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10 April 2014
Fusulinids and stylolites, Hueco Formation
My colleague Joshua Villalobos shared this image with me the other day – it’s a thin section of fusulinid-bearing limestone of the (Permian aged) Hueco Formation, from the Tom Mays Unit of Franklin Mountains State Park, Texas. Click to enlarge Note the scale bar at lower left. The big fusulinid in the middle is 3mm in diameter! And that’s not even it’s longest axis! Fusulinids were big honking burrito-shaped protists …
19 June 2013
Dwyka Tillite in South Africa
My wonderfully named e-buddy Martin Bentley recently took a field trip to a quarry in South Africa (between Grahamstown and Fort Beaufort) where the Dwyka Formation is exposed: This poorly sorted sedimentary rock (a ‘diamictite’) is usually interpreted as glacial deposits (lithified till, or ’tillite’). Alfred Wegener cited these rocks and accompanying glacial striations (and similar ones in South Africa, India, Australia, and Antarctica) as evidence for the existence of …
7 May 2013
Brallier Formation 2: tectonic structures
Yesterday we examined primary sedimentary structures (including trace fossils) at an outcrop of Devonian-aged Brallier Formation turbidites between Deerfield and West Augusta, Virginia. Today, we’ll zoom in on the tectonic structures at the site: folds, faults, and joints. Remember, you don’t have to take my word for it. You can explore it for yourself in this M.A.G.I.C. GigaPan: link One thing that’s kind of cool about that GigaPan is the …
29 March 2013
Friday fold: “V”
The Friday fold photo was taken this morning on a GigaPanning expedition, and shows a small syncline within turbidite strata of the Martinsburg Formation, Page Valley, Virginia.
21 March 2013
Slicks in Cub Sandstone
During Alleghanian deformation (late Paleozoic), the Cub Sandstone we looked at yesterday was tilted to near vertical at Catherine Furnace. The shale layers developed cleavage at this time, and there was evidently some flexural slip between sandstone layers, to judge from these fine slickensides: Students: Can you deduce the sense of motion from the orientation of the structures in this sample? (Hint: note the directions the “steps” face…)
5 December 2012
Slightly annotated photo of a Permian therapsid skull on display in the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta. Another photo of this same skull is here. This reptile needs an orthodontist.
27 June 2012
Permian fusulinids from west Texas
Today, I’m going to show you some monster-sized single-celled organisms: giant fusulinid forams from the western flank of the Franklin Mountains in west Texas, beyond El Paso. I saw these critters in February when I went on a field trip there led by Josh Villalobos of El Paso Community College. Here’s the scene where we found these fossils (view is west towards New Mexico): To prepare you to check out …
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: …
11 April 2012
Blue Ridge Thrust Fault field trip
One of Callan’s former students leads a field trip to examine the western edge of the Blue Ridge geologic province, attempting to answer the question of whether the Blue Ridge / Valley & Ridge contact is indeed the trace of a thrust fault. Breccias and S-C fabrics tell part of the story…
17 November 2011
Shear zone in basement complex
Callan visits a new outcrop of highly-sheared rocks in the basement complex of Virginia’s Blue Ridge province.