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20 January 2021

Peering through

When hiking recently in my neighborhood, I saw this gleaming apparition appear in an eroded gully in a dirt road: Those multicolored stripes are varying compositions in a zone of ultramylonite: ductilely-sheared-out rock that formed in the deep equivalent of a “fault” in the Blue Ridge basement complex. We call it a “shear zone” most of the time, but a better descriptor would be “high strain zone.” These rocks are …

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1 January 2021

2020 Yard List(s!)

It’s my little new year’s tradition to present here my tally of bird species seen in my yard over the course of the year just concluded. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) 2017 (56 species) 2018 (60 species) 2019 (67 species) Things are different this year, not because of the pandemic, but because I moved over …

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4 September 2020

Friday fold: Home décor

Busy weeks lately; apologies for the minimal bloggery, friends. For this week’s Friday fold, I offer you a view of some of the outdoor decorations at our new house: In the lower basket there is a cut and polished block of Castile Formation rock gypsum + limestone, showing varves that have been folded, apparently by hydration/dehydration volume changes of the gypsum/anyhdrite laminae: This is from the State Line outcrop on …

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1 January 2020

2019 Yard List

New year’s day! For this blog and me, the first day of the year is time for the annual recap of birds seen on my land in Fort Valley, Virginia. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) 2017 (56 species) 2018 (60 species) This year’s list (biggest year yet!), in chronological order of first sighting: Pileated woodpecker …

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1 January 2019

2018 Yard List

New year’s day is the time I tally up and report the bird species seen in my yard on the forested slope of Massanutten Mountain in Shenandoah County, Virginia. This is my seventh such annual list. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) 2017 (56 species) It’s been a good year. Two new “seen for the first …

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26 March 2018

Raider of the Lost Anticlines

A solo hike in search of anticlines yields new outcrops and good views!

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23 January 2018

A kid and his slicks

On a family hike, Callan’s son finds some interesting smooth lines on a rock. What are they? What do they tell us? Tune in for a brief history of Appalachian geology.

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1 January 2018

2017 Yard List

New year’s day is the time I tally up my accumulated bird species seen in my yard on the forested slope of Massanutten Mountain. This is my sixth such annual list. Here are the previous iterations: 2012 (39 species) 2013 (51 species) 2014 (58 species) 2015 (65 species) 2016 (59 species) Here we go, in chronological order of first appearance in our yard: Red-tailed hawk Red-bellied woodpecker Mourning dove Raven …

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2 May 2017

Leafing out to bring down CO2

It’s getting green outside – what’s it mean for the planet? Find out in this blog post contemplating the relationship between spring leaves and atmospheric CO2.

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3 April 2017

Virtual owl pellet

Owls are nocturnal birds of prey that eat rodents and grasshoppers, digest the good stuff, and cough up the rest in compressed “pellets” of fur, bone, and chitinous exoskeleton. I found an owl pellet in my yard a few weeks ago, and imaged it using my GIGAmacro Magnify2. I rotated it around to get multiple views, as seen here. I’ve got both Flash and non-Flash versions of the GigaPan embed …

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