Monday, January 31, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Poll of the Week - Chicken vs. Egg

This has always been a fascinating question to me:

(In regards to evolution)
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Now I have several thoughts on this but I will introduce the poll first and comment on what I think it is and why next week. Please make comments and discussion below.

Friday, January 28, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it has been a long week.

- Dinosaurs -

This "king" of the dinosaurs had a muscular jaw that, it's thought, could rip off 500 pounds of meat at once


 This plant-eater is the largest, most common & best known of the horned dinosaurs


This dinosaur was swift, but not as fast or as smart as in "Jurassic Park"; it did have that scary sickle-like claw, though


The name of the Laplatasaurus honors a river on the border of Uruguay & this country


The famous 50-foot beast in the American Museum of Natural History is this dinosaur whose name comes from the Greek for "weight", as in an atmospheric meter


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Poll of the Week - Evolution

I was recently reading an article (Fichter et al., 2010) which stated that when you see the word evolution the majority of people immediately think about biological evolution (Darwinian) and they don't think of the evolution of other things like the evolution of the Earth or the evolution of various systems. In general, evolution just means "change over time". It is commonly referred to the natural selection routine of Darwin but most geologists wouldn't bat an eye at using the term in other contexts like how the surface of the Earth has evolved through time.

So the poll of the week is this, when you see the word evolution, what do you think of initially? I honestly only think of biological evolution but I'm curious to see what other people think of.

Please make any comments or discussion in the comments section.

Fichter, L.S., Pyle, E.J., and Whitmeyer, S.J., 2010, Expanding evolutionary theory beyond Darwinism with elaborating, self-organizing, and fractionating complex evolutionary systems: Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 58, p. 58-64.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Accretionary Wedge #31 - Call for Posts

So I was having a conversation with a fellow grad student who came into my office asking if I had ever heard of an euchario..something, eudiachario..something. I said I wasn't sure, I would need the real name. Then someone in the office chimed in with Ediacharian? She said yea, and everyone else is like "Oh, yea, we know that." And that leads me in to this month's Accretionary Wedge Topic:

What geological concept or idea did you hear about that you had no notion of before (and likely surprised you in some way).

I have a few ideas for my own topic, but I would be interested in what people have to say about this. Some things we think are obvious and just know about other people have never heard of.

The deadline for this is February 18th. Please post all your submissions in the comments section. And don't forget to get your submission in for Accretionary Wedge #30 which is due January 28th.

Friday, January 21, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because sometimes you need a break.

- Rocks and Minerals -

This class of rocks is formed from deposits on lake beds & sea floors


 Any old salt can tell you epsomite is this color


To identify a meteorite, Peterson's guide says to look for iron & this metal


The fossils in this type of rock may remain even after it's changed into marble


Shale changes into this rock metamorphically & also by changing 2 letters


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finally the TRUTH about Dinosaurs comes to light

Well now we finally have it. The truth about dinosaurs. I was recently sent this article and as it starts out it isn't so bad. It actually makes sense and is correct:

Technically speaking, the term “dinosaur” should be used only to describe a particular group of reptiles that lived on land. In some books, however, you may find an author describing some creatures that flew in the air as “flying dinosaurs.” In other books you may find the author calling certain animals that lived in the water “aquatic dinosaurs.”

We could call these creatures that flew in the sky and swam in the oceans “dinosaur-like” animals, but it would be incorrect to say that they are dinosaurs.
Not bad. But then we get into the meat of the story:

Whatever their differences, however, there is one thing true dinosaurs do have in common with dinosaur-like animals — we can know for certain they all were created by God!
Oh no. I have a feeling this isn't going to end well. Here are some other clips from the article.
Inostrancevia was not a true dinosaur, but one of the extinct reptiles of the order Therapsid, falsely imagined by evolutionists to be the ancestors of mammals.
Yup. Thats what I thought.
[Owen] realized that dinosaur fossils were the remains of creatures buried long ago, most likely in the global flood of Noah’s time.
Well I can't imagine what else would have covered them. Not river flooding or anything. People along the Mississippi river or Brazil wish to comment on that?

