Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Double-Header: Flowery Sprays

Mystery Week continues! In this edition, I’ve got some lovely flora and fauna for ye. Well, lovely as long as you love sprays of flowers and the occasional insect.

Our selections today come from Juanita Bay, where in early July we had many loverly flowers blooming, and lots of insects buzzing round.

Image shows a spray of tiny white flowers dangling from a tall plant. There's a long, narrow brown insect dangling upside-down from it.

Mystery Flora/Cryptopod I

I think we may have had this white one before, but I don’t honestly remember. There are enough new folks round the cantina we can have another go with it anyway. But the most essential part of this photoset is the wee little brown beetle.* [Read more…]

Cryptopod: Latvian Lovers

Hello and welcome to Mystery Week at En Tequila Es Verdad! Thanksgiving is coming up in the USA, I’ve got a book to finish and publish by Friday, and there’s enough Serious Stuff going on that I feel like maybe a break would do us good. So we’re going to have nothing but mysteries and pretty pitchoors!

Let us begin in Latvia, where RQ photographed some absolutely marvelous cryptopods over the summer. [Read more…]

Autumn Color Pops at Stratigraphy Viewpoint

Funny Diva and I got very lucky on our October trip to the south side of Mount St. Helens. The autumn colors were out in force! It’s getting to the gray part of the year in the Northern hemisphere, so a little splash of color will do us good. Let’s have a look at the wonderful ways the deciduous trees and bushes enhanced our views at Stratigraphy Viewpoint.

Image shows a length of the cut bank at Stratigraphy Viewpoint. Red-leafed trees and bushes are visible amongst the evergreens at the base of the bank and on its top.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color I

One of the more botany-oriented folks in the audience will have to tell us what’s causing all these luscious fall colors. I suspect maples of some sort, but I dunno. We didn’t get across so I could inspect leaves.

Image shows a zoomed-in version of the previous photo, showing a particularly vigorous red tree. The bank is shades of pale gray, cream, and yellow-tan.

Stratigraphy Viewpoint Fall Color II

Speaking of botany, do you see that fluffy green bush trying to get all up in our stratigraphy? The nerve of some plants!

There are more fall colors splashed about in the photo set, if you want to go explore them. I shan’t overwhelm you with slight variations upon the theme here. Instead, let us turn to a stratigraphy photo that didn’t make the cut at Rosetta Stones, but which I love. First, you have to see it complete with the maclargehuge tree topping it like a birthday candle on a cupcake:

Image shows a tall portion of the exposed bank with a very tall lodgepole pine rising far above the surrounding trees.

Neato stratigraphy I

Look at that magnificent giant surrounded by short younger trees! It must have been there watching while Mount St. Helens went all asplodey and hurtled mudflows at it. And it was strong enough to endure the whole thing. Hats off to that tree.

Now, you may want to drool all over the bank it’s growing on.

Image zooms to the bank, which is a slice through tan, gray, pale brown, and yellow layers.

Neato stratigraphy II

How gorgeous is that? If you zoom in on it, the individual layers become fairly distinct, even though we’re shooting late in the day from across the wide river channel. You can even identify many of those layers yourself! Use this photo for reference. How many did you spot?

New at Rosetta Stones: We Get to Visit Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Last!

Whelp, it’s taken me a lot longer to get here than expected, but I’ve finally got the Stratigraphy Viewpoint at Mount St. Helens displayed for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy! And sometime soon here, I’ll have more photos up for you including all the spectacular fall color we saw there that day. You will love muchly!

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XX: Wherein Creationists Misrepresent Secular Scientists for Jesus!

Oh, joy! After a fallacy-filled introduction featuring a two-faced jackass, Earth Science 4th Edition is gonna teach us all “geology.” After they’re done with us, we’ll be able to “explain the dangers of viewing the history of the earth as very old and as the product of natural processes.” We’ll also be equipped to “exercise dominion on God’s specially created earth.” And wow, look at this… interesting… history of geology right here:

People have been studying the earth for a long time, probably since right after the Creation and Fall (see Gen. 4:22).

O-kaaaay… so do tell us how a verse about a woman having a son who was good at making metal stuff proves people studied the earth in a systematic fashion.

After the Genesis Flood, people needed geology to identify new sources of metals and building materials.

Oh, yes. Creation myths are great science texts. Such proof. Much evidence.

They also seem to think there was no geology in Medieval Europe, as Renaissance folks had to discover that science from other people’s writings. So I guess that means they didn’t need any building materials, then?

