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Liveblogging the Deluge: Big Changes on the Tuolumne River

15 hours agoAcademics / Geology : Geotripper

Source: I've been away for the last five days, experiencing California's storms from an entirely different perspective, that of being exposed and out in the open country of Death Valley National Park. Show More Summary

Magnificent Mount Saint Helens Photos, Part 6

We continue our exploration of the USGS photograph database. In this edition, we have some truly spectacular summer eruption photos -- Read more on

Two bits of gabbro

I’ve noted that while the San Leandro Gabbro has a presence in easternmost Oakland, it’s hard to find. The geologic map shows what seems like a lot of it, marked “Jgb” for Jurassic gabbro. But if you poke around on the ground, nearly all of those sites are inaccessible due to steep woods, roads or […]

Surfing California's Atmospheric River

When you think of natural disasters in California, your mind’s eye naturally envisions earthquakes. And for good reason, the Pacific-North American plate boundary, manifested by the San Andres fault, slices through California from the Salton Sea north to northern California’s Point Delgada. Show More Summary

Liveblogging the Deluge: San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge - What a difference a few months made (and Rabbits)

The San Joaquin River at the National Wildlife Refuge in November 2017 Just a few months ago, the San Joaquin River, and its major tributary the Tuolumne River, were in big trouble. The worst drought in California's recorded historyShow More Summary

AZGS funding and MMNRE Museum bills passed by the Arizona Senate Appropriation Committee

Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee 2/14/2017 Yesterday, the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee passed SB1184 by a vote of 9-1 to reinstate AZGS’ annual operating budget of $941,000 for FY 2018. This appropriation is commensurate with state funding received by the AZGS when it was a separate state agency in FY2016. Show More Summary

Tales of the Mojave: An Intro

Intro I'm going to move into what I hope to be the blog-publication of a few of my old stories, which I began here quite a while ago with several posts that became the Caliente series and other posts that were part of my Finding a Thesis series (which I haven’t finished). Show More Summary

SB 1184 - Funding the Arizona Geological Survey in FY2018

On Tuesday, 14 Feb. 2017, between 2-5 p.m., SB1184 (see below) proposing funding for the Arizona Geological Survey (AZGS) comes before the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill funds AZGS at the FY-2016 level of $941,000....Show More Summary

Mapping Earth Fissures in Arizona - An ongoing task!

Fresh earth fissure in southern Pinal County Over the past several years, the AZGS’ Earth Fissure Mapping team has identified new and reactivated earth fissures in Cochise, La Paz, Maricopa, and Pinal Counties. In early January 2017,...Show More Summary

Liveblogging the Deluge: A Tuolumne River Update, and Scenes on the San Joaquin

The travails at Oroville Dam are appropriately dominating the news this week as nearly two hundred thousand people remain isolated from their homes as the operators work to temporarily shore up the failing spillways at the lake. It should...Show More Summary

The Idaho connection

I’ve been getting into the weeds as I work on my book manuscript about Oakland’s geology (tentative title, Deeper Oakland). Where did Oakland’s rocks come from? Specifically, how did they get from where they formed to where they are? This problem is particularly vexing for the older rocks with Mesozoic ages. The western edge of […]

Liveblogging the Deluge: Reflections on the Events at Oroville Dam. What Will it Take to Change Things?

This picture is on the San Joaquin River, not the Feather. It's a metaphor for floods all around. Let me be absolutely clear: this is a serious situation. Nearly two hundred thousand people have been evacuated as officials try to deal with two crumbling spillways at Oroville Dam as high river flows have filled the reservoir past capacity. Show More Summary

Liveblogging the Deluge: Meanwhile, Back at the Local Dam...Don Pedro Reservoir Today

With all the attention being directed at Oroville Dam today with the broken spillway, it's a bit too easy to forget that similar conditions are being experienced all across Northern California. Several reservoirs are approaching full capacity, including Lake Shasta (96%), and Don Pedro Reservoir (97%). Show More Summary

Liveblogging the Deluge: The Concerns (Panic?) at Oroville Dam, a Story We've Seen Before

The graphic above (from the Los Angeles Times, Google Earth, and the California Dept. of Water Resources) succinctly explains the serious problem unfolding right now at Oroville Dam on the Feather River. The lake is the second largest reservoir in California backed behind the highest dam in the United States. Show More Summary

Half Dome Makes a Surprise Appearance on the Floor of the Great Valley Today

It doesn't happen for me all that often, maybe because of air pollution, or the fact that I characteristically drive past the spot only once a week, but I can occasionally spot Half Dome in Yosemite Valley from the floor of the Great Valley (some people call it the Central Valley, but we know better). Show More Summary

Pseudoscience, Scientific Illiteracy and the Greatest Human Journey. What to do?

How many people do you know? How many of them are scientists? Wait a did THAT happen?? Many people do not know scientific researchers in their everyday lives, and that is a situation that seriously needs to change. There...Show More Summary

From the Road: Talus Stripes and Shorelines along the Truckee River

Talus, shorelines, and fall colors. It was a late fall day, and I stopped along Route 447 to see if I could get close to some of the brilliantly colored trees along the Truckee River a few miles north of Wadsworth. I didn't end up finding...Show More Summary

We Only Need 1 Vote to Save Public Education. Act Now

Call your senators this morning and tell them to vote no on DeVos -- Read more on

Older than the moon

The Earth's mantle -- the layer between the crust and the outer core -- is home to a primordial soup even older than the moon. Among the main ingredients is helium-3 (He-3), a vestige of the Big Bang and nuclear fusion reactions in stars. And the mantle is its only terrestrial source.

Lady Gaga, Woody Guthrie, and the Times We're Living In

Lady Gaga has never been mentioned in my blog before, but she earned my deepest respect yesterday when she included the Woody Guthrie song "This Land is Your Land" to open the Super Bowl half-time show. Because generations of children...Show More Summary

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