GeologicalScienceBlog - subjects include Geology, Climatology, Environmental Science, NASCAR, Beer, Property Rights, Random Thoughts, & Politics from a Christian Conservative/Libertarian/pragmatist viewpoint. As a Dad & Grandad, I am concerned about the overgrowth of government at the expense of freedom. Background - two degrees in Geology (BS '77, MS '90), started studying Geology beginning Senior Year of high school (1971 - 1972) <68>

Friday, October 29, 2010

Confessions of a Geological Mongrel...

(Others may use stronger terms, regarding my Conservative/Libertarian views and AGW skepticism, but that is for others to discuss.)

What I mean is that one way Geologists classify themselves is as "Hard Rock" vs. "Soft Rock".

For those normal people outside of our chosen psychosis (profession) this does not reflect our taste in modern music, but rather it is a way of categorizing major aspects of Geology.

Hard Rock Geology includes studies of Physical Geology, Igneous and Metamorphic rocks (Petrology and Petrography), Geochemistry, studies of Mineral Economics and Mining, Structural Geology, Plate Tectonics, Radioisotopic Age-Dating, Vulcanology, Hydrology, Geophysics, and Mineralogy. [Highlighted disciplines are those of which I have had at least one class, sometimes two.]

Soft Rock Geology includes Historical Geology, Vertebrate and Invertebrate Paleontology, Stratigraphy, Sedimentation, Carbonate Petrology, Petroleum Geochemistry and Economics, Coal-related studies, Geomorphology, Geological Mapping, and Oceanography.

[Other disciplines may be added, later. And a few of these, e.g., Geological Mapping and Hydrology, defy easy classification.]

So, why do I call myself a "Geological Mongrel"? It is because I enjoy so many different aspects of Geology, I have studied and worked on both sides of "the fence". And for that reason, some would regard me with additional suspicion. Maybe it is because I was raised with both dogs and cats.

And so it goes (with apologies to Linda Ellerbee).

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What a Geologist Sees - Part 33: Heavy Minerals


Heavy minerals have several definitions;
1) Specific Gravity (density) greater than quartz (>2.65 times the density of water).
2) A relative resistance to chemical weathering, greater than that of most silicate “rock-forming” minerals (except quartz).
3) In their original host rocks, they usually constitute trace quantities.

Some “common” heavy minerals and their respective Specific Gravities (vs. Quartz 2.65) include:

Zircon 4.6 – 4.8
Monazite 4.6 – 5.4
Tourmaline 3.0 - 3.3
Rutile 4.2 – 4.3
Ilmenite 4.5 – 4.7
Magnetite 4.9 – 5.2
Staurolite 3.7 – 3.8
Kyanite 3.5 – 3.7
Garnet 3.56 – 4.32
Diamond 3.5
Gold 15.6 – 19.3
Platinum 14 - 19


The process of releasing heavy minerals begins with the chemical and physical weathering of a given rock unit. In this Lithonia Gneiss saprolite, there is quartz, clays, altered minerals, and heavy minerals.

When the broken-down rock materials (clasts) are moved down-gradient - usually by water (erosion) and gravity - they are separated by density during high-energy water movement (floods).

The dark metallic colors of ilmenite, rutile, and magnetite help make placer concentrations of heavy minerals more easily seen.

Variances in water velocity help concentrate heavy minerals into "placer" deposits. Close to the source areas for mafic rocks, heavy minerals can include olivine, pyroxenes, and amphiboles, but these are unstable and will undergo degradation to clays during transport.

[More to be added...]

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

So, How Did Barack Obama Learn What He "Knows" - Part I

[On a bit of a schedule to at least make Sunday School this morning. Will try to spend more time on this important subject, later.]

Andrew Breitbart's "Big Peace" blog/website has a two-part post on Communist Frank Marshall Davis, one of Barack Obama's early mentors, hand-picked by Barack's maternal grandfather (or something else by other accounts), Stanley Dunham.

Here is Part I.

Here is Part II.

At this point in time, I am saddened and dismayed by friends and family who are still strong supporters of Barack Obama. I just wonder what will it take for them to wake up?

