Part V of our Mount St. Helens field trip guide is up. Go for the views, stay for the super-awesome topo maps with lights showing various bits of the eruption!
Dec 04 2013
One of the most surprising aspects of the May 18th eruption of Mount St. Helens was the devastating lateral blast that ravaged such a large area. We’ll be spending the next few posts on that subject. It’s a complicated aspect of a very complex eruption, so before we dive in, let’s have a look at historic lateral blasts, what we knew before the whole side of Mount St. Helens blew out, and some of what we learned from her.
Lateral blasts weren’t completely unknown before 1980. In 1888, Bandai-san in Japan experienced a catastrophic eruption that removed 1.5 cubic kilometers (.36 cubic miles) of its summit. Its former Fuji-like summit was reduced to a shattered remnant – much like another volcano we’ve become intimate with. Imperial University of Tokyo geologists Seikei Sekiya and Y. Kikuchi thought the deposits left at base of Bandai-san’s north slope were the result of a landslide; Soviet volcanologist G. S. Gorshkov put them down to a directed blast. Could it have been both? Mount St. Helens tipped us off to the possibility that such blasts were very much related to landsliding: an earthquake knocks an unstable slope loose, the resulting landslide depressurizes a magma chamber (and/or hydrothermal system?) beneath, and boom.
Dec 03 2013
Aw, yeah, it’s the return of the UFDs! I’ve been extremely lax. Also, the birds were buggers this summer. So I’m reaching into the past for a few likely candidates.
I’ll start us easy, with some serene little water birds. I quite like these. They’re tiny, and they’ve got that pretty green streak in their wings.
I see these round here a lot. I suspect I know what they are, and they’ve got to be dead easy, but they’re cute, so why not?
These little delights were at a pond on North Creek last winter, along with about ten billion other water birds. They don’t seem to mind ice a bit.
Right. There’s a little something for ye. Let me know what we’ve got!
Dec 02 2013
In memory of Dr. Harry Glicken, 1958-1991.
Eruptions seem like simple matters: pressure builds, something goes boom, lots of stuff comes out. But that’s not the story of every volcanic eruption, and it doesn’t capture the complexity by half. Pressure was building within Mount St. Helens. It had been booming, and promised a bigger boom, and delivered on that promise – but not in the way anyone expected.
Dec 01 2013
According to my cat, it is very very cold. Tis the season wherein she stops disdaining my lap and begins to demand it, except when I’m in a room that’s less well-heated than another, in which case she’s curled up as tight as she can get in a nice warm bed.
We’ve been spending a lot more time together lately. It began whilst I was sick, and spending more time than usual in bed reading and dozing. She saw this as a prime opportunity to have her lap and her warm cozy room, too, and would plop down atop me for a long session of purring and snuggles. She looks smug about it, too. She knows all about feline paralysis and the causing thereof.
Nov 30 2013
I stumbled across this looking for something else. I am a Doctor Who fan*, and I approve this meme.
If anyone knows who created this, tell me who they are. I love them. I want to buy them alcoholic beverages.
But you know Grumpy Cat never actually met The Doctor. No way you can hate traveling the universe when you run with him!
*Please don’t talk to me about recent episodes. My DVR died, and I haven’t caught up, and I didn’t get to see Day of the Doctor, and WAAAAHHH!!!!!!!! All will be remedied as I continue catching B up – we’re on Series 4 now. By the time we reach the newest series, it’ll be in my hands on nice shiny DVDs which will not fail me, and happiness will return to the universe. Also, I may possibly have a working DVR again. Anything is possible!
Nov 30 2013
Many of you were there to offer cyber-sympathy during the recent dust-up that plunged me into Emoland. Your support prevented me from becoming a permanent resident there – thank you! But for a while there, it looked like I’d be living life without B. Which led to frequent trips to Emoland, lemme tell ya.
But that situation’s sorted. We finally had the difficult talk a bit ago, wherein he displayed an understanding as to why all this feminism stuff is important, and he’ll trust me going forward, and won’t worry about the battles I choose to pick. Mind you – he’s understood the importance of said battles all along, which is one of the many reasons I like him lots. But he’s now willing to risk some collateral discomfort, and knows we can have equality without sacrificing fun. We’ll trust each other more in the future.
Of course, that talk would have happened a lot earlier if he’d known how to approach the conversation, poor soul. In trying not to pressure him, I think I went a bit too far in the opposite direction. Whoops.
And then we sorted out the other, more mundane, personal issues that had contributed to the bad situation between us. We committed to the necessary changes each of us needed to make in order to do better by each other. Then we purchased an excessive amount of alcohol and watched a very odd vampire flick, followed by a Wonder Woman episode, and it’s been fine since. Better than I expected.
Sometimes, these battles we have to fight for equality cost us close personal friends. But when that happens, the ones worth keeping will work it out with us. And they’ll be there for us in the future.
B’s one of the best. Raise him a round and welcome him to the feminazi ranks.
Nov 28 2013
So it’s that day again in America where we give thanks and stuff ourselves into a coma.
Sometimes, Christians ask us what we have Thanksgiving for if we don’t believe in a god we can give those thanks to, which displays an appalling lack of imagination, not to mention no appreciation for the people around us.
I’ve got plenty of people and things to be thankful to and for. There’s B’s brother B, who’s cooking the turkey so I don’t have to. There’s B, who made this dinner happen (and yes, we’re good again – I’ll tell that story when I’ve regained consciousness). There’s the fine folks who raised all the food and came up with the genius spice combos. There’s all the people everywhere who made the roads I will drive, and made the car I will drive, possible and safe. There’s my company, which irritates the crap out of me but pays a good wage, and the customers who make it possible for them to pay it. There’s all the people without whom this day wouldn’t happen, whose contributions are so invisible I don’t see them, but they’re there.
There’s my parents, and my kitty, and my friends, who all make my life happier, and make me happy when I can do things for them that make them happy.
And then there’s you, my readers, my colleagues and friends in this wonderful world of cyberspace, where my life has been changed and enriched over and over and over again, and where I like to think I give a little something back. I love you all!
Now, even if you’re not in America, go do something nice and fun today. May it include the things you love best. Because, damn it, you deserve only the best!
Nov 26 2013
Inspired by Kenny and the small stretch of charming weather we’re having, I went on a quest Saturday to find mushrooms. Only some unutterable barstard’s mown down all the local fly agaric. And the ones I did find were – oh, shall we say, well past their prime and leave it at that? Bleck. And I was being lazy and doing the North Creek loop, which isn’t exactly a mushroomer’s paradise. I need to get me arse out to the woods, but after a month of sitting round sewing and a further three weeks of lying around being ill, I’m not up for the strenuous business.