Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturd80's: Urgh! Part II Edition

A few more songs from "Urgh! A Music War." Oingo Boingo, Ain't This the Life:
Klaus Nomi, Total Eclipse:
The Go-Go's, We Got the Beat:

Geo 730: March 29, Day 453: Torn

The power of the Tohoku tsunami is beyond my comprehension. As you can see from the scale, this dock was constructed to withstand practically any contingency- but not this terrible wave. The holes in the concrete on the west end originally anchored a pair of I-beams. At this time, there was one remaining on the east end. But the force of the tsunami didn't just twist and deform those sturdy pieces of steel, it tore them right out. I'm sorry to belabor this artifact, but the fact is, it has given me a wholly new respect for- and frankly, fear of- tsunamis. This is, in part, why I just don't feel as if the small section preserved at the Hatfield Marine Science Center does the situation justice. The enormity of the whole dock, and the way the wave just wadded it up and spit it out are not captured in a way that illustrates its awful power.

Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location (approximate).

Friday, March 28, 2014

Geo 730: March 28, Day 452: Stranded on the Strand

The tsunami dock, torn loose from its mooring in Misawa, Japan, during the aftermath of the Tohoku earthquake on March 11th, 2011, a bit more than three years ago. While many, including myself, felt that this would be best preserved in place as a historical artifact, a monument to the stupendous losses of that event, the state determined that the best course, economically and in terms of safety, would be to cut it up and remove it. A section of the dock, the closest corner, from this point of view, has been preserved as a memorial at Hatfield Marine Science Center, a free public outreach museum on the south side of Yaquina Bay. So while this site is now unrecognizably different, and missing the dock, a small representation of this slice of time remains elsewhere.

Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location (approximate).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Geo 730: March 27, Day 451: Eroded Cross Bedding

Dune deposition occurs as wind carries sand grains up the fore side (facing into the direction the wind is blowing), then drops the sand on the lee side (the downwind side). This results in a series of cross beds, which slope down in the same general direction the wind was blowing at the time. Here, subsequent wind erosion has beveled off the original surface, exposing the cross beds. As we'll see later, this same process can lead to some surprisingly beautiful abstract "art."

Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location (approximate).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Geo 730: March 26, Day 450: Yaquina Head and Agate Beach

Agate Beach is at the northern end of Newport, Oregon, and south of Yaquina Head. The latter is the headland jutting out into the ocean above, which is composed of tough, resistant Columbia River Basalt. On this trip, we were here to visit the Japanese tsunami dock. As I mentioned last January, it was a much more emotionally distressful experience than I had expected.

Photo unmodified. July 10, 2012. FlashEarth location.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Geo 730: March 25, Day 449: Goose Lake

Goose Lake proper is a few miles south of the downtown area of Lakeview; here, we're a few miles north of the town. (FlashEarth location, centered on photo location, but backed out to show Goose Lake) So this isn't really Goose Lake, but as you can see, there are quite a few geese. This is classic Basin and Range landscape, and nicely illustrates how, despite its general aridity, ponded basins create an enormously important resource for wildlife. Birds are just some of the most obvious- and transient, in many cases- examples. Word to the wise: the geese here are wild, but quite accustomed to humans, and very aggressive beggars. I believe this pond is somewhat warm as well, though to be honest, I'm not sure I've ever stuck my hand into it to be certain.

To conclude this sequence (August 19, 2011), I want to point out that though the recent photos near Klamath Falls and at Hunter's Hot Springs were the beginning of the day, I started this set on February 6, took a break for a few days to document a record-setting snowfall here in Corvallis, then resumed Feb. 10th. This region is as spectacular as any other in Oregon, but remote, very lightly inhabited, with few visitors, and as a result, not widely known or appreciated.

Photo unmodified. August 19, 2011. FlashEarth Location.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Geo 730: March 24, Day 448: Siliceous Sinter

Hot water is much, much more effective at dissolving silica than cool water. With some materials, like table salt (NaCl) the change in solubility doesn't change with temperature as much as one might expect. With others, such as washing borax and silica, it's much greater than one expects. With silica, the solubility continues to increase beyond what we think of as "boiling," which is dependent on pressure. If there's significant confining pressure on a volume of water beyond that of the atmosphere, it's boiling temperature goes up- and so does the amount of silica that water can dissolve.

So when pressurized hot water is relieved from that pressure and cools down, it's often carrying more silica in solution than it can continue doing. The silica precipitates, generally as hydrous, amorphous silica, known as opal. Sinter has a characteristic "foamy" texture, like styrofoam. I suspect the circular voids are spots where gas bubbles prevented water from occupying that space, thus preventing silica from precipitating there.

Photo unmodified. August 19, 2011. FlashEarth Location.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Funnies: Science Lab Edition

Okay, I've got enough here to make a full-fledged Sunday Funnies Edition, but I'm haven't even worked back through the beginning of Friday's set-asides. No way I'm finishing this today (up late, so late start today). I'll see if I can get the rest in a follow up tomorrow. In the meantime...
Are You Talking to Meme?
Doctor Loo? Blackadder
Zero Percent Discount
Sephko, via Tastefully Offensive
Jen Sorensen
Darius Whiteplume
Sofa Pizza
Tastefully Offensive
*deep breath*
Wil Wheaton
Bits and Pieces
Cyanide and Happiness
Sober in a Nightclub
Are You Talking to Meme
Surviving the World
Spud Comics
The Far Left Side
Sofa Pizza
xkcd- the hover text is worth clicking through for.
Bad Newspaper
Bits and Pieces
Tastefully Offensive
Cats Versus Humans
Tom The Dancing Bug
That's some mootivation! Senor Gif
4 more of Ellen's favorites at Tastefully Offensive
Fake Science
Wrong Hands

Geo 730: March 23, Day 447: Anthropogenic Geyser

The white pipe sticking up from the surface of the pond near the right center of the photo is the nozzle through which "Old Perpetual" erupts... when it erupts. The story I heard about this, which I won't vouch for, is that a crew was drilling down hoping to get to hotter water, hit an over-pressured steam pocket, and blew the drill string out. Subsequently, the hole and casing served as a conduit for the geyser, which erupted every few minutes. My suspicion, from the sound of it, is that this a a dramatic exaggeration of events- that, yes, they were drilling and hit a pocket of high pressure, but it was simply too hot to be of utility, and was abandoned. Either way, there seems to be widespread agreement that Old Perpetual was not a "natural," discovered feature, but one that accidentally faithfully mimics the physical setup and activity of a natural geyser, as a result of human intervention. As I describe in the post title, it's an "anthropogenic geyser."

Photo unmodified. August 19, 2011. FlashEarth Location.