Friday, December 30, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #78

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it's the end of the year so lets deal with some extinctions.


- Where the Wild Things Were -


In prehistoric times 10 foot tall "terror birds" ranged over much of this continent, including Patagonia
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  The shamainu or Honshu type of this canine, died out early in the 20th century


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 Though specimens still exist in zoos, the Barbary lion, native to the north of this continent, is extinct in the wild

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  The Xerces Blue of this insect, native to sand dunes in San Francisco's Sunset District, became extinct in the 1940s


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The bulldog rat disappeared around 1900 from this Aussie-owned island named for a holiday


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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

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

There is no joy in Dinoville...T-Shirt

The newest shirt design for  "I Support ETP: The Ethical Treatment of Paleontologists" is one depicting how the end of the dinosaurs really came about.


And a closeup of the image.


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, December 23, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #77

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because tis the season for some merriment.


- Geology -


Corundum makes up much of this rock used to make an abrasive "board"
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  The sword of Damocles is a large one of these formations in Carlsbad Caverns


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 Shatter cones, with radiating fracture lines, are only found at the sites of space object impacts & of these tests

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  This fancy French word refers to a deep fissure in a glacier


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A giant ocean called Panthalassa once surrounded this supercontinent, whose name means "all earth"


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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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dirty Jobs - Paleo Style

The Discovery Channel show - Dirty Jobs is going out with some Paleontologists. The show will be airing tomorrow (Tuesday 12/20) at 9:00 pm EST and is entitled Fossil Hunter. You can check out some of the preview clips Here.

I am posting about this for 2 reasons.

1) They are showing an episode of Dirty Jobs featuring a trip out with some vertebrate paleontologists. This should be a good opportunity for those wanting to get into vertebrate (dinosaur?) paleontology and not know what field work is like to get a first impression of it.

2) I actually know and are friends with most of the people that he is going out in the field with so this is my support for them (Jim Kirkland, Don DeBlieux, Scott Madsen, etc.).

Friday, December 16, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #76

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because school is over for the semester (at least for some of us).


- Volcanoes -


The names of 2 types of lava flow, pahoehoe & aa, come from this language
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  This Indonesian volcano just west of Java erupted in 1883 causing sea waves almost 130 feet high


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 A 1963 underwater eruption began the formation of the island of Surtsey off this north Atlantic country

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  In Roman mythology, this god of fire's blacksmith shops were located under Mount Etna


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Paricutin Volcano in this country began in a farmer's field in 1943; within 6 days, it had a cinder cone 500 feet high


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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

Geology Photo of the Day - Part 5

I try to refrain from doing two posts in a day (Geojeopardy! Fridays must go on) but since I have done this all week I will keep it up. Check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 here. Also @GeoEvelyn has been reposting some of the Geology Picture Memes on her Twitter account.


The last picture of the week is one a couple of blocks from my office in Salt Lake City, UT. It may seem like a grassy hill but what you are actually looking at is one of the potentially deadliest faults in the US. This is the Wasatch Fault fault scarp at Faultline Gardens and it is currently overdue for one of it's typical ~7.0 magnitude faults. What that would do to Salt Lake City is pretty much level it to the ground (being build on loose sediment for the most part). Yea liquifaction.

I love how when people moved to SLC they didn't realize this was a fault and built directly on top of it. Even digging out the fault scarp to get a better foundation for their building. That has since become illegal (to build on the fault) but I know several apartment complexes that will be ripped right in half when the earthquake comes (there was one directly behind me when I took the picture).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Geology Photo of the Day - Part 4

Continuing on. If you want to check out other Geology Pics of the Day @GeoEvelyn has been reposting them on her Twitter. Here is also Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of my posts.


Today's photo/panoramic is from one of my field areas. It is of the main beach in Zumaia, Spain. The rocks in the picture are deep sea tubidites that have been accreted onto the northern coast of Spain. In the picture you can see the K-T boundary (right where the grass runs into the bottom of the picture), and the P-E boundary  (on the left side where the buildings are sitting on the beach.) The deposition here is so complete you can actually trace time through each of the deposited layers from the late Cretaceous up through the Lower Eocene. Absolutely beautiful.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Geology Pictures - Part 3

Continuing on. Check out Part 1 for the backstory. Here are some others...Part 2, Georneys, Research at a Snail's Pace.


This is a panorama taken of Spotted Wolf Canyon in southern Utah. I love how the rocks lend to the perspective leading to the road down the canyon. Also Hugin is an awesome program for linking together panorama shots. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Geology Photos - Part 2

And it continues...(Part 1, Georneys, Research at a Snail's Pace)


This picture is from a Paleobiology Field Trip that I TAed last year. It is a little difficult to see but if you look at the ridge in the background you can see a V-shaped structure. This is a lava flow that filled in a stream valley (a lava dam if you will). This was taken in southern Utah. Utah is/was actually very volcanically active due to the rifting that is causing/has caused the Basin and Range that extends across Nevada. We have several lava flows and cinder cones that are scattered across the landscape. And no, this has no relation to Yellowstone what-so-ever.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Geology Pictures!!

