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Rosetta Stones

Rosetta Stones

Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.
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    Dana Hunter Dana Hunter is a science blogger, SF writer, and geology addict whose home away from SciAm is En Tequila Es Verdad. Follow her on Twitter: @dhunterauthor. Follow on Twitter @dhunterauthor.
  • Fun, Fidalgo, an Ophiolite, and a Very Rude Buck

    Image shows B standing atop a dark black/brown bench of peridotite with a glitter trail on the Sound from the low-lying sun.

    We made it to Fidalgo Island. Yay! We got lotsa pictures of bonza peridotite and serpentinite. Double yay! I’ll have a proper write-up one o’ these days, but for today, we’ll do some outtakes. This time, we visited Washington Park. I’ve been there once before, many years ago, and had no idea that Cujo and [...]

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    A Study in Volcanics: 5 Reasons You Gotta Visit Mount Baker

    Platy andesite near Artist Point. The sun also got involved, making this photo particularly artsy.

    Outside of Glacier Peak, Mount Baker seems to be the least-regarded of the I-5 corridor volcanoes. Mounts Hood, Helens, and Rainier seem to suck up all the ooing-and-awing oxygen. Baker, not as much. But it repays attention. For one, it’s active. For two, it’s not monitored closely enough. For three, it’s got a surprising amount [...]

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    At the Beginning of the Universe…

    Ryan's First Meteorite: "NWA 2965- Exposed interior of the meteorite. Also shown is a polished sample from a different portion of NWA 2965." Filched with permission of author.

    …there was geology. Oh, I know, some folks will tell you it was physics. Yes, there was that, too. And there might be a few who argue for chemistry, and we’ll grant them chemistry. Of course those things were there. Can’t have a universe without them. Not a universe like ours, anyway. But geology was [...]

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    (Near) Garden of the Gods Reprise: Jackson Falls

    Jackson Falls. Image credit Heliconia. Image shows a lovely waterfall pouring over a lip of gray sandstone.

    Remember when we visited the Shrooms of the Gods at Garden of the Gods? That’s not the only wondrous place formed by the Pounds Sandstone. Reader Heliconia got to visit the area in early spring, and sent us these images from Jackson Falls, just a short distance away: This is a place where geology hasn’t [...]

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    Grown in Hot Rock Depths: The Geology of the Seahawks Super Bowl Rings Part I

    A scattering of cut, polished diamonds in sepia tones. Image credit: Kim Alaniz on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    The 184 diamonds in the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship rings can tell us a thing or three about Earth’s inner self. We’re still interrogating those valuable, shiny rocks (which aren’t actually forever). Here’s the story so far: You need just a few things for diamonds to form. For one, you need carbon. That’s a diamond, [...]

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    Forged in Cosmic Furnaces: The Geology of the Seahawks Super Bowl Rings (Prologue)

    Image shows the Seahawks Super Bowl Championship ring against a firey red background.

    What’s a Super Bowl ring got to do with geology, right? I mean, geology’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you gaze upon the Seahawks’ (first ever!) shiny new bling. Don’t worry, it wasn’t for me, either. Naw, I didn’t think, “Ooo, geology!” I thought, “Da-yum, that’s expensive!” And then I [...]

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    Happy Fourth of Geology! I Mean, July!

    Happy Fourth of July! Love, the Space Needle at New Years. Image shows a lot of fireworks bursting around and on the Space Needle. Image courtesy Erocsid on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

    It’s America’s 238th birthday! I can tell because there are fireworks vendors populating every possible parking lot, and things benignly exploding with beautiful trailing sparks overhead. For American fireworks aficionados who are also geology buffs, this is the best time o’ year. But no matter where you are in the world, you can enjoy learning [...]

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    Twas Hot and a Waterfall Was Necessary

    Franklin Falls, plus a bit of I90

    When Seattle gets too hot for comfort, we head for the mountains. Which is why your miniseries on shiny esplodey things that aren’t fireworks will be slightly delayed – we headed out for an emergency trip to Franklin Falls, and I forgot it’s Fourth of July week, so most of you probably won’t be paying [...]

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    Scenes from the Subduction Life

    Rosario Head

    I’m about to have something for you that’s hot, explosive, and very very shiny. Unfortunately, ye olde daye jobe and other circumstances mean I won’t have it until next week. In the meantime, why not revisit Fidalgo Island with me? We spent Sunday traipsing all over terranes. The high clouds didn’t prevent evidence of our [...]

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    Geological Words that Sound Vaguely Naughty: Nuée Ardente

    Photograph of a pyroclastic flow by Angelo Heilprin, 1902. Image and caption courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

    I’m sorry, I really am, but a nuée ardente isn’t some amazingly sensual French dance along the same lines of the tango. If it’s any comfort, though, it is hot. Really hot. Like, almost 2,000 degrees F. The thing about French is it makes everything sound beautiful and elegant. Like this: nuée ardente. Glowing cloud. [...]

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