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26 March 2014

The Great Unconformity in the Franklin Mountains

Good morning! Let’s take a walk up the east side of the Franklin Mountains, north of El Paso, Texas, to walk across the Great Unconformity. The basement rock exposed here is the Red Bluff Granite, a 1.1 Ga felsic magma that intruded the columnar basalts of the Mundy “Breccia” and the Castner Marble. (It is unknown what substrate the Castner Marble was deposited upon.) This is what the Red Bluff …


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6 March 2014

Puzzling over the Wallbridge Unconformity along Corridor H

The Wallbridge Unconformity is a surface of stratigraphic hiatus or erosion between the depositional influence of the Tippecanoe and Kaskaskia epeiric seas. After Alan Pitts and I located ourselves in the Oriskany Sandstone (terminal Tippecanoe stratum), we looked stratigraphically above the quartz sandstone for the overlying unit, which should be the Needmore Formation shale (beginning of the Kaskaskia sequence). Indeed, the quartz sandstone was overlain by a black shale at …


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20 December 2013

Friday fold: Another from Cristo Rey

The laccolith of Cristo Rey, at the Chihuahua / Texas / New Mexico triple point, is host to some cool geology. It’s cored by the Campus Andesite (47 Ma, Eocene) but surrounding the intrusion are a slew of sedimentary rocks, include the Turitella-bearing limestones of the Buda Formation and the shales and sandstones of the Mesilla Valley Formation. My colleague and friend Joshua Villalobos of El Paso Community College in …


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24 October 2013

Exploring Wind River Canyon’s Great Unconformity in outcrop and hand sample (via GigaPan)

Over the summer, I shot these two GigaPans of the “Great Unconformity” in Wind River Canyon (Owl Creek Mountains), Wyoming: link link This week, Team M.A.G.I.C. (by which I mean my student Robin Rohrback-Schiavone) finished up a series of three macro GigaPans of rock samples from the site (made with our one-of-nine-in-the-world GIGAmacro rig by Four Chambers Studio): link link link In combination, these five images could be used to …


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15 August 2013

Disconformity in northern Colorado

Have a look at this lovely (almost glowing) example of a disconformity between Coloradan limestone and overlying sandstone.


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28 February 2013

Unconformity seen in the field yesterday

Callan and two colleagues find a “textbook” unconformity on a field trip in Virginia’s westernmost Blue Ridge.


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16 February 2012

Wyler Aerial Tramway and the Franklin Mountains of West Texas

Riding a cable-car up the side of the Franklin Mountains, Callan checks out the local stratigraphy and structure (and igneous intrusions). Join him on an insightful cruise up several thousand feet and through a billion years of geologic time.


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15 February 2012

Colluvium-choked channel in cross-section

After seeing the contact of the Campus Andesite with Western Interior Seaway sedimentary rocks (Cretaceous in age), we moved a bit on down the line, and saw this disconformable contact between the Cretaceous shales below, and a bouldery sedimentary breccia above. Note the concave-up shape of the contact to the left of Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman (of Pasadena City College, California): that’s probably an old river channel scoured into the shale bedrock, …


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1 December 2010

The Konnarock Formation

A detailed description of one of the Virginia Blue Ridge’s most intriguing geologic formations: a maroon sedimentary sequence showing the advance of “Snowball Earth” glaciers in the Neoproterozoic.


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19 November 2010

Is this an angular unconformity on Mars?

Jason Buchheim, one of the people I met last week in Pittsburgh, just posted a Gigapan of images stitched together from the Mars Observer MER HiRise. Part of it jumped out at me as being similar to the map pattern we see on Earth where an angular unconformity outcrops: Here, I’ve highlighted the pattern which caught my eye: On the other hand, the increasing inflection of the “lower” (in the …


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