Sunday, December 14, 2008

Geologists' 100 things meme

The geologist's 100 things meme, from Geotripper.

Bold the ones you have done:

1. See an erupting volcano [Kilauea, barely oozing lava at the time, but still thrilling.]
2. See a glacier [A couple in the Alps, including the spectacular Gornergrat. One had signs showing the location of its toe through the years. It had receded a lot - and I visited it in 1991.]
3. See an active geyser such as those in Yellowstone, New Zealand or the type locality of Iceland [Yellowstone.]
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include Gubbio, Italy, Stevns Klint, Denmark, the Red Deer River Valley near Drumheller, Alberta. [The local K-T boundary is an unconformity. I think. If it's not, then I've seen it.]
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage [It was a stream, really, and it wasn't a safe distance.]
6. Explore a limestone cave. Try Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Lehman Caves in Great Basin National Park, or the caves of Kentucky or TAG (Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia [I'm fairly claustrophobic, so I've only been into caves with lights and tours and stuff. Most recently, Lehman Caves, which are beautiful.]
7. Tour an open pit mine, such as those in Butte, Montana, Bingham Canyon, Utah, Summitville, Colorado, Globe or Morenci, Arizona, or Chuquicamata, Chile. [The most impressive was the Homestake Mine in South Dakota, which I visited on an undergrad field trip.]
8. Explore a subsurface mine. [As a tourist, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan most memorably.]
9. See an ophiolite, such as the ophiolite complex in Oman or the Troodos complex on the Island Cyprus (if on a budget, try the Coast Ranges or Klamath Mountains of California). [Coast Range ophiolite.]
10. An anorthosite complex, such as those in Labrador, the Adirondacks, and Niger (there's some anorthosite in southern California too). [The Adirondacks.]
11. A slot canyon. Many of these amazing canyons are less than 3 feet wide and over 100 feet deep. They reside on the Colorado Plateau. Among the best are Antelope Canyon, Brimstone Canyon, Spooky Gulch and the Round Valley Draw.
12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere. [Remnants of Glacial Lake Vermont. Not a good place to chew silt and clay - there was a cow pasture above the exposure.]
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada. [Yosemite.]
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland.
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (check out The Dynamic Earth - The Story of Plate Tectonics - an excellent website). [Japan, and the coast of Maine.]
16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic.
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (Glacier National Park is a great place to see fossil stromatolites, while Shark Bay in Australia is the place to see living ones) [Upper Peninsula of Michigan.]
18. A field of glacial erratics [Do the woods behind the house where I grew up in Maine count?]
19. A caldera [Long Valley, Yellowstone, Silverton, Lake City...]
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high
21. A fjord [Technically Somes Sound in Acadia National Park is a fjord.]
22. A recently formed fault scarp [Borah Peak earthquake.]
23. A megabreccia
24. An actively accreting river delta [There are small ones into every reservoir around here.]
25. A natural bridge
26. A large sinkhole
27. A glacial outwash plain [Where the glaciers in the Alps were receding.]
28. A sea stack [Coast of Oregon.]
29. A house-sized glacial erratic [In the woods in Maine.]
30. An underground lake or river
31. The continental divide [Only the Atlantic-Pacific one in the US. But I have to cross it all the time.]
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals [Only in museum displays.]
33. Petrified trees [Only in the department rock collection; not in the field.]
34. Lava tubes [Hawaii.]
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. [Only from the rim.]
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible [Only from the air.]
37. The Great Barrier Reef, northeastern Australia, to see the largest coral reef in the world.
38. The Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, Canada, to see the highest tides in the world (up to 16m)
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe.
41. The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Tanzania,
42. Lake Baikal, Siberia, to see the deepest lake in the world (1,620 m) with 20 percent of the Earth's fresh water.
43. Ayers Rock (known now by the Aboriginal name of Uluru), Australia. This inselberg of nearly vertical Precambrian strata is about 2.5 kilometers long and more than 350 meters high
44. Devil's Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing
45. The Alps.
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley - 11,330 feet below.
47. The Li River, China, to see the fantastic tower karst that appears in much Chinese art
48. The Dalmation Coast of Croatia, to see the original Karst.
49. The Gorge of Bhagirathi, one of the sacred headwaters of the Ganges, in the Indian Himalayas, where the river flows from an ice tunnel beneath the Gangatori Glacier into a deep gorge.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
51. Shiprock, New Mexico, to see a large volcanic neck
52. Land's End, Cornwall, Great Britain, for fractured granites that have feldspar crystals bigger than your fist.
53. Tierra del Fuego, Chile and Argentina, to see the Straights of Magellan and the southernmost tip of South America.
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism.
55. The Giant's Causeway and the Antrim Plateau, Northern Ireland, to see polygonally fractured basaltic flows.
56. The Great Rift Valley in Africa.
57. The Matterhorn, along the Swiss/Italian border, to see the classic "horn".
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Carolinian and Georgian coastal plain
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
60. Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland, where James Hutton (the "father" of modern geology) observed the classic unconformity
61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
62. Yosemite Valley
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault

