Scores of Sagans

I’ve generally avoided recycling other people’s posts in this space in favor of posting my own original commentary. At the same time I maintain a link blog where I highlight the interesting geological stuff I winnow from the blogosphere.

But today I’m going to make an exception for Landslide Detectives, a video produced by KQED for their QUEST multimedia series on environment, science, and nature:

So why did I make an exception? Well first off, the video does a great job of illustrating the science of geology, and geologists at work in an context that genuinely impacts peoples lives. I want to do my part to make sure it gets to as wide an audience as possible. But in a larger sense it also represents an ideal that I want to strive for.

Back in January, Thermochronic and Yami both expressed a yearning for a “Carl Sagan of geology”. I certainly agree with the general sentiment, but I don’t just want one Sagan – I want scores of them! This QUEST video points the way. No, we all can’t achieve such great production values, but we can all tell great stories – each in our own way – that convey the thrill of discovery inherent in the quest for scientific understanding. That was the inherent genius of Carl Sagan. Network television could only support one Sagan, but the web enables us all to be Sagans. And that’s not the end of the web revolution, because it also allows us to interact with our audience (potentially billions and billions!) and to invite them to join the conversation in ways that TV never could. That’s why I remain excited about the prospects for expanding geoscience understanding in the Web 2.0 era.

NOT Where on (Google) Earth

It seems I’ve gotten into a bit of a rut on this blog over the last month – nothing but Where on (Google) Earth posts. As much fun as they are, it’s time to post something else… anything else. :-)

current Latest Posts boxHow about a quick shout out, then, to Rocketboom where Joanne launches* into a discourse on meteorites today. Nicely done, too.

As I indicated in my last WoGE post I’ll be off on vacation for a couple of weeks. I’ll certainly be using the time to relax and refresh before the fall semester, but I’m also looking to beef up my collection of geology teaching images in an area I haven’t visited since before the dawn of digital photography. I’m hoping to shoot a bunch of QTVR panoramas along the way, too. I’ve always intended to incorporate these into virtual field trips, and to supplement my mineralogy/petrology labs with outcrop photos/panoramas to improve the field context of lab specimens. I’m curious what others have done in this realm? Of couse, ideally we’d be able to take our students to the outcrops and let them see the relations for themselves, but this is increasingly cost prohibitive. Would others benefit from lab suites where the rock samples had a companion virtual outcrop? What would be the ideal components to such a suite? What locations/rock and mineral suites would be useful in your labs?

And while I’m pondering things, where does the geoblogosphere see these blogs going? Are they here mainly to entertain a small audience or do they hint at larger possibilities? I’m disappointed to report that the Web 2.0 and Geosciences session I was going to chair at GSA ended up getting canned because it only got nine of the twelve required abstracts to be a viable session. (Thanks to those who did submit!) I really feel there’s a lot of potential for applying blogging, podcasting, wikis and the like in the geosciences, but maybe I’m drinking too much of the Web 2.0 Kool-aid. I’d even contemplated launching a social network for geologists and the geoblogosphere using Ning, but maybe it’s too soon. Anyhow, I throw all of this out there for you to mull while I’m gone… maybe it’ll sprout some new ideas.

*pun intended

Where on (Google) Earth #34?

For the first time since it was formulated I’m invoking the Schott Rule on this Where on Google Earth challenge. I think Lab Lemming‘s got a great idea for us veterans to wait a while and give newbies a chance to get in the game on these challenges. In a nutshell, the Schott Rule says previous winners should wait at least an hour for each previous victory before posting a solution on WoGE challenges (when it’s invoked). So, for example, Thermochronic would have to wait 4 hours before submitting an answer on this challenge – your wait time is indicated by your number of wins in the official tally in the top level info box on the master compilation of winners. (I’ll do my best to keep that up to date during vacation, but there may be some delays.) Newbies, of course, can start right away!