This is the best part. How a fossil is made:
1. The Great Flood suddenly buried a dinosaur under tons of water and mud. Escape was impossible.
2. The dinosaur’s body was trapped by layers of sediment laid down by the Flood’s waters. Soft body parts decayed, but the bones remained.
3. God caused high mountains to rise up and deep valleys to sink down so that the Flood waters “fled” and “hastened away” into new, enlarged ocean basins (Psalm 104:5–9). The earth began to dry out, and minerals in the mud, sand, and water replaced the bones — and they became like rock.
So, what happened to plate tectonics? You know that force that moves the continents and pushes up mountains? I'm pretty sure we can actually measure the movements of the plates. How does that come into this.

Well I just felt like I should pass on the pearl of wisdom that was bestowed upon me. Thanks (?) Brendan H. for the article.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

News of the Day

Largest Land-Dwelling "Bug" of All Time

Hans-Dieter Sues examines what was once one freaking big bug (~6 feet long). Ewww.

Earth’s magnetic field: still not reversing

A great blog write-up on the Earth's Magnetic field and the changes that are continually taking place.

Earth's Hot Past Could Be Prologue to Future Climate

How our past was once it could be again. I believe this has something to do with learning from history. It is a shame history was so long ago.

Researchers aim to resurrect mammoth in five years

Haven't you always wanted a Mammoth?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Please Save our Parks!!!

A Performance Audit of Utah State Parks report to the Legislature has recommended that the Utah Field House be closed.  The report also recommends closing 4 other parks, reducing staffing, reducing law enforcement officers, consolidating management and privatizing some park operations.  The report can be found at .  Now is the time to contact our local Legislators and tell them that closing the Field House is an unacceptable recommendation.

Senator Kevin Van Tassell

Representative John Mathis

Saturday, January 15, 2011

News of the Day

Pint-Sized, Running Dinosaur Gave Rise to Carnivores

Interesting new find that may one of the oldest carnivore. The most interesting part is how it closely resembles other early dinosaurs that are on different lineages.

Your Zodiac Sign May Have Changed

Seems like scientists have reevaluated how the Earth shifts in its orbit causing changes in the Zodiac, but I have heard some disgruntled reactions to these. So we will see if they stick.

A thanks to Thomas Holtz for posting these on his Facebook page.

Red sky at night... Sicily looks on as Mount Etna erupts in spectacular fashion

Really awesome photos of the recent eruption of Mount Etna. Thanks to Matt, my brother-in-law for the heads up.

More than 500 dead in Brazil's worst flood disaster

A months worth of rain in a few hours can have some pretty tragic results. I wouldn't be suprised though if this had something to do with deforestation.

New Way to Calculate Age of Earth's Crust

Not much info in the article but it site's the Science article that it stems from.

34,000-Year-Old Organisms Found Buried Alive!

Interesting find.

Friday, January 14, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because who doesn't need a 4 day weekend?
- Minerals -

Drywall is also called gypboard, the "gyp" short for this


 The heavy mineral ilmenite, FeTiO3, is the main source of this lightweight metal, symbol Ti


Vermiculite makes good insulation, but sadly the former main mine produced vermiculite riddled with this


Formed in lava, leucite is common on the slopes of this mount above the Bay of Naples


Galena, Wisconsin's state mineral, is an ore of this metal seen on the state flag


Thursday, January 13, 2011

UFOP - First Meeting of the Year

For those who do not know of UFOP, it is the Utah Friends of Paleontology group located across (obviously) Utah. We are an organization were people who are interested in paleontology (and more specifically vertebrate paleo) get together monthly to listen to talks by people in the field. The is a large variety of topics from invertebrate to current research. Here is the statement from the official website (linked below):
Utah Friends of Paleontology (UFOP) is a statewide non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to preserving Utah's fossil resources through public education and volunteer support of sponsoring institutions. Certification classes train UFOP members to assist paleontologists in a variety of ways. Trained volunteers may participate in museum-sponsored digs, specimen preparation projects, and public outreach programs. Individual chapters (listed at left) provide educational meetings, field trips and volunteer work for university paleontological research as well as the State Paleontologist's office at the Utah Geological Survey.

If anyone has any questions please feel free to get in contact with me. I am currently the president of the Great Basin Chapter (Salt Lake City region) and VP of the entire statewide organization. We hare having our first meeting of the year today in case you wished (or are able to) attend. Below is the official announcement:

Please join us for our first chapter meeting of the new year on Thursday, January 13th at 7 PM in the Department of Natural Resources Auditorium, 1594 W. North Temple, Salt Lake City. Our speaker will be Tony Ekdale from the Department of Geology & Geophysics at the University of Utah, and his talk will be "Crab Legs and Shrimp Cocktails in the Geologic Record: Paleoecology and and Ichnology of Fossil Crustaceans."

