Conformable Contacts
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Conformable Contacts
Notes from the intersection of faith, reason and geology
Curated by YEC Geo
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Why Bobby Jindal was wrong when he suggested abolishing the U.S. Geological Survey: Pavlov and Cleveland volcanoes in action again!

Why Bobby Jindal was wrong when he suggested abolishing the U.S. Geological Survey: Pavlov and Cleveland volcanoes in action again! | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

It was 2009, and President Obama had just given a presidential address.  In a widely televised response to the address, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana mocked the volcanic monitoring program of the U.S. Geological Survey as "wasteful spending," and proposed its elimination. Much to the relief of volcanologists and the people in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Hawaii who live near the volcanoes in the U.S., the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland the following year, and its huge global economic impact, laid that short-sighted suggestion at least temporarily to rest. 

Currently, two of Alaska's most active volcanoes have woken up and are emitting plumes of steam and ash. Pavlov (means "Paul" or "St. Paul" in Russian) became active on May 13.

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Corn Syrup Experiment Mimics Yellowstone Magma Plume

Corn Syrup Experiment Mimics Yellowstone Magma Plume | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"

"The researchers simulated a mantle plume by heating up a patch of the tank's floor, which sent up a jet of syrup."

 

 

"We often get large crowds gathered in the lab when we are running these things," Kincaid said. "The room is dark and the plumes are illuminated with micro tracers that sparkle and glow in the light sheets we shine through the tank. It is like you are looking directly into the Earth's insides."

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Etna's Explosive Last Three Days

Etna's Explosive Last Three Days | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Only minutes ago the Italian started its third fountain event in the last 36 hours. Dr. Boris Behncke from the Osservatorio Etneo had said yesterday after the second fountain (see above) that this was the first time since June 2000 that Etna had experienced explosive paroxysms that close together, so I can only imagine that it has been a long time since Etna has had 3 in 3 days.
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More fascinating footprints: Engare Sero

More fascinating footprints: Engare Sero | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

From National Geographic:

 

"A fast-moving party of more than a dozen adults and adolescents left footprints in volcanic ash in the Pleistocene, providing ancient evidence of modern humans on the move in East Africa. The tracks are preserved at Engare Sero in Tanzania beneath a still active volcano."

 

What is fascinating to me about these footprints is how shallow they are.  According to Zimmer, the original ash layer covering them was about .4 m deep, and the prints are about 120,000 years old. (https://gsa.confex.com/gsa/2012CD/finalprogram/abstract_201451.htm, www.paleoanthro.org/journal/content/PAS2011A.pdf)

 

Which raises the question:  in 120,000 years, there was less than a foot and a half of erosion?  That's 3 cm a year.  Although I can't measure from here, it looks like the raised edges around the footprints could be measured in cm.

 

So when were the footprints exhumed? 

 

Keep in mind that the distant volcano is still active, and in 2007-2008, deposited about 15 cm of ash nearby.  So we need to believe that an active volcano has only deposited net of .4 m of ash in 120,000 years, and that the opposing processes of erosion and deposition have combined to reveal the footprints without eroding them. 

 

Could be.  Could also be that the footprints aren't that old.

 

See here for Mary Leakey’s famous Laetoli footprints, dated at 3.0 to 3.7 million years ago:http://www.sciencephoto.com/media/170813/enlarge.

 

Again, footprints very near the surface--which brings up the same questions as those at Engare Sero.

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Models vs. Reality: Uplift in the Altiplano-Puna of the Central Andes | Wired Science | Wired.com

Models vs. Reality: Uplift in the Altiplano-Puna of the Central Andes | Wired Science | Wired.com | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Sometimes when I sit down a look at the volcano news that my Google News filter finds for me, I come across something that makes me shiver. This isn’t because it is a portent of doom or a tale of misery, but rather because how badly the reporter missed the point. One particularly tricky subject seems to be discerning the results of models from the observation."

 

A good discussion of how models are created in geology, and sometimes misinterpreted by the popular press.

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Google Earth A to Z: Volcanoes

Google Earth A to Z: Volcanoes | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Amazing things about Google Earth - news, features, tips, technology, and applications...

 

Another of the many uses of Google Earth.


Via harry
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Bonnie Bracey Sutton's comment, March 19, 2013 11:27 AM
Since the very first day that Google Earth was released, volcanoes have been amazing to view while browsing around. While Google has added some great features in the last seven years (textured 3D buildings, Street View imagery, etc), mountains and volcanoes simply need 3D terrain and high quality satellite imagery, which Google Earth has always had.

