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OK: Now explain midichlorians.

With growing fascination for the large land vertebratomorphs that are so startlingly diverse on Tatooine, I secured Imperial funding for an expedition to Tatooine, to survey the exotic megafauna and search for fossils of Tyrannodraconis that might further illuminate their evolution. My ensuing report summarizes my trilogy of investigations and discoveries from this “holiday in the suns." [more inside]
posted by ChuraChura on Jul 22, 2014 - 5 comments

Mount Rainier Magma Mapping

A team of geologists and geophysicists have imaged the path of a Pacific Northwest volcano's molten rock, from the subducting slab to the upper crust. [more inside]
posted by Secretariat on Jul 20, 2014 - 18 comments

Evolution is wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.

Understanding creationism: An insider’s guide by a former young-Earth creationist [more inside]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 17, 2014 - 12 comments

A red cent on the red planet: the story of a semi-rare 1909 coin on Mars

The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), aka the Curiosity Rover is something of a robotic geologist, so it makes sense to include the tools of the trade in some form, including a calibration target. For giving a sense of scale with smaller geologic features, pennies are often used for scale, as a common item with a standard dimension. But why is there a 1909 penny on the Rover? That's thanks to Kenneth Edgett, the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) principal investigator and an amateur coin collector who appreciates the history of the controversial 1909 V.D.B. Lincoln Cent.
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 14, 2014 - 18 comments

A Little Bit of the Pacific Ocean Bottom, That You Can Walk On

Beautiful rocks. On the east side of the San Andreas Fault is mainland California. On the west of it is Point Reyes. The geology of Point Reyes is rather unique. It thus fosters a unique local ecology and is home to relatively unique animal species [more inside]
posted by Michele in California on Jul 11, 2014 - 19 comments

Eldfell Volcano

The Vestmannaeyjar Archipelago, off the south coast of Iceland, was first settled in 874 AD. Heimaey, the only populated island, was home to both a center of the Icelandic fishing industry, and a volcano which had never erupted during nearly a millennium of continuous human settlement. Then, in 1973, all hell broke loose. [more inside]
posted by Blue Jello Elf on Jul 7, 2014 - 21 comments

Women in archaeology, geology, and palaeontology

"TrowelBlazers is a celebration of women archaeologists, palaeontologists and geologists who have been doing awesome work for far longer, and in far greater numbers, than most people realize." [via]
posted by brundlefly on Jul 7, 2014 - 4 comments

A Planet in 12 Photoshop Layers

Building a plausible world: a step-by-step tutorial, from plate tectonics to trade winds. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jun 27, 2014 - 13 comments

Under the Ground Floor

Rocks Made Of Plastic Found On Hawaiian Beaches. But is it rock, or just fused detritus? Depends on the timescale, similar to how the beaches of Normandy are part shrapnel. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jun 25, 2014 - 15 comments

AGOT since the year dot

A Geologic Map for Game of Thrones BASED ON CHARACTER OBSERVATIONS, OFFICIAL MAPS, AND EARTH PRINCIPLES OF THE GEOLOGIC SCIENCE [more inside]
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering on Apr 9, 2014 - 13 comments

not flowers

Arranged Diatoms, via -> via
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 6, 2014 - 14 comments

The Frozen Methane Bubbles of Lake Abraham

Methane bubbles trapped in icy Lake Abraham, Canada make for spectacular photography. [more inside]
posted by MoonOrb on Jan 30, 2014 - 14 comments

Red Planet Blues

The trouble with terraforming Mars...
posted by Artw on Dec 20, 2013 - 73 comments

Cast the first Yellowstone

Massive earthquakes in Chile and Japan have been found to cause the dramatic increase in violent quakes around fracking's largely unregulated wastewater injection wells observed in the Midwest in the past two years, where injected water acts as a lubricant for geological faults that were previously thought to be "dead" or stable for millions of years.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 1, 2013 - 12 comments

Into The Great Unknown

In 1869 John Wesley Powell lead an expedition down the Green and Colorado rivers including the first documented passage through the Grand Canyon. Now, geologist, teacher and blogger Gary Hayes writes a post a day about each day he spent on his own journey Into The Great Unknown, a rafting trip 226 miles down the Canyon that he just completed. Start here. Come for the fabulous pictures, stay for the geology, wild life both past and present. And when you're done stick around and checkout many of the other great past series on this blog (scroll down).
posted by Long Way To Go on Aug 28, 2013 - 6 comments

