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26 October 2018

Friday folds: Mather Gorge Formation

It’s been a very Billy-Goaty week for me. Three times since Sunday afternoon, I’ve taken people to the Billy Goat Trail’s “A” loop in C&O Canal National Historical Park. On Tuesday and Thursday, it was my NOVA Physical Geology students. On Sunday, though, it was just my son and me. Good news! He helped me discover a new fold by exploring some new rock outcrops and climbing on them. He …

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27 August 2018

Beautiful Swimmers, by William Warner

The subtitle of this wonderful book is “Watermen, Crabs, and the Chesapeake Bay.” It’s an excellent account of crab ecology in the Chesapeake Bay as it stood in the mid-1970s, and simultaneously a sympathetic portrait of the lives of the locals who capture those crabs for sale to the seafood market. The writing is thoughtful and calm, paced very similarly to John McPhee’s writing, rich in quotes from the watermen …

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16 June 2017

Friday fold: toothpasty Tomstown

I spent last weekend at the National Association of Geoscience Teachers’ Eastern Section meeting, based out of the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, Maryland. One of the two field trips I took headed out to the western Piedmont, Blue Ridge and Valley & Ridge provinces of western Maryland. On that trip, we took a tour of Crystal Grottoes, a commercial cave south of Boonsboro. I was impressed at …

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9 February 2017

Gabion

Do you remember the blog post four years ago about documenting the doomed outcrops at Scientists’ Cliffs, Maryland? It was the site of gorgeous Miocene fossil exposures in the Calvert Formation. Here’s what the site looks like now: Photo by Peter Vogt   That ugly thing at the base of the cliff is a gabion, protecting the houses on the clifftop and making fossil access impossible. I’m glad we got …

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27 January 2017

Friday fold: the Bradshaw Layered Amphibolite

The Friday fold can be found along the Fall Zone, where crystalline metaigneous rocks of the Piedmont meet the gently sloping strata of the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Contemplate their high metamorphic grade and their tight folding, and imagine the mighty mountains that once rose on this spot.

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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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3 August 2015

The Sykesville Formation, in 6 new GigaPans

As part of my work on the GEODE project, I’m always looking for good imagery to teach key concepts in geoscience. One important concept that I’ve been thinking about lately is the principle of relative dating on the basis of inclusions. Just as you can’t bake a loaf of raisin bread without already having raisins in your kitchen, rock units that are included in another rock unit must be older …

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1 May 2015

Friday fold: Tight syncline/anticline pair in Brallier Formation

The Friday fold shows clastic detritus (turbidites or “flysch” from the Acadian Orogeny) crumpled into tight folds due to the later Alleghanian Orogeny.

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24 April 2015

Friday fold: Bloomsburg Formation at lime kilns on C&O Canal

Milepost 127.4 (High, 2001) on the C&O Canal: …Cool if you’re into history. …Cool if you’re into economic geology. …Cool if you’re into Friday folds!   Reader Eric Fulmer sent me this photo (along w/ two others you’ll see in weeks to come). Thanks, Eric!

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8 December 2014

Fluvial geomorphology of Mather Gorge

What hath the Potomac River wrought on the rocks of Mather Gorge? Some interesting shapes to the land surface reveal a fascinating history.

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