Arthur's Seat

At the end of May, during the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend, I ran the 10K, and it got me thinking about time. Runners are obsessive about time, of course, always trying to improve their best time over various distances, but so are geologists – for entirely different reasons. Runners and […]

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Sandstone Marvels


I live in a building that is just a few years shy of being 200 years old. It’s also in a part of the city known as the ‘New Town.’ An oxymoron? Not really.

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Rocks within rocks

Quetico portage

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the rocks under our feet. But portaging a canoe over rough terrain that seems designed to frustrate canoers somehow focuses the mind ...

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India 2014

Ganesha, with a coconut

I recently spent several weeks in India, a country where I did geologic work for many years but hadn’t visited recently. The first – overwhelming – impression was one of change.

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The deep Pacific 2

Basalt "pillows" on the seafloor (East Pacific Rise at about 2500m depth). Taken from submersible 'Alvin'

Here's another image of the deep Pacific floor, taken, like image 1, from one of the small portholes of the research submersible Alvin. The rounded forms you see are referred to as pillows, for obvious reasons. If basalt lava erupts slowly on the seafloor, it cools and becomes very viscous. Its surface freezes quickly into solid rock, but that creates an insulating barrier against the cold seawater, and the molten lava within the pillows continues to flow, slowly, like...

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The deep Pacific 1

Basalt "bathtub rings" on collapsed lava chamber, East Pacifc Rise. Taken from submersible 'Alvin'

Occasionally I'll add comments and observations here about topical issues or things that interest me, especially those that relate to the earth sciences. In the meantime, enjoy this and the following image from a place that few people have seen up close: the floor of the Pacific Ocean. Both pictures were taken from the small (3 man) research submersible Alvin off the coast of Mexico at a depth of around two and a half kilometers.

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