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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.
  • (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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    Amanda’s Facebook Photography Page is Up!

    Amanda Reese. Image courtesy Amanda Reese.

    My friend and photographer Amanda Reese created a Facebook page – if you love pretty pictures, go show her some love! While you’re there, feel free to demand endless pictures of her adorable tiny new kitten, Chipper. There’s never enough kitten! There will be some geology later this summer, too – I’m going to take [...]

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    I Shall Apologize For My Long Absence With a Beautiful Mount St. Helens Picture

    Image shows Mount St. Helens in the distance. In the foreground, there are lots of yellow irises, and between them, Silver Lake.

    Apologies for the abrupt absence, my dear geology fans! If you want all the boring details on why I suddenly dropped off the face of the earth, an explanation ’tis here. Long story short: brain fall down go boom, medicines meant to get brain back up and running got it down and sleeping instead. Wheee! [...]

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    Oso Mudslide: Links to the Geology Behind the Tragedy

    Aerial photo showing the extent of the slide. Courtesy Gov. Jay Inslee via Flickr. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

    On Saturday, the Seattle region experienced one of the worst landslide disasters in its history. A lot of the hills around here are unconsolidated glacial deposits, and they’re ready to fall at the slightest provocation. Heavy rains and a river determinedly eroding the toe of a previous slide, possibly combined with some unwise land use [...]

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