geologic features

Snow clings to the jagged sides of Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming. This astounding geologic feature is considered sacred to the Northern Plains Indians and other tribes, who called it “Bear’s Tipi” or “Bear’s Lodge.” Hundreds of parallel cracks make it one of the finest crack climbing areas in North America. Devils Tower entices us to explore and define our place in the natural and cultural world. Photo by National Park Service.

Journal Ideas!

I’ve been the type of person who carries a notebook everywhere since I was 12, so I’ve experimented with a whole range of journal variations. Here are some thing that I like to do with some of the pretty notebooks/journals in my (shamefully substantial) collection:

1) Scientific research/field notes: I’ve found this extremely useful on field trips. I try to be interdisciplinary so when I did an Environmental Science field trips for one of my courses it was a good place to write quick notes, draw sketches of geological features and stick interesting leaves into. I’ve used it on trips to national parks to record which animals I saw, and recently I’ve added a Southern Sky star map where I mark off constellations and stars that I’ve identified. I prefer to use this journal for science that I’m doing *outside* of my university studies and NOT as a notebook for class.

2) Faith journal: This type is pretty great if you’re religious and want to write down meaningful verses, prayers, how you feel about your faith, e.t.c. I kept one of these during Ramadan last year and found it beneficial

3) Commonplace notebook: This is the kind of notebook where you copy interesting information, quotes, pieces of writing, e.t.c. I started doing this after reading A Series of Unfortunate Events and wanting my own commonplace notebook so I could feel as intelligent as the Baudelaire orphans and the Quagmire triplets . It’s also great if you find that you have interesting thoughts and observations that you want to write down and remember, but you don’t necessarily want to ~journal~ about them.

4) Gratitude journal: Pretty straightforward - write down a few things you’re grateful for every day. This has - personally - been very therapeutic and often prompted writing longer paragraphs and pages. If you want to get into ~journalling~ but don’t know how or where to start, I really recommend this method.

5) Writing notebook! Any fiction writer knows how useful one of these is. When a story idea strikes, or that perfect scene or character name. Research for stories. This is where they go. 

6) Art journal: I don’t have much experience with these, but you use it to draw, doodle and just be creatively free.

7) Bullet journal: I really don’t have to explain this to the studyblr community. There are thousands of posts about bullet journals out there. They’ve evolved beyond a simple description in a paragraph.  

Overall, I’ve found it’s best to just have fun with a notebook. If you start it off as one type of journal and it ends up being something completely different, just go with it! There are no rules. Write and collect what makes you happy to read through. My journals are rarely neat, but I love them all. You can be as public or private with your journals as you’d like. Try different things in the same notebook if you find that you’re no longer using it for it’s initial purpose. The trick is to carry it around with you so you can use it whenever the need or inspiration strikes, and to not be intimidated by a blank page. 

[This post is inspired by @dis-organiser. 100% recommend following]

I hope this post is useful! Happy journalling!

xx Munira 


Humphry Davy’s landscape sketches

Humphry Davy was one of history’s finest chemists, and grew popular in his day through popular public lectures and scientific discoveries. Esteemed men like Sir Humphry travelled widely around Britain and Europe, and throughout his journal are sketches in pencil and iron gall ink. Being a scientist, he not only captured the landscape, but the geology itself. Included in his journals are images of Col de Tende, Perpignan and closer to home Loch Lomond.

These illustrations show: Route to Brignolles; Danube, possibly sketched during his trip along the Rhine; Canigou with part of Perpignan sketched during his continental tour with Michael Faraday; Loch Lomond; and a panorama of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, with geological features identified.


On February 25, 2016, NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer embarked on a 23 day mission to explore uncharted ecosystems and seafloor in and around Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) off the coast of Hawai’i. The monument is one of the largest conservation areas in the world; over 139,797 square miles and is home to 7,000 species, a variety of geological features and a Japanese aircraft carrier lost during WWII. 

The discovery of an unknown octopod - possibly a new species - has already caught the attention of the internet.

According to Athline Clark, PMNM superintendent for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, "NOAA’s exploration efforts provide the information we need to properly protect the health and integrity of this precious ecosystem.“

The expedition includes 24-hour operations consisting of remotely operated vehicle (ROV) dives and mapping operations. All dives are being live-streamed so you can follow along!

Images Courtesy of the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, 2016 Hohonu Moana.


#mypubliclandsroadtrip Heads into the  Holiday Weekend with Bouldering in the Tablelands!

The Volcanic Tablelands in California offer exceptional bouldering opportunities because of their unique geologic features formed by the cataclysmic volcanic eruption of the Long Valley Caldera over 700,000 years ago, which left a highly dissected landscape of Bishop Tuff. Through time, this once barren tableau has evolved to support a unique and fragile environment that takes a keen eye and time to appreciate. The Volcanic Tablelands are situated at the ecological cusp of the Northern Mojave and Great Basin floristic Provinces where plants and associated wildlife species combine to make this an unusual and biologically diverse landscape.

