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22 November 2019
Because I’m putting together a field course for spring break 2020 to Death Valley California, I was looking through old Death Valley photos this week, from the last time I went to that special place. It was seven years ago! How time flies… This one is in Mosaic Canyon, and was taken by my student Marcelo Arispe, a talented photographer as well as a talented geologist: By the standards of …
11 October 2019
A moderate mesoscale monocline at Watern Cove, Newfoundland, shows off multicellular animal fossils of the Ediacaran Mistaken Point Formation.
18 October 2017
The 2017 Virginia Geological Field Conference had a heavy arkose infusion. Meet some of these feldspar-rich Neoproterozoic sediments of the Lynchburg Group.
15 April 2017
My son and I hiked Compton Peak in Shenandoah National Park this morning, and saw these two lovely examples of xenoliths. The example above is small, but it shows clearly the difference between the coarse, felsic basement rock (Mesoproterozoic granitoid, comprising the xenolith) and the surrounding fine-grained dark green metabasalt of the Catoctin Formation (Neoproterozoic). Here’s another, bigger example: These two Blue Ridge examples both illustrate the principle of relative …
21 December 2016
Remember the diamictite I featured here a few weeks ago, from Islay? It was the one that might be a Snowball Earth diamictite. Well, if you follow Snowball Earth science at all, you’ll doubtless be aware that the glaciogenic sediments are characteristically overlain by “cap” carbonates. There’s a stratigraphic successor to the Port Askaig Tillite, too – it’s called the Bonahaven Dolomite. Unlike what you might expect for a cap …
9 December 2016
It’s Friday! Today’s fold comes to you from Neoproterozoic metasediments on the west side of Islay, at Machir Bay.
30 November 2016
One fun thing about examining the Port Askaig Tillite in the field is to find odd-shaped exemplars of the unit lying on Islay’s beaches. My favorites were shaped like wands, or antennae, or perhaps the drumsticks freshly detached from a Thanksgiving turkey… a big clast at one end and then a thin septum of the finer-grained matrix to hang on to: Here’s an example: The shape results from differential weathering …
29 November 2016
The Port Askaig Tillite is a Neoproterozoic diamictite on the eastern shore of Islay (Scotland) that may record a “Snowball Earth” glaciation.
29 October 2016
In Shenandoah National Park, astride Virginia’s Blue Ridge, feeder dikes of Catoctin Formation (meta-)basalt cut across the Grenvillian-aged granitoid basement. Due to their mafic composition and columnar jointing, these feeder dikes generally weather more rapidly than their host rocks. I led a field trip in the park on Thursday for my son’s school, and my student Marissa was there the weekend prior, checking out the autumn leaves and geology with …
22 July 2016
When in Shetland, one of my first stops was the museum in Scalloway, and one of the ancillary benefits of visiting there is the castle next door: Scalloway Castle includes building stones derived from the local limestone – a Neoproterozoic unit that has recently been chemostratigraphically correlated with Snowball Earth cap carbonates elsewhere in the world. But that need not concern us today. Today we are here for the folds! …