FREE Days at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument

8 08 2009

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument (Colorado)––home to one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world––is waiving entrance fees on August 15-16, 2009. The name Florissant comes from a French word meaning “blooming” or “flowering.” Both modern and fossil flowers are found in Florissant, Colorado today.

Admission to the park will also be free on Saturday, August 22 in celebration of the park’s 40th anniversary. Ranger-led programs will be offered throughout the day, including a free seminar from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., The History of the Founding of Florissant Fossil Beds NM (teachers can receive credit, fees apply).

More information available on the park’s website.


Earth as Art: The Andes

24 07 2009

Vivid colors belie the arid landscape of northern Chile where the Atacama Desert, one of the world’s driest, meets the foothills of the Andes. Here salt pans and gorges choked with mineral-streaked sediments give way to white-capped volcanoes.

Click to download a hi-res version.

Source: NASA

Obama’s Nominates First Woman to Head USGS

13 07 2009

President Barack Obama on Thursday announced he will nominate Marcia McNutt, president and CEO of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, as director of the U.S. Geological Survey. If confirmed, McNutt would become the first female director since USGS was established in 1879 to lead research into earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, coastal erosion and the effects of global warming on water resources and land forms.

The president has also nominated Jonathan Jarvis, currently the Pacific West regional director for National Park Service, with authority over parks in California and eight other Western states and territories.

Californians note that McNutt and Jarvis are among several scientists with state ties tapped by the President for key positions at major federal research agencies. Steven Chu, the Nobel prizewinning physicist who headed the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, is now Secretary of Energy. John Holdren, former director of UC Berkeley’s energy and resources group, is the president’s chief science adviser. Jane Lubchenco, a renowned ecologist from Oregon State University and a board member of McNutt’s institute, is the new director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

McNutt is a certified SCUBA diver who once completed underwater explosives training with Navy SEALS for her geologic research, and has published more than 90 scientific articles, ranging from studies of ocean island volcanism in French Polynesia to continental breakup in the western United States to uplift of the Tibet Plateau.

She will succeed USGS director Mark Meyers, a former oil company geologist in Alaska appointed by George W. Bush and known for limiting public release of information by Survey scientists who work in controversial fields like climate change.

Jarvis, if confirmed, will oversee an agency that manages 84.6 million acres of U.S. land, including 58 national parks, 54 wilderness areas, 10 national seashores, and a long list of lakes, battlefields, trails and campgrounds.

Sources: SFGate (David Perlman, Peter Fimrite & Staff Writers) and Mercury News (Paul Rogers)

Fossil Friday- Giant Trilobites from Portugal

23 05 2009

“It was THIS big.”

Geological Adventures Examiner: Fossil Friday- giant trilobites from Portugal

Recently we reported on Isotelus rex being the largest of the trilobites. Now it appears it may have been dethroned. Recent finds published in the journal Geology tell of more giant trilobites from Portugal. Fossils of Ogyginus forteyi and Hungioides bohemicus are found in slabs of rock from a slate quarry in groups numbering in the thousands. Most of the specimens are over 30 centimeters (1 foot).
Read more

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Beware of Trilobites Yard Sign. Don't be caught unaware or become the victim of pesky liability suits due to marauding trilos on your property!

Beware of Trilobites Yard Sign. Don't be caught unaware or become the victim of pesky liability suits due to marauding trilos on your property!

So Whose Fault Is This?

19 05 2009

I am not thrilled about this map. It shows that I am living way too close to the Newport-Inglewood fault. I never even heard of the Newport-Inglewood fault until last night, when it rudely made it’s presence known with a 4.7 shake-up call. I was blithely twittering away when the earthquake hit . “Earthquake!!!” I twittered with an inexplicable urgency of having to be the first person on Twitter to tweet the quake, “RIGHT NOW,” as my chair wiggled left and right.

The Los Angeles Time reports that  “Seismologists suspect that the magnitude-4.7 earthquake erupted along the Newport-Inglewood fault, which experts have long feared would produce a devastating temblor. More recent research has shown that, instead, it is of less concern …” ok up to there it sounds ok but then : “and only capable of up to about [magnitude] 7.4.”

Excuse me, “only” 7.4?! Only?! Only as compared to what, an asteroid hitting the earth? Maybe someone can explain to me how 7.4 is of less concern, because that sounds pretty devastating to me.

The earthquake began at 8:39 p.m. on Sunday, May 17, and lasted about 15 seconds.

USGS Stimulus Funding Bears Scrutiny

11 05 2009

If you had any doubt about USGS increased funding via the President’s stimulus package, I submit to you this video which I received by email. *wink*

Seriously, though, the original videos on the USGS site does not include music (sorry, I cannot credit whoever added that) and was filmed using a remote camera.  However, the doctored version, besides being fun, does get attention to an important wildlife message.

Many scientists believe that bears rub trees to leave and gather certain kinds of information about other bears (think of it as a kind of ursine chatroom), and in fact use the same rub trees for generations.

A Gift for a True Earth Mother

9 05 2009

I’m really not sure if this is more for a geologist or an ecologistbut I reckon one is not necesssarily exclusive of the other. And so… the “Love Earth pendant by Swarovski: