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Discovering the Discovery Lab! Seattle's Burke Museum, Part 3

Today, we visit the Discovery Lab at the Burke Museum and get to act like a bunch of exploring kids! -- Read more on

The Hawai'i That Was: Watching the Destruction of the Islands in Real Time

The Big Island volcanoes of Mauna Kea (left) and Mauna Loa (right), as seen from the summit of Haleakala on Maui Geologists have at their fingertips the closest thing to a working time machine that exists on planet Earth. We can't travel to the past, of course, but we can decipher past happenings by working out the sequence of geological events. Show More Summary

Tertiary Tuesday: Hoodoos along Old 8A in Northwestern Nevada

Last week we saw some hoodoo-ish rock formations on a hill behind the road maintenance station at Vya. Let's take a closer look: When we zoom in on these particular hoodoos, we see that they are shaped much like the "tent rocks" in the...Show More Summary

Donations to Assn. of Women Geoscientists in the name of Dr. M. Lee Allison

Donations to Assn. of Women Geoscientists in the name of Dr. M. Lee Allison Lee Allison, State Geologist and Director of the Arizona Geological Survey, passed away Tuesday, August 16th, at noon after suffering a critical head injury from a fall at his home on Saturday. Show More Summary

The Merritt Sand

Downtown Oakland sits on an unusual bit of geology — a large dune field mapped as the Merritt Sand. San Francisco is famous for its sand dunes, of course, and Points Reyes and Año Nuevo have some too, but the dune fields of Oakland and Alameda are the only ones within the bay. Here they […]

The Importance of a Geology Education: Reflections on a Horrible Disaster in Louisiana (and others to come)

Hey, everyone! Raise your hands if you think a geology course should be REQUIRED of all students! [crickets]. Yeah, I thought so. Geology classes occupy a somewhat uncomfortable zone within the standard college curriculum. Biology and...Show More Summary

River Otters Swimming in the Tuolumne River, Part II

Here's the second video I captured of the River Otters in the Tuolumne River this evening (the first was in the previous post). There seems to be a momma and two pups. Meanwhile, Mrs. Geotripper was capturing pictures of me acting like a kid, chasing otters (if you are worried, I was actually pretty far away from them).

River Otters Swimming in the Tuolumne River

I've had a real treat of a day. I took my usual morning stroll along the Tuolumne River, catching some decent shots of a Black-chinned Hummingbird, and the back end of a Raccoon (that's not a great picture, but it was the first raccoon I've seen on this stretch of river). Show More Summary

You've Read About Them: How About Seeing Them in Person? California's Volcanoes Field Studies, Sept. 22-26, 2016

Mt. Shasta, the second tallest and most voluminous volcano in the Cascades I write so much about my travels around the American West and elsewhere, and some might wonder where I find the time. Well...I tend to have a group of students with me. Show More Summary

Dr. M. Lee Allison (1948 - 2016)

Dr. M. Lee Allison, State Geologist and Director of the Arizona Geological Survey, passed away Tuesday, August 16 th, at noon after suffering a critical head injury from a fall at his home on Saturday. Lee’s passing is a tragic lossShow More Summary

What's Burning Up Tonight: The Blue Cut Fire in Southern California

Source: California is burning. Sometimes, the fires are burning in unfamiliar places, places we've never visited. Logically, we know they are tragedies, that people are losing their homes, that...Show More Summary

One Year Ago Today: A Short Trip on Highway 8A in northern Washoe County — and Hoodoos!

A year ago, MOH and I were out on a two-day road trip that was designed to take us to the section of old Nevada S.R. 8A that has long been rumored to still be signed, though it is no longer shown on state road maps as 8A, nor has it been since 1981. Show More Summary

The Hawai'i That Was: Pu'uhonua o Honaunau, the Place of Sanctuary That Might Not Be So Safe (Geologically)

Kealakekua Bay I mentioned earlier in this series that cliffs aren't that common on the Big Island, with the exception of the Pololu and Waipi'o coastline. There is another cliff, though, and its formation has had a profound influence...Show More Summary

Oakland geology ramble 2, Rockridge to Orinda

The second geology ramble — my name for a long walk that starts in one place and ends in another — is a long and rugged one, just to show you I’m not kidding about these. From the Rockridge BART station to the Orinda BART station is a walk of more than 9 miles with […]

The Hawai'i That Was: Have We Got Some Real Estate for You! Exploring Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park

A'a flow at Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park If this was a place where someone was trying to sell real estate, the owners would have to make sure that no pictures crept into the brochures. This could very well be one of the most unusual national parks in the entire national park system. Show More Summary

The Hawai'i That Was: Lapakahi, the Kind of Place Where the Rest of Them Lived

The stories are always of the chiefs, the generals, and the kings. General Washington won the Revolutionary War. General Grant won the Civil War. Caesar ruled the world. We rarely hear the stories of the peasants, the commoners, the lower castes. Show More Summary

Titus Canyon: The Upper Part of Lost Canyon

As we descend the west side of Red Pass and enter the realm of Titus Canyon proper—as opposed to being just on the Titus Canyon road—the geology becomes a little more complex than the Tertiary-to-the-north–Cambrian-to-the-south scenario that we've been seeing since leaving Tan Mountain. Show More Summary

Tiny steps toward flood control

More than once on this blog, including last week, I’ve described streams as sleeping creatures that wake up in floods. Kittens that turn into tigers, nebbishes that become the Incredible Hulk, pick your own metaphor — streams do most of their geological work in spasms. The downpour that happens once in a century, filling a […]

Oakland alluvium

When someone opens up the ground in Oakland, no matter where, I think it’s interesting. This construction site on Telegraph Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets exposes alluvium, the stream-laid sediment that once supported productive farmland throughout Oakland’s flats. Mapped as “alluvial fan and fluvial deposits (Holocene)” or unit Qhaf on the geologic map, it […]

Arizona's Doug Bartlett elected president of AIPG

Doug Bartlett, a Principal and co-founder with Clear Creek Associates in Scottsdale, has been elected President-elect of the American Institute of Professional Geologists for 2017. He will serve as President in 2018 and Past President in 2019. Show More Summary

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