Sunday, January 30, 2011

Swarm of minor earthquakes...

reported near Mount St. Helens this weekend.

Signs along the trail...

at Natural Bridges National Monument, giving what I would ordinarily consider appropriate advice, even at the most boisterous wedding celebration (click to enlarge to take a close look).  I recall this hand-routed sign is located on the trail somewhere beneath Kachina Bridge.  This image was snapped during a 1995 geology field trip to southeastern Utah, so perhaps it has been replaced by now.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Carnivorous pitcher plants...

in Borneo are perfect for bat naps.  Here's the technical abstract: A novel resource–service mutualism between bats and pitcher plants.

Remember, bats need friends.

A fizzy ocean...

on Enceladus?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Ranger Able detonates...

60 years ago today, an air-dropped 0.5 kiloton device, marking the beginning of decades of nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.

Here's a link to the satellite image of the remote area, showing a blistered topography dominated by subsidence craters, the result of countless underground tests.  Be sure to scroll out and pan around the image to see the full extent of the test site.  Sedan Crater (pan north in the linked image) is quite impressive, and was produced by the Storax Sedan test.

Bigger than big...

The State of the Internet:  Summing Up 2010

Lightning and fire...

Japan on Alert After Volcano's Biggest Eruption in 50 years.

Shinmoe-dake volcano on Mount Kirishima, located on Japan's southernmost main island of Kyushu, is erupting.  Check out the spectacular images at the link.

RELATED ARCANE TRIVIA:  this volcano was prominently featured in the vintage James Bond film You Only Live Twice as the evil genius Blofeld's hidden lair.

UPDATE:  Interesting videos of the ongoing eruption are here and here.

Breaking news...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

An explanation of some students' behavior...

during class: Naps Help Memories Transfer To Brain’s Hard Drive.  It's part of the learning process.

Perhaps I need to regularly incorporate this strategy in my daily office schedule?

Monday, January 24, 2011

More perspective on climate change...

from glaciologist Don Easterbrook:  The Magnitude of Greenland GISP2 Ice Core Data.

Here's a related previous post.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Do nothing for two minutes...

by clicking this link.  It's the weekend after all.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

An interesting new film...

on the Chauvet-Pont-d'Arc Cave, by Werner Herzog, is set to release in March 2011. Here's the trailer with an overly dramatic soundtrack:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If you feel like howling at the Moon...

this evening you likely won't be alone, as the first full phase this year is termed the Wolf Moon.  Here are the other obscure full Moon names of 2011, and a sound clip to set the mood for tonight.

Bake a cake for Charlie Darwin...

in order to help celebrate his 202nd birthday with the EWU Biology Department.  Their annual birthday cake competition will be held on Friday, 11 February, following the afternoon seminar.  Any group or individual may compete, but the cake must reflect some aspect of Darwin's work.  Prizes will be awarded to student competitors, and your humble blog correspondent will be one of the judges.

RELATED:  Here are some of the winners in 2009 and 2010.

Scientists fight bugs...

with poo.  The bottom line (pardon the pun):  "We'd like to get away from poo, but it works the best."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Everything you want to know about asbestos...

will be explained in a lecture on Wednesday, 19 January 2011, at 7 pm:

Dr. Mickey Gunter
Professor of Geology
University of Idaho

"My Mineralogical and Geological Lessons
Learned From a Decade of Asbestos Issues
in Libby, Montana"

Spokane Community College
Lair-Student Center Auditorium

Mickey has spent more than a decade researching the geology and asbestos mineralogy of the vermiculite deposits near Libby, Montana.  This presentation will focus on the results of that research, and address the ongoing health issues in the community.

Side note:  Mickey and I were both undergraduates in the geology program at Southern Illinois University together, from 1975 to 1979.  He went on to study crystallography with Don Bloss at Virginia Polytechnic, while I focused on fluvial geomorphology with Stan Schumm at Colorado State University.

Wise words...