In the meantime, we should be the "go to people", in case of a worst-case scenario, in case the internet is shut down because of a "Reichstag Fire" and elections are "postponed" (liberals feared this of Presidents Nixon and Reagan). We need to have committed the gist of this info to heart, for our generation and future generations, should we lose more of our freedoms.

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The Sad State of Online Science Articles...

is this a trend or am I making too much of it?

In looking for an article on Gulf of Mexico seafloor brine vents, I found this article, which gave a good, brief summary of the harsh environments associated with those vents.

However, I was dismayed that there are at least four "typos" in the article, two of them in the title. Tsk, tsk, tsk, tsk.

I am not being "holier-than-thou" about this, on the title page of my undergrad "thesis", I mispelled "Petrology" as "Pertology" (Or maybe it was "Petrography" as "Pertography", it has been 34 years.) And no one caught it. D'oh.

And looking back through the text of my 1989 Master's Thesis, I am horrified by the number of typos. Such as it was in the typewriter age. And I know that when you have read and reread a text dozens (hundreds) of times, you get jaded. But what about the reviewers? I know, they have their own "fish to fry". I try and try to avoid typos on Facebook, here, and on my class Power Point slides.

So anyway, before we put stuff out on the internet for the world to read, let's try to do a little more QC.

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Some Apparent Good News for Gulf of Mexico Deep-Water Corals

This is good news, though the long-term health of these corals remains to be seen. These are not the "normal" shallow-water corals that most folks associate with coral reefs. These corals exist in deep water, well below the photic (sunlit) zone and do not have symbiotic relationships with certain forms of algae - as many shallow-water corals do.

Due to oil seeps on the bottom of the Gulf, these deep-water corals may be more tolerant of a little bit of oil in their "diet" than their shallow-water cousins.

Below about 600 feet or so, the Gulf of Mexico is a dark, mysterious place with oil and natural gas seeping from faults in the sea floor. There are also "brine vents", which are the subject of this paper.

The native deep-water and shallow-water corals have adapted to these conditions over time (I am not trying to minimize damage from the BP spill). Also, because of poor water circulation, the organisms assoc. with these deep-water environments have to survive other issues, such as lower oxygen contents (of the seawater).

Only time will tell if these corals survive the effects of the spill and the widespread use of dispersants. It may be a matter of prevailing water currents carrying the oil away from these particular corals.

I would suggest reading the entire article on both the corals and the linked article on Gulf brine vents.

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Bleed for Those That Need It

I have given blood, on and off, for 35 or so years. Not as much as I should have, but any effort helps. Sometimes I would just forget, while being preoccupied with other stuff.

The last two or three times I have attempted to give blood through the Red Cross this year, I have been turned down, once for low iron (?), and twice for slightly high blood pressure.

This last Friday, I was finally successful. In my elation, I was thinking about Pete Townsend's "Give Blood" and managed to find this YouTube video, posted by "exutuberejectee":



It is a great concert performance that lasts for almost 6 minutes. (Don't ya just hate great songs that are over in 3 minutes?)

So, please take this as a plea to go give blood, if you are eligible.

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Friday, October 08, 2010

Thursday Videos (on Friday)...

I have seen this one before, but it is important for people to revisit this video, while it is still available. I wasn't in the mood for putting this on Facebook, but might later.



As a reminder, Socialists killed 100+ million people in the 20th century and the Weather Underground wanted to kill another 25 million people. Members of this organization are influential in this administration.

That should bother you.

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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Tuesday Videos (on Wednesday),...

'cause I didn't find this until this morning. Book burning by the Obama Administration.

[Because of the wide format of the video, it is down below.]



I am just asking that you look at this through the prism of honesty, i.e., without a double standard. If you had been uncomfortable/concerned/angry at the George W. Bush Administration for doing something like this, why would your feelings be any different about the Obama Administration doing this?

Other than the general suspicion about the book burning itself, I haven't formed an opinion, yet. It is curious that a mainstream media - that had no problem with the LA Times or NY Times, et al, publishing sensitive information - would let this slide by. Is this honestly a "state secrets thing" or is it to cover the collective asses of the Clinton and/or Bush Administrations?

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