Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I have so far to go...

This is very cool. And shows me that I haven't even begun to scratch the surface of possible fun times with magnets...

F5 2011 RE:PLAY Film Festival. Inductance from Physalia Studio on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weird Geology?

So the topic for Accretionary Wedge #34 is "Weird Geology." So I've been thinking about what strikes me as "weird." As a budding geologist, there were odd things, but I'm wracking my brain to put details to what specific concepts really weirded me out... for now, let me share with you something I see as the "weirdest" geo-topic in my mind right now. Molten Rock.


My wife and I took a trip to Hawai'i last year, and we got to (barely) watch the eruption. The idea that there is enough heat within the earth to melt rock - and that this melt can reach the surface still amazes me. The landscapes are also so foreign to a geologist raised on the North American Craton, what with the shallow dipping layers of sedimentary rock lying atop igneous-metamorphic crustal basement rocks.

The barren landscape inside the Haleakala crater is very alien to what I'm familiar with.

In fact, if you shift the blues in the sky towards red, you could almost imagine you were walking across the surface of Mars...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thurs-demo: The one from an ammo box

Many of you may be going out into the field this summer. I'm setting up my field equipment for a season of paleontology, sedimentology, and snail biology. Some of my stuff is small. Some of my stuff is small and fragile. Storing them in a container that is both tough, easy to see, and easy to carry around is sometimes challenging. So, following the lead from the field gurus at the UW-Geology Museum, I repurposed a few old military ammunition boxes. And painted them in high-visibility colors.

So now the small, breakable stuff has a home. A home that is durable (these things carried bullets, after all), easy to see, and easy to pack (I can store two of these in one of the large rubbermaid bins that holds some other equipment, too. Need to hike in, away from the car? The handle provides easy portability.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

That's a lotta water!

They're opening up another spillway on the Mississippi: the Morganza Floodway.

This in an attempt to reduce the volume of water that continues to wend its way to the Gulf of Mexico via the main channel of the Mississippi River. The flow near the Old River is nearly 2,000,000 cubic feet per second. One cubic foot of water weighs 62.4 pounds, so that's over 120,000,000 pounds of water flowing past that point every second. Oof!

Let's assume that a somewhat larger-than-average house has approximately 2,500 square feet of floor space. If we also assume the ceiling is eight feet above the floor, that puts the volume of said house at (8 x 2,500) = 20,000 cubic feet. So the amount of water flowing past the Old River monitoring station is about 100 big houses full of water per second. That's a lot of water...


I think Blogger may still be having some problems from their IT meltdown earlier this week. No thurs-demo last week, if things are back to some sense of internet normalcy next week, I'll be providing some make-up content.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thurs-demo: The recycled one

There's always too much stuff to do at the end of the semester. So I don't have a new demo. Instead, here's some video of the effects of liquid nitrogen on elastic materials:

Elastic vs. Rigid Behavior from Matt Kuchta on Vimeo.

Also, if you're looking for something current - check Riparian Rap's series of informative posts regarding the opening of the Bird's Point floodway.