Go With the Flow

"Have you ever dropped a stick in a river and wondered where it might go if it floated all the way downstream? Now you can trace its journey using Streamer." In addition to displaying the distance traveled, difference in elevation, and number of states, counties and cities the stick will pass through before reaching its outlet point, Streamer can do an upstream trace to show you which rivers and smaller streams fed into the spot where the stick was dropped. [more inside]
posted by Rykey on Aug 28, 2013 - 32 comments

Hot and Cold

What happens when lava is poured over ice?
posted by Artw on Jun 30, 2013 - 55 comments

The Great Unconformity

The results of the Cambrian explosion are well documented in the fossil record, but its cause -- why and when it happened, and perhaps why nothing similar has happened since -- has been a mystery. Now a recent paper in Nature (abstract) suggests that the answer may lie in a second geological curiosity -- a dramatic boundary, known as the Great Unconformity, between ancient igneous and metamorphic rocks and younger sediments.
posted by Long Way To Go on Jun 23, 2013 - 18 comments

The lost island of Ferdinandea, AKA Graham Island, AKA Île Julia

In 1831, the Mediterranean south of Sicily began to boil and bubble, and before long a volcanic island appeared, in full eruption. The English were the first to lay claim to the new island, naming it Graham Island, for James Graham, First Lord of the Admiralty. Then the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies laid claim to the island, removing the Union Jack and naming the island Ferdinandea, after King Ferdinand II. The next nation to claim the island was France, though initial French interest was in the geology of the newly emerged island (Google translation of French text, much from geologist Constant Prévost). France's choice of names was practical, Île Julia, as the island was formed in July. Spain also tried to lay claim to the newly formed island, setting the stage for a grand four-way dispute over its sovereignty, but before a single shot could be fired over its possession, geology rapidly had the last word on the matter. Graham Island/ Ferdinandea/ Île Julia crumbled in on itself and all but disappeared by the end of the year. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 11, 2013 - 16 comments

Here is Today

Here Is Today - a simple interactive animation that helps keep things in perspective.
posted by AceRock on Apr 28, 2013 - 24 comments

The karst

This past Friday, the ground opened up and swallowed Jeff Bush of Seffner, Florida. He may never be found.
Sinkholes are common in the state of Florida, due to the gradual creation of caverns in the limestone that underlies the entire state. How much of a role can human development play in their formation?
posted by Countess Elena on Mar 2, 2013 - 93 comments

Richat Structure: the Eye of the Sahara

First noticed by westerners in 1965, when the Gemini-4 spacecraft flew over northwest Africa (alternate source, with link to uncompressed TIF | in Earth photographs from Gemini III, IV, and V on Archive.org), the Richat Structure in the Sahara desert of west–central Mauritania resembles an impact crater or a circular target (or a possible Atlantis, or Plato's circular city, or maybe an open-pit mine), but is a naturally occurring 40-50 km (25-30 mi) geologic dome that has eroded over time. It's large enough that, when seen in person, the scale of the geography is hard to capture. But it is quite impressive when seen from space (mentioned previously)
posted by filthy light thief on Feb 12, 2013 - 7 comments

Spoiler: Everyone Dies

The Timeline of the Far Future is a Wikipedia article which serves as a gateway to a ton of fascinating scientific topics on the far edge of human understanding: ~50,000 years from now the Earth will enter a new Glacial period; ~100,000 years from now the Earth will likely have experienced a supervolcanic eruption; ~10,000,000 years from now the East African Rift divides the continent of Africa in to two land masses; ~20,000,000,000 years from now the Universe effectively dies due to The Big Rip.
posted by codacorolla on Jan 22, 2013 - 93 comments

Paleographic Maps

Ron Blakey makes paleogeographic maps of the ancient world.
The paleogeographic maps show the varied landscapes of the ancient Earth through hundreds of millions of years of geologic time, including distribution of ancient shallow seas, deep ocean basins, mountain ranges, coastal plains, and continental interiors. Tectonic features shown include subduction zones, island arcs, mid-ocean ridges and accreting terranes.

posted by zamboni on Dec 5, 2012 - 14 comments

Just digging around on Mars, looking for stuff...

