Where on (Google) Earth #49?

Well, since I conquered the Swiss Alps, it’s my turn again to send you off on a journey of discovery.

I don’t think this one will prove too hard to find, so I’m invoking the Schott Rule (post time 0:05 am CDT) to slow down the veterans a bit. The geology is interesting and deserves a good explanation.

As has been my habit recently, the view is an oblique anaglyph:

Where on (Google) Earth #49

By the way, how many of my viewers actually have red-blue glasses to view these anaglyphs properly? Let me know in the comments.

As we approach WoGE #50, don’t forget that you can keep up date with a list of all past winners via the following Google Earth network link: http://ron.outcrop.org/kml/WoGE.kmz

My Path to Geology

This post is long overdue for Brian’s initial Accretionary Wedge geology blog carnival (I was leading a Mineralogy field trip to the Black Hills that weekend), but better late than never…

The author as a geology protege...
Maybe I was always destined to become a geologist. I spent my childhood in New Jersey and I was fortunate to grow up in a family that took many weekend outings and travelled to various destinations for summer vacations. At an early age I owned a rock hammer and a Golden Guide to Rocks and Minerals (I still have the latter). As you can see in the photograph at right I was an enthusiastic rockhound (and Mets fan) even as a kid – note the lack of eye protection as I swing the rock hammer at an overhanging outcrop (probably in the Poconos) as my sister and cousin look on. I specifically remember childhood trips to the mineral dump at Franklin, New Jersey and the boulder field at Hickory Run State Park in Pennsylvania and collecting fossil shells in the Poconos and Shawangunks, though it seems that none of those early collections survives to the current day.

Although I outgrew the rock collecting phase as a kid, I continued to develop a strong affinity for nature and travel. Family vacations eventually took me to many of America’s National Parks as well as many state parks and other natural attractions – many with interesting geologic origins. Through Boy Scouting I developed a strong love of hiking and camping. (I am an Eagle Scout, though I never earned the Geology merit badge.) In high school I had earth science in eighth grade – I still fondly remeber Mr. Begin’s class (“L-waves knock the ‘L’ out of you.”). In eleventh grade I took Mr. Molnar’s elective “Earth and Sky” class – a semester split between basic geology, weather, and astronomy – definitely one of my favorite high school classes. I distinctly remember the Saturday morning of the PSATs that fall, when I woke up to feel the house gently swaying – I immediately knew I was feeling an earthquake – from a small tremor on the Ramapo Fault. Despite my fondness for Earth Science I graduated high school with no appreciation of the job prospects in the geosciences and thus I focused on my strong dual interests in physics and history/political science.

I enrolled at Colgate in the fall of 1987 with the intent to major in physics (I couldn’t see any likely job prospects for a political science degree other than being a politician). By a stroke of good luck (or was it intelligent design?) Colgate required first year students to take a “freshman seminar” – a writing intensive course. They specifically encouraged students to take a class that interested them but was not in the subject of their major. I chose to take the “Origins of Mountain Belts” seminar offered by Art Goldstein. It wasn’t long before Physics was beating me down, while I was discovering that there geology was really a serious science (not just “Rocks for Jocks”), with good job prospects to boot. Within that first year I went from figuring on a Physics major with a math minor, to Physics major-Geology minor, to Geology major-Physics minor and finally (after getting a D- in the third semester of Physics) to settling on Geology major-Math minor. I didn’t really know exactly what I wanted to do in geology at first, but ultimately I decided I enjoyed petrology and structural geology about equally, and I couldn’t help but be attracted to college teaching as a career. My many field experiences at Colgate (J-terms in Arizona and Southern Nevada and field camp in the Adirondacks and New England) cemented my love for geology. Ultimately I went off to the University of Wisconsin-Madison for my masters and Ph.D., working on a teconics/geochemistry/isotope geology project on the offset history of the San Andreas Fault in California, and I’ve been teaching geology in one capacity or another for just over a decade now.

Needless to say, I love what I do, and I hope I can go on doing it for a long time!

Where on (Google) Earth #46?

Apologies for the slow turnaround, but I was looking for a site for Where on (Google) Earth #46 that has some juicy geologic features. Oooh, and have I got a good one for the structural geologists out there! This one’s just dripping with folding goodness. As always the winner is the person who correctly identifies the location in Google Earth (a placemark would be great, but latitude and longitude will suffice). This particular challenge deserves a rich geological explanation from anyone who can read the landforms or, perhaps, is familiar with the field area. I’d be really interested to learn about a couple of references if anyone knows the specific units/structures in the region.

The Schott Rule is in effect – post time 8:00 am CDT.

As with a few of my previous challenges I’m going with an oblique anaglyph view and dispensing with the traditional map view…

Where on (Google) Earth #46


P.S. I also wanted to concur with Sabine in urging WoGE participants to put your GE searching skills to use in the hunt for Steve Fossett.

Where on (Google) Earth #44?

Here’s a traditional meat and potatoes Where on (Google) Earth challenge. This one’s a traditional map view and no tiny postage stamp area, either. Shouldn’t be overly challenging to find. Some of the geomorphology should be easy to interpret, but I’d be interested to learn more about the underlying geology if anyone knows about it. I’m not invoking the Schott Rule this time, because it looks like the veterans are on vacation anyhow.

Where on (Google) Earth #44

Good Luck!

Where on (Google) Earth #43?

In the past, I have been accused of choosing WoGE locations that look more like Mars than Earth. What can I say, the desert has a certain appeal… It’s clean.

As with WoGE #42, I’m dispensing with a traditional map view and going straight for the oblique anaglyph. As always, I value an explanation of the geological significance of the image as much as the location. There’s a movie connection here, too, in case you hadn’t already picked up on that. Bonus points for making it.* The Schott Rule is in effect (post time – 8:00am CDT).

With no further ado, then:

Where on (Google) Earth #43

Good Luck!

*Bonus points have no legal value.

Where on (Google) Earth #42?

Sorry I’ve been a little slow in posting a new Where on (Google) Earth entry, but I’ve spent most of the weekend working on revising syllabi and updating my tenure file.

With the beginning of a new semester I figured I’d choose a WoGE that relates to material I’ll be covering in my classes this week. Thanks to Brian’s precedent setting WoGE #40 and Kim’s follow up with WoGE #41, I’m dispensing with a traditional map view and going straight for the oblique anaglyph. As always, I value an explanation of the geological significance of the image as much as the location. The Schott Rule is in effect (post time – 9:00am CDT), but I’d encourage you veterans to lay off for a couple of days to see if we can get a current undergraduate student winner.

With no further ado, then:

Where on (Google) Earth #42

Have a blast!

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