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GEOS 211: Determining the abundance of seafloor sulfide deposits

We often view mining correlated with terrestrial environments. However, growing demands on valuable Earth resources have required us to consider marine environments as a potential source.  With the development of deep-sea technology, we are able to explore new deposits that, in the past, have been inaccessible.  As ocean floor covers 70% of the Earth’s surface, we are now able to see this environment as a possible future for resource extraction. 

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GEOS 211: Loess Plateau

Wind Erosion

The article that Christian and I decide to read, discussed the impact that wind erosion has had in “the western Qaidam basin along the northeastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau, where wind and wind-blown sand have sculpted enormous yardang fields in actively folding sedimentary strata” (Kapp, et al, 2010).  We found this article to be very interesting because of the theory they propose, that the Loess Plateau was formed by the transport of sediment due to wind off of the Qaidam basin. 

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GEOS 211: Prokaryote Long-term Survival in Fluid Inclusions in Halite

Recently, GSA Today published an article by Tim Lowenstein, Brian Schubert, and Michael Timofeeff, which discusses the research they have done about microbial communities in fluid inclusions and their survival in halite. They specifically were researching the halophilic (“salt-loving”) prokaryotes and eukaryotes in Death Valley and Saline Valley, California, and their dependence on Dunaliella, which provides the carbon they need to survive in a hypersaline system.

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GEOS 211: Gypsum Dehydration at fast slip faults

A reoccurring issue in the studying of fault zones is the “low or absent temperature and heat flux anomalies” located at seismically active faults (Brantut 59).  The amount of pressure a fault zone experiences is closely related to the temperature of that fault zone (59).  According to the Coulomb law of friction which states with a consistent state of fraction coefficient of 0.6 or 0.8 in a slipping zone that is a few millimeters or centimeters thick, an increased amount of sheer stress will be produced, creating “ubiquitous melting” of the rocks at the fault during the seismic event (59).  

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GEOS 211: The significance of fluorine in the formation of ore deposits

The Olympic Dam is a large ore deposit containing iron oxide, copper, uranium, gold and silver, as well as many rare earth elements. The dam is located within hydrothermal breccia within granite and other volcanic rocks. The entire unit is known as a Mesoproterozoic silicic large igneous province (SLIP). Researchers discovered that the igneous rocks in the area are extraordinarily rich in fluorine.

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GEOS 211: How the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event Affected Animal Evolution

The Neoproterozoic era is characterized by a drastic change in the Earth’s major developmental systems.  Marked by increased oxygen levels, the Neoproterozoic is said to be a turning point for the evolution of animals, specifically the development of multicellular organisms.  A study completed by Graham Shields-Zhou and Lawrence Och discussed the changes in atmospheric and oceanic compositions during the Neoproterozoic Oxygenation Event, and how those compositions affected the natural environment.

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GEOS 211: The Hidden Treasure in a Diamond

In Walter et al. (2011), Deep Mantle Cycling of Oceanic Crust: Evidence from Diamonds and Their Mineral Inclusions, the authors discuss the unexpected continuation of Earth’s Carbon Cycle into the lower mantle of our planet (54). Walter et al. (2011) were led to this conclusion by examining inclusions, microscopic compounds found in the crystals of the diamonds (54).

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GEOS 211: Discovery of Evidence for Great Cascadia Earthquakes

Though the event shocked much of the world, the March 11 earthquake in Japan should have not come as such a big surprise in the eyes of geologists.  Evidence shows that “the entire subduction zone along the Japan Trench behaves as one enormous unit rather than segmented sections that rupture with different frequencies and strengths” [Suwa et al., 2006].

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GEOS 211: The Uncovering of Quartz from Submerged Archaeological Sites

The general public often do not associate archaeology with geology. However, they are very much intertwined especially when dealing with lithics, the study of how earth materials were transformed into tools: human artifices. For example, there are specific rocks and minerals, which are today found in a plethora of archaeological sites throughout North America because of their usefulness due to specific properties.

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The gravel bars of Raccoon Creek

Today is the first day of class – but that doesn’t mean that we stay inside. I brought my GEOS 211 (Intro. to Rocks and Minerals) to Raccoon Creek for a lab on classification. Now, Raccoon Creek is great for random rock samples because of the large gravel bars made from a mix of local-derived material and distant material brought in through glacial processes.

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