That rover the United States sent to Mars found something. It won't blow your mind, but it's interesting if you're into Mars geology.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 3, 2012 - 58 comments

The Wreck in Witch's Hole: the sole casualty of Britain's Bermuda Triangle

To a fisherman, all areas of the sea have names, just as a farmer will name his fields or streets have formal and informal names. For instance, there is the Witch's Ground, an area where the fishing is good, but the bottom is very rough and gear can easily be damaged or lost. Or if you're really unlucky, an undersea methane burst might make water less dense, and the sea could swallow your whole trawler. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 10, 2012 - 19 comments

Strange New Worlds

Let's take another look at Chris Wayan's PLANETOCOPIA (previously): A series of detailed conceptions and paintings of vastly different Earths based on differing climates and land mass position. A planet designed to speed up East-West cvilization development! A life-bearing super hot world! An Earth with most of the seas missing! Forever Ice Age Earth! [more inside]
posted by The Whelk on Sep 9, 2012 - 11 comments

a blend of sulfur and marshmallows

Researchers in the Earth Sciences and Art departments at Syracuse University melt basalt and make their own lava flows for science and art! Here's the project's homepage, including videos. via make blog
posted by moonmilk on Aug 22, 2012 - 8 comments

What came before Pangea? What comes next?

A history of the world. As seen from space. Over a really long stretch of time. If the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old, and Pangea split up only about 200 million years ago, what happened before then? I never knew that geologists could reconstruct the continents' movements from before Pangea. Not only that, but they can give us a preview of what comes next. Here's three possible ways the continents might be joined in 250 million years. In the big picture, researchers from U.C. Lancashire have just finished a model of the way the Milky Way Galaxy formed. [more inside]
posted by Sleeper on Aug 6, 2012 - 34 comments

Is It Moist On Mars?

New report suggests Mars may be full of liquid water - Smithsonianmag.com
posted by The Whelk on Jun 26, 2012 - 77 comments

Geologic time sinks - virtual field trips (VFTs)

Understand something of the earth beneath your feet and the landscape in front of you. These sites provide a chance to see geologic sites and also see expert interpretations. Geology of Southern England's Jurassic Coast - many pages with detailed strata and sometimes questions to challenge yourself (click photos to enlarge), by Ian West of Southampton University. [more inside]
posted by Listener on Mar 2, 2012 - 6 comments

Darwin's 'lost' fossils found in a gloomy corner of the of British Geological Survey

British scientists have discovered a “treasure trove” of Charles Darwin fossils that have been lost for more than 150-years. | 'I spotted some drawers marked "unregistered fossil plants",' he recalls. 'I can't resist a mystery, so I pulled one open. What I found inside made my jaw drop!' Inside were hundreds of fossil plants, polished into thin translucent sheets known as 'thin sections' and captured in glass slides so they could be studied under a microscope. | The British Geologic Survey has images 33 of the "Lost Fossils" online. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 17, 2012 - 15 comments

A few things we learned on the way to the Moon

39 years ago today, Apollo 17 splashed down in the South Pacific, marking the end to manned exploration of the Moon. What we learned from those 10 years of discovery was amazing. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Dec 19, 2011 - 42 comments

Solid Sunlight

Libyan Desert Glass is strewn over an area of hundreds of square kilometers in the Great Sand Sea, a region desolate even by the high standards of the Sahara. As one account of a recent trip to acquire Libyan Desert Glass puts it: "Out there, death sits on your shoulder like a vulture." While some would have you believe that Libyan Desert Glass is evidence of ancient atomic warfare, it is probably evidence of a massive meteorite or comet explosion nearly thirty million years ago, similar to Tunguska, but much bigger. The stone age Aterian peoples made tools from it, but the remoteness and inhospitality of the Great Sand Sea has ensured that until recent times it has mostly been undisturbed. However, a breast ornament buried in Tutankhamen's tomb has a scarab made from Libyan Desert Glass, the only piece made of the material to have been found by Egyptologists, and how Tutankhamen's jewelers acquired it has remained a mystery. Until now. [Previously]
posted by Kattullus on Dec 8, 2011 - 38 comments

The Mysterious Stones of Bologna

In 1602, a cobbler strolling outside of Bologna discovered a colorless stone with the curious ability to "accumulate light when exposed to the sun and to emit it in the darkness." His lapis solaris was to be the chemical sensation of the century. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Oct 17, 2011 - 13 comments

The Geology of Omaha Beach

D-Day's Legacy: Remnants of invasion linger in beach sands - an analysis of the debris left in the sands at Omaha Beach from D-Day. [more inside]
posted by thatwhichfalls on Oct 16, 2011 - 28 comments

The Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, as illustrated by H. N. Fisk, 1944

The Mississippi River has the third largest drainage basin in the world, exceeded in size only by the watersheds of the Amazon and Congo Rivers. It drains 41 percent of the 48 contiguous states of the United States. The basin covers more than 1,245,000 square miles, includes all or parts of 31 states and two Canadian provinces. The US Government has tried to improve navigability of the Mississippi River and its major tributaries for more than a hundred years, focused in part by Mississippi River Commission, created in 1879. The river is ever-changing, and in an attempt to understand their domain, and in 1941, MCR hired Harold Norman Fisk to conduct a geological investigation of the Lower Mississippi Valley. The result was a colorful map that displayed the historical course of the riverway from southern Illinois to southern Louisana. His vivid maps are available online in full, but beware: the files are very large.
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 30, 2011 - 24 comments

SCIENCE!