The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.

-- Unknown

Monday, January 17, 2011

Pics from the past...

taken during one of my numerous descents in the mid-1990s into Papoose Cave in Idaho, ranked as one of the deepest caves in North America.  Here's an image showing fellow caver TM at the top of the first waterfall pitch, about to begin his rappel:
This challenging, cold, wet and deep cave is developed in the steeply dipping Martin Bridge Limestone (Triassic) in north-central Idaho, and the active cave stream has carved narrow but high "canyon" passages:
Some grottoes are nicely decorated with white speleothems, these in the "Bluewater Extension" portion of the several-mile long system:
Water levels can vary tremendously from one year to the next depending on surface runoff into the cave, and flotation is required in some sections in order to traverse the water-flooded passages:
Here's a link to the Idaho Geological Survey publication Speleography of Papoose Cave, Idaho (warning: 25 MB .pdf file).

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's field work Friday...

on the Rathdrum Prairie yet again, the first of the new year.  Time to take the pulse, um, measure water levels, in the aquifer.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

High five for Eye-Fi...

memory card technology that automatically transfers images from your digital camera to your home wireless network (or from any public hotspot) as they are being shot.  You never have to cable the camera, or pull the SD card, to load images on your computer.  This is likely the one and only memory card you need for your camera, unless you have an insane need to archive all of your images on a multitude of cards.  It cleverly geotags images, too.

My experience with the Pro X2 card has been excellent:  the card configured seamlessly with my home Wi-Fi network, and images transfer quickly and without error.  Easy.  (I haven't configured the ad-hoc wireless connection with my netbook, enabling transfers without a router, just yet.)

Highly recommended, especially if you're a shutterbug or professional photographer.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Rapidly rising floodwaters...

in Queensland, Australia, the result of extraordinarily heavy rains, quickly exceed bankfull stage and sweep away numerous parked vehicles:

Watch to the end of the video to see the deposited automobiles with a distinctly imbricated fabric.

What I'm reading...

right now:  The Thousand-Mile War by Brian Garfield.  This book details the horrible battles fought in the northern Pacific Rim in 1942-1943 during World War II where Japanese forces invaded and occupied the outermost islands in the Aleutian archipelago.

RELATED:  Here are several blog posts with images (here, here and here) from my recent visit to Attu and Kiska during my summer travels with Zegrahm Expeditions.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Pics from the past...

chronicling one of my climbs on Devils Tower in northeast Wyoming in 1988, a volcanic neck that rises 1,267 feet (386 m) above the Belle Fourche River (click to enlarge):
I was accompanied by former graduate student RR on this particular adventure, seen here on lead in the off-width Durrance Crack route, ranked as one of the Fifty Classic Climbs in North America:
Here is the requisite hero shot on the summit during a break in the snow flurries that dogged us during the several hour climb:
I recall there were dozens of chipmunks running all over the summit while we ate our lunch.  And here's another shot of me, on rappel on the south face descent route, zipping down the enormous phonolite porphyry columns:

NOTE: I am making it a personal project this year to digitize my vast color slide collection, conservatively estimated to be well more than 15,000 in number.  I intend to methodically high grade the collection and slowly scan slide sets as I find the time.  In addition, I will randomly and variously post some images that highlight some of my more interesting experiences on this blog of mine.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Helen helps with recycling...

chores this morning as we make an early visit to the Cheney Recycling Facility.  She's concerned that I won't sort the plastics properly - HDPE from PETE - and is thus keeping a watchful eye on me.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The race to save...

the bats.

After seven years on Mars...

the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has been stuck and silent for months, while Opportunity keeps trucking - having traveled more than 16 miles - and is presently investigating Santa Maria crater (shown above).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Saturday, January 1, 2011

No end in sight...

Conquering an Infinite Cave


Time to start another lap around the Sun.  Today we begin the second decade of the third millennium.

Good luck.

UPDATE:  From the back forty, this afternoon: