Saturday, April 6, 2013

Saturd80's: Icehouse Edition

The first two here are from the eponymous first album, Icehouse. Amusingly, the first song on that album is "Icehouse."

One of the guys I met at the dorm my first term at OSU, who later was a housemate, had this album. I recorded it to a cassette tape, and played it countless times over the years. "Sister:"

In 1988, a very odd movies named Young Einstein came out. I say odd, because while many of the gags were pretty stupid, you'd have to be pretty smart to get them- or to create them in the first place. When Young Einstein departs Tasmania to travel to Australia to patent his technique for splitting beer atoms (don't even ask), the following song plays, "Great Southern Land."

It wasn't until the advent of the internet- probably in a search in the last ten years ago or so- that I even realized that last one was off a later album by the same group.

Geo 365: April 6, Day 96: Lord of the Ring Dike

Looking a bit more southerly from Elephant Rock, you can see the general ring-like outline of the invasive dikes at Seal Rock State Park. The "classic" example of a ring dike on the Oregon Coast is at Otter Rock. I've only visited that spot once- it's one I should get back to- and the only thing I remember is that even as a wet-behind-the-ears newbie, the explanation offered sounded more like arm-waving than a reasonable idea. Something about a piston intrusion at depth, creating a circular fault, then injection of basalt into that ring. The fact is, even with years of geology behind me, that sounds almost more reasonable than what is apparently now believed- CRB flows onto unconsolidated sediments, then owing to their greater density, intuding down into them. Sort of a ball-and-pillow structure with lava.

When I was doing volunteer teaching for my "Geology of the Corvallis Area" class, I had some jokey additional "principles of geology," which I felt were both funny, and contained important elements of truth. One of them was the "Don't Tell" principle: "Don't tell the rocks what they can and can't do. They've already done it. Your job is to figure out how they've done what they've done."

All these years later, I still like that one; I can't say how many times I've peered at an outcrop, and felt tempted to say "But, but, but... you can't DO that!" But they did. Rocks do weird things, and I guess that's a big part of why I love them.

Photo unmodified. March 8, 2012. FlashEarth Location.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Geo 365: April 5, Day 95: Elephant Rock

Elephant Rock is the ambiguously-facing (north or south?) large rock at Seal Rock State Park. You can also see the raised terrace sand deposits in the foreground. The puzzle here is "Why are the columns oriented parallel to the tabular aspect of the dike?" and the answer is "I haven't a bloody clue." It would be easy to suppose it isn't actually a dike, just a tabular erosional remnant, but everything about this spot says it is a dike. My suspicion, which I can neither defend nor support with evidence, is that the nature of the hot CRB lava invading and injecting into the wet, cold sediments, led to an unusual cooling gradient that was down-to-up rather than sides-to-inside. But really what I'm saying is, once again, "I haven't a bloody clue." And, as I've said before, "I just don't know" is one of my favorite phrases in science: it implies a puzzle and an opportunity to learn something new.

Photo unmodified. March 8, 2012. FlashEarth Location.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Geo 365: April 4, Day 94: Seal Rock Breaker

The thing that struck me on this brisk spring morning was not amazement that the rock would eventually wear away, but amazement that it was as durable and resistant as it is.

Photo unmodified. March 8, 2012. FlashEarth Location.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Geo 365: April 3, Day 93: Invasive Dike at Seal Rock

Jumping over to the coast, this is at Seal Rock State Park, the southernmost recognized spot where the Columbia River Basalt (CRB) flows reached the area of the modern coastline. To anyone with a background in geology, the phrase "intrusive lava" should sound like an oxymoron, but it's actually fairly easy to find along the northern Oregon Coast. When CRB flows reached the Miocene coastline, they invaded the underlying unconsolidated sediments, forming dikes such as the one we see here.

My mind spins when I try to imagine the implications of this and related landforms- I struggle to picture the landscapes it suggests. It implies that the Coast range simply didn't exist, only 16-18 million years ago. That alone is difficult to picture. It implies a lava flow capable of reaching a length of 400-500  miles, with a high enough temperature and fluidity that it was still able to intrude into wet, semi-solid sediment quite deeply. Again, hard to imagine. Finally, this area would have been ecologically much like today, perhaps a bit warmer- the Oligocene in Oregon was a transition period from a more tropical climate toward the modern temperate climate. Obviously, the flora in the path of the flow had no chance. But the panic and chaos among the fauna at the time, as the fiery flood arrived, is terrible to contemplate.

As I used to say to students about quite a number of disastrous geologic phenomena, "It'd be quite the sight to see. From low orbit."

