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2 April 2018

101 American fossil sites you’ve gotta see, by Albert B. Dickas

Mountain Press has released a new volume by frequent author Bert Dickas: it’s a compilation of 101 places in the United States where fossils can be viewed. Some sites are collection sites on public land; others are museums or protected areas. The book is a useful collection of information in a concise, well-illustrated form. Each of the sites gets a name, a latitude/longitude (but not directions), a short tag line, …

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16 November 2015

“Making North America,” episode 3: Human

The PBS series NOVA has a new three-part series called “Making North America” that premiered two weeks ago. Hosted by the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Kirk Johnson, the series explores the tectonic assembly of terranes that resulted in the bedrock of the continent, the panoply of diverse creatures that have dwelled here in the past, and the human prehistory of our continent. I was …

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6 November 2015

“Making North America,” episode 2: Life

The PBS series NOVA has a new three-part series called “Making North America” that premiered last week. Hosted by the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Kirk Johnson, the series will explore the tectonic assembly of terranes that resulted in the bedrock of the continent, the panoply of diverse creatures that have dwelled here in the past, and the human prehistory of our continent. I was …

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29 October 2015

“Making North America,” episode 1: Origins

The PBS series NOVA has a three-part series coming out next week called “Making North America.” Hosted by the director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Kirk Johnson, the series will explore the tectonic assembly of terranes that resulted in the bedrock of the continent, the panoply of diverse creatures that have dwelled here in the past, and the human prehistory of our continent. I was given …

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19 June 2012

101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See, by Albert B. Dickas

I just finished reading 101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See, one of the latest publications by geology-friendly (and Missoula-based) Mountain Press. I’m grateful to the the publishers for sending me a review copy. It’s a nicely written and produced book highlighting sites across the United States of America of geological interest. The book is organized in a series of two-page spreads. On the left is a one-page write-up of the …

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28 September 2011

Roadside wonders of Route 287

Northern Colorado’s route 287 connects Fort Collins, Colorado with Laramie, Wyoming. Along its length, it displays roadcuts into Archean-aged basement complex. Two of these outcrops are featured in this post: one metamorphic (mostly), and a second igneous (mostly), with some intriguing polka-dotted plutons.

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25 August 2010

Jointed Virgelle

One of the stops my Rockies students and I made this summer was a dinosaur paleontology tour through the Two Medicine Dinosaur Center in Bynum, Montana. The folks there are very accommodating, and at my request gave the class a bit of stratigraphic context for the dinosaur fossils. For instance, we visited the geologic formation which underlies the dinosaur-bearing Two Medicine Formation: it’s a beach sandstone called the Virgelle Formation. …

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8 April 2010

Crystal ghosts

The first time I went to the Billy Goat Trail (Potomac, Maryland) with geology as the goal (as opposed to mere recreation), it was 2002. The trip was led by a professor at the University of Maryland. I was a graduate T.A. then, and didn’t know anything about the local geology. I remember at the end of the trip, the professor sent us out to search for “kyanite ghosts” (pseudomorphs …

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4 April 2010

Easter egg

Searching through my photo archives this morning for something suitably “Eastery”… something in pastel colors, perhaps? … a petrified lagomorph? … how about an egg, or something egg-shaped? This is as close as I got: This is in the Owens Valley of eastern California, showing a boulder of the Mesozoic Sierra Nevada Batholith bearing a faulted xenolith. I love outcrops like this, with a combination of primary structures (like the …

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3 April 2010

Here, ptyggie ptyggie ptyggie!

Yesterday, I took my GMU structural geology class to the Billy Goat Trail, my favorite local spot for intriguing geology. Unlike last year, we managed our time well enough that we got to clamber around on the rocks downstream of the amphibolite contact. Here’s Sarah, Lara, Kristen, and Alan, negotiating a steep section: Justin, Joe, Nik, Aaron, Jeremy, and Danny find a chunky amphibolite boudin in metagraywacke. Notice how Jeremy …

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