Monday, May 9, 2011

Geology News in Photos

Today's In Focus feature is on the Japan earthquake, two months later. Above, a clock submerged by the tsunami records the waterline. I found these photos pretty shocking- the events at the time were plenty shocking enough, but the sheer quantity of debris to be cleaned up and disposed of is difficult to comprehend. A couple of others, #17 and #20, inspire my sometimes warped and generally tasteless sense of humor to caption them along the line of "Silly boats! U no belong there!"

Closer to home, The Big Picture has 30-some images of the flooding along the Mississippi River.There has been a slew of bad science journalism about this event, and the go-to site for accurate information and media corrections has been Steve Gough's Riparian Rap.

I spent my preschool years in Gallipolis, Ohio, and some of my earliest memories are of steamboats that still served as working tugs on that stream. I was in love with a boat named the Kathy R, and could recognize its distinctive whistle from miles away. In the spring of my fourth or fifth year, there was a flood that covered our yard- the ground floor of our house was several feet higher, and was not inundated. I vividly remember feeling like the house was afloat, no longer attached to the earth. I also vividly remember catching crawdads (as I grew up calling them), and being quite amazed that they were in the yard. I'm sure it's small consolation to the family above, but one, this flood will replenish your soil with nutrients and fresh sediment. And two, crawdads are exploring your farm. How cool is that?

Stay tuned as the geology world holds its breath in anticipation for upcoming excitement at Old River Control. I hadn't realized it until yesterday, but John McPhee's New Yorker article on that mega-project, which was later adapted as a third of his book The Control of Nature, is available online. If rivers or environmental engineering hold any interest for you at all- and they both should- this is definitely a recommended read.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks! Very timely. Excellent links!