Day #7 Deskcrop: Hawaiian Basalt on its Sixth Birthday

As I mentioned in this past Sunday’s Outcrop post I was on a field trip to the big island of Hawaii six years ago this week. After a miserable week of rainy weather, we finally got a two day break of glorious sunshine. By lucky coincidence we had planned exactly these two days to backpack out to Pu’u O’o in an effort to get up close to an active lava flow.

After a nine mile hike we hit the jackpot! We arrived at the west side of Pu’u O’o about an hour before sunset, just in time to find a gorgeous little flow front advancing from the Amalgamated Shield Complex onto 1983 vintage cinders. (Yes, we were on the island to party with the volcano on the eruption’s 21st birthday :-) .) The wind was gentle and at our backs as we approached the flows and a great experience was had by all.

Collecting Today's Deskcrop
Birth of a Deskcrop

There are plenty more stories and pictures from that trip, but today on its sixth birthday I wanted to feature the deskcrop that was born that day. Unfortunately it was impossible to bring back much more than pictures and memories from that experience, but a few of the pieces of basalt that were birthed on the tip of my hammer reside in a jar in my office to this day. Needless to say, they are the youngest rocks in my office.

Here they are:

The Hammer and Lava Fragments

Tip of the Spear (Hammer)

Happy Birthday, Deskcrop!

Happy Sixth Birthday Hawaiian Basalt Deskcrop!


“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” — Douglas Adams

I was just getting settled into that post-holiday, pre-semester respite from responsibilities. You know, those days when you can go to sleep without setting an alarm. Those days that seem so wide open to do the things that you’ve really been wanting to do in your “copious free time”.

Alas, opportunity knocked on Monday and now I find myself right back into the thick of deadlines and prep work for the semester. It’s probably just as well – I’ve never seem to use those unstructured days as efficiently as I intend to. Nonetheless, there’s a real danger that if I don’t take a little time to review the past year and make changes for the coming one I’ll miss the opportunity presented by the dawning of the new year and slip right back into the bad habits of the old one. It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about resolutions for improving myself in the new year, but each day that passes without actions accelerates me down a slick and steepening slope. So this evening it’s time I addressed this blog.

Let’s face it, since posting my magnum opus “Building a Google Earth Geology Layer” last February, my blogging became increasingly sporadic and eventually all but dried up. It was not a blogging year to be proud of. Despite my aim to make that Google Earth Geology Layer a community effort I basically dropped the ball and tried to build the cathedral on my own, with predictable results. I aim to correct that this year, but it won’t happen overnight.

The first step to renovating my home in the geoblogosphere will be rededicating myself to producing my own posts. I’ve always been a sporadic poster, preferring to say something only when I had something original to say. I don’t intend to start recycling other people’s material for the sake of making more regular posts, but I am initially probably going to post more frequent, less developed posts than has been my norm. If this annoys some of my loyal readers I apologize in advance, and invite you to unsubscribe if necessary. Hopefully, once I’ve established a more regular posting pattern I will improve the quality of subsequent posts, as well.

One of the inspired ideas developed by my fellow geobloggers in a Google Wave was the idea of posting a deskcrop a day. I’m not above backdating a few posts to get myself kickstarted, just as I’ll probably schedule a couple of future posts once I get in the hang of things. I have an abundance of samples to post deskcrops each weekday and outcrops on the weekends and perhaps holidays (mirroring the way I tend to encounter rocks in my daily life), well into the new decade. (Would that it were outcrops on sunny days and deskcrops on days of inclement weather. Maybe someday…) You can rely on the fact that GigaPans will remain a common means of showing off some of my favorite samples.

There will be other changes, as well. I’ve been meaning to do a lot more with video on the web, for some time now – I certainly have the means, and it’s high time I started using it. I certainly hope to participate in more PodClasts, and I may begin to do more audio/podcasting on my own, in any case. GigaPans and Google Earth will increasingly be integrated into more coherent projects, if I achieve my goals for the year, and you can always count on me exploring the geological applications of new technologies (e.g. Google Wave, augmented reality, etc.). And there’s one more pot of stone soup stewing slowly on the back of the stove – when it’s ready you’ll all get a taste.

P.S. Apologies for the public navel gazing, but I reserve the right to do at least one of these each year.