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5 posts tagged with geology by filthy light thief.
Displaying 1 through 5 of 5.

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 - 19 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

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

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

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

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