Geologic time sinks - virtual field trips (VFTs)
March 2, 2012 9:24 AM   Subscribe

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.

I've only explored one small section, killing most of a Saturday a while back, finding many treasures such as a great labelled pic of cross-bedding, flood deposits and rhizoconcretions, a pebble bed deposition diagrammed photo, Triassic rhizoconcretions (yes, root structures over 200 million years old), a radioactive nodule, one of many, and reduction patches avoiding each other, for starters.

That site won a prize in 2008 from the Geological Society of London, but there is a lot of good detail in some other instructors' pages:

Professor Railsback at University of Georgia has numerous outstanding resources. His main page was down this week, but it's back and the virtual field trips (VTF main page link) are worth a look, e.g. an impressive eroded anticline, or how travertine cups form (as at Yellowstone), sands of the world with micro-images for your future geo-detective work, organized by tectonic setting, and quite a few pages giving you the chance to play detective, e.g. with an earth flow or the Moab fault (also a field trip). Railsback's pages were linked previously for his for Monument Valley discussion and catalogue of building stone.

A few more websites, not all from instructors:

A field trip from Vancouver Island through BC and Alberta to the Burgess Shale and Rocky Mountains to Dinosaur Park among others, by Steve Earles at Vancouver Island University.

First-responder's view of massive and extensive recent earth and debris flow at Meager Creek, BC - flickr set:

More than meager details to understand what you're looking at.

Another worthwhile one, an introduction and virtual field trip to the Permian Reef Complex, Guadalupe and Delaware Mountains, New Mexico-West Texas.

Rocks of central New York State, pics start on second page.

And how the Grand Canyon was formed.

Geology of Dinosaur National Monument.

And PaleoEarth in case you need to know where the continents were at different periods.

And just a rich bonus to get started with geology in Google Earth, San Diego State University KML Geology.

And now I'd better go study for my geomorphology exam. (Not that I was supposed to study from any of these.)
posted by Listener (6 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
The Jurassic Coast is my local patch! I've walked pretty much all of it and canoed along about 3/4 of it so far. I grew up there and 40 years on I'm still exploring, still learning. I'm going to be lost in those links for days now. Geologically, it's one of the finest bits of the UK as well as being about 100 miles of splendid cliffs and beaches. Well deserving of its UNESCO heritage site status, which has seen some good investment in guides and visitor information that helps people understand why what's under their feet is so fantastic. It's home to the Lulworth Crinkle and Lulworth's fossil forest, among many other beautiful things, beloved of school-age (and older) geologists across the UK.

Fantastic post - thanks!
posted by dowcrag at 9:37 AM on March 2, 2012

So. Much. To. Look. At!

I lubs me some geology. Thanks Listener--what a fabulous amount of time you put into this.

There went my day/night/weekend.

Why for do you ruin my productivity?
posted by BlueHorse at 10:01 AM on March 2, 2012

Wow, this is awesome.

I'm really feeling the distance between my school days as a geology stoont and my life as an I.T. jockey. Has it really been 16 years?
posted by djeo at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2012

Thanks for a great post. One of my brothers is a geologist and I used to love our youthful treks illuminated by him pointing out features of the geology.
posted by Abiezer at 2:43 PM on March 2, 2012

Excellent post! I'm also from southern English (I live in East Devon, and my family are from the Isle of Wight), and Ian West's site has been of continuing fascination for planning coastal walks: places like Beer and Seaton with the amazing Hooken Landslip; the Lyme Regis Undercliff ("the nearest thing England has to a jungle"); and the Needles;
posted by raygirvan at 9:56 AM on March 3, 2012

Excellent post.
posted by MartinWisse at 11:28 AM on March 3, 2012

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