Sunday, December 18, 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

Saturday, December 10, 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                  

Thursday, May 19, 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

Friday, January 28, 2011

Where on (Google) Earth -WoGE #260

Many thanks go to Brian Romans of Clastic Detritus for starting this game four years ago!

WoGE #259 was fairly straightforward considering I took a glacial and periglacial geology course during my udergraduate education at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. As a gradutate of an arctic university, I was exposed constantly to the elements of periglacial geology including thermokarst features and thaw ponds. Thus, I am quite famillar with arctic geology and geography. All I really had to do was find a piece of arctic coastline that was smooth and NE-facing. Luckly, WoGE #259 was on my side of the globe (where I started my search).   

As victor of WoGE #259 the torch is hereby passed, and I get to set up the next challenge in "WoGE Wonderland." Thus, here's WoGE #260. Veterans know the rules, but for newcomers, here is how the game is played:

  1. Analyze the screen-capture (at the bottom of this post), and see if you can find where it is by using Google Earth.
  2. Write your answer as a comment to this post describing (a) the location (lat-long and/or specific locality) and (b) a sentence or two about the geology depicted in the image.
  3. The first person to correctly identify specific local and general geology of the image gets to host WoGE #261 on their geoblog – or create a geoblog and then host WoGE #261.
Because much of the globe is in weekend-mode and me feeling quite generous, the Schott Rule is dispensed with for this round. This means veterans and newcomers can immediately dive in to solve this puzzle. Though this rould will probably be solved in relative short order, I will add a hint if this isn’t solved in a couple of days.

Figure for WoGE #260. Click on image for a larger version.

Happy hunting, and have a great weekend!

~Cole K.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The interview CNN should have given (but didn’t)

The geobloggosphere is currently abuzz over an interview of Dr. Michio Kaku, a highly respected physicist, during a taping of CNN's American Morning show. The subject matter is the Yellowstone Caldera, the likelihood of a super-eruption at Yellowstone in the future and the societal effects should it erupt in our lifetime.  Dr. Erik Klemetti and Gareth Fabbro, both geologists, make eloquent statements in their geoblogs regarding the nature and content of the interview. I am not going to rehash what transpired other than to say CNN has gravely mis-served the public interest by casting a physicist as an expert in geological processes.

Probably one of the most well-respected geologists when it comes to the geology of the Yellowstone Caldera and its eruptions is Dr. Jake Lowenstern, Scientist-in-Charge at the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. What follows is an interview he gave a couple of years ago and touches on many of the different aspects regarding Yellowstone including eruptive history, hazards, the geothermal system, and the YVO itself. Sure it’s not as dramatic or attention-grabbing as the CNN interview was, but it’s the content that counts, not the drama behind it.

 Yes! Yellowstone is a Volcano (1 of 3)

 The Yellowstone Volcano Observatory (2 of 3)

 Yellowstone Eruptions (3 of 3)

All three videos are from "ocweb," USGS's first Youtube channel prior to its move here..

Friday, January 21, 2011

Interesting Igneous Image (I^3) #1

Inspired by fellow geoblogger Brian Romans (of Clastic Detritus) who provides impeccable examples of geology in his Friday Field Photo series, I plan to post one image weekly that I think illustrates interesting igneous geological processes and products. Thus, I kick off my Interesting Igneous Image series with my inaugural image:

This image was taken near a pumice mine on the eastern flanks of the Mono Craters chain near June Lake, California. It is of an obsidian chocked-full of spherulites. Spherulites consist of radiating fibres of K-feldspar and quartz (or a high-T polymorph) from a nucleus. This particular rock contains spherulites which have underwent varying degrees of deformation, suggesting a complex relationship between spherulite growth and deformation. Some sphrulites are stretched to the point that they even define flow bands! For more information on the technical details as to how spherulites form, Lofgren (1971) provides an interesting read.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Lofgren, G. (1971), Spherulitic Textures in Glassy and Crystalline Rocks, J. Geophys. Res., 76(23), 5635–5648, doi:10.1029/JB076i023p05635.  

Photo above (c) 2010 by Cole Kingsbury

Friday, January 14, 2011

Where on Google Earth v0.25K (i.e. #250)!

Hello Geo-enthusiasts!

I hereby present to all of you Where on Google Earth (WoGE) #250. That means we are a quarter of the way to WoGE #1,000! Will we get there? No one really knows – I sure hope we do! If the past rate of WoGE challenges holds in the future, we should be solving WoGE #1k on or about the year 2023. Many thanks go to Brian Romans of Clastic Detritus for starting this game four years ago!

WoGE #249 looked tricky at first, and I thought for a moment that it was somewhere east of Los Angeles, but then I noticed that agricultural fields on the valley floor are not consistent with North American practices in reference to property boundaries. Also the general structural “grain” for much of North America (sans Alaska) is broadly north-south. So I focused my energies elsewhere. In all actuality, WoGE #249 would have been solved much sooner had I done more than a once-over of the North Anatolian Fault Zone. D’OH!

As victor of WoGE #249 the torch is hereby passed, and I get to set up the next challenge in the WoGE conga-line-of-fun. Thus, I am pleased to offer WoGE #250. Veterans of this game know the rules, but for the benefits of newcomers to WoGE, here is how the game is played:

  1. Analyze the screen-capture (at the bottom of this post), and see if you can find where it is by using Google Earth.
  2. Write your answer as a comment to this post describing (a) the location (lat-long and/or specific locality) and (b) a sentence or two about the geology depicted in the image.
  3. The first person to correctly identify location and general geology of the image gets to host WoGE #251 on their geoblog – or create a geoblog and then host WoGE #251.

Since this round is more challenging than the last one I did (WoGE #245) of Plymouth, Montserrat (I think), the  Schott Rule is dispensed with for this round. This means veterans and newcomers can immediately dive in to solve this problem. I will add a hint if this isn’t solved in a couple of days.

Figure in association with WoGE #250: Click on this image to see a larger version.

Happy Searching, and happy weekend!

 ~Cole K.