Sinkholes and Giant Rats

Okay, they’re not actually related. Just a couple of nifty links for today – I got something of a late start this morning because the cat that I’m cat-sitting had a pee accident. The result was a lot of frantic squirting of Nature’s Miracle and me getting out of the house close to an hour late.

I do have another backyard geology post to write up, possibly two since I’ve now been to both Sugar Loaf Mountain (the Colorado iteration of it at least) and several outcrops of the Iron Dike. I’m hoping to get that done tomorrow. Also, this weekend is the first of our two long field trips for my class this semester. We’ll be down in New Mexico to look at the volcanic fields that sit on the eastern side of the Rio Grande Rift. (Yes indeed, the United States actually IS slowly pulling apart at Texas, and it has nothing to do with politics.) I’m making it my business to take my camera with plenty of batteries, so barring a complete senior moment, there will be pictures!

Cool link #1: Giant rat found in ‘lost volcano’
A BBC camera crew finds a new species of rat in a crater left by an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea. I hope that I get to see the BBC special at some point, since the area looks very interesting. The crater itself is about 4 kilometers wide and 1 kilometer deep. This sounds pretty big at first blush, but it’s really not. The crater was formed by the Mount Bosavi cone collapsing at some point in its history, so the crater is much bigger than it would have been during the volcano’s active life. To also give you some perspective, a really big volcanic crater – a caldera – would be something like the Yellowstone Caldera, which is 72 kilometers across at its widest.

Cool Link #2: Florida Sinkhole Database
We don’t get much in the way of sinkholes in Colorado, since we don’t have the immense quantities of near surface limestone that Florida and a lot of areas in the southeastern United States have. I find Karst topography, which is what you get when limestone erodes below the surface and eventually causes collapses, very interesting because it’s something that I just don’t get to see very often.

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