Under the Schott Rule I’ll be waiting at least 15 hours from the posting time of the next challenge in which I participate as a competitor. It may be a moot point for me anyhow for the next couple of weeks. I’m off in a day or two for a two-week vacation followed by a four day conference, so my WoGE appearances will be few and far between for that stretch (and there was much rejoicing!) Today’s challenge is one of my intended vacation destinations:

Where on (Google) Earth #34

Where on (Google) Earth #34 Supplement

To keep it interesting I’m zoomed in to a mere 750 meters off the deck. In part, this is intended to make a coastal location more challenging to find, but it’s also because there’s a remarkable bit of bedrock geology exposed in the challenge area when you look at the image close enough. As always, I’d like to get as detailed an explanation as possible of the geology of the area along with the location. In a month or so when I get back I’ll post photos and hopefully a few QTVR panoramas of this site, as well. As it happens, the point at the southeast corner of this view was the site of a pace and compass mapping project during my own undergrad field camp back in the summer of 1989. The photo at the right illustrates some of the other landforms in the region (but not in the specific area of this WoGE challenge).

Once you’ve figured out where I’m vacationing I’d love to hear your suggestions for spots in the area with interesting geology to photograph (possibly in panoramic QTVR). Submit them in the comments or by e-mail (with GE placemarks, if you want). Any other suggestions for photogenic geology in the general region are also welcome. I generally geotag and post my field photos to my Flickr account where most are available under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license.

Where on (Google) Earth #32?

Okay, Sagan solved WoGE #31 but s/he has no blog. (Though I have to speculate that if Carl Sagan were still with us he’d have a blog – great communicator that he was.)

Please, somebody with a blog solve this one and let me get back to fieldwork! :-)

Where on (Google) Earth #32

Where on (Google) Earth #31?

This one’ll be short and sweet. It’s a gopherball. Drive it out of the park.

You know the drill:

Where on (Google) Earth #31

The landform(s) is/are pretty obvious, but feel free to elaborate on the geologic/tectonic setting if you can.

I doubt this one will make it through ’til dawn.

Good night and good luck!

Where on (Google) Earth #29?

Sorry for those of you who might have been looking for a quick fix. After the breakneck pace of WoGE numbers 26, 27, and 28 I wanted to find a more remote spot to see if I couldn’t slow things down a bit. I don’t think this will be as challenging to find as #25, but who knows?

Here we go:

Where on (Google) Earth #29

Also an oblique anaglyph (which actually does give away more than the overhead view, if you know what you’re looking for):

Where on (Google) Earth #29 oblique anaglyph

And finally, an anaglyph flythrough movie (22M wmv – sorry Mac fans). Why? Because I can! Get out those red/blue glasses!

I personally don’t know much about the geology of this area, besides what I can see of the basic landforms. There appear to me to be a couple of interesting ones you don’t always see side by side.

Happy Hunting!

Where on (Google) Earth #25?

Uh-oh, Yami’s going into withdrawal symptoms because I’ve been slow to post a new WoGE entry after solving Sabine’s WoGE #24. He he he…

I have to admit that I had a site picked out yesterday and could have posted then, but I wanted to sleep on it. And this morning when I got up I decided to finish Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World, so I’m just finally getting back in and checking the geoblogosphere. What can I say, lazy summer weekends rock!

I hope some of you have been using the down time to prepare and submit abstracts for my GSA Topical Session T140: Geosciences and Web 2.0 – Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Web Video. Abstract deadline is Tuesday, July 10, 2007 at midnight Pacific time. I know Google Earth is not specifically in the title of the session, but I’m certainly open to considering it within the broad reach of “Web 2.0″ (whatever that means). (And I’ve still got one invited speaker position to offer if you’ve got anyone you’d like to recommend – let me know.)

So with no further ado, here’s the fix:

Where on (Google) Earth #25

And because I’m pretty sure it won’t give away anything that the map view won’t, I’ll throw in an oblique view for free:

Where on (Google) Earth #25

As always, I’m as interested to hear your explanation of the geology of the image and the reasoning behind how you discovered it as its location.

Happy Hunting!

[P.S.] Super Bonus: Got a pair of red/blue anaglyph glasses? Here’s the oblique view as an anaglyph:

Where on (Google) Earth #25