If you are coming from the downtown area, please keep in mind that the North Temple Viaduct is closed for reconstruction, so you should use an alternative route, such as 200 South or 400 South.

Click here for the official UFOP website. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poll of the Week - Global Warming

I was having a conversation with my friend the other day where when I stated "Global Warming" and he promptly corrected me to be "Global Climate Change".

So I was wondering what term do people prefer. I think that Global Warming is a more than accurate term for what is going on in our climate today. I feel that in general we are responsible for increased CO2 in the atmosphere causing a warming effect on the planet raising our global temperature. Yes the overall climate is changing, but that term was more made up for the fact that people whined that it was still cold in the winter. Also, Global Warming has been around for a while. It is catchy (dare I say Buzz Word), and people understand (more or less) the general connotations of it. Whereas Global Climate Change is not as well known and it has an air of mystery about it, where the lay-person probably would not understand its meaning.

Therefore I wanted to instigate a poll of geologists to see what you prefer. Please click on the term you best feel should be used. This is the first of my "Poll of the Week" segment, and we will see how well this is taken to see if I do anymore.

Please use the comment section to discuss/debate anything your selection.

Monday, January 10, 2011

News of the Day

Gulf Oil Spill: Methane Gas Concentrations in Gulf of Mexico Quickly Returned to Near-Normal Levels, Surprising Researchers

Apparently methane-eating bacteria exploded to unheard of numbers and completely removed the gas from the water years ahead of the expected timeline. This shows the resiliency of our planet to combat this sort of thing.

Climate Change to Continue to Year 3000 in Best Case Scenarios, Research Predicts

Looks like no matter what we do now we have impacted the climate for at least the next thousand years. Way to go humanity.
God was behind Big Bang, universe no accident: Pope

Don't worry, we figured it out. It was God.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

AW #30 Call for Posts

Head on over to Mountain Beltway for the next Accretionary Wedge. The topic for this month's AW is:

I hereby challenge my fellow geobloggers (and any newbies who want to participate) to explore the interconnections between geology and food. This can take any form you want, but I’m really hoping for some edible, geologically accurate models. Yummy stuff that illustrates and informs about earth science? Yes, it is possible!

This sounds like it can be a very tasty post. I have some stuff written up in my past but I'm going to try and work something new up for this.

Friday, January 07, 2011

GeoJeopardy! Fridays

Time for GeoJeopardy! Fridays, because it's a new year. At least for some of us. :-)

- The Earth -

The Alps are an example of the fold type of these; the Tetons are the fault-block type


Outside the U.S., the main areas where these spouting hot springs occur are Iceland & New Zealand


The inner core of the Earth is thought to be a solid ball composed mainly of nickel & this metal

About a tenth of the Earth's surface is covered by this treeless region of the Arctic


Triggered by earthquakes, these destructive sea waves have been known to travel at nearly 500 mph


Monday, January 03, 2011

Where am I Geologically? #1

So I wanted to try something new. I wanted to start a round robin contest entitled "Where am I Geologically?" where the winner hosts the contest on their blog following a winning answer. The contest will go like this: I will publish a picture taken from the ground and the winner needs to identify the location and the geologic significance. It is similar to the Where on Google Earth that is going around except this will be people's personal photos. They can be from anywhere on Earth but it should be identifiable. A complete list of rules is as follows:

Poster Rules:

1. Pictures must be from one's own collection and taken from the ground
2. Pictures need to be zoomed out enough of the landscape to be identifiable
3. More pictures showing the same locality are encouraged
4. Every 10th poster gets to set the theme for the next 10 posts, or continue on the same theme (i.e. Faults, folds, Depositional environments, Fossil localities, etc.)
5. If answers are taking too long (poster's discretion), then hints are encouraged

Participant Rules:
1. Previous winners must wait an hour before answering
2. The winner must identify the location described in the photos, not necessarily the point the photo was taken (accuracy determined by the poster) in the comments section of the post
3. You have to describe the geological significance of the picture
4. When you win you get to make the next post
5. Make sure you place a link to the next post in the comments of the post you won

For the first series of posts the theme is going to be:
Depositional Environments
Here is the first set of pictures. I'll start off with an easy one.

 Remember the first to identify the locality and the geological significance wins the chance to host this on their own site. And thanks to Ron Schott for some ideas developing this.