70. The dinosaur footprints in La Rioja, Spain
71. The volcanic landscapes of the Canary Islands
72. The Pyrennees Mountains
73. The Lime Caves at Karamea on the West Coast of New Zealand
74. Denali (an orogeny in progress)
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event [Not in progress, but recent.]
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park
77. The black sand beaches in Hawaii (or the green sand-olivine beaches)
78. Barton Springs in Texas
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado
81. The Tunguska Impact site in Siberia
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0.
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ
84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil)
85. Find gold, however small the flake

86. Find a meteorite fragment
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
88. Experience a sandstorm
89. See a tsunami
90. Witness a total solar eclipse
91. Witness a tornado firsthand. (Important rules of this game).
92. Witness a meteor storm, a term used to describe a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope.
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights.
95. View a great naked-eye comet, an opportunity which occurs only a few times per century
[I've seen the Northern Lights and one of the spectacular comets of the 1990's at the same time. Possibly the most amazing thing I've ever witnessed.]
96. See a lunar eclipse
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
98. Experience a hurricane [A small one. I didn't know at the time that "typhoon" and "hurricane" were the same things.]
99. See noctilucent clouds
100. See the green flash

There are several of these that I haven't done, but which I could do within a day's drive of my house. Kind of embarrassing - I've lived here longer than I've lived anywhere but Maine, by this point.


Garry Hayes said...

Thanks for jumping in! It's been fun to see what people have done in geology...I'm looking forward to seeing what folks would add or change on this list.

I hope to make it out for the meet-up at AGU, but have a tight schedule. Have a great one

RBH said...

12. Varves, whether you see the type section in Sweden or examples elsewhere. [Remnants of Glacial Lake Vermont. Not a good place to chew silt and clay - there was a cow pasture above the exposure.

OK, as a non-geologist I have to ask: "chew silt or clay"? Is that a common habit among geologists?

Anonymous said...

It is. Some guys are even able to distinguish between different kinds of Loess just from chewing it... First make sure the stuff is not polluted with heavy metals.

Kim said...

To elaborate on Christophe's comment: I learned that silt feels gritty, and clay feels smooth between the teeth. I wonder if that's less due to grain size than to different minerals, though? (Quartz is harder than teeth; clay minerals are not. I don't do grain size analysis of sediments, so I don't have a good sense of how different minerals tend to be found in different size fractions.)

And E. coli is also a bad thing to accidentally injest. Thus avoiding chewing sediment below cow pastures.

Anonymous said...

Hehe, definitely right. Well, I think the difference between clay and silt in your mouth is mainly estalished by the grain size - a clay particle has more or less the same diameter as tooth paste's minerals have. When it comes to different clays it's the composition. Great blog! (That's what I forgot to say last time...)



Eddie Willers said...

Nothing beats crossing of neutron and density logs