Geologists love to have a bird’s eye view of landscapes. They are helpful for all types of research - tracing active faults and identifying copper ore deposits among them. In this post there are two stories about geology fieldwork - one about earthquakes in Egypt and the other about copper in Chile, tied together by arid landscapes and helicopters.
El Niños, the warm phase of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern, could be devastating for ancient Andean societies. Direct evidence of these events is scarce, but clever archaeological sleuthing has revealed details of event recurrence – and desperate measures taken by authorities to stop destructive flooding.
El Niño and La Niña weather patterns profoundly affect human societies – today, as well as during the past few thousands of years, especially in the strongly affected Peruvian Andes. Both are part of the climate pattern named the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
On the evening of Dec 20, 2020, an eerie orange glow appeared on the infrared monitoring cameras on the summit of Kilauea volcano in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. The glow grew larger and larger, marking the beginning of a new volcanic eruption. Lava began pouring out from fissures in the summit crater and a steam cloud developed as the hot lava hit lake water and the water began to boil.
From maize-based chicha, or corn beer, in the Andes Mountains, to mead from honey in ancient Greece, and wine from grapes in Predynastic Egypt, fermented beverages have been a part of cultural rituals for many thousands of years. Celebrations that include copious amounts of alcoholic drinks and specially prepared foods have been widely practiced in numerous cultures over time.
Some of us really like the mineral quartz – and for excellent reasons. Quartz is a major building block of my favorite landscapes, found in the granitic rocks forming the Andes Mountains and the Sierra Nevada; the sandy beaches along the California coast; the vast sand dunes of Death Valley and the Sahara Desert, and the Red Rock geologic units in Arches, Capital Reef, Zion.....
Five hundred years ago the Inca Empire stretched across the Andes Mountains of South America, encompassing arid coastal deserts, snow-covered mountains, and humid rainforests.... Since the empire fell in the 16th century, there is something that no subsequent government ruling over this territory has successfully achieved.
Many of us think we know the story of Thanksgiving, but there are many myths.... And for a blog post last year, I wrote about mammoths and the origins of pumpkin pie.
One of the most spectacular mountain ranges on Earth is the Cordillera Huayhuash in northern Peru. These mountains were also the setting for "Touching the Void", the title of both a book and movie about a disastrous 1985 mountaineering expedition.
The jagged Andes Mountains of South America, the sculpted Red Rock country in the western US, the towering waterfalls of Yosemite Valley - and every other impressive landscape on Earth – have had their scenic beauty carved through weathering and erosion of rock. Over immense amounts of time .... landscapes are shaped.