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7 January 2015

A mafic sill in Antarctica

My friend and colleague Lauren Michel, the King Family Fellow at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas, sent me this image from her recent trip to Antarctica: (click to enlarge) This is a beautiful example of a mafic igneous sill, probably of the rock known as “dolerite” (or diabase, to us Yanks). Lauren and I think it must be part of the Ferrar Large Igneous Province. …

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12 March 2013

Five new GigaPans from Thoroughfare Gap

Yesterday, I took five new GigaPans at Thoroughfare Gap, a water gap where Broad Run cuts through Bull Run Mountain, the eastern limb of the Blue Ridge Anticlinorium at my latitude. The rocks here are the Cambrian-aged Chilhowee Group, with bedding tilted moderately to the east during Alleghanian mountain-building in the late Paleozoic. To the west is the crystalline core of this massive regional fold, and to the east is …

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6 June 2012

Virginia geology on video: the Alleghanian Orogeny

Here’s another video, wherein I’ve made some improvements from the last one (reserved the lower right corner for the webcam “talking head” video inset, and adjusted the microphone for fewer audio blowouts). It’s still not perfect – there’s a disconnect between the audio and the webcam video that becomes more and more pronounced throughout the course of the video, but it’s a step in the right direction. The Alleghanian Orogeny: …

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17 March 2012

Lageson goes up

One of Callan’s former advisers, Dave Lageson of Montana State University, heads to the summit of the world’s tallest mountain with his graduate student, the accomplished mountaineer Conrad Anker.

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9 September 2011

Friday fold: just Kidding

You’re looking here at Mount Kidd, a peak in the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies that displays a tight anticline/syncline duo superimposed on the strata of the Rundle Group. Located on the west side of Highway 40, the Kananaskis Trail, south of the trans-Canada Highway, this mountain shows us what happens with Carboniferous-aged carbonates got squished and squeezed during the construction of the Canadian Rockies (what in the U.S. …

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16 September 2010

Drilling: what, why, and how

As mentioned, I spent a significant part of last weekend was spent on a paleomagnetic sampling project with collaborators from the University of Michigan. On Friday, this was our field area: That’s the south slopes of Old Rag Mountain, a popular Blue Ridge hiking destination because unlike many Virginia peaks, when you get to the top, you see some rocks instead of 100% trees: But we didn’t come here for …

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22 August 2010

Geology of Massanutten Mountain, Virginia

Here’s a new video from Greg Willis, the same guy who brought us a fine video on Piedmont geology. In this new opus (20 minutes), Greg details the geology of the Massanutten Synclinorium (Shenandoah Valley, Massanutten Mountain, and Fort Valley) in western Virginia. WordPress isn’t letting me embed it here, but you should go and check it out!

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17 May 2010

"Geology of Skyline Drive" w/JMU

I mentioned going out in the field last Thursday with Liz Johnson‘s “Geology of Skyline Drive” lab course at James Madison University. We started the trip south of Elkton, Virginia, at an exposure where Liz had the students collect hand samples and sketch their key features. Here’s one that I picked up: Regular readers will recognize those little circular thingies as Skolithos trace fossils, which are soda-straw-like in the third …

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13 May 2010

Mount Taranaki

Searching around for the current Where on Google Earth, I found this astonishing place in western New Zealand: That’s Mount Taranaki, and evidently the vegetation change you see in the circular colored shape around the mountain must be due to a protected-area boundary. Check out the radial drainage pattern on that sucker! Check it out yourself here.

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11 March 2010

Folds of New York

Thursday is ‘fold day’ here at Mountain Beltway. Let’s take a look at some folds I saw last weekend in New York City. We’ll start with a bunch seen in the Manhattan Schist in Central Park. Here’s an example of the foliation in the schist. It’s got finer-grained regions and coarser, schistier regions with big honking muscovite flakes. Metamorphic petrologists: Does this correspond to paleo-bedding? (i.e. quartz-rich regions that metamorphose …

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