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…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur: Bunches of Beautiful Birbs

You’re in for a treat, my darlings! Ken Gibson has given us the keys to his birding kingdom, and I have selected several delights for your identifying pleasure. I’ve linked each photo to the maclargehuge original for ye.

First up, a birb that’s just screaming for a caption: [Read more…]

Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XIX: Wherein We Learn Christianists Make Lousy Sci-Fi Writers

Buckle in, kiddos. Earth Science 4th Edition’s unit on geology is roughly the size of the entirety of Science of the Physical Creation. And you know it’s going to be a rough ride, because it starts with a blurb from Andrew Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “I’m Happy to do Conventional Geology with Billions of Years and No Goddidit so I Can Get Published in Legitimate Journals, Then Use Those Creds to Shit All Over Geology” Snelling. Yes, Dr. Andrew “Lying About Radiometric Dating for Jesus” Snelling. When you quote a lying fraud right up front as a legit scientist, I tend to suspect that the rest of what you’ve got may not, in fact, be legitimate science.

Let’s find out.

[Read more…]

Brilliant Fall Colors at Icicle Gorge – Come Enjoy!

It’s fall! I hate this season. Yeah, I know, everybody else seems to love it, but I get all maudlin about the dying year. I hate the days getting shorter, the return of endless rain, all the deciduous trees and plants becoming skeletons, the endless pumpkin nonsense… yeah, killjoy, I know. I didn’t even like it in Arizona, when it basically meant the Peaks would be dusted with snow and it would finally drop below blast furnace temps in Phoenix. I’m just not a fall person.

But I do like the brilliant colors of the turning leaves. And I bloody adore Halloween. So there’s that.

Anyway. I’m trying to take advantage of every rare good day we get, and B and I lucked out tremendously. We hadn’t had a chance to actually go out and do anything since his new job started, but this time, he happened to have a day off on one of our few remaining spectacular days, and I was also free, so we hopped in the car and headed over the Cascades to Leavenworth. Just outside of Leavenworth, Icicle Creek plunges through a spectacular gorge cut into the Chiwaukum Schist. There’s a lovely loop trail that winds around and into the gorge, crosses two bridges, and presents a lot of interesting variety along the way. You get creek views, mountain views, forests, bogs, and all sorts of things! There’s even maclargehuge Ponderosa pines, which makes this former Flagstaff, AZ girl happy. [Read more…]

Mystery Geology Revealed!

As promised, I have the answer to our mystery geology.

RQ got the spot right: it’s Hohllay!

Image shows a large sandstone cave from inside. At the right, there is an arched opening looking out toward a jumbled pile of boulders and some trees. At the center and left, there is a large oval opening, with a narrow pillar down the middle. The ceiling overhead is marked with scrapes and grooves, and has many rounded hollows.

Hohllay (“hollow rock”) in Berdorf, Luxembourg. © Dietmar Rabich, rabich.de, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons.

Alas, twasn’t Chthulu or water that hollowed the cave and left the marks. The whole thing was made by humans: [Read more…]

Some Mystery Geology for Your Saturday!

I’ll have photos with fantastic fall colors and really delicious folds in garnet mica schist for ye soon…ish. In the meantime, here’s a bit of a photo I’ve had saved up to show ye! I’m going to present anonymous crops of it first, because I want to give you a chance to see if you can puzzle out what it is. Because it’s a fairly famous landmark, I’m only going to say it’s sandstone, it’s in a European country, and the photo these bits are from is on Wikimedia Commons, available under a Creative Commons license. Why not the whole picture? Because that would give it away instantly! I mean, all you’d have to do is Google it (don’t Google it, that takes all the fun out of the game).

Now: can you tell me what made the cave, and the marks in the ceiling? [Read more…]

Unidentified Flying Dinosaur/Mystery Flora/Cryptopod Triple-Header: Latvian Loverlies!

Back from drooling over some lovely Latvian geology? Just about got your chin dry? Well, bust out a fresh napkin, my darlings, because I have some really fine flora, cryptopods, and a UFD from RQ’s beautiful Baltic nation! She has some really excellent photographic skills. I’ve been smiling over these ever since I got them, and there’s some more that are even cuter!

First up: our UFD, posing with a young child. [Read more…]

New at Rosetta Stones: Scrumptious Latvian Geology!

Our own RQ sent me a treasure trove of delicious photos from Latvia. Did you know Latvia has geology? And that’s it’s gorgeous and interesting even though it’s not volcanic? Fantastic! I cannot tell you how refreshing it is to do something not-volcano. I mean, yeah, obviously, I adore volcanoes, but I never intended to be an igneous-only geoblogger.

So go enjoy some utterly awesome sedimentary outcrops and glacially-sculpted landscapes! And to compliment our theme, we shall have a Latvian triple-header for our mysteries this week! Stay tuned…