Photo unmodified. March 8, 2012. FlashEarth Location

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Geo 365: April 2, Day 92: Into the Setting Sun at Pilot Butte

It seems fitting that the last photo I took on this day is one of Dana walking toward the setting sun. Behind her (we're looking more or less east) are the Maury Mountains. I don't know much about them, but they're north of the Brothers Fault Zone (AKA High Lava Plains: see the last paragraph here for a more complete explanation), and based on other similar areas I've seen, I'd expect to see younger lavas of HLP affinity, overlying a basement of Blue Mountain-related rocks. The latter are a complex assemblage of late Mesozoic to mid Cenezoic accreted terranes, overlain by younger volcanics.

I'll choose a new topic for tomorrow, but as we close out this segment of Geo 365, I'll point out that everything I've posted from February 18, at Abert Rim, through today was a single day's drive- and we weren't pushing all that hard. There are portions of Oregon that have more diversity, perhaps, and depending on what "spectacular" means to you, maybe more of that, too. But there is an awful lot of amazing stuff to see in this lightly visited and largely ignored portion of the state.

Photo unmodified. August 20, 2011. FlashEarth Location.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Geo 365: April 1, Day 91: Pilot Butte Rose

April Fools! It's not really a rose:
I think the one that most blows me away is that Mt Adams, in southern Washington, is at least on occasion visible from here. Standing here, one is less than 500 feet above the flat ground of Bend proper, but that's enough to be able to see a peak 142 miles away. On an exceptionally clear day on Marys Peak in late winter of 1982, I think, I was able to see from Mt. Thielsen, near Crater Lake, to Mt Ranier in Washington- but that's nearly 4000 feet over the valley floor.

On the other hand, the elevation of Pilot Butte's crest, where this compass rose sits, is 4142 feet. The crest of Marys Peak is 4097 feet. So perhaps it's raw elevation rather than prominence that's important.

Photo unmodified. August 20, 2011. FlashEarth Location. (I can generally put the cross hairs in FE view within a few feet or yards of the location where I shot the photo; in this case it's within inches!)

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Funnies: Easter Edition

Because last year was a leap year, Easter falls on a Sunday again this year. That won't happen again for over 200 years!
This week's new find, Maximumble.
Zaius Nation
Made this one myself. Original image from here.
Another captioned by me, original picture from @BFSCR
Matt at Research at a Snail's Pace points out that the iconic animal of Easter should be the platypus. Brilliant, and I agree one hundred percent!
Please do yourself a favor, and go read the completely true story of how Jesus Marvin Christ got into, and out of, his crypt, at The Frogman.
Are You Talking to Meme?
 "Worst Easter Candy Ever" @LKWeaver

And just as I was finishing up, one more on the Easter theme...
Wil Wheaton's Tumblr- click over for a gallery of artist's work, and some info.
"Honk!" Sober in a Nightclub (As an aside, I suspect this could be quite dangerous to a small animal. Please don't)
Surprise! Funny to Me
Senor Gif ("Solution" at the end- I certainly  didn't see the trick, so don't feel bad if you don't.)
Wil Wheaton's Tumblr
Funny to Me
The Oatmeal
Tastefully Offensive
Danziger Cartoons
Very Demotivational
Funny to Me
Wil Wheaton's Tumblr
Bits and Pieces
"Hermione's glimpse into the future" Senor Gif
Tastefully Offensive (See also, "Myth Busted" at Sober in a Nightclub)
Bits and Pieces
Sober in a Nightclub
(Read the board's caption on the upper right) Bits and Pieces
"How I feel when I run into hostile park rangers, and I have adequate collection permits and permission" Geology is Hard
Very Demotivational
Amazing Superpowers
 "When I read the comments of science news posts on the internet" What Should We Call Grad School?
Funny to Me "Wove, twue wove."

The Frogman, Bee photos by John Kimbler [flickr]
Funny to Me
Tastefully Offensive- Be sure to wait until *just* before the crest of that first hill.
"When I realize the undergrads are coming back from spring break" What Should We Call Grad School (This will be funnier if you've see The Cabin in the Woods)
Bits and Pieces
Well, and 33 cents. The Far Left Side
A whole new take on "wind generator." Derpy Cats
Pairs of 2-D drawings, ~perpendicular to each other, create uncanny illusion of 3-D. Gallery at Funny to Me.
Tastefully Offensive
Sober in a Nightclub
Matt Bors
You're All Just Jealous of My Backpack
Fake Science
Criggo (biting back the Sarah Palin jokes...)
Funny to Me

The solution to the "infinite chocolate" gif, earlier in the post, from Tastefully Offensive.