I can hop on this bandwagon as well. With trying to get 2 grants and a poster completed before the end of the year I have been, and will be, fairly busy (almost too busy for blogging) so I am joining on the bandwagon of Evelyn's Geology Picture Meme, also joined on by MK at Research at a Snail's Pace, and Poikiloblastic.



My picture was taken a while ago while I was doing my Master's at Texas Tech. It is of a Maar Volcano taken somewhere in New Mexico (I don't remember exactly where). For those of you who don't know, a Maar Volcano is a low lying volcano typically formed by explosive eruptions when water comes into contact with magma. They are usually difficult to spot from far away because they don't form the "characteristic" volcano shape. But they do make a pretty hole in the ground. They are usually filled with water, but being the desert, that wasn't likely to happen here.

Friday, December 09, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #75

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because baby it's cold outside.


- Mountains -


At 14,433 feet, Colorado's Mount Elbert is the highest peak in this mountain chain
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  Lake Kawaguchi is famous for its inverted reflection of this peak on its still waters


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 Worn down by wind and rain, the mountains of this range that includes the Vesuvius are among the lowest in Europe

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  Now dormant, this volcano in Eastern Turkey last erupted on June 2, 1840


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This range forms an arc from Slovakia to Romania with both ends lying on the Danube river


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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, December 05, 2011

Misleading Science

This isn't a post about a specific topic but more of something I have been thinking about for a while. I recently came across this one graph (directly below) and no matter what the article said (because what I initially thought is NOT what the article said) I had one opinion on the subject:

The graph above (Veron, 2008) illustrates the growth of large reefs and their relationships to extinction events. If you add on the current extinction event to the far right side of the graph, I think it will be plainly obvious that reefs are the cause of mass extinction. What? No? How could that be??? Well, it's not. And that is not what the paper was trying to say, but that is how it looks upon first viewing of the graph (at least, to me). The point of the paper was to show that reefs are good places to study mass extinctions because they build up then dissapear across an extinction event. But, again, that is not how it looks to me as I scan across the article.

And this is the problem with science. Both as people doing the science and those reading the science. Sometimes, your first impression is wrong. Step back. Reanalyse what you are seeing, and try to think what else it could be. Sometimes the obvious answer is the correct one. Sometimes it isn't.

Another case is that of people misreading data. This is from the perspective of someone reading the paper but I think the writers missed something. The below graph (Hoffmeister and Kowalewski, 2001) is my case in point:


The authors stated this about the graph (as well as some other associated graphs):
"Spearman rank correlation shows a significant positive correlation in ..." (emphasis added by me)
Now , I don't know about you but I don't see significant, I don't even really see positive, I see a whole lot of random dots with a line that shouldn't have been place through the data. This is my point. Sometimes there is no correlation. Step back. Look at the data with new eyes, what you see is not always what is there. Take your time.

Science is a slow process. It takes a lot of man hours to do even simple experiments. Don't mess it up by throwing bad or missinterpreted data out there, because that is all people are going to see. They aren't going to notice your 100's of hours in the lab or the countless field hours. They are going to see one bad dataset and assume the rest of the information is junk as well. Don't let that happen to you.

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Hoffmeister, A.P., & Kowalewski, M., 2001, Spatial and Environmental Variation in the Fossil Record of Drilling Predation: A Case Study from the Miocene of Central Europe: Palaios, v. 16, p. 566-579.

Veron, J., 2008, Mass extinctions and ocean acidification: biological constraints on geological dilemmas: Coral Reefs, v. 27, p. 459-472.

Friday, December 02, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays #74

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it's winter, batten down the hatches.


- Harvard Museum of Natural History -


A relative of the plesiosaurs, this 42-foot reptile terrorized the seas of the early Cretaceous period; called Kronosaurus queenslandicus, it was discovered on a 1931 Harvard expedition to this continent
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  The museum has 4,000 handcrafted glass flowers; created from 1887 to 1936, their accuracy allowed study in Boston of flowers from these regions, between 23o 27' north & south


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 The Harvard Museum has part of the famous Zagami meteorite, which fell to the Earth in Nigeria in 1962; gases trapped inside match those found by Viking spacecraft, confirming the rock's distant origin on this planet

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  Suspended above the museum's dramatic Great Mammal Hall are the skeletons of three whale species--a finback whale, a right whale, & this, the largest of the toothed whales


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Weighing in at more than 1,600 pounds, the giant chunk of amethyst here is one of these stones that form under pressure inside cavities, from the Latin for "earth"

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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