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Mars Curiosity Rover has also sent us some new and phenomenal images recently. It’s spent over a year slowly driving to it’s mission destination, Mount Sharp and just recently it reached the foot of the mountain.

The first image is, in my humble opinion, a gorgeous panorama of the Martian surface. I had no idea the sky there could be so beautiful. It looks almost as if it could be a picture from an Earth-desert.

The second image is a mudstone outcrop. It’s a strange feature sticking out of an otherwise smooth ground. The materials in the clump, we’ve found out, are all resistant to erosion. Similar things are found on Earth in places where running water has dried up.

Thirdly you can see that Curiosity’s started digging into the mountain. The farther down you dig, the farther back in time (geologically) you go. Since things don’t erode fast on Mars, this is doubly true.

The Curiosity Rover will be making news headlines again quite soon as the boring part of its journey is over.

“Fisk’s maps offer a real sense of fragility. They collapse natural and human time in a way that is rather poetic, as the cities and small towns overlaid on the river’s historic meanders remind you that everything is wiped away when you think at a geological scale. Like Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem ‘Ozymandias,’ it reminds us of our hubris and that everything we spend our lives creating will eventually fall victim to the ravages of time.”

-My 5 Favorite Maps: Bill Rankin

[Map: From Geological Investigation of the Alluvial Valley of the Lower Mississippi River, by W. O. Dement for Harold Fisk (1944)]

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SO. This is what I was helping with all Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (till 2 or 4 am most nights) 

The new President of Sculpture Collective wanted to try an installation using cardboard, inspired by Geological formations (rocks and stuff!)

I created the wall piece in the first pic. Its way out of my usual realm of work, but I am pretty happy with it! 

(Sorry for the crappy panorama pics. Will be getting better ones tomorrow. :O)

U.S. Geological Survey Releases Tribal Engagement Policy

Many U.S. government agencies of late—from the President’s office on down—have been touting the value and necessity of working with tribes on matters of climate change.
Now the U.S. Geological Survey has boarded that train with a newly released a 36-page Tribal Engagement Strategy designed to both address tribal concerns and tap Native expertise when it comes to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

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The Amazing Fly Geyser

Fly Geyser is not a very well known tourist attraction, even to Nevada residents. There is a reason for this: the geyser is on privately owned land and it is not open to the public. Another little known fact about Fly Geyser is that it began as a well. The original well was drilled in 1916 and functioned normally for almost fifty years until nature decided to take over.

In the 1960s, geothermally-heated water found a weak spot in the well’s wall and began escaping to the surface. Dissolved minerals in the water started to accumulate resulting in this incredible natural phenomena seen today. Although Fly Geyer, including its base, is only 12 feet (3.7 m) high, it will continue to grow as long as it continues to spout water.

The beautifully colored geyser, surrounded by small pools and other stunning geological formations is only open to scientists by appointment. We might think the land owner is behaving rather stingy by not sharing this amazing creation of the planet with others. However, there are those who feel that if they owned an actual geologic phenomena, they might keep it to themselves as well.  At least he’s not exploiting the situation by charging people to view it. Now that would be shameful.

Azure Window 10 | The Azure Window arch creates a natural bridge over the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea along the rocky coast of Malta’s Gozo Island. | © 2012 Josh Whalen. All rights reserved.  Prints available: http://jw1.us/NFq5mn

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Located on the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona, the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona includes the Paria Canyon-Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness. This remote and unspoiled, 280,000-acre Monument - a part of the BLM’s National Conservation Lands - is a geologic treasure, containing a variety of diverse landscapes from the Paria Plateau, Vermilion Cliffs, Coyote Buttes, and Paria Canyon. 

Visitors enjoy scenic views of towering cliffs and deep canyons. Paria Canyon offers an outstanding three to five day wilderness backpacking experience. The colorful swirls of cross-bedded sandstone in Coyote Buttes are an international hiking destination.

A permit is required for hiking in Coyote Buttes North (the Wave), Coyote Buttes South, and for overnight trips within Paria Canyon. Visit the BLM Arizona’s website to learn more about this beautiful area and plan your visit.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM Wilderness Specialist

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Layered Glass Table Concept Creates a Cross-Section of the Ocean by Duffy London | via

With multiple layers of stacked glass and wooden slices, Duffy London has built ‘the abyss table’, replicating the dramatic depths of an indigo ocean. the design creates a geological cross-section of the sea, completing the table as a 3-dimensional model of a geological map.

‘I was looking into sheets of thick glass at my glass manufacturer’s factory, and noticed how the material darkened as they added more layers – the same way the sea does as it deepens.’ designer christopher duffy describes ‘I wanted to use this effect to replicate a real piece of the earth’s sea bed. like a mythical power had lifted a perfect rectangle straight from the earth’s crust to use as his personal ornament.‘ traditional to the design studio’s aesthetic, the furniture piece acts as both a conversation piece as much as it does a functional one.

