June 4, 2020

Looking for southern Appalachian rockfall scars using a high-resolution LiDAR dataset

I was able to find what I believe to be a few examples of “boulder tracks” using outstanding LiDAR hillshade imagery from the North Carolina Geological Survey. All features shown occur in generally gneissic bedrock on extensively forested slopes that have been logged within the last century.


May 29, 2020

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 26

The vastness is remarkable. Heading through the North Sea and out into the North Atlantic. Norwegian mountains on the horizon. A modest swell. For a land-locked Coloradoan, the ocean is such an immense open space. And oddly this is where we have come to have less space.


May 28, 2020

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 25

Seven months of MOSAiC, we’ve lost Met City. Nothing left except a few torn walls of the hut, jutting up out of a rubble field of ice blocks. Perhaps a short break in the expedition is good right now, to regain our bearings and adapt our strategy.


May 27, 2020

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 24

We had planned to leave our met tower standing and collecting data as the Polarstern left the ice to pick up this new group of scientists. All kinks in the plan had been worked out, and much had been implemented already. But then some winds, another storm…. And more cracks!


May 26, 2020

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 23

“Time to allow any nascent infections to reveal themselves. We are on a delicate path here. One that must all but eliminate the risk of us carrying the virus with us out to Polarstern. Thus, it takes these days of isolation, and the full cooperation of the whole team that is assembled here to head out into the Arctic ice and carry forward the banner of MOSAiC.”


May 25, 2020

Postcards from a frozen icebreaker — Part 22

It is such a strange love affair I have with MOSAiC. I guess I just couldn’t wait to get back…. The plan was not to return until Leg 6, which would have started sometime in August. But the months since our return from Leg 1 have been anything but what was expected.


May 22, 2020

Slump landslide models, with some rock or debris avalanche characteristics

New from The Geo Models blog: “The model landslides in this post were produced at the same time as the Llusco landslide model I wrote about last year. They were created using a similar setup, but the slide masses behaved very differently during movement.”


A COVID-19 story from a rugged Alaskan

After the final steps of a long run in early March, Greg Finstad took his pulse rate. His heart was at 38 beats per minute. Perfect. The reindeer biologist and marathon runner was in top shape to run this year’s Boston Marathon. From there, things did not follow the plan for Finstad, head of the Reindeer Research Program at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. After reaching his peak of fitness, not long after he was alone in his bedroom, gasping for what he thought might be his last breath. Finstad was infected with the COVID-19 virus. It knocked him down and almost took him out.


May 15, 2020

A simple rift basin sandbox model with normal faults

A simple model of a continental rift basin that develops some characteristics of the real thing can be made by constructing a layered sand cake on top of two overlapping sheets of paper, one of which is anchored to the underlying board, etc. This model setup will produce an asymmetric half-graben style of basin, which has a single, high displacement breakaway fault on one side and several smaller faults on the other.


Dinosaurs striding across the land bridge

The recent discovery of the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in Japan suggests the duck-billed creatures once stomped across the Bering Land Bridge. The dinosaur found in Japan is very similar to Edmontosaurus, fossils of which have been found throughout Alaska. The creatures may have been more adaptable and widespread than caribou are today.