In the early 90s, the Tablelands were visited only by local climbers. By the late 90s, thousands of climbers visited from all over the world to try out their climbing skills on the many boulder challenges of the Tablelands. With this dramatic increase in use, the BLM and the local climbing community have developed a climbing management philosophy to protect the natural resources while preserving access to climbing opportunities. The Bishop Paiute Tribe, a partner and co-manager of the Tablelands, help provide oversight. The local conservation non-profit Friends of the Inyo and the BLM lead interpretive outings to explore the long cultural history of the Volcanic Tableland, including petroglyphs and other native artifacts.  Explore and protect #yourlands with us.

Photos courtesy Friends of the Inyo

A National Historic Landmark, Pine Mountain Settlement School was founded in 1913 as a boarding school for mountain children and as a settlement serving the community through economic, health and cultural initiatives.

   The school’s programs have evolved to meet the changing needs of the community and region. Today’s programs include environmental education and basic educational support for students in local schools. The richness of Pine Mountain Settlement School’s campus and its history is a source for multiple other enrichment programs for the local community and beyond.

   The campus is located on 625 acres on the north side of Pine Mountain, the most imposing geological feature of the southern Appalachian Mountains. The wooded slopes of Pine Mountain’s property are home to an impressive number of plants and animals, some of which are exclusive to the campus.



Images acquired by NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft show geologic features that indicate Mercury is likely still contracting today, joining Earth as a tectonically active planet in our solar system.

Previously undetected small fault scarps were observed in images collected during the MESSENGER mission’s final 18 months in orbit around Mercury, according to a new paper in Nature Geoscience []. During these last months of the mission, the spacecraft’s altitude was lowered allowing the surface to be imaged at higher resolutions than ever before possible.

Planetary Science Institute Research Scientist Maria Banks is a co-author on “Recent Tectonic Activity on Mercury Revealed by Small Thrust Fault Scarps.” Smithsonian senior scientist Thomas R. Watters is lead author and principal investigator of the research.

“These small-scale thrust fault scarps are orders of magnitude smaller, only a few kilometers in length and tens of meters of relief, than larger scarps previously known to exist on the surface of Mercury,” said Banks, who analyzed MESSENGER images to find and analyze these small-scale tectonic structures. “Steady meteoroid bombardment quickly degrades and destroys structures this small, indicating that they must have formed relatively recently. They are comparable in size to very young fault scarps identified on the lunar surface attributed to shrinking of the Moon.”

Fault scarps appear as cliff-like landforms. Larger, older scarps were identified in both MESSENGER and Mariner 10 images and are evidence of the global contraction of Mercury as its interior cooled causing the crust to shrink.

“The young age of the small scarps means that Mercury joins Earth as a tectonically active planet in our solar system, with new faults likely forming today as Mercury’s interior continues to cool.” said Watters, of the Center for Earth and Planetary Studies at the National Air and Space Museum.

Active faulting, paired with evidence for ancient faulting and also the recent discovery by PSI Senior Scientist Catherine Johnson that Mercury’s global magnetic field was present billions of years ago, offer consistent support for long-lived slow cooling of Mercury’s still hot outer core.

Slip along thrust faults associated with small lunar scarps is possibly connected with shallow moonquakes detected by seismometers deployed during the Apollo missions. Some of these moonquakes reached magnitudes of near 5 on the Richter scale. Seismometers deployed on Mercury in future missions would likely detect Mercury-quakes associated with ongoing slip events on small faults and reactivated older large faults.

Banks’s funding for this project came from a grant from NASA’s Mercury MESSENGER mission.

LOWER IMAGE…. A cluster of small lobate scarp thrust faults on Mercury’s intercrater plains (~38.90° N, 27.93° E). The longest scarp in the cluster (upper arrows) is ~4.3 km in length. (MESSENGER Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) image frame number EN1029769395M). B. Close up view of small scarp shown in A. Inset: A small impact crater ~90m in diameter (lower arrow) is potentially disturbed or crosscut (note the lack of a well-defined rim on the scarp face) by the scarp segment, and another crater ~135m in diameter (upper arrow) may be horizontally shortened. The box in B shows the location of the inset. Figure modified from Watters et al., 2016.


Desert Landscape                                                                                        Joshua Tree Naitonal Park

The higher and cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of Yucca brevifolia, the Joshua tree for which the park is named. It occurs in patterns from dense forests to distantly spaced specimens. In addition to Joshua tree forests, the western part of the park includes some of the most interesting geologic displays found in California’s deserts. The dominant geologic features of this landscape are hills of bare rock, usually broken up into loose boulders. 


Mesas and canyons, cholla and barrel cactus, sky and springs, peace and quiet.