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The Seven Coloured Earths

On the island of Mauritius, an African island nation in the Indian Ocean, an astounding geologic oddity offers visitors a colorful sight. An area of multi-colored sand dunes displays a variety of sand in seven distinct colors: red, brown, violet, green, blue, purple and yellow. Different times of the day reveal different colors and color intensity. Reportedly this is the only location in the World where one can see earth of seven different colors in one place.

Geologists have been fascinated with the Colored Earths ever since they were first discovered. This natural phenomena has several unsolved mysteries. The colors never disappear in spite of torrential downpours and the sand dunes never erode. In addition, the Coloured Earths has a strange property of settling into their individual colors. Even if they are mixed with other colors, they will eventually settle back into layers of individual color.

The Seven Coloured Earths has become one of Mauritius’ main tourist attractions since the 1960s. The dunes are protected and visitors are prevented from walking atop the formation. Curio shops near the dunes sell small test-tubes filled with the Coloured Earths for tourist to enjoy.

source 1 , 2. 3

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Happy Birthday, Colorado! On this day in 1876, Colorado became a state; we celebrate with a amazing photos from Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area - one of our favorites. 

The scenic quality of the Handies Peak Wilderness Study Area in Colorado is outstanding due to the interaction of mountainous landforms; multi-colored rock strata; diverse vegetation; and vast, open vistas. Handies Peak itself rises 14,048 feet over the area and is the highest point of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management outside of Alaska. This WSA also hosts 12 other peaks that rise over 13,000 feet, three major canyons, numerous small drainages, glacial cirques and three alpine lakes. The landscape a variety of volcanic, glacial and Precambrian formations. A rock glacier formation is also located at the head of American Basin.

This is an area perfect for hiking, backpacking, camping, mountain climbing and photography.  Guaranteed to inspire!

Photos by Bob Wick, Wilderness Specialist for BLM’s National Conservation Lands

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"During the Polish-Mongolian paleontological expedition to the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, in 1971, an articulated Velociraptor mongoliensis skeleton was found with hands and feet grasping a Protoceratops andrewsi. Evidence suggests that these two dinosaurs were indeed killed simultaneously, smothered by sand, possibly during a dune collapse. The active predatory nature of Velociraptor is graphically illustrated as it grasps its prey with its forelimbs, while kicking and raking the belly and chest with its hindlimbs. Protoceratops was discovered in a semi-erect stance with the Velociraptor’s right forelimb clutched between its jaws in a desperate fight for survival. Their discovery reveals a snapshot in time, of a life and death struggle, between these ancient adversaries.”

Re-creation of the fossil by Black Hills Institute of Geological Research: “The skeleton casts we used, though more complete, are positioned in poses very similar to those of the original scene”

Illustration by Peter Schouten

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Mat Brown
Deep History, Illustrated  
[images on Flickr]
Artist’s website / store  |  Artist’s work in other series

Hadean
The first geologic eon began with the formation of the Earth about 4,600 million years ago and ended 4,000 million years ago.

Thermal Genesis   
More broadly: abiogenesis - the natural process by which life arises from simple organic compounds. The earliest life on Earth existed at least 3,500 million years ago, at the beginning of the Archean Eon when sufficient crust had solidified following the molten Hadean Eon

Cambrian
First geologic period of the Paleozoic Era, lasting from 541 to 485 million years ago.   Although complex, multicellular organisms gradually became more common in the millions of years immediately preceding the Cambrian, it was during the Cambrian that life exploded, rapidly diversifying and producing the first representatives of many modern phyla,  However, while diverse life forms prospered in the oceans, the land was comparatively barren.

Devonian
A geologic period of the Paleozoic Era that occurred from 419 to 358 million years ago. This was the first significant adaptive radiation of terrestrial life.

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The Eternal Inferno - Italy’s (Perhaps the World’s) Smallest Volcano

More accurately resembling an eternal campfire, Monte Busca Volcano has been a source of permanent flames for hundreds of years. Referred to as Inferno by the locals of Monte Busca; a place where fire finds its home in the smallest volcano in Italy and, most likely, the world. A wondrous geologic oddity where emissions of gaseous hydrocarbon, a natural gas vent, come into contact with the oxygen from the air keeping it constantly alight, giving rise to a phenomena called “burning fountains”. These ever-present flames even served the troops during World War II as a source of heat for cooking and other ignition needs and are a fascinating spectacle not to be missed.

"One mile from Portico is a place called Inferno by local inhabitants, where the earth is dark and rough and where there is a 4-foot large hole in which a fire flame steadily rises from the ground; it burns the fresh wood placed on it and can only be extinguished by throwing woollen cloths on it. Near this hole you can find many gold, silver and metal coins.”

Leandro Alberti, 1588

source 1, 2

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