Cryptopod: Serpentine Butterflies

I’m pretty sure they’re butterflies, anyway. Dunno: you lot are the experts in such things:

Image shows a chunk of gray serpentinite with a bit of rust-red staining, pebbly ground, and two brown moths.

Cryptopod I

I know the rocks they’re on and around is serpentinite, which isn’t always green. At Patrick Creek, in northern California, quite a bit of it is this lovely silvery-gray sheen with fabulous colors splashed through it. Pretty amazing what rocks get up to in a subduction zone. I’ll be going in to that soon, as I have twelve trillion pictures with moths and serpentinite and so will save some for after you’ve identified our beauties.

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Mystery Flora: Amethyst Bloom

Here’s a wonderful little tricorn flower for ye. This beauty was blooming in Icicle Gorge in May of 2013. Made the forest floor fairly pop, I can tell you.

Image shows a short but large flower with three large, spade-shaped leaves and three long, narrow petals. A green bracht looks like a fourth petal.

Mystery Flora I

I’ve mentioned before how much I love the flower-friendly Pacific Northwest. I especially love the way so many flowers grow happily beneath the forest canopy, so that I can photograph them even when it’s spitting rain, as it was that day. [Read more…]

How to Determine if You’ve Been Bitten by the Geology Bug

Several years ago, during a movie-watching phase, I put up a pair of posts at the old ETEV describing the symptoms of someone bitten by the geology bug. They never made it over here, so I’ve decided to repost them, with some added visuals. If you recognize yourself in these vignettes, you may be assured you’ve been bitten, too.

Fortunately, it’s not (usually) fatal, and leads to a lifetime of healthy fascination with a gorgeous science. It can also lead to vigorous outdoor exercise, which I’m told is often good for you. Huzzah!

[Read more…]

How Holy Schist is Created

Something so divine as Holy Schist isn’t created in a single day. It’s a lengthy process that can take months, and is filled with a lot of mystical wotsit and sacred somethingorother. I shall now initiate you into the mysteries!

First, over two hundred million years in the past, volcanic islands must erupt, and their rocks erode into submarine sediment fans. Over the next several million years, the sediments become sandstones and shales. Give them about 100 million years to run into the nearest major continent, another several dozen million years for some pretty intense contact and regional metamorphism to take place, and then another few million years for the mountains above them to erode away and new mountains rise, lifting them up from deep in the earth and exposing them to the elements. [Read more…]

It’s a Moider! Moider, I Tells Ya!

Actually, it’s a double-feature! We’ve also got Blue Heron Noir. Stay tuned after the film!

B brought turkey over for Thanksgiving. He arrived just at dusk (which is 4 bloody 30 in the pee-em at this time of year), which is when the local crows begin gathering before they head off to roost. The roads, trees, and ball fields begin looking like an Alfred Hitchcock film. B’s never seen quite so many at once, so he came bouncing in wanting to go walk with corvids. I was totally down with that.

So we headed down to the creek, where clouds of corvids flew overhead, and turned the trees black. [Read more…]

Happy Thanksgiving from the Carnivorous Plants of Oregon

It’s that time in America where many of us stuff ourselves full of deceased birds and other foodstuffs. Not everyone is carnivorous, but these plants are.

A nice clump of darlingtonia at the Darlingtonia Wayside, Oregon.

A nice clump of darlingtonia at the Darlingtonia Wayside, Oregon.

That, my darlings, is our old friend Darlingtonia californica, the lovely cobra lily. You can also call it the California pitcher plant if you’re feeling boring. Totally understandable if you are. You’re probably completely lethargic. It’s not the tryptophan, mind – it’s the carbs.

Betcha cobra lilies don’t get drowsy after a big meal. [Read more…]

Baked Geology: Shelli’s Rainbow Fault Cake

I’m back with more yummy geology. Literally yummy. This is geology you can really sink your teeth in to (as long as you brush them after).

We’re not talking that ginger licking of a rock and perhaps nibble on a corner that geologists sometimes do to determine what they’re dealing with. Trust me when I say it’s gritty, tastes like lithified dirt, and leaves you briefly wishing your job entailed something more delicious, like wine tasting. Well, most geologists would prefer beer tasting, but the point still stands. [Read more…]