educator. She …

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27 March 2019

Timefulness, by Marcia Bjornerud

[Note: this book review was scheduled to run in the July 2019 issue of EARTH magazine, but with the announcement two weeks ago that EARTH was being shuttered, I was notified that nothing contributors or freelancers had written scheduled for after April 2019 would be published, and the rights were returned to me. While that’s disappointing, it frees me up to publish it here instead. Enjoy!] _____________________________________________ Geology is a …

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31 August 2017

Geology Underfoot in Southern Idaho, by Shawn Willsey

I love the “Geology Underfoot” series published by Mountain Press – the same folks who have published dozens of titles under the “Roadside Geology” theme. “Underfoot” is better than “Roadside,” I think, because it tells the story of discrete places, suggesting ideal places to visit. Each chapter is self-contained and useful without extraneous details, and avoids the redundancy of many roads crossing through near-identical geology. The latest title in the …

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4 January 2013

Friday fold: Up on Opequon Creek

I got a call last month from Rebekah Wiedower, a landowner up in Frederick & Clarke counties (her family’s property includes pieces of both), inviting me to come up and look at some anticlines and synclines that Dan Doctor (USGS) had identified on the bank of Opequon Creek. I was glad to do it, though shooting these photos meant I had to wade across the stream in my sneakers (on …

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13 December 2012

“The evolution of creationism,” by David Montgomery

The cover story in the November issue of GSA Today was by David Montgomery, MacArthur “genius” award winner and author of Dirt. Montgomery has a new book out on creationism and “flood geology,” and the article is a précis of the historical roots of creationism that appears in that book. The article is titled “The Evolution of Creationism,” and the book it’s derived from is The Rocks Don’t Lie. I’ve …

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11 December 2012

Why Geology Matters, by Doug MacDougall

Callan reviews a new book by Doug Macdougall: “Why Geology Matters.”

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28 November 2012

AW 52: Dream geology courses

Shawn at the blog Vi-carius is hosting this month’s Accretionary Wedge. He asks for a geoblogosphere-wide brainstorm on “dream geology courses” – an inspirational topic! I have a few ideas: A travel course dedicated to exploring the roots of geological thinking and the geological timescale. It would clearly need to be based in the U.K. and Scotland in particular, with forays into Ireland, France, and the foothills of the Alps. …

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