At the beginning of last month, Scientific American unveiled a new network of 47 blogs with 55 bloggers. Their latest posts can be found here. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 2, 2011 - 15 comments

Death Valley's sliding rocks may actually hitch a ride on ice rafts

The sliding rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley, California have mystified and delighted visitors for decades (previously). Now planetary scientist Ralph Lorenz and colleagues think they've figured out how the rocks get around: ice rafts float the rocks out of the mud, reducing friction enough that modest winds can push them along (PDF of Lorenz et al., American Journal of Physics, Vol. 79, 1 January 2011). [more inside]
posted by Quietgal on Jun 16, 2011 - 25 comments

Learn about a fantastic rock weathering pattern

Jon Boxerman is fascinated with the geological phenomena known as tafoni. (NSFTrypophobes)
posted by Casimir on May 20, 2011 - 32 comments

The Wonder of God in Nature

Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

The cover and title page.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 5, 2011 - 7 comments

Yellowstone is big. No, really. Big.

New electrical conductivity measurements show the subterranean extent of the Yellowstone supervolcano to be a lot larger than previously known.
posted by jjray on Apr 13, 2011 - 40 comments

Maybe not as entertaining as the naked ladies post.

Hot Rocks: the winning entries in Wired's geology photography contest.
posted by helloknitty on Apr 6, 2011 - 10 comments

There are some folks that think a large earthquake could hit the U.S. West Coast in the next few days.

Earth Tides, Syzygy, this weekend's Supermoon, and whale beachings are all things that some folks think point to a possible tectonic event on the U.S. West Coast this weekend. Jim Berkland, retired USGS Geologist thinks so. See his interview here. And, he's got a track record of predicting earthquakes.
posted by bricksNmortar on Mar 18, 2011 - 57 comments

The Orphan Tsunami

Around midnight on January 27, 1700, a mysterious tsunami stole through several villages on the eastern coast of Japan. [more inside]
posted by Danf on Mar 15, 2011 - 18 comments

Fractured Arkansas

Since last fall central Arkansas has experienced a mysterious swarm of earthquakes. It's clear that Arkansas has shaken in the past. But the sheer numbers are largely unprecedented and have been dubbed an earthquake swarm by the USGS. The Arkansas Geological Survey says that the quakes have nothing to do with hydraulic fracturing of the Fayetteville Shale. So do energy companies. Not everyone is convinced. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor on Feb 7, 2011 - 52 comments

Defining Wealth

SEED Magazine: Wealth of Nations: "Shared natural resources underpin the global economy, but our current economic system does not acknowledge their worth. Can a major new effort to assess the costs of biodiversity loss force a paradigm shift in what we value?" [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 30, 2010 - 10 comments

Mojave Desert online

Desert Gazette, "Mojave Desert, True Facts Legends and Lies". With links to other sites about the Mojave, including the excellent Digital Desert. Stories of life and death in the desert. The blogger, Walter Feller's photographs. About the Mojave Desert.
posted by nickyskye on Sep 2, 2010 - 11 comments

What the pangeaists don't want you to know

Don't continue fooling yourself. The earth is growing and expanding rapidly. Despite plate tectonics' popular acceptance in the 60s, Samuel Warren Carey, the father of modern expansion tectonics, was publicly promoting his theories of an expanded earth as late as 1981. One of the theory's most prominent modern spokesmen is comics artist Neal Adams, who has created a number of informative videos about a new model of the universe that even manages to explain why the dinosaurs died out. [more inside]
posted by Lorc on Aug 7, 2010 - 77 comments

What the Earth knows

Experts are little help in the constant struggle in this conversation to separate myth from reality, because they have the same difficulty, and routinely demonstrate it by talking past each other. Respected scientists warn of imminent energy shortages as geologic fuel supplies run out. Wall Street executives dismiss their predictions as myths and call for more drilling. Environmentalists describe the destruction to the earth from burning coal, oil, and natural gas. Economists ignore them and describe the danger to the earth of failing to burn coal, oil, and natural gas. Geology researchers report fresh findings about what the earth was like millions of years ago. Creationist researchers report fresh findings that the earth didn’t exist millions of years ago. The only way not to get lost in this awful swamp is to review the basics and decide for yourself what you believe and what you don’t. [more inside]
posted by infinite intimation on Jun 27, 2010 - 31 comments

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