Friday, January 18, 2013

"Ten Hundred Words of Science": my research in simple English

Hi Readers!

Jumping on a very long caravan of bandwagons, I thought I would introduce the subject of my PhD project using only words from the 1000 most commonly-used words in the English language (try it for yourself using the Up-Goer 5 text box!) Many members of the geoblogosphere, myself inspired by Professor Anne Jefferson's post, have contributed their job descriptions and study subjects using only the 1000 most common used words in English. A Tumblr page entitled “Ten Hundred Words of Science” created by Anne Jefferson and Chris Rowan aggregates meme submissions quite nicely and was an eye opener for me.

Because I study Large Igneous Provinces (LIPs) in general and the High Arctic LIP in specific, doing so was quite the challenge. Words like “mantle “ and “plume” as well as “igneous” and “province” along with “analyze” and “geochemistry’ are not allowed for this meme exercise. I had quite the challenge in front of me as a result, but participating in this meme has actually forced me to think about how to explain my subject matter without using highly technical jargon we in the geosciences utter within the discipline. A necessity when trying to explain what I do to interested laypersons. So without further adieu, here is my job description and PhD topic using only the 1000 most common words:

Using the means of people who study people who have done very bad things, I study a big hot thing of rock that came deep under foot a long time ago and went off big, a lot of times during a short time. Other large hot thing of rock that came deep under foot and went off killed animals, changed things and may have helped us live. 

My area of study is in a very cold place at the top of the big round rock we live on. Its one of the least understood area of rocks formed by a large hot thing of rock that came deep under foot. Using the things I learn, I then tell people about it during talks and writing papers.

As Paul Harvey would say: "and now you know . . . the rest of the story"!

Have a good weekend!

~Cole K.

cc #upgoer5

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Carbonatite lavas of Ol Doinyo Lengai --with the actual movies this time!

I  Finally figured out how to embed YouTube clips! The original version only showed complicated html coding, so I deleted that. Now back to the show:

Hello readers!

A short (I have exams to proctor and grade) blog update to post some cool YouTube fottage of Ol Doinyo Lengai in Tanzania Africa and its unique eruptions of caronatite lavas. Whereas 99.9% of of lavas that are issued worldwide is modeled based upon the silica [SiO4] tetrahedra, carbonatite is principally composed of carbonate minerals. Dawson and others (1990) documented abundant phenocrysts of the rare alkali carbonate minerals nyerereite an gregoryite while noting the conspicuous absences of any major silica phase during the November 1998 activity. The temperature of these lavas are quite low during effusion: less than 600°C, (Dawson et al., 1990)!

Enough of mew talking: click on the film clips below and try to convince yourself that you are seeing competent lavas and NOT muds oozing, flowing or burping out of the volcano!

Small roiling lava pond:

Carbonatite lava channel:

Carbonatite spattering:


Dawson, J.B., Pinkerton, G.E., Norton, G.E., Pyle, D.M., 1990. Physiochemical properties of alkali carbonatite lavas: Data from the 1988 eruption of  Oldoinyo Lengai Tanzania: Geology, 18, pp. 260-263

Friday, December 9, 2011

Accretionary Wedge #41: My response

Im Back!

Ron Schott over at Geology Home Companion is hosting the 41st round of the Accretionary Wedge, where he wants participants to describe the most memorable geologic event that one has experienced. What follows is my contribution:

For my grade 10 Social Studies class, one of the requirements thereof was to write a paper about some culture. I chose to write about the Maori people of New Zealand. One class period was reserved to work on the report in the computer lab while the teacher roamed around, in case students needed help. I, on the computer just as you walk inside the lab and a hare to the right, asked the teacher to come over for help with ideas as I was experiencing writer's block. We had a great discussion and bounced ideas off each other for several minutes, when it happened.

What happened, exactly? The setting was a high school in Beaverton, OR (a southwestern suburb of Portland) on the afternoon of February 28th, 2001. If the date and location sound sort of familiar, I am referring to the M6.8 Nisqually Earthquake that struck the Pacific Northwest. The hypocentre of the earthquake according to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network's data page, was situated 52 km at depth with the associated epicentre ~18 km NE of Olympia.

This earthquake was my first earthquake I have felt in my life at that point and so for the first few seconds, I wasn't sure what was going on. The ground started rolling like broad waves and confusion amongst my fellow students and the faculty present in the computer lab was quite evident. The earthquake itself lasted, I venture, 15-30 seconds and fits most closely to a III or IV on the Modified Mercalli Intensity scale where I was located at the time.

A few second's after the shaking stopped, the Principal of the school along with the campus safety person stepped foot in the computer lab and announced "May I have your attention? For your information, yes we did experience an earthquake. Please duck and cover," or something to that effect. What occurred soon after the duck-and-cover exercise I cannot recall, but I do believe we were let out of school early and in my case went home and  watched the news reports on the damage to the Puget Sound area while talking to my parental units about our collective experiences. An event I will never forget.

~Cole G. Kingsbury                  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Pics from the Field

 Hi Readers!

Well after a few days of resting following a 15 day whirlwind geology field excursion around eastern California and Nevada, (with a fleetng stop in Arizona) here are some pics I have taken. This first batch largely focuses on the Mono Basin and Long Valley of eastern California. We were going to stop at Obsidian Dome to look at "my baby" but nearby Mammoth Mountain recieved 600 inches of snow this winter, apparently double the usual amount according to the person that does reservations in Mammoth Lakes. Mammoth Mountain was mantled with thick snow cover and skiers were still carving crisp turns on the slopes. Needless to say, Obsidian Dome, (and the road leading to it) was still coloured white. In late April. I was scheduled to do my  talk regarding the geology of Obsidian Dome in front of my travel mates while on Obsidian Dome, but Panum Crater had to suffice as an imposter. How do you spell "dang"?

