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Jul 18 2014

Hovergull

A bizarre sight greeted our eyes at Seal Rock State Recreation Site: a nearly-motionless seagull. You scoff, I know, and say it’s not unusual for birds to hang about doing not much of anything, and that is true. However: it’s somewhat rare for them to hang about doing not much of anything in mid-air. This one looked a bit like someone had glued a seagull in a flight pose to a clear stick and was holding it up.

This little bugger went nowhere fast. It hovered happily while other seagulls (including the fledgeling mentioned, but not visible, in the video) zipped and zoomed all round it. There’s probably some explanation for its behavior that’s not limited to “Because, that’s why.” Any seabird specialists in the house?

Image shows one smaller seagull hovering while a larger one flies past

Hovergull

Jul 17 2014

New at Rosetta Stones: Diamonds! They Aren’t Forever!

Our second installment in our Seahawks Super Bowl Ring Geology series is up. In it, we learn how the Earth makes diamonds, and why, despite being over a billion years old, they need rapid transit to survive. It’s hot! It’s shiny! Don’t miss it.

Image shows a large diamond macrocrystal in a dark gray matrix.

A diamond in the rough. Image courtesy USGS.

Jul 16 2014

FtB Con Is Coming! What Do You Want From Me?

Hey, check this out – there’s a new FtBCon happening August 22-24. Now, in the past, I haven’t managed to swing it, but I asked my new boss if I could have the time to participate, and she said,

Image shows a closeup of Misha sleeping curled up on a pillow. Beside her, a colum of zzzz

Asleep on the Job

So I’m assuming that means I have her permission, and I’m a gonna go for it. I’m giving a talk! On what? Well, I figured we’d talk about stuff. And things. Like, maybe, a little presentation on Christianist Earth Science textbooks? Or I can do a talk on some of the magnificent geology we’ve got here in the Pacific Northwest, complete with lovely photos and a theme of “See – you can still have a sense of wonder as an atheist!” Maybe you’ve got a different idea for the kind of talk you’d like me to talk, and I may say, “Hey – that’s totally something I can talk about!”

Tell me what you’d like by, oh, say, this Sunday (July 20th). Then I’ll figure out what I’m capable of delivering, and whip it up for ye.

And if the boss doesn’t like it, well, she shoulda woken up long enough to say something.

Jul 15 2014

I’m Back – With a Challenge!

I’ve returned safely home with enough neat new photos of the Oregon and Washington coasts, plus manylots of waterfalls, to keep us busy for ages. And summer field season ain’t even over!

Here’s an image from the final day of the trip, when we scooped up Lockwood and went geotripping along the coast around Newport and Waldport. I’m doing the Vanna thing at the contact between some seriously massive basalt and the Yaquina Formation sedimentary rocks at Seal Rock State Recreation Site.

Image shows me standing under a lip of massive basalt, in front of streaky sandstone rocks that the basalt overlies.

Moi showing off the lovely contact.

What I’ve learnt on this trip is that I’m going to have to invest lotsa time and effort into catching up with the current professional literature. I can’t really speak intelligently or intelligibly about the geology right at this spot – the field guides are ages out of date, and the geologic map I’ve found is also quite old. If any of you know geologists whose study area includes this bit of the coast, and they love to talk people’s ears off about their work, well, send ‘em my way!

Right, here’s another image, and this one has a challenge within it. It’s from Yaquina Head, and it has got a seal. Can you see it?

Image shows a tight cluster of basalt sea stacks. The ones in the background are tall and covered with birds. The ones in the foreground are nearly at water level. A gray seal is lounging on one set of them.

Thar’s a seal in them thar rocks…

Now, I know you’ll be tempted to identify all the twelve trillion birds on the rocks, but I’ll be posting much better photos of those soon, so hold yer horses! You’ve already got severe enough eyestrain from finding that seal!

As a special bonus, here is a totes adorbs photo of B watching a seal. It’s pretending to studiously ignore him in this image, but it had actually been scoping him out for a bit, following him along the shore.

Image shows B looking out into the near-shore waves, where a seal head is visible.

B with Seal

I’m of to die of the heat and take a long-ass nap. I’ll be back with much more geotrippy goodness a bit later!

Jul 13 2014

A Glimpse

Oh, my darlings, I will have so much scenic goodness for you. So so much. And restaurant recommendations. And adorable fuzzy animals. And hawt hawt geology.

But we’ve got one day more, then I have a coma day set aside to recover. So I’ll just tease you a bit.

The lighthouse at Cape Disappointment:

Image shows a green-capped basalt headland with a lighthouse upon it.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Twas overcast, but it was pleasant, and the scenery was certainly not a disappointment. Then we got to see our Suzanne! And little Token, who cannot ever get enough tummy rubs and has a doggy grin for anyone who’ll keep giving ‘em.

Day Two plans went gang aft agley because of Rainier Days, which had filled every hotel within a billion miles of St. Helens, and a storm that Weather.Com apparently could not see coming. So we improvised, and went to Silver Falls State Park instead. People, it utterly did not suck, and you will be amazed.

