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October 30, 2019

“Oreo cookie” stratigraphy and the geologic setting of the Frog Legs Gorge

While the “frog legs gorge” post was supposed to be a bit funny, the real purpose of it was to link outcrop patterns with geologic structure. This follow-up post tries to put the frog legs’ underlying structure into a broader context within the Appalachian Valley and Ridge…


October 22, 2019

Google Earth and a simple model explain a weird pattern seen in LiDAR hillshade

Is this a bizarre and gigantic fossil discovery? An unsolved mystery akin to the face on Mars? Unfortunately, this is just another set of compressional folds within the Appalachian Valley and Ridge, but they do stand out in the hillshade due to their interesting topographic pattern.


October 17, 2019

Simulating varying rock strength to create an interesting model anticline

From The Geo Model: Modeling the Aguaragüe Anticline, a structure in the sub-Andes fold-thrust belt in northwest Argentina.


October 11, 2019

Searching for the deepest gorge in the Appalachian Mountains

The question of the deepest gorge east of the Mississippi River came from a reader of the “biggest mountains” post. I think it’s a really good question because it addresses another landscape superlative (deepest, tallest, oldest, etc.) that is claimed by several locations in the Appalachians.


October 8, 2019

An interesting geothermal energy prospect in the Vienna Basin…and its connection to oil and gas

In effect, the hydrogeothermal project is doing just what oil and gas exploration does–looking for and extracting desirable fluids in the subsurface. In this case, the desirable fluid is hot and readily flowing water…


September 28, 2019

Searching for the “biggest” mountain in the Appalachians…and why is “biggest” in quotes?

A recent visit to Cattail Peak (6,583 ft/2,006 m), a summit in North Carolina’s Black Mountains, left me wondering where the most topographically prominent peaks and biggest possible summit climbs in the Appalachians are located.


August 5, 2019

Toreva Block landslide models

Somewhere on the AGU Landslide blog, I came across a reference to another type of rock strength-controlled, intact landslide I had never heard of–the Toreva Block. Like the Appalachian Valley and Ridge giant landslides, it is possible to replicate Toreva-style movement with contrasting model materials that represent failure-prone shale and much stronger topography-supporting lithologies, like sandstone or basalt.


July 10, 2019

Using sand models to explain the concept of geologic mapping

Geologic maps can be very visually engaging, but non-geologists may find it difficult to extract the information that a map is supposed to communicate…. Cross sections included with a map can help, but it can still be tough to pull it all together if you don’t look at this sort of material all the time.


June 20, 2019

A sand model landslide compared to the 2018 Llusco event (with coordinates of the Llusco slide!)

If you Google the word “landslide”…the first search result you get is the Fleetwood Mac song. I suppose this says something about the place of Earth Science in the 2019 world, but whatever (more on this at the end of the post!). Clicking the “Images” tab improves things, assuming you are indeed seeking information about the geologic feature.


May 14, 2019

Back to the Rocky Mountain Front Range…thrust faults at a thick-skinned structural front

This post steps back to the Rocky Mountain Front Range models from a few weeks back in which I used a model that took a large-scale perspective on the Front Range for comparison to some published work.