Friday, September 30, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #66

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because I'm working from home today.

- Down to Earth -

When it's closest to the Earth, this planet with a 687-day year is about 33 million miles away

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  Eratosthenes calculated this c. 230 B.C. using the difference between the sun's angles at 2 places during June

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The Lambert one of these formations in the Antarctic is over 250 miles long

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"Cast" in the role of the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, its atomic number is 26

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A clue for alien astronomers looking for life on Earth is the large amount of this gas, CH4, in the atmosphere

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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

Monday, September 26, 2011

Geological Fact of the Month - September

Here is something that is bound to change as we discover more and more but for now I thought it was pretty interesting.



For all the Geological Fun Facts I have mentioned before you can head on over to my website.

Friday, September 23, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #65

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it is time for a break.

- Earth Science -

In a mining lode, the gangue is the junk & this is the mineral with the good stuff in it

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 Venice is sinking because Italy is actually part of this continent's plate & it's sliding under Europe's plate

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 It's not just oil -- Saudi Arabia has reserves of over 200 trillion cubic feet of this

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It Seismographers use the difference in speed between P waves & S waves to locate this point

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Some ocean sediment is radiolarian ooze, made of these parts of tiny protozoans

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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, September 22, 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 third post about the Utah Hogle Zoo's exhibit Zoorassic Park. I find it amazing how much Jurassic Park still influences our perceptions and displays of dinosaurs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

DINOSAURS: From Cultural to Pop Culture - ~400 BC: The Griffin


~400 BC


Following along through Greek mythology we have the griffin. The griffin is a well known animal which is a combination part bird, part lion. I picked ~400 BC because this is when the famous tale of Prometheus Bound was likely written by Aeschyles. In the story Prometheus is bound to a rock as torture for giving fire to humanity. While he is tied to this rock he is force to endure griffins repeatedly eating out his liver. Then when they are done it is allowed to grow back again, and the whole process starts over. This isn't the first occurrence of griffins in history but it is one of the first and most prominent so I figured this would be a good place to mark it. One of the principal traits of the griffin, other than its ability to fly, is that it is often found guarding a treasure of some variety.


The origin story for the griffin is not as well known as the cyclops but it is a pretty interesting one. Apparently the Greeks were trading with a group of people called the Scythian Nomads. The trade routes of these nomads traveled from Mongolia and down into Greece where they traded gold, among other things. The source location for their gold was likely at the base of some cliffs near the Gobi Desert. The gold would have likely eroded out of the Altai mountains in Mongolia and settled on the fringes of the desert. Along side the gold deposits they found these bizarre looking skeletons, unlike what they have ever seen before. When coming across such things most people try to relate it to what they know. They recognized the beak, like that of a bird, and the bird like talons but the size and shape of the body didn't make sense. This must be a beast that is a combination of a bird and something else, possibly a lion. The skeleton was that of a Protoceratops. The only question that now remained is what happened to the frill of the dinosaur in the nomads reconstruction? It is likely that if the frill was broken into pieces, the placement of the frill along the back could give evidence for the presence of wings. Once discovering these and creating the griffin myth, the nomads then transported this tale all over Europe during their trades (Mayor, 2000; Ancient Monster Hunters; Wikipedia).

References:

Mayor, Adrienne. 2000. The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ

Friday, September 16, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #64

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because I said so.

- Pick a Planet -

Its "day" is 24 hours & 39 minutes

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It's the third largest in our solar system

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 It's never observable when the sky is fully dark

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It was the first to be discovered with the aid of the telescope

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Leda is its 13th moon

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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, September 15, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursdays

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 second post about the Utah Hogle Zoo's exhibit Zoorassic Park. Want to play dress up as a dinosaur? Well now you can!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Geological State Symbols Across the US - #2 Alaska

The state for this month is Alaska. Here are the stats:

                                                        Year Established
State Mineral: Gold                                1968
State Gemstone: Jade                              1968
State Fossil: Woolly Mammoth                1986

State Mineral: Gold
picture of Gold Dust Image
Gold is a mineral made up entirely by the element Au (gold). It is bright yellow and very dense and malleable. Currently gold is considered one of the mot valuable metals on Earth, being used as the standard for most money (gold standard). Gold has an important history in Alaska. Originally when the territory was purchased it was referred to as a folly because this big hunk of land couldn't be worth anything. That was before gold was discovered. It began in the 1870's and continued through most of the 1900's. The beginnings of many communities in Alaska got their start as gold mining towns. Today Alaska is more known for it's oil exploration but gold still holds a prominent place in it's heart with Fairbanks remaining as a major gold exploration area.

State Gemstone: Jade
Jade is the pure gemstone variety of nephrite which is a metamorphic mineral in the tremolite family. Alaska has large deposits of jade throughout the state but its principle claim to fame is an entire mountain made out of Jade. The mountain is located far from any road, north of the Arctic Circle, near Kobuk, AK. Very large blocks have been taken out of the mountain and used to create statues including a 3,600 lb block for a police memorial statue. Currently, jade statues and jewelry produced from Alaska's famed Jade Mountain can be found all over the world, including a plaque embedded in the Washington Monument.


