I’m a fan of Jared Diamond’s classic "Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies" published back in 1997. Recently, I’ve discovered another two interesting “Big History” books.
Uluru, also called Ayers Rock, the iconic giant sandstone mound in Australia that rises abruptly out of an expanse of flat desert, has always intrigued me. For thousands of years the indigenous Australians have considered Uluru a sacred site, and it is the focus of numerous myths and legends. I understand that mythic attraction – and the geologic history is just as captivating.
The ancient Andeans revered shiny gold -- but there are dark sides to gold also. During my first trip to Peru I was chagrined to see numerious illegal gold mining operations. I recently found good articles discussing some of the associated environmental problems on a website written by Barbara Fraser (http://barbara-fraser.com/ ).
The winter solstice is just ahead for the Northern hemisphere – in California it will occur at exactly 8:19 PM on Saturday December 21. On that date and at that time, the Sun will reach [...]
A curious fact: Arabian Peninsula countries import tremendous amounts of sand. There is no shortage of this material in the Arabian Desert – beautiful quartz grains that have blown around for eons and are now [...]
Vacationing in Desolation Canyon sounds a bit, well, grim. So, I had a few twinges of apprehension about taking a multi-day white-water rafting trip through this canyon. It was formed a few million years ago [...]
We are fortunate to have numerous spectacular National Parks in the western US. I have had the pleasure of wandering through many of them, but recently I've also started to explore State Parks. In September [...]
The granite and obsidian described in my previous posts aren’t the only rocks I admire. My favorites are sedimentary types. I promise they’re more interesting than they sound. During exposure to wind and water even [...]
Whenever I venture out in the world, I check out the rocks in my environment – they are all around us in natural outcrops or layered onto the buildings in our towns and cities. As [...]
When Alex Honnold climbed El Capitan, the 3,200 foot high sheer rock face in Yosemite on June 3, 2017 – alone, and without any equipment for fall protection -- it was an epic feat that [...]