Image shows facade of St. Giles' Cathedral, a large, gray-brown stone cathedral with many spires, arches, and buttresses.

St. Giles’ Cathedral, built in the late 14th century – positively medieval! Image courtesy Carlos Delgado (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Oh, my.

Well, but surely nobody in the Middle Ages was in the market for metal. [Read more…]

Holiday Road Trip? Compelling Reasons to Stuff a Geologist in Your Car – But Do Your Own Driving

“‘If I’m going to drive safely, I can’t do geology.'”

-Geologist quoted by John McPhee in Basin and Range

There’s nothing like roadtripping with geologists. If you’ve got a long, dull trip coming up, stuff a geologist or two in the car with you – it’ll liven things up considerably! Of course, you’ll find yourself taking risks you never expected to take, and pulling your car off the road at extremely short notice and sometimes awfully close to a sheer drop, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

You know how you’re driving along, minding your own business, and sometimes zip through gashes in hills and such where engineers have decided removing some rock is in the best interest of the roadway? You know how it’s all mostly been a brown or gray blur as you speed past? All that’s about to change. [Read more…]

Sneak Peeks from Frenchman Coulee

Waterfall, petrified wood, bighorn sheep, and stunning sunset, oh my! S’s friend R is visiting, and we took advantage of a nice weather break to head over to Frenchman Coulee. Twas glorious! I’m too exhausted to do much of anything but drool over some photos, but I think you’ll very much enjoy drooling with me.

Image shows the peak of Mount Stuart, which is a fan-shaped, rugged mountain. It has a coating of bright white new snow.

Mount Stuart showing off a beautiful new coat of snow.

As we drove through the Cascades, we saw the peaks dusted with snow so new it was still clinging to tree branches. So lovely! [Read more…]

Hi again! It’s Karen! And I’m thinking about teachers…

Hi all, it’s Karen, back after a long hiatus. I’m up to my ears in projects, and haven’t had time to even think about posting in ages; sorry!

Dana saw a Facebook post of mine, and suggested it would be a suitable blog post. Since Dana can be very persuasive, I will share the gist of it with you all. [Read more…]

Is the West Coast Toast? Let’s Talk Cascadia!

I can stare into the mouth of Mount St. Helens without flinching, begging her to erupt. I can hike up river valleys draining Mount Rainier, and just make a mental note to scramble uphill if it sounds like a mudslide’s coming. I’ve tramped around Mount Baker without once worrying about the fact it’s active. Volcanoes don’t scare me a bit. Okay, I lie, they scare me a wee bit, just enough that I have a healthy respect for their power and refuse to buy property in their hazard zones.

Where I go all white-knuckle and stark terror is on Seattle’s few double-decker roads. Whenever I have to take the southbound I-5 express lanes, I’m staring up at the freeway above, and out toward the Cascadia subduction zone off the coast, and begging it to please oh please not choose this particular instant to rip. Whenever I’m on the coast, the first thing I’m looking for is the quickest route to high ground. See, I know that the Cascadia subduction zone is prone to enormous earthquakes, much like the one that devastated an appreciable chunk of Japan in 2011, and I also know that earthquakes don’t give any warning before they hit. One instant, you’re going about life as usual. The next, the ground is shaking, things are falling, and there’s nothing you can do but ride it out. Well, there’s plenty of safety tips you can follow. But I much prefer volcanoes, which generally give more notice. Also, those generally don’t sink the coastline several feet.

Image shows Lockwood, a man with white hair and beard wearing plaid and denim, standing in the hollow center of a low stump, roots radiating around him through the sand and pools of saltwater.

Lockwood stands on the stump of a gigantic spruce tree at Sunset Bay, Oregon. It was killed more than 1,000 years ago when a massive subduction zone quake dropped the coastline and drowned the forest.

Cascadia terrifies me, people. The idea of it reduces me to a quivering mass of gibbering dread if I allow my thoughts to dwell upon it too long. So I’m glad it’s other people’s jobs to dwell. And they’ve got great news for us! The west coast won’t quite be toast. Our emergency planners are all, we’ve got this. [Read more…]

Inge Lehmann: “A Small Solid Core in the Innermost Part of the Earth”

At the age of 105, Inge Lehmann (1888-1993) looked back on a long, productive life with satisfaction. During her career in seismology, she had made two major discoveries and made other significant contributions. She’d won multiple prestigious awards, become a fellow of the Royal Society, and had honorary doctorates bestowed by Columbia University and the University of Copenhagan.She was an immensely talented seismologist. [Read more…]