Info Request for GRE, Quitting Update, and Kitteh Rescue

A few items on the agenda, here.

Firstly, I’ve got a G+ friend named Craig DaGeek who is investigating the possibility of getting into grad school for geology. He could use some insight from those in the know: what’s the new GRE like? Do you know of any good study resources for it? Any info you can give him would be much appreciated. Let’s get another geology major into grad school and out in the field!

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Geoscience and Technology: The Internets Made Me a Geoblogger

I missed the last Accretionary Wedge because, let’s face it, I take utterly awful field notes. Of course, it doesn’t seem like the actual round-up was posted. And I almost missed this one because busy with field tripping and Mount St. Helens. Also, what would a total amateur have to say about all the nifty technology that’s doing great things for geology?

Well, lots, actually, considering the fact that without technology, I wouldn’t be doing geology.

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Fun With Disasters

Several days ago, Woozle shared this post with me on G+, jokingly wondering if I could identify the “rock formation” this hand sample came from:

Disaster Batch of July 19, 2012. Image courtesy Harena Atria.

And I was all like “Ha ha ha Woozle you are teh funneh – wait. I have something that looks very much like that.”

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Mystery Flora and UFD Double Header

I promised you a two-fer today, and by West Coast standards, it is still today. See? I keep my promises sometimes! Sorta.

So here’s flora: little star-like flowers with a purple stripe, gracing the trails on the summit of Marys Peak in Oregon. I see flowers like these everywhere round the Northwest, and you may have identified something like these, but if so, I can’t remember when or what they are.

Mystery Flower

When we have enough entries, I might put together an e-book. That would be pretty awesome, actually – an ebook full of flowers you lot have identified, which we can all download and use for things like field identification and bragging rights. I might very well do it in the future. So if you want it to be less Northwest-centric and have a few mystery flowers of your own, you’d best send me some of your unidentified beauties. Put “Mystery Flora” in the subject line and send to dhunterauthor at yahoo dot com.

Right. On to Unidentified Flying Dinosaurs (which we should also do a book on someday). This is both a joy and a fuuuck. We saw it whilst driving down a road up near Quartzville.


You have to keep in mind, I’d spent the entire trip trying to catch sight of a bird, and all I’d gotten to that point was tittering from the trees. The birds in Oregon are worse than the ones on Washington for staying hidden while lustily singing at the top of their little lungs to let me know on no uncertain terms that they’re there but they ain’t gonna give me the satisfaction of a photo. Little bastards. One particularly beautiful and strange one flew overhead at Marys Peak, timing its flight so that it would be long gone by the time I got the camera aimed. So when we saw this one running down the road, I stopped the car and got out as quickly as I could – just in time to see the baby bird following it dive into a ditch. Fuuuck.

But at least Mama was too busy sussing out us potential threats to realize, “Aha! That’s Dana, with a camera – I should go hide and then start singing at her before she gets the camera turned on!”

And then, just when I’d snapped the first photo and was getting better positioned for a second, she started for the underbrush.


And I was all like, “NOOOOO!!!!!!!!” and she said, “Okay, fine, just one more then, make it snappy, you freak, I’ve got a kid to track down.”


And verily, I rejoiced.

It’s a good thing you lot have been sending me UFDs, the way the ones up here treat me like I’m radioactive. Maybe I’ll try putting on a birdseed suit next time I’m out, but I suspect that will only lead to becoming coated in squirrels. And raccoons. And corvids and seagulls, because they have no shame when it comes to food. I’ll have to make sure someone’s following me with a video camera, because the resultant war over my body should be hi-larious. Help me avoid that, and send me more UFDs, please! Same email address as above, o’ course, only put “UFD” in the subject line.

Also, does anyone know where you can purchase birdseed suits? Cause I would totally wear one anyway.

Too Awesome to Wait! Meet Volcanologist (and St. Helens Survivor) Dr. Catherine Hickson

You’ll get your UFD and Mystery Flora super combo later today, I promise. Right now, I just have to gush. I’m super-excited: I found another geologist who witnessed the May 1980 eruption! Catherine Hickson was a geology student from Canada, and she was only 15 miles east of the summit when it blew. She wrote a book on the experience (which I just ordered), and went on to become a renowned vulcanologist. Scha-weet!

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New at Rosetta Stones: Beginnings

So, Nature Network bloggers have a sniny new home at, and we SciAm bloggers joined the beginnings bash to welcome them. My contribution is a post on the beginnings of geology, my beginnings as a geoblogger, and call for new beginnings. If you’ve not begun to be a geologist, but think you might be interested, begin now!

Now I’m beginning to think of bed, but before I go, I want to give a shout-out to two particular SciLogs bloggers. GrrlScientist has Maniraptora there, and I wanted to make sure everyone who loves her knows where to find her. Also, SciLogs boasts a soil scientist, Karen Vancampenhout at Down to Earth. I figured you folks interested in rocks might enjoy a little dirt, too, eh? I surely do!

By now, you’re probably all like, “Three posts in one day, but she can’t give us UFDs and Mystery Flora in a whole week?!” Never fear. I have a double-feature planned for ye tomorrow, my darlings. In the meantime, enjoy a little slack Friday time with science. Plenty to choose from.

Answer to a Geologic Riddle: Well-Rounded

I expected this one to be simplicity itself, which is why I salted the clues with ambiguity – and apparently ended up being too deceptive! But all of you who guessed “pillow basalt!” shouldn’t feel bad. For one thing, the clues can easily be construed that way. For another, that’s the first thing I shouted when I saw that outcrop, too. And I had my nose to it!

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Dude. This Shit’s Actually Working…

Just a quick Chantix update. I’m almost done with Week 2, and I was despairing, because I still wanted to smoke. I made myself cut back a bit, but the cravings came on pretty strong, and I was all like, “Shit. My body isn’t going to let me be in that group that just loses interest, is it? It’s burning through this just like it does Demerol (and believe me when I say penchant for blowing through painkiller 5x faster than normal people sucks leper donkey dick when you’re dealing with kidney stones). We’ll have to treble the dose to get any result, and no doc in their right mind will ever do that. Wah!”

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New at Rosetta Stones: Risk

I’ll have the answer to our geologic riddle tomorrow. I’ve got all the bits now, thanks to Lockwood, but I ran short of time. Had to get our next installment of Prelude to a Catastrophe written, didn’t I? And by the time I finished, it was five in the bloody ay-em, wasn’t it? Yep.

Locked gate on Highway 504, leading to Mount St. Helens. USGS Photograph taken on May 3, 1980, by C.Dan Miller.

So go enjoy some risks in the meantime.

Mount St. Helens from YMCA camp. Skamania County, Washington. April 27, 1980. Image courtesy USGS.