This is Warm Springs Wilderness. The 112,400-acre Wilderness is located in Mohave County, 30 miles southwest of Kingman, Arizona and 30 miles north of Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The Warm Springs Wilderness encircles an immense and pristine desert landscape. One thousand feet above the surrounding desert, the 10-mile long Black Mesa dominates the Wilderness. Its edges are dissected into a maze of winding canyons. Remnant mesas and isolated hills dot a vast encircling alluvial apron.The diverse zoologic and geologic features offer outstanding opportunities for primitive recreation. Water at Warm Springs and other springs allow for extended camping trips. Horseback riding and hiking are further enhanced by the presence of an old historic trail and numerous burro trails. In the spring following a wet winter, this area unveils a notably colorful wildflower display, including ocotillos, blooming annuals, shrubs, and cactus.

Happy Wilderness Wednesday! Photos by BLMer Justin Robbins.

The Space Shuttle Endeavour receives a high-flying salute from its sister Shuttle Columbia, atop NASA’s Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, shortly after its landing Oct. 12, 1994 at Edwards, California, to complete mission STS-68. Columbia was being ferried from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida to Air Force Plant 42, Palmdale, California, where it will undergo six months of inspections, modifications, and systems upgrades. The STS-68 11-day mission was devoted to radar imaging of Earth’s geological features with the Space Radar Laboratory. The orbiter is surrounded by equipment and personnel that make up the ground support convoy that services the space vehicles as soon as they land.


The marble caves of Patagonia, one most famous region of Chile. It offers the most gorgeous and dramatic landscapes that one could experience. Chile is built up of an array of islands, mountains, and glaciers. The Marble Caves It is a unique geological formation featuring a group of caverns, tunnels and pillars created in monoliths of marble. They were formed by 6,000-plus years of waves washing up against calcium carbonate. The smooth, swirling shades of blue of the cavern walls are a reflection of the lake’s bright waters, which change in intensity and hue, depending on water levels and time of year. The Marble Caves are partially submerged in the waters of Carrera Lake.

I would love to see these someday.


On this day in 2002, Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area and 13 wilderness areas in Nevada were established through the Clark County Conservation of Public Land and Natural Resources Act of 2002.

A part of the BLM’s National conservation Lands, Sloan Canyon NCA offers solitude with unique scenic and geologic features and extraordinary cultural resources. The centerpiece of the area is the Sloan Canyon Petroglyph Site, one of the most significant cultural resources in Southern Nevada. Archaeologists believe the more than 300 rock art panels with 1,700 individual design elements were created by native cultures from the Archaic to historic era.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


I eased the truck down a narrow, dirt road to Red Mountain Wilderness Area in Utah.  After just a thirty minute drive from downtown St. George, I found myself smiling at the sight of brilliant wildflowers growing up through the sand.

My adventure started out on a winding footpath that brought back memories of my first visit to this backcountry area. A dozen years ago, I loaded up my dog and pack and set out to explore my own backyard.  What I found was “the Vortex.” 

The swirling, geologic feature has taken on a variety of names – Cowboy Hole, the Bowl, and Doodlebug to name a few. And even without marked trails or official maps to this secret gem, plenty of hikers find their way.

During my recent rip, I explored with dozens of other visitors, from solo hikers to groups of family and friends. Vickie Honchen hiked the area with her sweet dog Moki. Originally from Alaska, Honchen retired to the St. George area to enjoy “the openness of the southwest.” Carrie Neilson watched as her family ran circles at the base of the Vortex. And other familes, like the Bruins, hiked to “see stuff like…nowhere else in the world.”

Together, we explored a place like no where else. It is a place that will call me – and them – back to the wilderness and to the Vortex. #getoutside

Story and photos by Rachel (Tueller) Carnahan, BLM Arizona 



The Big Stone River is a chaotic jumble of huge boulders flowing down the slope of the Taganay mountains in the Southern Urals, on the territory of Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia. The river of stone is 6 km long and averages 200 meters in width. Parts of it are 700 meters wide.

The gigantic rock slide is believed to have occurred during the last glaciation some 10,000 years ago. At that time, glaciers covered the top of the ridges of the Taganay mountains reaching heights up to 4,800 meters. Under the immense weight of this ice, the top of the mountain was pulverized into millions of large boulders. When the ice melted away, these rocks slowly slide down the hill creating the Big Stone River. The geological feature is named “river” only because it resembles as such, not because it actually flows. The rock slide has been sitting motionless for thousands of years.


On This Day in 1967, the BLM designated nearly 62,000 acres of the Red Rock Recreation Lands in southern Nevada as its first recreation area.

Today, Red Rock Canyon is better known as Nevada’s first National Conservation Area. Red Rock Canyon is located 17 miles west of the Las Vegas Strip on Charleston Boulevard/ State Route 159. The area is 195,819 acres and is visited by more than one million people each year. 

In marked contrast to a town geared to entertainment and gaming, Red Rock offers enticements of a different nature including a 13-mile scenic drive, more than 30 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, horseback riding, mountain biking, road biking, picnic areas, nature observing and a visitor center. The unique geologic features, plants and animals of Red Rock represent some of the best examples of the Mojave Desert.