That said and done, here are some pictures from the first couple of days on the trip, Map for geographic reference:

The famous tufa spires on the south shore of Mono Lake, California

Large spherulite in Obsidian from the Glass Mountains (NE margin of Long Valley Caldera)
Nice reverse fault cutting the distal, non-welded Bishop Tuff exposed at an abandoned pumice quarry just north of Bishop.
Nice photo showing densly welded, more proximal facies of the Bishop Tuff exposed in the Owens River Gorge. Note the nice wisps of flattened pumice, or "fiamme."This was slightly overhanging so, in order to show scale, I faintly denoted 1 cm to the lower left of the large angular lithic clast, near the centre of the image.
View of the Hot Creek Geological Area. Ahhh the sight of hot springs and fumeroles and the sweet smell of volcanic perfume is a nice way to end a day of geotripping. :-)
Yours truly warming his hands in "Handwarming Fumerole." Informally named by me thanks to the nice handwarming qualities of this particular fumerole. The temperature outdoors was kind of nippy at the time, but not too bad. Handwarming Fumerole was far from scalding in temperature.
Hope you enjoyed these photos, and I'll post a second batch in the next few days.

Untill nxet time: Prosper geologically!

~Cole K.

Above photos (c) 2011 by Cole Kingsbury

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Getting ready for a geological adventure

Hello readers!

Its been quite some time since I have posted to my Chaotically flow banded blog so I think its time for an update:

Tomorrow, I will be departing Ottawa, Ontario for the deserts of the American southwest to partcipate in a 15-day advanced field studies course offered by Carleton University (I am one of only two University of Ottawa Students attending this trip). This field couse will examine the many volcanic and structual features which make Nevada and adjacent parts of California scenery so spectacular. What follows is a brief outline of where the field course will be headed

  • 23 April:           Meet in Reno, Nevada
  • 24-26 April-:    Mammoth Lakes area to examine Long Valley caldera and Mono basisn
  • 27 April           Enroute to Beatty, NV, look at Big Pine volcanic field andDeath Valley geology
  • 28 April           Spend entire day analyzing the geology around the Yucca Mountain, NV area and discuss nuclear storage implications. Sojourn in Boulder City, NV for 3 nights. 
  • 29 April:          Look at the Searchlight Pluton near Searchlight, NV (South of Las Vegas)
  • 30 April:          Tectonism of the Basin and Range-Colorado Plateau transition near Lake Mead, NV/AZ.
  • 01 May:          Tour Hoover Dam. Drive to Lo$t Wage$ for a day off -- where your's truly will NOT touch a slot machine!
  • 02 May:          Back to geology. Drive north towards Austin, NV, stopping at the Tonopah Mining Museum. Stay 1 night in Austin, NV.
  • 03 May:          Examine the tilted Tertiary Caetano Caldera in Lander County, NV. Stay in Battle Mountan, NV, (so-called the "Armpit of the Nation" by the Washington Post) for 3 nights.
  • 04 May:          Volcanology of the Fish Creek Mountains caldera and the Buffalo Valley volcanic field.
  • 05 May:          Basin and Range tectonism around Battle Mountain
  • 06 May:          Drive Back to Reno for the inevitable end of the field trip.

Nearly all packed and ready to go! Included, but are not going back to their homeland are two samples of Bishop Tuff which are nicely camouflaged with the carpet.

One Aspect I am particularly looking forward to is going back to Obsidian Dome which is the subject of my thesis. I have become so attached to that dome during my initial field work that I have nicknamed it "my baby." I am scheduled to make a presentation to the trip participants on the emplacement history and structural controls which influence the location of Obsidian Dome.       

I will try to post pseudo-daily updates to this blog, as well as an image taken during time in the field that day. Free wi-fi at the various hotels and motels helps matters greatly!

I am psyched!

~Cole G. Kingsbury

Above photo (c) 2011 by Cole Kingsbury

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Geo-Valentine's Day blogCard

Greetings readers!

From my road-side outcrop to yours, I wish all of my geoscience friends and bloggers a happy Valentine's Day. A Valentine's Day geologically speaking cannot be without displaying a screen-shot of the McCartney Mountain area of Beaverhead county, Montana from Google Maps.

Screen-shot from Google Maps

Again, happy Valentine's Day to all, and to all a pleasant day!

~Cole K

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Interesting Igneous Image (I^3) #2: Bishop Tuff

To prime me for more thesis writing, I hereby bring you the second installment of my Interesting Igneous Image series.

This particular photo is of the densly-welded facies of the ~760 ka Bishop Tuff in the Owens River Gorge. Coin for scale. The stretched wispy dark-grey domains are collapsed pumice, sometimes called "fiamme," Italian for "flame." Fiamme occur when pressure from above and insulating heat within an advancing pyroclastic flow work to collapse the fragile bubble-walls of pumice fragments. Sometimes pyroclastic flow deposits display evidence of rheomorphic behaviour. A "rheomorphic tuff" can be found in the interior of some pyroclastic flows and are a result of being able to flow like coherent lava after being initially deposited as a hot, turbulent incoherent mixture of clasts, pumice and ash.   

Here are some links relating to the Bishop Tuff (2 blogs and two research articles).

NOVA Geoblog, by Callan Bentley

Rhyolitic Magma Based on Melt and Magnetite Inclusions and Zoned Phenocrysts (Journal of Petrology article by Anderson et al., 1999)

Columns: Not just for basalt anymore  Eruptions blog post by Erik Klemetti  

Ring-fracture eruption of the Bishop Tuff  (GSA Bulletin article by Hildreth and Mahood, 1986)  

Enjoy and post remarks if you wish!


Above photo (c) 2010 by Cole Kingsbury