Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Geology Through the Radio - Pompeii

Geology Through The Radio

Listening to the radio the other day this song caught my ear. Little did I realize what the title of the song was (Pompeii by Bastille). Then actually listening to the lyrics, I realized that that was what the song was actually about (not some fancy title that has nothing to do with the song what-so-ever).


Here are a set of the lyrics for instance:
"And the walls kept tumbling downIn the city that we loveGreat clouds roll over the hillsBringing darkness from above"

 Some questions that could be asked of this song:

1. What event is the song referring to?
2. What are the "great clouds" composed of?
3. What happened to the city that the song is referring to?


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Geology of the National Parks in Pictures - Dinosaur National Monument

The next up on my tour of the National Parks in pictures:



Obligatory entrance sign.

"I hope that the Government for the benefit of science and the people, will uncover a large area, leave the bones and skeletons in relief and house them in. It would make one of the most astounding and instructive sights imaginable." - Earl Douglas, 1923

And here is the main attraction. The fossil wall in panorama form.

The northern end of the fossil wall.

 And the southern end.


View of the outside of the main exhibit building. The building is newly rebuilt (since the other one basically fell off the wall) and rests right on top of the fossil layer. The next picture is a shot in the opposite direction from the building.


Picture from the fossil wall in the northern direction (away from the building) where you can track the fossil layer across the parking lot.


Closer up shot of the fossil layer from the previous picture. You can make out the Fossil Discovery Trail running along the base of the fossil layer towards the lower center of the picture (fossil layer is the dark layer just left of center).

View of the fossil layer looking back up at the building. Most of the best fossils were all up within the building but most people found it exciting to discover fossils "out in the wild". 

Departing dino shot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Geology Through Literature - The Way of All Flesh


The next story up in the Geology Though Literature thread is The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler.

Not much in the way of geology in this book, however I did find a couple of passages interesting. The book mainly is about Christianity taking place in the 1800's and a couple of passages mention some recent works that were released:
"It must be remembered that the year 1858 was the last of a term during which the peace of the Church of England was singularly unbroken...I need hardly say that the calm was only on the surface. Older men, who knew more than undergraduates are likely to do, must have seen that the wave of skepticism which had already broken over Germany was setting towards our own shores (England) - nor was it long, indeed, before it reached them. Ernest had hardly been ordained before three works in quick succession arrested the attention even of those who paid least heed to theological controversy - I mean Essays and Reviews, Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, and Bishop Colenso's Criticisms on the Pentateuch." 
As a little bit of a background, On the Origin of Species was originally published November 24th, 1859, while events during the first paragraph take place during 1858. Even though The Way of All Flesh was published in 1903, Butler began working on it in 1873. This shows that, the upheaval due to the publishing of several works like On the Origin of Species still would have been fresh in his mind. Although, the ideas of evolution were slowly gaining hold, even before Darwin's publication, the Church of England firmly held the beliefs as posed in the Bible. Mainly, that species were created by their Creator and have remained unchanged since creation. Darwin's (among others) theories flew in the face of that, hence the paragraph describing the breakdown of the Church of England's hold. Very fitting for a book that seems to be very anti-established church.
"This was the course things have taken in the Church of England during the last fourty years. The set has been steadily in one direction. A few men who knew what they wanted made catspaw of the Christinas and the Charlottes, and the Christinas and the Charlottes made catspaws of the Mrs. Goodhews and the old  Miss Wrights, and the Mrs. Goodhews and old Miss Wrights told the Mr. Goodhews and the young Miss Wrights what they should do, and when the Mr. Goodhews and the young Miss Wrights did it the little Goodhews and the rest of the spiritual flock did as they did, and the Theobalds went for nothing; step by step, day by day, year by year, parish by parish, diocese by diocese, this was how it was done. And yet the Church of England looks with no friendly eyes upon the theory of evolution, or decent with modification."

I like this passage because it shows how "descent with modification" (i.e. evolution) works in the context of society. My personal point of view is that many people take the term "evolution" out of context, where it simply means "change over time". Also, Darwin never stated the term "evolution" within the Origin of Species. He just used "descent with modification", so I feel that the author's phrasing in the last sentence as a hat-tip to the original term.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Dinos? in Pop Culture - SLCC 2014

Unlike last years Salt Lake Comic Con, there was not much in the way of dinosaurs (or geology really) that I could find. I did see one person dressed up as a female Dr. Grant from Jurassic Park but I never was able to get a picture of her. So, in lieu of that, we have Smaug from The Lord of The Rings. Dragons are based on dinosaurs, so essentially dragons are the descendants of dinosaurs, like birds. 

Therefore, dragons can be considered the cousins of birds. And in that case, here you have a dinosaur descendant. 

Side Note: I didn't realize this at first but one of the eyes opened and closed. You can see that through the 3 pictures below. Very nice!




Monday, September 08, 2014

Drunk on Geology - Riff Pinot Grigio

Our next bottle up on our Drunk on Geology series is Riff. Riff (German for reef) wines are Italian wines made by Cantina Riff Progetto Lageder. The ammonite shown on the bottle of the 2012 bottle (pictured below) has also been changed for the 2013 wines, so it is likely I may feature this wine again.  


The ammonite pictured on the bottle is a simple goniatitic ammonite, meaning that the sutures between each chamber (septa) have a gentle curved pattern.


A comparable fossil ammonite to the one on the bottle is the pyritized Quenstedticeras pictured below:



The back of the bottle reads:
"Riff pinot grigio originates from vineyards in the foothills of the dolomites, located in the eastern Alps, which influence the climate and bless the region with prized alluvial soils. The name riff (German for reef) refers to the dolomites geological origin. A deposit of fossils from an ancient sea that covered this region millions of years ago."

Image of the rocks from the wine maker's website,