Monday March 10, 2014
Volcanoes are a favorite of kids, along with large-toothed dinosaurs of course. Most of us move on to smaller and gentler things, but a hardy few men and women persist and become volcanologists. Those people might get through this Geo-Whiz quiz on the subject of volcanoes, but I'll bet you can't without blowing your top in frustration.
Sunday March 9, 2014
These days the world loves zombies. Even geologists know about zombies, and no they're not related to hoodoos
. They're fossil species that mixed into rocks much younger than the ones they originally were trapped in. A hypothetical example would be a trilobite mixed into a Miocene bonebed
, for instance. More typically it's a marine plankton fossil, looking appropriately ragged and decayed, lying amid younger species. But the zombie concept
has other examples in geology; they just aren't called that. But I can call them zombie rocks. Read about them in this new article, "Geological Zombies
Friday March 7, 2014
The baseball season can't start soon enough for me. Right now, the groundskeepers are at work readying the field of play. And that means their inner geologist is on hand as they assess the carefully blended sediment product that is ballfield dirt. No ordinary soil allows players to maintain control of their bodies as they run, field, slide and fall without injury to themselves or each other. And the umpires are ordering up their supplies of rubbing muda special natural silt used to gently rough up the slick leather of a new ball before each game. I've got all the dirt in this article.
Monday March 3, 2014
There is only one Geological Society, the one in London that was founded in 1807. Its highest award is the Wollaston Medal, which goes to "geologists who have had a significant influence by means of a substantial body of excellent research in either or both 'pure' and 'applied' aspects of the science." Willliam Hyde Wollaston (17661828) is also honored in the name of the pyroxene mineral wollastonite; he was also the discoverer of the precious metal palladium, the same metal that composes the medal.
The Wollaston Medal has been awarded since 1831, and its recipients are an honor roll of geology. Just in this young century, it has gone to people whose names I readily recognize: Rudolph Trümpy, Ted Irving, James Lovelock, Norm Sleep, Paul Hofmann, Steve Sparks, Christopher Hawkesworth and Kurt Lambeck, plus several more. The 2014 Medalist will be its first female recipient, Maureen Raymo. She richly deserves it. Her home institution, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York, summarizes her work and also notes that she's getting the European Geosciences Union's Milankovitch Medal this year. Well done!