Nevada encompasses an enormous variety of rock, mineral, and geomorphic features. Many aspects of this geology can be seen along Highway 50, which extends from west to east .... and is also known as “The Loneliest Road in America” (doubling its appeal, IMO!). On a recent trip while camping at remote sites (social distancing!), I explored along a western section of this highway....
The beauty of Mt Rainier masks the fact that it is also an active volcano with a high probability of erupting again in the not-too-distant future....Recently I came across a fascinating blog post called "The Penitentes of Mt Rainier" on a blog site called Volcano Café (https://www.volcanocafe.org/).
A huge volcano erupted violently about 760,000 years ago on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada, forming a large depression called the Long Valley Caldera. This “super-eruption” was estimated to be more than 2,000 times larger than the 1980 eruption of Mt St Helens...Today, the Mammoth Lakes resort area is on the western edge of the ancient caldera.
Evidence indicating where ancient people collected the valuable pigment red ochre thousands of years ago may seem like an unlikely combination with underwater archaeology – but that isn’t the case. Sea levels have been substantially lower than at present for most of human existence, so we know that many traces of our history are hidden beneath water.
A birds-eye view of view the landscape as it unfolds is unique. For this reason, many travelers, and especially geologists, try to sit in window seats on airline flights. Unfortunately, many of us are not planning to travel on airplanes anytime soon...but we can admire photos!
Rich deposits of metals, created by the dynamic geologic environment that built the rugged Andes Mountains, became intertwined with Andean cultures in the New World. The Incas and their ancestors created metal products primarily for aesthetic uses and for religious goods. This contrasts with Old World cultures, where the emphasis was on the mechanical properties of metals -- strength, hardness and sharpness—for tools and weapons.
There is a lot of misinformation floating about right now, with rumors and distortions promoted on social media and even at the top levels of governments. Unfortunately, this also extends to the realm of geologic hazards, which particularly catches my attention (and great annoyance).
Geologic time scales, which show a chronological sequence of events that have occurred during Earth’s history, become more or less embedded in the brains of geologists. As for other people – probably not so much. Having a rough idea of this history and familiarity with a few names, however, will be helpful if you like to think about natural history, and especially geology topics...
Grand Canyon, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands, and other national parks on the Colorado Plateau encompass some of the most spectacular scenery on Earth. Extending across the Four Corners region where the borders of Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona meet...the landscape is sculpted into dramatic cliffs and arches, domes and towers, fins and hoodoos, mesas and buttes, slot canyons, and deeply carved canyons.
Jutting up from the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the Hawaiian Islands are located more than 1,800 miles from the nearest continent. They are also in the center of the Pacific tectonic plate, so the volcanoes that formed these islands have a completely different geologic history from other volcanoes around the Pacific Rim.