Geology is Best With Kittehs!

Oh, I see what you’re up to, PZ. Your stealth attack, meant to divide my loyalties and my loves, was clever. Cats vs. Rocks! Declare rock the winner, and Dana and her cat-loving rock fiend friends will have no choice but to admit rocks are cooler than cats!

It was a nice try, my friend. Bravo. Well played. However, you were pwned before you posted. [Read more…]

La Catastrophe Doesn’t Impress

I can sum Alwyn Scarth’s La Catastrophe up in one sentence: light on the geology, heavy on the salacious details. Sigh. And I’d so been looking forward to it. I wanted to know more about the 1902 eruptions of Mount Pelée. Those events wiped out a city and introduced the infant science of volcanology to a whole new style of eruption. It could have been an outstanding book on the subject. [Read more…]

The Bad Astronomer Does Geology

Oh, yes, my darlings. We will haz him. Little by little, we will suck him in, until he becomes the Bad Astrogeologist. Mwah-ha-ha!

So here he is, with a spectacular photo of Mount Shasta taken from the International Space Station, and yes – it’s delish. I present here the labeled version for volcano-from-space viewing pleasure.

Mount Shasta from the ISS.
Mount Shasta from the ISS. Image taken September 20th, 2012. Image courtesy NASA.

Go. Read the post. Savor the line at the end: “I love volcanoes, and I’m fascinated by them.” This, my darlings, is our opening.*

Hence, I act whilst Phil is still in a volcano-dazzled state, and present a photo of Mount St. Helens from the ISS.

Mount St. Helens from Space
Mount St. Helens from Space. Compare and contrast with Shasta, which did not recently suffer a sector collapse and directed blast. As NASA sez, “The devastating effects of the eruption are clearly visible in this 2002 photo from the International Space Station.” Ayup, that they are. Image courtesy NASA.

And suggestively link to the dramatic story of the events leading up to the big boom that turned her from a Shasta-like cone to what she is today: a shell of her former self.** This is what is known as “setting the hook.” Heh.

As further evidence that our Bad Astronomer could easily become our Bad Astrogeologist, I present to you: bouncing moon rocks. And Mars rocks. And Mars sand.

Yeah. Phil knows geology ain’t limited to Earth science. If it’s rocky, it’s ours – whether it’s an Earth volcano from space, a planet, a moon, a meteor… it’s geology! In space!

Even astronomers can’t help falling in love.

I look forward to more geology-in-space goodness at Phil’s new digs. It’s just too bad I didn’t have the chance to lobby for a name as well as venue change…

 

*Actually, we’ve had that for a long time – Phil knows geology and astronomy are two great sciences that taste great together. See: meteorites.

**I realized recently that I can sum up the St. Helens eruption very simply and accurately. My best friend mentioned something about how scientific papers should come in understandable language. I told him that’s what I’m here for: to translate scientific prose into everyday words. Such as, “Mountain fall down, go boom.” I always said that as a joke, but it’s actually what happened: sector collapse (volcano fall down) followed by a lateral eruption (go boom). This is why I love geology, people. Okay, one of the million trillion reasons I love geology. Many of even its most complex aspects can be understood without too many mental gymnastics, and explained to a layperson without making them wish to flee. Some of the other sciences have a bit more of a challenge in that department.

New at Rosetta Stones: Volcano Go Asplodey

Our latest installment of The Cataclysm is up at Rosetta Stones for ye. In it, we see the directed blast make a break for freedom. Rawr.

Mount St Helens says Rawr. Image courtesy USGS.

Mount St Helens says Rawr. Image courtesy USGS.

I read soooo many papers for this, people. There were the four in Professional Paper 1250, and believe me when I say one of them made my brain bleed. Then there were all the papers I chased after trying to understand what we’d understood of directed blasts before. Then I kept finding more delicious papers. In fact, there are a few delicious papers I’m going to have to go begging PDFs of. That’s the problem with a project like this: you follow the information down a rabbit hole because, brain bleed or no, it’s intriguing and you want to know more. Why after why piles up. For every answer, more questions. This is science, people. It never ends, and it never gets boring. Well, never for long, anyway.

But I’m having a break from it for a day or two so I can read La Catastrophe, which just came in today. Yum!

“She Had a Heartbeat, Too”

That is the phrase I want all of you “pro-life” people to remember: “She had a heartbeat, too.”

And now she doesn’t, because people like you placed a doomed heartbeat above her own life.

Look at the woman your morals killed.

Savita Halappanavar

Savita Halappanavar. Image courtesy Shakesville.

“She had a heartbeat, too.” Remember that. There is a life carrying that fetus you’re so concerned about. There is a human being you’re condemning to death when you tell her that the failing heartbeat of a person that will never be is more important than her own beating heart.

And if you can look me in the eye and tell me that what happened here was right and just, then I will know religion has stripped all traces of humanity and compassion from you.

Kitteh in Winter Sunbeam

Because, you know, I’m infected by parasites. You all get to suffer.

Kitteh in Rare Winter

Kitteh in Rare Winter Sunbeam

We had a rare interlude of sunshine, which my kitteh enjoyed immensely. She’s elderly, and on these days, I tend to go a bit overboard on the pictures, knowing each and every slight variation in her posture will bring back warm memories one day. Of course, when she goes, there’ll be another kitteh to take gigabyte upon gigabyte worth of photos of. It’s a good thing memory is so small and cheap now. Otherwise, I’d have to rent an extra room to store the cat photos in. [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Geologist Bird

This is another UFD from Eskered, and I think it is my favorite. I teased it a while back, saying “There’s one, especially, that geologists are going to identify with. It’s definitely our kind o’ bird.” RQ hazarded a guess as to what that might be. It was an excellent guess, but rocks are only one aspect to being a geologist.

The other is, of course, beer. [Read more…]

Accretionary Wedge #51 Now Available – Geopoetry at Its Best!

Wow-e-wow. When Matt announced geopoetry as #51’s theme, I figured he’d get a few pieces, a little bit of fun stuff and some cute and clever entries. I didn’t expect so many folks in the geoblogosphere to be full-on poets. This is a beautiful collection.

And might I just mention, I love this photo Matt chose to accompany my own entry?

A beautiful vista of Coal Lake and Coal Ridge in the Yukon. (Photo: Matt Herod)

A beautiful vista of Coal Lake and Coal Ridge in the Yukon. (Photo and caption courtesy Matt Herod. Used with permission.)

Love love love!

Our own Karen Locke came in for some considerable praise.

Karen Locke has written a wonderful story in poetic form about a trip to Vaughn Gulch. This poem really brings the feeling of the place out and the experience of being on a geology class trip. A truly remarkable piece and I really love the end and how it captures the feeling that there is always more to see.

Exactly so!

Take some time to go savor these paeans to the good science of rock-breaking. And give Matt some love – he put together something special here.