Image shows moi standing beside a very lovely waterfall which is plunging over a lip of Columbia River Basalt.

Lower South Falls

And then tomorrow, it’s off to the coast with Lockwood. Excellence awaits. I’ll be back in Seattle shortly, and shall show you All the Things.

Jul 12 2014

The Most Beautiful Moon I’ve Ever Seen

We haven’t even left yet, and the views are spectacular. The Moon at sunset tonight was magnificent.

Image shows the full moon surrounded by whispy pink clouds.

Sunset Moon

It was one of those fortuitous things. A few minutes earlier, a few minutes later, and it wouldn’t have been there, the way it was. Synchronicity. Lovely.

Image if of the moon and sunset clouds with a bit of forest below.

Sunset Moon with Lovely Forest

If this is even a hint of what the trip will be like, we’re in for some scenic times. Wait til I show you them…

Jul 11 2014

Rocking the Magnets, Baby, Yeah!

You know, I’m never going to be bored again. Well, there may be occasional moments, but not that many. I have a list ten trillion miles long, and I’m going to need a few extra lifetimes to get everything done.

I’m also going to need to find new and better ways to get superglue off my fingers. But the results have been totally worth it. At least in my opinion. Alas, the kitchen fluorescent isn’t the most flattering light, but here are the first rock magnets: Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 10 2014

New at Rosetta Stones: What’s the Big Bang Got to Do with Super Bowl Rings and Geology?

Glad you asked! (If you didn’t ask, just read the title out loud. Hey, thanks for asking!) I’ve got the first part of the answer for you over at Rosetta Stones. This has turned into a mini-series. Also, I had way too much fun making images of the ring with the Seahawks app.

Image shows my fingers holding a piece of citrine against a blue sky. The Seahawks ring is pasted atop it.

The Seahawks Super Bowl ring and a beautiful piece of citrine.

I even made the cat participate:

Image shows Misha lying in bed next to the Seahawks ring.

Misha and the Seahawks ring.

Look, it’s shiny and I can’t help myself.

Alas, I had no place to put this amazing picture of the Moon when it was just a ring around the Earth.

Image shows a molten Earth surrounded by a hot rocky debris ring.

Our Moon before it was even a moon. Image courtesy the American Museum of Natural History.

You can watch a video of it here. And Seed Magazine had a neato article. This space stuff is neat – especially as it relates to geology!

Jul 09 2014

For Some Reason, This Song Keeps Running Through My Head…

Almost free…

This will totally be me in a few hours:

Image shows a young woman in a pink top and orange and purple skirt running with a billowing yellow flag.

To The Barricades! Image courtesy anoldent via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Jul 09 2014

Name That Business Round 1: Vote Names Off the Island (and maybe some new names on)

All right. It’s hammer time!

Today’s the last day I shall be at ye olde daye jobbe. Tomorrow, due to a technicality, I’m not self-employed. Then we’re going to Oregon for the weekend. And when I get back, I shall be working for the worst boss in the world:

Image shows a younger Misha standing upright with her front paws clutching a red sofa, mouth wide open and eyes glowing with rage.

Rage Cat aka Misha

And the second-worst:

Image shows me in a black cowboy hat, black sunglasses, and black jacket, leaning against a limestone wall and kissing a rock hammer.

Love my hammer! Photo Credit: Amanda Reese. Hammer credit: George Wiman.

And that means I shall have to have a business name. It will mostly be for the non-writing bits: the rocky gifts based on geologic puns, the endless stuff with my images upon it,

Now, some of you have already made suggestions. Some of you made lots of suggestions. Now it’s time for you to pit those suggestions against each other. Ruthlessly eliminate those which don’t meet your incredibly high standards. And, if new ones pop into your head, give ‘em to me. This is an elimination round, but the competition is not yet exclusive!

All right, here’s the list. Cast your votes for the ones that make it to Round 2!
1. Tequila is the Bedrock

2. Rock On

3. The Rock and the Hard Place

4. The Rock and the Soft Place

5. Vucanovia, the Place for All Things Eruptive

6. Gneiss Schist

7. The World is Made of Rock

8. Tectónica

9. Sierra Madre

10. Las Entrañas de la Tierra (Earth’s Entrails)

11. Xisto

12. Granito

13. Marble

14. Pinatubo

15. Lava

16. Quartzo

17. Feldspato y Mica (the composition of granite)

18. Subducción

19. La Presea Azul

20. Thinking Outside the Rox

21. Thinking Inside the Rox

22. A Stone’s Throw…

23. Richter Sales

24. Kitties Rock!

25. Dana Rocks (or Dana’s Rocks)

26. Hunterite Accretions

27. Tequila Rocks

28. Dana Hunter

29. Sewing Unconformity

30. Geology Rocks!

31. Geoveras

32. Hunter on the Rocks

33. Lodestones

34. En Tequila Es Verdad

35. Sedimentary Sentiments

Image shows a penguin diving off an ice shelf, with a bunch of other penguins behind, appearing to push it into the sea. The caption reads, "Suvivor votes yet another off the island."

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