On my long ramble along North Creek a few months ago, I noticed a sort of purple aspect to some of the plants alongside the trail. I bent down for a closer look. These were among the tiniest flowers I’ve ever seen.
I’m sorta-kinda back, my darlings! I’ve written up a nice little hike you can take should you ever find yourself down Corvallis way. A few hundred feet, and you can see many of those important bits of subduction zones you so often see in diagrams.
So there’s a bit o’ geology for ye, and some nice photos. It’s been a long time since we’ve had that!
Updates below the fold, for them as wants ‘em.
Blowing the dust off ye olde computer to say “Allo, allo, I’m still alive!” Taking a break, still, although I’m dipping my toes back in to a desultory bit o’ work. Like, this post.
First off, I just want to throw my support to Jen McCreight’s brilliant Atheism + idea. When my brain is back from its temporary vacation, I’ll have something more to say than “Woo! Count me in!” But this, plus the overwhelmingly enthusiastic reception, reminded me once again why I’m so damned proud to be a part of FreethoughtBlogs, and why I won’t ever give up on the atheist movement. People like Jen see problems that almost seem intractable, roll up their sleeves, and get to work.
I hate doing this, but circumstances insist: I shall be going to a somewhat light to virtually non-existent posting schedule over the next week or so. I’m getting me arse kicked by research, my darlings. On top of this, I’m still adjusting to a lack of nicotine, which seems to involve endless eating, sudden bouts of inertia and exhaustion, and other such woes. When I attempt to concentrate, my brain wails, “But I haven’t had a smoke in almost two weeks!!” and I have to stuff it with non-taxing stuff to get it to stop sniveling. My memory is shot, my concentration ditto. The weather is, by Seattle standards, blazing hot. All signs point to dialing back for a bit.
The time for our next Accretionary Wedge is nigh. I suppose it’s about time for your host to let you know what the topic is, then, innit?
With Curiosity landing at the base of a three mile high mountain on Mars, I think we all know there’s only one sensible choice: we must head for other worlds!
Dude. That is us, snapping photos on another planet like typical tourists. Okay, science tourists, but still. And this mission has got a lot of geology in it. I’m loving this mission. But it’s not the only time we’ve done some exogeology. So let’s don our space suits and explore some alien geology! There’s lots to choose from:
Mountains on Mars
Mercury Messenger’s unprecedented look at a hot planet
Venus’s bizarre surface
Plate tectonics on other worlds*
Hydrogeology on other planets (and if fluvial morphology is caused by liquids other than water, what do we call it?)
Can’t get out of the Earth’s gravity well this month? Not a problem! There’s plenty of “other-worldly” geology right here on our home planet, from features so bizarre you’d swear they’re from outer space to places where space agencies have tested equipment like rovers and trained astronauts to walk on other worlds. Places so remote and inaccessible we’ve been to Mars more often than we’ve explored them. Places that are so extreme that we turn to them for ideas of what to look for beyond our pale blue dot.
Since it’s already mid-month, I’ll give you a smidgen of extra time to explore: try to have your posts in to me by September 7th. We’ll publish the 2nd week of September.
Don’t miss the rocket – this edition’s gonna be a blast!
*Sorta like this, only a little different, because I’m going to see if I can arm-twist Steven into submitting this one.
For those breathlessly following my quitting saga, and who might have missed the update yesterday: the deed is done. I’ve not had a single puff since last Saturday night. Haven’t even stood downwind of smokers inhaling deeply. In fact, I walked past the smoking area at work Thursday and quit breathing because it smelled bad. My nose is changing its opinions.
Quitting, I will not lie, has been hell. A primal part of my brain has spent the last two weeks frantic, believing it’s going to die. It was merely unhappy as I was cutting down. It had a few bad moments on Sunday, when I told it sternly that it could do without. And then came Monday, and work, and I thought it was going to end one of three ways: with a suicide, with a homicide, or with me busting into that unopened pack I’d got in Oregon assuming I wasn’t actually quitting completely on Sunday.
I survived, others survived, and the pack stayed closed. Barely.
(This is where I do the mea culpa dance, because Evelyn’s working in the buttfuck of nowhere with internet access almost never, and she still manages to post to Geokittehs, whereas I keep intending to and never quite get there. Sigh. I haz excuses. I will spare you them.)
So this is an arenophile. I had no idea what that was. Now I know, and I rather suspect I might be one. Well, I suppose you could call me more of a geophile. Never mind that: it just brought home to me once again what a remarkable little teaching tool this is. Completely painless, yet fun! I always walk away knowing more than when I got there, whether reading or posting myownself (and yes, that does happen, if rarely).
U can haz knowings too, if u vizit post!
I’m not going to say much about Thunderf00t’s plunge into probable illegality, because it’s been said better elsewhere. I’m having a difficult time thinking in anything other than expletives, and have since I discovered that little shit hacked our email list after being tossed out on his ear. I know he has a penchant for flouting copyright, but apparently, there are no depths to which he will not sink in order to satisfy a grudge. It borders on stalking. When I encounter asshats like him, my thoughts tend to trend towards words of roughly four letters. Especially when they’ve placed people I love and respect at real risk of physical harm.
In other words, it would be impossible for me to write a measured post.
Other people have managed more coherent pieces on the subject.
You probably thought we’d never reached that day, but here we are: May 18th, 1980. I’ve used mostly witness statements to try to capture the chaos of those first hours. The science will come later, as it did then.
And believe me when I say we’ve only just begun. So much happened that day. So much happened later that year. It’s going to take a while to unpack it.
There’s a video that plays at the Johnston Ridge Observatory. It’s not posted on the US Forest Service or USGS channels, but I was able to track down a copy of it online. It has some excellent computer animations, and a lot of very good information, but the most haunting thing about it is hearing the recording of David Johnston’s last words. It comes right at the beginning, so if you’re prone to being freaked out by that sort of thing, skip the first several seconds.
That video always leaves me with chills.
Plenty of science to come. And never fear: when we’ve finished Mount St. Helens at last, I’ve got another series planned. Actually, two. One of which is, indeed, a volcano, but the other is a bit more exotic. But you’ll have to wait a bit before you find out exactly what they are, because I am an evil author and am obliged to leave you on cliffs. It’s okay: you like geology, and will enjoy looking at the lovely strata whilst you wait.
Some quick updates and interesting items before I get to some epic post-writing: