…Google, no.

...Google, no.
A lot of descriptive geology is just pattern recognition. I spend a lot of time Googling pictures of various structures, minerals, and other phenomena to get an idea of how the same thing can look wildly different. So today: ….no, Google. No. (Psst: This is nodular bedding.)

[Ask a Geologist] Moon Artifacts

Andrew asked: Given ancient alien artifacts which take the form of giant stone cubes, made roughly fifteen million years ago, on an airless moon, what sort of information about them or their makers could a geologist infer from analyzing them? All right, off the top of my head: Age analysis: How old the rock itself ...

Deep Time 2

In perfect Rachael World (you know, the same place where my best friend Kat will be Minister In Charge of Hot Forking People Wot Deserve It) everyone will be required to take a basic geology class. And not be allowed to escape until they have at least a rudimentary grasp of the concept of Deep ...

[Ask a Geologist] Evidence of a Nuclear Winter

Andrew asked: Given a rough Earth analog that experienced a major nuclear war about 1 Ma, would there be any evidence of in the rocks in modern times? All right, so I can think of two major potential lines of evidence off the top of my head when it comes to nuclear weapons: 1) Radioactive ...

[Ask a Geologist] When Geologists Get Funky

[Ask a Geologist] When Geologists Get Funky
Andrew asked: What DOES happen when you get a bunch of geologists drunk? For ease of answering, I have prepared this handy-dandy flowchart:

[Ask a Geologist] Of Meteorites and Jars 2

The lovely and cupcake-alicious E. Catherine Tobler had a couple of geology-related questions, which I have simplified because sooper sekrit reasons: 1) Pretend it’s before 1900–how do you test if a piece of jewelry is made from a meteorite? After trawling around on the internet a bit, the most likely thing I could come up with ...

[Ask a Geologist] Before there was terraforming, there were rocks 1

My friend Andrew Barton asked me, a bit out of the blue via twitter: Given a now-earthlike planet terraformed 15 million years ago, which previously resembled an Earth-sized Iapetus or something, how obvious would the pre-terraforming rocks be, or what governs how deep they’d be now? He also provided a bit more background as to the ...

So you wanted to know about my research?

Now you can read the whole enchilada for free! It’s a steamy but heart-wrenching story about a river and the course of its life as the world heats up and the mammals become ever tinier and more cute. Sandstones! Siltstones! Mudstones! Who will be swept away next? Will I need dental work from all those ...

Oh No, Canada: Ocean Fertilization 6

NK Jemisin tweeted this article this morning with an appended “Oh no:” massive (and it seems illegal) ocean fertilization project taking place off the coast of Canada. (And a little follow up here.) Oh no indeed. This is scientifically problematic for a lot of reasons, the two main ones being a) algal blooms ain’t exactly ...

Still life with trilobite section

I’m back I’m thin section heaven at work, slaving over a hot petrographic microscope and continuing my second listen to the Vorkosigan saga audiobooks. (Excellent, by the way.) And I saw something a bit like this today: Out rather, a bit like the portion marked with a T. A trilobite! Or rather a cross sectional ...