Large earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis can create shock waves felt around the world – literally. The blast from the volcanic eruption on January 15, 2022, near Tonga caused spikes in air pressure recorded around the planet. We can add this eruption in a remote part of the Pacific Ocean to our knowledge of pandemics, climate change, and numerous other interconnections that tie our planet and our societies together.
Best wishes to you and your loved ones for happy holidays! This is my final post for 2021 – I’ll begin publishing again in January 2022. In this post, I describe a few details about the story of the Three Magi and the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh they brought to the baby Jesus. Historians and biblical scholars have recorded many stories and traditions related to the Magi and their gifts, often reflected in the artwork of the time.
This is a rerun - I published this post originally in November 2020 - but check it out if you missed it last year. Many of us think we know the story of Thanksgiving, but there are many myths. This post also has a link to a 2019 blog post about mammoths and the origins of pumpkin pie - an interesting story.
Flooding that filled the Central Valley region of California to the point of becoming an inland sea, with water lapping from the Coast Ranges to the Sierra Nevada foothills, was part of Native American oral traditions. And that is exactly what happened in the Great Flood of 1862. If a similar major flood occurs, there will be catastrophic consequences.
Goblins lurk in a remote corner of Utah. They aren’t the Halloween type! Instead, they are unique, curiously shaped rocks, found by the thousands in Goblin Valley State Park. They are in columns or pillars formed by layers of rock with differing resistance to weathering, called hoodoos, and they have an interesting geologic history.
Achieving water security has been a challenge throughout human history. Now, an astonishing two-thirds of the global population is projected to have difficulty accessing potable water by 2025. Energy and clean water production are correlated, and fortunately intelligent people are currently exploring options to harness the power of the sun to reduce water shortages.
Many crystal mining operations are steeped in conflict and associated with appalling worker conditions and serious environmental degradation. Many collectors who are concerned with environmental impact and fair trade are seemingly unaware of this dark side – or perhaps they just don’t want to acknowledge it. There are alternatives.
Humans have always had a unique relationship with fire. Now, like many other changes that are occurring on our planet, fire is taking on new meanings. Across North America and Europe, and from the Amazon to the Arctic, wildfires have been erupting with unprecedented sizes and intensities. There is a name for this new age: the Pyrocene.
Iceland is a fabulous showcase for volcanoes. The easily accessible locations to view explosions of fiery lava and ash provide unusual opportunities for volcano-appreciators of all types, giving them ringside seats for the action. In the past few decades, there have been several spectacular volcanic performances. Attempting to control volcanoes is a major challenge, although people have tried, and even achieved success.
Granitic rocks form the backdrop of iconic landscapes worldwide – from the narrow ridge of Machu Picchu to the massive walls of Yosemite Valley. In southern Idaho, City of Rocks National Reserve contains a “sculpture garden” of granitic rock outcrops with a different appearance from most other granites. They are a result of unusual geologic processes – an interesting story.