Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - ~800 BC: The Cyclops



The next stop along our travels through time is not a dinosaur stop but an important one nonetheless. I placed it at ~800 BC because that is the estimated date that Homer wrote the Odyssey. In the Odyssey, Odysseus is making his way back home and along the way lands on the Island of the Cyclopes, where he meets Polyphemus (pictured right). Homer then goes on to describe the cyclops, which is usually what we would assume a cyclops to look like. They are typically very large and have one eye located in the center of their forehead (at least in most reconstructions). This is not the first historical encounter with a cyclops in Greek history, but this is just the first substantial reference to one that has survived to the modern day. 

Looking at the geology of Greece, they are not known for large dinosaur deposits but what they do have is large amounts of Pleistocene deposits that are rich in fossil elephants. In particular are the ancient, dwarf elephants. The skulls of the dwarf elephant are on average, twice the size of a human skull and posses a large hole in the center of the "forehead". Modern humans now know this is for the nasal passage of the trunk, but the ancient Greeks, who have had no contact with elephants, likely assumed that it is a lone eye socket (pictured left). This was all interpreted by a paleobiologists by the name of Othenio Abel in 1914, and it seems to make sense (Mythicalcreaturesguide.com). The ancient Greeks discovered the overly-large "human-like" skulls with the singular eye socket and assumed they belonged to a race of massive, one-eyed, giants.




Tuesday, August 30, 2011

AW #37 Now Available

If you have had a hankering of geological sexiness then head on over to the new Accretionary Wedge post at Outside the Interzone: Sexy Geology (#37). It will leave you hot, sweaty, and bothered. A nice array of pictures of some nice looking geological features.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Breaking New - Geologists No Longer Needed

Well since Dr. Michio Kaku, a physicist, is now taking on the job of interpreting geological events (see earthquakes are geological events), all geologists have decided they are no longer needed and have taken holiday.


Thanks to Dana over at En Tequila es Verdad and Erik Klemetti on Twitter for pointing this out.

Geological Movie Review - Armageddon: An Update

Last year I had posted a series of updates going into a geological movie review of Armageddon in depth (You can go here for a link to all the individual updates). One of my readers has recently made a discovery that answers an unsolved question I had about the movie. In the post I state:
  After the boosters separate, they then state "single engine (ok), press, demi-go." Now demi-go is another phrase that does not seem to have made it anywhere in the greater world. So whatever that is I also do not know.

A recent contact by Brian Pontz has suggested that the "single engine (ok), press, demi-go" is not actually what they were saying. The subtitles clearly show them saying "demi-go" but this may be made up by the script-writers to mimic what is actually said by astronauts. Brian suggests that they are actually saying "Single Engine Press to MECO". NASA explains this phrase as meaning "that orbit can now be reached on only one main engine". Since this makes much more sense in context of the movie, especially at this particular point in the movie, and it actually being a real-life phrase, I would say that Brian is right and the subtitles are wrong.

I would like to thank Brian for bringing this to my attention and I welcome anyone else who finds out something I missed or made a mistake on to contact me with the correct information.

Friday, August 26, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #61

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because the Earth is a rockin and a rollin.

- Quakes -

In early 2001 L.A. got 14" of rain; this city got 5" of rain & a 6.8 jolt that trapped people in its Space Needle

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In December 2000 this country felt several small quakes around Popocatepetl

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 The Jan. 26, 2001 quake centered in this country was felt in Bangladesh, 1,200 miles across the Bay of Bengal

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A 1964 quake in this state caused tsunamis as far away as Siberia, & Hawaii & California

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On Jan. 13, 2001 a 7.6 temblor rocked this tiny Central American nation; a 6.6 quake hit exactly one month later

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All the answers as well as any other previous GeoJeopardy! questions can be found over at my website by clicking the link.

And if you enjoy this post as well as others, please consider subscribing to my blog via Google Reader or some other RSS feed so that way I better know my readership. Thank you.

Questions, images, and videos courtesy of j-archive.com

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thurdays

Dinos in Pop Culture, where we highlight each week some of the more obscure instances of dinosaurs used in the pop culture realm to sell anything from slippers to wedding cakes.




This week is the last in a series of six posts from Spain. The pictures above represent what I have to say is the wierdest museum exhibit I have ever seen. And for those of you going "is that...?", it is. Photo taken of one of the MUJA's main displays.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sexy Geology?!?! - The AW for this month

This month the Accretionary Wedge is calling for Sexy Geology from Lockwood at Outside the Interzone: (The deadline is this Friday, August 26th, so get your submissions in!)
I mean geology that makes your heart race, your pupils dilate. Rocks and exposures that make you feel woozy and warm. Structures and concepts that make your skin alternately sweaty and covered with goosebumps. Places you’ve visited, read about, or seen photos of that make you feel weak-kneed, and induce a pit in your stomach.
So I sat and wondered, what have I seen that got me excited and made my heart race. The first thing that came to mind was my first Paleodictyon in the field. For anyone who doesn't know, and I imagine that is a good chunk of you, Paleodictyon is a trace fossil (evidence that an organism moved through the sediment, not the actual remains of the organism) that is very highly organized into a mesh-like maze of burrows. These burrows are often so perfect that they are usually all the same size with almost perfect edge lengths.

