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Four Counties Ring: Part 0

A New Start. It has been a while. I haven’t blogged in over a year. The perceived and actual stress of my job, my workload, the death of my mother, all got to me. It directly and indirectly affected my health, culminating with a short enforced sabbatical in the cardiac unit of the Royal Stoke … Continue reading "Four Counties Ring: Part 0"

Seismic Records from the Nevada Earthquake Swarm, as Recorded at Modesto Junior College

My Twitter feed and text messages went crazy the other night, early in the morning of December 28. For the first time in a number of years, an earthquake was felt widely in the Modesto area as a series of magnitude 5+ quakes struck an isolated region between Hawthorne, Nevada, and the ghost town of Bodie in eastern California. Show More Summary

Bear's Ears Becomes a Reality! Now the Real Fight Must Begin

An incredible thing just happened, something I've always hoped for, but thought was well nigh impossible. The Bears Ears National Monument has become a reality! President Obama declared the monument under the authority of the Antiquities...Show More Summary

The Astonishing Climate-Changing Power of Plate Tectonics

Moving continents have drastically changed Earth's climate – and are still doing so today. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Just a Beautiful Sunset, and Maybe a BIt of a Green Flash...

The gloom and the rain cleared out for our last night in Oregon, and we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. We had a clear horizon to the west, so as usual I tried to catch (maybe) a bit of the green flash. The green flash is a somewhat rarely seen spectral phenomenon that occurs the moment the sun disappears below the horizon. Show More Summary

Two Magnitude 5.7 Earthquakes Strike Western Nevada, Felt over a Wide Region

Things are shaking back home, and of course I'm hundreds of miles away. Two moderate earthquakes, both magnitude 5.7, struck in the Basin and Range province east of the Sierra Nevada, north of the ghost town of Bodie, CA, and southwest of Hawthorne NV. Show More Summary

Instant Peril: Flash Floods (and How to Survive Them)

Flash floods kill people worldwide. Find out how to survive. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Marvels and Mysteries of the Moon

The moon's made of much tastier stuff than green cheese. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Lenticular Clouds on Mt. Rainier Today

Travel days aren't the best for carefully planned photography. The framing and staging that go into wonderful shots go out the window, because the pictures are being taken literally out the window of a moving car. We needed to coverShow More Summary

2016: Pictures from a good year

Here are some nice views I enjoyed during the year. These shots are meant for clicking through to see at full size. In January, I said goodbye to the old Bay Bridge and looked forward to the day when the new bridge offers a superb platform for viewing the Oakland skyline. In February, I was […]

Troubling Signs for Science Under Trump

The next four years are looking grim for science in America. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Gang at Geotripper

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all from the gang at Geotripper (that would be me and Mrs. Geotripper, and two cats)! As is our tradition, we offer up once again a very big Christmas tree, the General Grant Tree in Kings Canyon National Park. Show More Summary

Geologists Have an Incentive to be Naughty

Why you should never try to get a geology buff to behave by threatening them with coal in their stocking. -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

Conodonts in Silurian hypersaline environments: Specialized and unexpectedly diverse

Hypersaline environments are commonly assumed to be barren of metazoans and therefore are avoided by paleontologists, yet a number of early Paleozoic jawless vertebrate groups specialized to live in such settings. Sampling bias against restricted settings resulted in substantial underestimation of their diversity. Show More Summary

Fluidized-sediment pipes in Gale crater, Mars, and possible Earth analogs

Since landing in Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has traversed fluvial, lacustrine, and eolian sedimentary rocks that were deposited within the crater ~3.6 to 3.2 b.y. ago. Here we describe structures interpreted to be pipes formed by vertical movement of fluidized sediment. Show More Summary

Constraining the time scales of magmatic differentiation with U-Pb zircon geochronology

Quantifying the time scales of magmatic differentiation is critical for understanding the rate at which silicic plutonic and volcanic rocks form. Directly dating this process is difficult because locations with both clear evidence for fractional crystallization and the accessory phases necessary for radiometric dating are rare. Show More Summary

Reconstructing the end of the Appalachian orogeny

In contrast to crustal deformation observed in the actively forming Himalayas, where shallowly dipping crustal detachments extend over hundreds of kilometers, prior work on the Paleozoic southern Appalachian orogeny inferred that the...Show More Summary

Delayed maximum northern European summer temperatures during the Last Interglacial as a result of Greenland Ice Sheet melt

Here we report a new quantitative mean July temperature reconstruction using non-biting midges (chironomids) from the Danish Last Interglacial (LIG) site Hollerup (spanning 127–116 ka). We find that peak mean July temperatures of 17.5...Show More Summary

Demise of Ediacaran dolomitic seas marks widespread biomineralization on the Siberian Platform

The trigger for biomineralization of metazoans in the terminal Ediacaran, ca. 550 Ma, has been suggested to be the rise of oxygenation or an increase in seawater Ca concentration, but geochemical and fossil data have not been fully integrated to demonstrate cause and effect. Show More Summary

A diamictite dichotomy: Glacial conveyor belts and olistostromes in the Neoproterozoic of Death Valley, California, USA

Multiple intercalations of glacially derived and slope-derived diamictites testify to the drawbacks of correlating Neoproterozoic diamictites more widely, but shed new light on the close interrelationship of these processes in the Cryogenian world. Show More Summary

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