State Fossil: Woolly Mammoth
A dwarfed form of the woolly mammoth lived on Wrangel Island (an island off the coast of eastern Siberia) until about 1700 BC, more than 8,000 years after their larger ancestors died off.  Another population lived on St Paul Island off the coast of Alaska.
Depicted: A dwarf woolly mammoth compared to a regular-sized woolly mammoth.
The Woolly Mammoth, also known as Mammuthus primigenius, is a species closely related to modern day elephants which was covered with hair. Unlike most of the state fossils, mammoths are often found as complete specimens. They are usually frozen in the snow or buried in a swamp of Arctic regions. Most of the 100 or so remains of fully preserved mammoths have been found in Russia and Alaska. Mammoth remains are found throughout the northern reaches of the state as well as scattered throughout other regions. The local prehistoric people were known to have  had interactions with the mammoths. Evidence includes tools that were created from their tusks.

A small island off the coast of Alaska is also one of the last remaining locations where woolly mammoths lived (until ~3,750 BC). Since the island was small the mammoths that have been found here were dwarf varieties of the typical continental mammoths (pictured right).

References
Previous States:

Friday, September 09, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #63

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it's time for a break.

- Rock Your World -

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Geology Museum has the state rock of Wisconsin; not to be confused with the state rock of New Hampshire, it's the red type of this

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Formed by magma, this one of the 3 major types of rock may be plutonic, or formed deep in the Earth

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 A schism is a division into faction; this type of rock, one letter different from "schism", has distinct layers

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Dacite is volcanic rock characterized by the presence of this common form of silicon dioxide

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Scattered material that can include sand & dust is called this "rock", after the layer below the Earth's crust

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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, September 08, 2011

First UFOP Meeting of the Season

Announcing the first Great Basin Chapter meeting for UFOP for the season. Here are the details:

Instead of a regular speaker, we will have a number of the University of Utah students presenting posters of their current research in a program we have entitled a "Paleo Poster Presentation Palooza."

It will be in the department of Natural Resources in SLC. If you wish to join us, feel free. Contact me for the exact address if you need it.

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursdays

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 we are shifting focus to for a couple of weeks to the Utah Hogle Zoo's exhibit Zoorassic Park. The first posting was a radio ad that was played and it is very reminiscent of Jurassic Park. I found it a very clever clip personally. Clip courtesy of the Hogle Zoo.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

A Question and Perhaps a Puzzle


I have a question for the geo- and paleo-minded folks out there:

How deep can a benthic diatom burrow?

Now the reason I ask this question is that the worm Paraonis makes spiral burrows (pictured above) that have been identified as "traps" for diatoms (Minter et al, 2006). This means that the diatoms must be able to burrow to at least the depth that the sprials are produced but I have read that diatoms have only been identified as burrowing up to 3 mm (which is a big deal for such a small creature) (Hay et al, 1993) but Paraonis burrows have been identified up to 10 cm down (Risk and Tunnicliffe, 1978). Quite a contrast.

This means that either they are wrong (this is not a diatom trap), they are eating other things (which they don't think so), or diatoms are burrowing deeper than I can find literature on.

So I was wondering if anyone has any knowledge of diatom burrowing depths. If you do please comment or send me an email.



Hay, S.I., Maitland, T.C., & Paterson, D.M., 1993, The speed of diatom migration through natural and artificial substrata: Diatom Research, v. 8, p. 371-384.

Minter, N.J., Buatois, L.A., Lucas, S.G., Braddy, S.J., & Smith, J.A., 2006, Spiral-shaped graphoglyptids from an Early Permian intertidal flat: Geology, v. 34, p. 1057-1060.

Risk, M.J., & Tunnicliffe, V.J., 1978, Intertidal spiral burrows; Paraonis fulgens and Spiophanes wigleyi in the Minas Basin, Bay of Fundy: JOURNAL OF SEDIMENTARY RESEARCH, v. 48, p. 1287-1292.

Friday, September 02, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #62

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because we are a laboring.

- Volcanoes -

Eruptions in 512 were so violent that Theodoric the Goth of Italy suspended taxes for those living on its slopes

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Lassen Peak in the southernmost part of this range was believed extinct until it erupted on May 30, 1914

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 This volcano on the southeast slope of Mauna Loa has had a hotel on its rim since 1866

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Figurative name of the volcanic belt that nearly encircles the Pacific Ocean

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This Philippine volcano's 1991 eruption was one of the largest of the 20th century

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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, September 01, 2011

Dinos in Pop Culture Thursdays

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.


I don't know what I can really say about this one? I found it in a gift shop in Moab, UT, but I definitely did not buy it.