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11 November 2011

Friday (center)fold

At last weekend’s gala banquet to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the William & Mary geology department, I was tickled to see that the centerpiece for each table was a rock of some sort. I spotted Gore Mountain Amphibolite, Baker Mountain Kyanite, brachiopod fossils in limestone, a fossil whale vertebra, a chunk of Aquia Creek sandstone, pegmatite, and peridotite-xenolith-bearing basalt. …And on one table, there was a fold: Here’s a …


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17 October 2011

Words matter

A table from the article “Communicating the Science of Climate Change,” by Richard C. J. Somerville and Susan Joy Hassol, from the October 2011 issue of Physics Today, page 48: There’s a lot to ponder in this table. It strikes me as an important document – a compilation of one of humanity’s most tragic miscommunications. You can click on it to make it bigger – large enough that you could …


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30 September 2011

Friday fol(r)d

Straight-limbed open synform in an organic-rich formation of limited areal extent, featuring some brittle extensional features at the hinge. Kootenay National Park, British Columbia, summer 2011. (The bridge was broken before we got there.)


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27 September 2011

Geologic timescale names

The geologic timescale: Where did those names come from? Here’s some etymological information I share with my Historical Geology students so that the names become meaningful symbols of ideas, rather than simply of bunch of nonsensical gibberish to memorize… Phanerozoic eon – Greek for “visible life” Cenozoic era – Greek for “new life” Quaternary – Latin for “fourth” Holocene – Greek for “entirely new” Pleistocene – Greek for “mostly new” …


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14 September 2011

Is “Tertiary” archaic?

Jack and Drumlin are visiting for the day from their usual home.


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25 August 2011


Since Tuesday’s big earthquake, we’ve had 5* aftershocks in the same area (and possibly on the same fault). The most recent one popped off last night at 1am. Here’s a plot showing the size of the events (moment magnitude) relative to the passing of time: Note that the quakes that came after “the big one” are smaller in their size (the amount of energy that they release into the surrounding …


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20 June 2011

“Boudinage” is my favorite geology word

The current edition of the Accretionary Wedge geology blog carnival (hosted by Evelyn Mervine of Georneys) is built around the theme of favorite geology words. My favorite geology word is derived from the French boudin, for sausage. It’s “boudinage,” and it’s best said with a heavy French accent and a leering, dirty expression. “Boo-din-ahhdj” I love pronouncing it; it’s a delicious word, like a good boudin itself. So what is …


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22 January 2011

Let’s coin a name for this phenomenon

I didn’t mention it yesterday, but there was one other structure that I saw at my newest outcrop on New 55. This is it: That’s a bunch of fractures. The broken rock is being altered by preferential fluid flow through the fractures. The fluid is not inert; it’s chemically active, and reacting with the rock. These reactions produce the color and weathering differences that you note in the previous images. …


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22 December 2010

GoSF4: Kirby Cove

Part 4 of the ongoing series examining the geology of the San Francisco area. In today’s post, Callan visits Kirby Cove in the Marin Headlands, where intensely deformed chert can be found on one end of the cove, pillow basalts on the other, and an “artificial dune” in the middle.


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30 September 2010

Words' worth IV

Back on the first incarnation of this blog, I occasionally posted about words that bugged me. A few more have piled up since then, so here we go with the latest consideration of “words’ worth”… First off, let’s consider the use of “outcrops” as a verb. This came up recently on this blog when commenter Tom Skaug pointed out that I was incorrectly using that term. He’s right of course, …


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