The Rise of the Geoblogosphere

I’ll bite on the year end blogging retrospective meme…

In fact it is entirely fitting for me to do so, because it was just about exactly a year ago that KT Cat scratched my blog and prompted me to make some changes that I think have really turned out to be quite positive. Until a year ago I had blogged sporadically on a range of topics (a fair amount related to geology) but mostly I was speaking into a vast echo chamber. I had the occasional commenter and I even made a couple of interesting contacts via the blog, but any sense of community I had with the blogosphere was fleeting and tenuous at best.


All of that has changed for me over the past twelve months. The emergence of a genuine and growing sense of community among geology bloggers (the “geoblogosphere”… or is that GeoBlogoSphere? ;-) ) is the thing I’ll remember most about the past year in blogging. The very fact I’m writing this retrospective now is in response to posts by Kim and Brian, whose blogs are among many (see my blogroll at right) that I read zealously and comment on not infrequently. I think a big part of this growing sense of community (though by no means most or all of it) is due to the viral success of Brian’s “Where on (Google) Earth?” series, which is just about to mark its first birthday. (I’ll have WoGE #83 up in a little while.)

There are still more changes I’d like to make to improve my own contributions to the community over the coming year (so stay tuned…). And though the geoblogosphere is still small I have the sense that its continuing growth will make 2008 a very interesting year, indeed. I’m eager to hear some new voices even as I relish those of established geobloggers, and continue to develop my own.


Science Debate 2008

I support it and I hope you’ll consider supporting it, too. To learn more or to sign up to indicate your support please visit the Science Debate 2008 website.

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Health and Medicine, and Science and Technology Policy.

Where on (Google) Earth #81?

After two American landslides I’m ready to head back to an arid region with interesting structural geology (or does it have some other origin?).

The view is an oblique one, to give a hint of the topography:

Where on (Google) Earth #81

For the newbies: Identify the location of the feature (latitude and longitude will do) and describe the geology as best you can – there are no less than two interesting geologic features in this one. We’re pulling for you!

No Schott Rule necessary this time – I’ll wager it goes at least 24 hours without being solved. (Post time: 20:32 CST)

Bushels of Deskcrops

For my entry in The Accretionary Wedge #4 I’ve made a GigaPan of the bookshelf in my office intended to highlight a bunch of my “deskcrops” (geologic specimens I have a fond attachment to). Click on the image to explore it at See how many of the deskcrops you can identify on your own – when you recognize one you can “Take a Snapshot” and add a comment. I’ve identified a couple, but there are plenty more you may recognize.

Deskcrops Galore – find them if you can!

Unfortunately I didn’t have any good way to light the office for photography and thus the images are pretty grainy when you zoom in much. I also didn’t use the full zoom capability of the camera in order to keep the stitch a reasonable size (a measly 0.81 gigapixels). I’ll try to do more individualized write-ups of individual specimens over the coming year.

Where on (Google) Earth #78?

I can’t disagree with Joe about the stunning beauty of Aniakchak Caldera, but I’m going to continue in my watery ways and go back to the (not quite so) deep blue sea for WoGE #78.

And for a change of pace, lets NOT invoke the Schott Rule – in fact I’m calling out you veterans to solve this in less than 24 hours! I’ll even extend a special call out to the GeoBloggers assembled tonight at AGU – super double bonus points* for solving it before or during your dinner this evening. This one’ll be a good ol’ free for all race to a solution.

Overhead map view, but pay attention to that Z arrow:

Where on (Google) Earth #78

*super double bonus points have no cash value

Famous in Pittsburgh

Today I made the front page of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Woohoo! I’m famous!

The article is about the GigaPan robotic panorama system which is a joint development of Carnegie Mellon University, NASA, Google, and Charmed Labs. I was selected to receive an early model of the robotic unit in order to explore the scientific possibilities of GigaPan imagery. My sincere thanks to Laura Tomokiyo at CMU who is coordinating the scientific pilot program (and hooked me up with the unit) and Allison Heinrichs at the Tribune who interviewed me last week and wrote the article.

My original two GigaPan images were stitched together from images I shot by hand this summer on my trip back east. Since I got the robotic unit I’ve shot two images of Hays and FHSU as well as a bunch of outcrops and roadcuts in Rooks County, Kansas (see, for example, below). You see all of my GigaPan images on my user page at the website. Stay tuned for more updates over the Winter Break!

Roadcut south of Codell, Kansas

Where on (Google) Earth #76?

Another of my non-blogging Intro Geology students took WoGE #75 so I’ll go ahead and post #76.

Although I’ll be covering deserts in class today, they’ve been done to death in recent Where on (Google) Earth challenges, so I’m going to look ahead to Friday’s topic: shorelines.

Since my students have the opportunity to earn GeoChallenge credit for identifying “Where on (Google) Earth?” challenges I’ll invoke the Schott Rule (post time: 1:40am CST), to slow down some of the pros. ;-)

No anaglyph this time; just an oblique view of paradise…

Where on (Google) Earth #76

Where on (Google) Earth #75?

Lots of WoGE deserts recently, including Melody’s beautiful barchans. Ripples in Sand, indeed!

So let’s cool things off a bit with a couple of glaciers. It just so happens that I’ve just covered glaciers and glaciation in Intro Geology, so it seems fitting. (Ironically, deserts are up next.)

It’s been a while since I posted an oblique anaglyph, so let’s give that a go again:

Where on (Google) Earth #75

Since my students have the opportunity to earn GeoChallenge credit for identifying “Where on (Google) Earth?” challenges I’ll invoke the Schott Rule (post time: 1:20am CST), to slow down some of the pros. ;-)

And for those without the funny red-blue glasses, here’s the non-anaglyph version:

Where on (Google) Earth #75