The result is that volcanoes can be some of the most amazing things to view in Google Earth.
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Outside The Interzone: OMN Willamette Valley Geology Presentation Part Four: WV Rocks!

Outside The Interzone: OMN Willamette Valley Geology Presentation Part Four: WV Rocks! | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

Interesting tour of geologic features of the Willamette Valley, Oregon.  The above photo is of "permineralized charcoal," which sounds very odd.  The blogger writes about the variety of petrified wood in the area:

 

"The fossilized wood in the Sweet Home- Holley area is spectacularly preserved, with even the finest details observable in thin sections under a microscope. A particular puzzle with respect to this "petrified forest" is its diversity. Over 60 taxa have been ID'd, ranging in environmental affinities from subtropical to boreal. The Cascades were, at the time, low relief, so we can't call on elevation changes as we might today. Ideas include transport from the hinterland, and driftwood coming in from the North."

 

As with the Petrified Forest in Arizona (http://tinyurl.com/cmxkrg4), permineralization by siliceous waters is the usual mechanism ascribed to the formation of petrified wood.  First, the wood has to be buried deeply and quickly enough to be preserved from decay, and next, it needs to be exposed to the mineralizing waters.  Sounds more consistent with a catastrophic process than a gradual one.

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Written In Stone...seen through my lens: Hiking Mount Humphreys of the San Francisco Peaks in Northern Arizona: Part I - Geologic History

Written In Stone...seen through my lens: Hiking Mount Humphreys of the San Francisco Peaks in Northern Arizona: Part I - Geologic History | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

Lovely photographs and clear, well laid-out interpretation--I'm impressed.  This is geoblogging at its best.

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Geology in Motion: A raft of pumice in the Pacific

Geology in Motion: A raft of pumice in the Pacific | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

Pertinence to Flood geology would relate to creation of pumice/tephra layers during volcanic eruptions in the receding phase.  The blogger at Geology in Motion estimates the volume of the raft:

 

"Driving to work this morning, I heard a headline on NPR about a floating raft of rocks out in the Pacific and, sure enough, Google worked and I found the pictures! On Thursday, pilots and sailors from the New Zealand navy discovered pumice, sometimes inches high and looking like floating ice, covering an area estimated to be more than 7,500 square miles. It appears to be an oblong area 250 x 30 nautical miles in dimension."

 

Volcanologists love to try to reconstruct the "equivalent magma volume" that it would take to produce this--was it a cubic mile? a fraction of a cubic mile? However, unless we know how much of the surface it covers (1%? 50%?), what it's average thickness is (a few inches?), and especially, what the density of individual pieces is, we can't make that calculation. We do know for sure that the density is less than 1 g/cm3 (the density of water), and some older studies of pumice from a Japanese caldera eruption showed that the density varied between 0.211 and 0.777, with an average of 0.51.

 

My guess (with no measurements at all) is that the pumice in the above photo covers about 5% of the frame, and this is probably a photo selected because it has lots of pumice. Let's assume that it covers 1% of the 7500 square miles, to an average depth of 6". If I did my math right, this is a depth of 0.0001 mile, and so the volume of the pumice would be 7500*0.0001 = 0.75 cubic miles. If the average density of the pumice is about 0.5, then the erupted volume would have been a few tenths of a cubic mile. A pretty healthy burp."

 

 

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Young-Earth creationism and the intensity of volcanism

Young-Earth creationism and the intensity of volcanism | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

In his old age/evolution supportive blog, the Geochristian critiques YEC geologist John Morris' theory of declining intensity of volcanism. I would agree with his comments about selective use of evidence, and that more data needs to be collected if the theory is to be validated.  However, I don't see the  problem that Geochristian has with fitting in the Yellowstone eruptions into a post-Flood time framework.  As the growth of vegetation on Mt. St. Helens  & the colonization of Surtsey show, ecosystems can restore themselves in a startlingly short period of time.

 

I also wouldn't rule out too quickly the possibility that at least some of the Yellowstone volcanism occurred in the flood.  There are at least two large, major water gaps in the area that are hard to explain by any of the conventional mechanisms, and accord more closely with the overtopping dam breach mechanism that would be expected in a receding floodwaters scenario.

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Rise and fall of marine volcano

Rise and fall of marine volcano | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"The violent rise and collapse of an underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean is captured in startling clarity for the first time." 