This is partially what I am studying. How did this pattern evolve, along with other patterned burrows called graphoglyptids from the deep sea, and what changes have occurred to their organization over time. So being a very noticeable and remarkable trace fossil, it is not something you find in the field everyday.

Well, on my trip to Spain this summer we went to some of the outcrops that are world renowned for graphoglyptids in Zumaia. We hit up one of the sea shore outcrops and were able to find very little. Our second stop was to wander up shore to the K-T boundary, where again we found very little. It wasn't until the second day in the field that we decided to travel to a roadside outcrop between a neighboring town. We proceeded to hunt around for a little while until Andreas Wetzel, one of the foremost experts on grapholgyptids calls us (Tommy, my field assistant, and I) over yelling "Here it is, our first Paleodictyon". The excitement was beyond belief. Here it was, what I came to Europe to find. My doubts had started to build that I wouldn't find much while I was there but this one little sample opened the floodgates and we started finding more and more graphoglyptids. I eventually took over 1,000 pictures of different samples in the field. All in all, a very nice start of my field excursion.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Geological Fact of the Month for August

In light of the bizarre earthquake felt in Virginia this morning (5.9) here is this month's geological fact.


If you would like to read more, head on over to the NASA webpage. Also, for all the Geological Fun Facts you can head on over to my website.

Monday, August 22, 2011

ETP - NO! Not like Ross on Friends

NO! Not like Ross on Friends

For anyone who has not heard, I set up a little group called "I Support ETP: The Ethical Treatment of Paleontologists" (a purely for fun group) and every once in a while I like to make t-shirts for the group. This is the next one I have come up with. It is inspired by a fellow grad student, Josh, who said he wanted one that said this.

And a close up of just the image below.

If you would like to Support ETP, then head over to our Facebook page and click the "Like" button now. We are a small but ever expanding group of avid paleontologists dedicated to the preservation of our ethical integrity.

Friday, August 19, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #60

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because school is back on!!!

- Period -

The rocks of the Carboniferous period provide the Earth with this, some of it bituminous

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The Cenozoic's Tertiary period is logically followed by this period

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 As evidenced by Dover, England, the Cretaceous period's name derives from this type of limestone

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Meaning "all Earth" in Greek, this hypothetical supercontinent tore apart during the Triassic period

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A period is one of 4 major units of geologic time; these are the other 3, & they all start with "E"

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All the answers as well as any other previous GeoJeopardy! questions can be found over at my website by clicking the link.

And if you enjoy this post as well as others, please consider subscribing to my blog via Google Reader or some other RSS feed so that way I better know my readership. Thank you.

Questions, images, and videos courtesy of j-archive.com

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursday

Dinos in Pop Culture, where we highlight each week some of the more obscure instances of dinosaurs used in the pop culture realm to sell anything from slippers to wedding cakes.




This week is the fifth in the series of six posts from Spain. This time it is something just a little bit unusual, in that I haven't seen something like it before. A flash drive in the shape of a dinosaur with the logo for MUJA on the side.

Friday, August 12, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #59

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it's a nice day outside, so some easy questions for ya.

- How Continental! -

July temperatures on this continent range from about -94 to a balmy high of around -40

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This continent covers only about 5% of the earth's land area; deserts cover about 1/3 of the continent

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 This continent has the longest freshwater lake, 420 miles, in the world

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Both the highest & lowest places on earth are on this continent

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A waterfall on this continent has the longest drop in the world, 3,212 feet

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All the answers as well as any other previous GeoJeopardy! questions can be found over at my website by clicking the link.

And if you enjoy this post as well as others, please consider subscribing to my blog via Google Reader or some other RSS feed so that way I better know my readership. Thank you.

Questions, images, and videos courtesy of j-archive.com

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursday

Dinos in Pop Culture, where we highlight each week some of the more obscure instances of dinosaurs used in the pop culture realm to sell anything from slippers to wedding cakes.



This week it is the fourth in the series of posts from Spain. Right inside the main entrance to the El Museo Jurasico de Asturias (MUJA) is keeping with the theme of the last post, which is toys to ride on. This time a nice little riding toy, although I don't think it is going anywhere anytime soon.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

"Rock Stars" Sunday Morning Video

As a little geological Sunday Morning treat, here is a video from this morning CBS Sunday Morning about "Rock Stars" AKA rock gardens.

Friday, August 05, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #58

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because summer is winding down :-(.

- Volcanoes -

Magma that reaches the earth's surface is called this

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The word volcano comes from the name of this Roman god of fire

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 Of the world's active volcanoes, about 60% are along the perimeter of this ocean

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57 people died when this volcano in the Cascade range erupted in 1980

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This island nation has more than 100 active volcanoes including Krakatoa

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All the answers as well as any other previous GeoJeopardy! questions can be found over at my website by clicking the link.

And if you enjoy this post as well as others, please consider subscribing to my blog via Google Reader or some other RSS feed so that way I better know my readership. Thank you.

Questions, images, and videos courtesy of j-archive.com

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursday

Dinos in Pop Culture, where we highlight each week some of the more obscure instances of dinosaurs used in the pop culture realm to sell anything from slippers to wedding cakes.




This week it is the third in the series of posts from Spain. Outside the main entrance to the El Museo Jurasico de Asturias (MUJA) is a playground complete with, you guessed it, dino slides, and a huge dino jungle gym. Although I feel the dino look of the jungle gym thing may be stretching it a bit.