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21 September 2018
It’s Friday! Here’s a lovely sight, contributed by reader Fred Atwood: Those are quartz veins in one of my favorite local rock units, the Mather Gorge Formation. Fred reports, This is at Madeira School in Great Falls between Black Pond and the Potomac. The rocks around Great Falls, particularly those on the Billy Goat Trail’s “A” Loop, are exemplary in many regards. That’s why I am taking my Physical Geology …
27 January 2017
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.
24 May 2016
Alethopteris fern fossil: Link GIGAmacro by Robin Rohrback Rapid River Canyon, Idaho: Link GigaPan by Callan Bentley River cobble of brecciated Columbia River Basalt, Hammer Creek (Salmon River), Idaho: Link GIGAmacro by Callan Bentley Petersburg Granite exposed at Belle Isle, Richmond, Virginia: Link GigaPan by Jeffrey Rollins Ammonite: Link GIGAmacro by Callan Bentley Slickensides in ultramafic rocks of the Wallowa Terrane, just outboard of the paleo-Laurentian tectonic margin, Salmon River, …
3 August 2015
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 …
29 July 2015
My friend Barbara am Ende sent along this lovely image of a dike in Colorado: Here’s the site. You can see the dike in Google Earth. Dikes are fractures, filled with molten rock, which then cools and solidifies, sealing the crack shut. In this case, once it got uplifted to Earth’s surface and exposed, the dike rock is tougher (more resistant to weathering) that the older rock it cut across. …
8 December 2014
What hath the Potomac River wrought on the rocks of Mather Gorge? Some interesting shapes to the land surface reveal a fascinating history.
10 November 2014
What is Kenny pointing at here? Why, it’s a boulder. Where did it come from? Look uphill: This is as perfect an example of root wedging as I’ve seen! Spotted it last Friday along the C&O Canal towpath.
31 October 2014
Here are four folds from the Potomac Terrane (or maybe an “exotic unit” that looks like the Potomac Terrane, butted up against the Potomac Terrane) that I saw on the 2014 Virginia Geological Field Conference back in October. It was an overcast, rainy day, so I apologize for the relatively low quality of these images. Happy Friday!
28 May 2014
Last week, the “Border to Beltway” field exchange team went to Dora Kelly Park in Alexandria, Virginia. There, a ravine reveals the boundary between the Coastal Plain and the underlying metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont… My NOVA colleague Ken Rasmussen joined us for the day, leading us deep below the soil profile to examine the basal nonconformity beneath our youngest geologic province: The ravine was dark, so the next few …
11 April 2014
My student James O’Brien took this image of a kink band along the Billy Goat Trail, downstream of Great Falls in Maryland’s metamorphic Piedmont province. A lovely little structure, don’t you think? Thanks, James! Happy Friday, all.