 

Having studied underwater volcanoes for my master's, it's thrilling to hear about scientist observing their real-time formation.  And, of course, the results verify what I call "creeping catastrophism," which is that rates of geologic change tend to increase with increased investigation.

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The ash emissions from Mount Etna

The ash emissions from Mount Etna | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"People have lived around Etna for millennia, so scientists have one of the longest documented records of activity of any volcano in the world—dating back to 1500 B.C."

YEC Geo's insight:

Includes a link to view the imagery on the NASA site or to download the kml file.

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A fractured relationship – when lava meets ice

A fractured relationship – when lava meets ice | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Generally, the top of a lava flow is the coolest part because there is greater heat loss from the surface of the lava flow, but to induce fracturing, the erupting lava must meet an extremely cold surface. Air is insufficient to cause such rapid cooling and the presence of these prismatic columns indicate that the eruption occurred under ice."

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Geology in Motion: Water jetpacks, Saturn V rockets, and Mount St. Helens

Geology in Motion: Water jetpacks, Saturn V rockets, and Mount St. Helens | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"The lateral blast of May 18 was indeed an awesome event by both human and geologic standards, and certainly dwarfed that of the water jet pack!"

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Minor glacier flood has started from Grímsfjall volcano glacier lake | Iceland geology blog

Minor glacier flood has started from Grímsfjall volcano glacier lake | Iceland geology blog | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

What I find interesting is a comment in the combox that the ice cap on the glacial lake dropped 10 meters in one day. 

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Outside The Interzone: OMN Willamette Valley Geology Presentation Part Five: Silver Falls

Outside The Interzone: OMN Willamette Valley Geology Presentation Part Five: Silver Falls | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

I love photo-rich, locally-sourced geoblogs like this one.  The photo is of a massive overhang (see people for scale), created presumably by differential erosion of two huge piles of Columbia River Basalt and an intervening sedimentary layer, interpreted by the blogger as being water-deposited.  The upper basalt layer contains vertical tree casts, which brings up the question of where those vertical tree trunks came from.  Perhaps floating log mats, like those found in Spirit Lake after Mt. St. Helens?

 

Sample:

 

"I concluded this portion of the workshop by mentioning that even if you know nothing about the rocks, even if you know nothing about what types are around, or what processes formed them and put them where they are, the simple fact of two enormous piles of them in parallel north-south ridges have a profound effect on us here in western Oregon."

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Dave Crockett’s Narrow Escape | Rosetta Stones, Scientific American Blog Network

Dave Crockett’s Narrow Escape | Rosetta Stones, Scientific American Blog Network | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"He was only 8 miles west of the summit, on the south side of the South Fork Toutle River, on that day. Talk about your front row seat! He was one of the survivors interviewed by USGS geologists, who used eyewitness accounts combined with physical data collected to piece together what had happened. "

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Geology in Motion: Monowai volcano: fast outpouring of magma observed over 5 days

Geology in Motion: Monowai volcano: fast outpouring of magma observed over 5 days | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

"Extrapolating these rates to annual output, Monowai joins Kilauea, Iceland, Montserrat, the Azores, Hawaii, and the Canary Islands withoutput on the order of 0.1 cubic kilometres per year."

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An old friend

An old friend | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it
Oregon scientists who correctly predicted the 2011 eruption of the Axial Seamount underwater volcano years before it occurred, now say another underwater volcano off the Oregon coast gave off signals just hours before it erupted.

 

I did my master's thesis on Seabeam sidescan sonar data in this area.


Via Catherine Russell
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Subsea mountains' 'march to ruin'

Subsea mountains' 'march to ruin' | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

More sonar images of volcanoes on the ocean floor, some very close to the trench.  The article states that one volcano nearest the edge of the abyss is starting to collapse.  However, it's unclear whether it's collapsing because it's located next to the edge of the trench, or because it's being "pushed" there by plate motion.  At a rate of cm/year, I'm not sure how much of a push that really is.

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Could a Changing Climate Set Off Volcanoes and Quakes?

Could a Changing Climate Set Off Volcanoes and Quakes? | Conformable Contacts | Scoop.it

The argument is basically that melting ice unloads pressure off magma chambers, setting the stage for eruptions.  Some scientists have correlated volcanic deposits to glacial melting in the past.  Sounds intuitively reasonable to me. 


Via Catherine Russell
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