Whilst I've been off designing geology-themed holiday cards and working on other time-devouring things, other folks in the geoblogosphere have been doing some fascinating writing. I thought I'd bring some to you!
Chris Rowan has the story of the Italian geologists whose conviction for manslaughter was recently overturned. This is critical news for anyone doing science, and for the public they serve. There are a lot of lessons to learn from the whole sorry affair.
However, although the manslaughter charge was always senseless, as David Wolman’s compelling account makes clear, there are still some hard lessons to be learnt from this tragic affair. I’ve argued before that a lot of harm comes from the whole mistaken idea that earthquake risk assessments can be given and adjusted in real-time, but the way this specific situation was handled at the time was also wanting, in ways I may have been slow to appreciate.
Anne Jefferson has a wealth of environmental earth science news for ye. There's a lot of great stuff for anyone interested in things like renewable energy, and also this bit of brain candy for anyone interested in how rivers get all turny-twisty:
This is really neat. I heard one of the authors talk about this at the Geological Society of America meeting a week or so before this. It's particularly interesting because the dominant thinking has been that river meander migration rates are dominantly controlled by slope and discharge and models of meander behavior don't even require sediment. (We actually see similar meandering in the atmospheric jet stream, the ocean Gulf Stream, and meltwater streams on top of glaciers...all places where sediment is not involved.) But this work suggests that there may be an important role of sediment supply in setting up river behavior that we've been missing. Science!
If you're not already reading Anne and Chris regularly, I encourage you to begin. They're fantastic.
You love geology that's literally outta this world, right? You should be reading Emily Lakadawalla, who's a planetary geologist, and has got the most delicious updates for ye. She's following Curiosity's exploration of Mars's Pahrump Hills outcrop, and has got a mystery to solve:
Here are two very interesting spots at Pink Cliffs that Curiosity has re-examined up close. I've never seen anything at the Curiosity landing site quite like these lens-shaped crystals. They're quite different from the blockier plagioclase feldspar laths we've seen in volcanic rocks elsewhere in Gale crater. I'm dying to know what their chemistry is, and what that chemistry means for the watery history of this rock.
People, we are doing field geology. On Mars. Have I told you lately how happy I am to be alive at this particular time and place?
Rocks are not eternal. Even the tallest mountain will eventually dissolve and disintegrate. Geologists call this process "weathering." It sounds harmless enough, but weathering is one of the most destructive forces on the face of the planet.
This is an excellent primer for those who want to learn the basics of how weathering affects rocks, and includes a bonanza of awesome photos. Do enjoy! And keep up with other geological goodness with Mika.
Lockwood DeWitt has been chronicling our trips for the past nearly two years, one post per day - it'll be 686 posts so far as of today! There's some incredible things you can explore from the first year through the index. For this year, maybe you'd like to start with the Bridge of the Gods?
See the bridge? No, not the steel truss cantilever bridge on the left, but the land bridge that extends out to it. According to the latter link, there is considerable disagreement in the radiometric carbon dates obtained for the landslide's age, with the most recent measurements suggesting a date of about 1450, but ranging from 1060 to 1760 AD. My take on these wide ranges is that it's not likely due to inaccuracy of lab measurements, but difficulty ascertaining which wood samples are directly related to the Bonneville Slide.
I'm eventually going to be doing you up a post on the Bonneville Slide. You're gonna love it. And if you love Oregon geology, you really really need to be following Lockwood's blog henceforth.
Glacial features in Nevada? Really? Yes, really! Silver Fox shows us a bonza hanging valley:
By Yosemite standards, this cliff is really not that high above the valley floor, and there isn't a waterfall pouring out of our hanging valley, the way Bridalveil Fall rushes over the cliffs near Cathedral Rocks, but our little cleft is green with dense vegetation, indicating that the creek flows at least part-year (a feat in and of itself in Nevada) — and you can drive right to it. On pavement! (Pavement in Nevada is a real bonus.)
Silver Fox is, was, and always will be one of my favorite bloggers. If you love desert landscapes and gorgeous photos, she's got the blog for you. Keep reading!
There. Now you have a cornucopia of links to enjoy, wonderful bloggers to follow, and pictures to delight eye and mind. Take some time to savor them. And do please stay tuned to Rosetta Stones for more Creationist textbook fun, plus the upcoming continuation of our Mount St. Helens series! I've got lots planned for ye. Now I just need to find a way to acquire more time for it all...