Year End Wrap

Well the year is winding down so I thought I would give a little recap of some highlights.

Jess and I are planning our winter Southwest roadtrip I think I’ll have to let her drive a bit. It might get dangerous with me at the wheel. Are you taking a holiday road trip? Don’t forget to bright a geologist. Remember to be the more accurate, it might be necessary to decelerate:

I was conducting what has been called x-mph geology, where x is the miles per hour one is driving; this time I was doing 70-mph geology. Geology at seventy miles per hour (or 70-mph geology) is generally much less detailed and often less accurate than geology at 20 miles per hour (20-mph geology). And it turns out that if you slow down to about 5 mph or less, you can almost complete a rock report on whatever iron-stained jasperoid or copper-stained porphyry you happen to be driving by, and the speed is almost slow enough for the geo-type in the passenger side of the truck to lean out and grab a sample.

Are you looking for that perfect holiday gift for your geologist friend? We’ll maybe a roadside geology guide for that roadtrip route will do the trick. While we’re on the topic of books, two of the best books I read this year are 52 Things You Should Know About Geology and 52 Things You Should Know About Geophysics. These books are collaborative collections of two page essays. The format is a bit “chose you’re own adventure” and encourages skipping around. Both books should be suggested reading for first time grad students and some specific essays should be required reading. Specifically, “Presenting… your career” by Tony Doré, “The trouble with seeing” by Evan Bianco, “Five things I wish I’d known” by Matt Hall, and “Simplify everything” by John Logel are good places to start. I can’t wait to re-read my dog-eared and underlined copies, but first I need to start the latest edition: 52 Things You Should Know About Paleontology. Also, the layout and cover art of these books are elegantly simple and makes an amateur typography nerd smile.

Another book I really enjoyed was The New American Road Trip Mixtape by Brendan Leonard. Brendan writes the blog Semi-Rad and shares stories, satire, and criticism on outdoor adventure culture. Seriously, it’s one of the funniest blogs out there. There’s everything from flowcharts about what to do if there is a cute girl at the climbing gym to  love letters to helmets to thoughtful introspection on the meaning of adventure. And don’t forget: GO TO THE MOBILE.

This year I started sharing field photos with the #FridayRocks hashtag. Over the years of doing geology, class field trips, fieldwork, conference field trips, etc. I’ve taken a lot of photos. I’ve been posting the particularly awesome ones. If anyone has photos of rocks they’d like to share, please shoot me an email with the photo and description.

Here are some of the most popular #Friday Rocks:

Soft sediment deformation from Point Lobos, California

Soft sediment deformation at Point Lobos, California
Soft sediment deformation at Point Lobos, California

Asbestos in Serpentinite and Blueschist

Asbestos in Serpentine and Blueschits
Asbestos in Serpentine and Blueschits

Reactivated Thrust Faults

Reactivated thrust fault in Niobrara Formation, Colorado
Reactivated thrust fault in Niobrara Formation, Colorado. Photo by Tim Sherry

Fault Core Shale
IMG_20140620_062152Microfaults in Sandstone

Fishmouth Structure

Fishmouth structure
Fishmouth structure

There’s plenty more! Click here to see the rest.


Get your shale gas on (Frack the shit out of you)

Recently, here’s been a lot of public exposure to shale gas and hydro-fracturing (Fracking). The debate centers around the environmental impact and possible contamination of freshwater aquifers. Fracking can have a huge impact on the local water infrastructure as 3 to 5 million gallons of water are used per frack. This presents considerable implications especially for water short states such as California, where fracking is is now being considered.

Penn State University has constructed a clear and very informative infographic covering many of the questions the public may have about fracking (via Agile Geoscience). Check it out.