Continental Margins and Deep Marine Systems (March 26 & 28)

We will spend some of your first week back from Spring Break finishing carbonates and their depositional environments (see previous links). We will then move into deeper marine systems and return for a short time to siliciclastic sediments (especially clays). Start with an absolutely beautiful (and large) color physiographic map of the oceans and continents, courtesy of your federal government. This would make a nice desktop image, suitably slimmed down. Here is another NOAA map showing the ocean floors only, again in vivid colors. Makes you proud to be a geologist. Move on to a sediment-thickness map (a work-in-progress from NOAA) and we can begin our week’s material. (Be ready to explain the thickness patterns.) The NASA SeaWIFS Project has stunning color satellite images of the oceans. (I like the design-your-own-globe part.) The world’s greatest source of information about deep-sea sediments is housed in the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Division of Marine Geology and Geophysics. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) also does fantastic (and photogenic) deepsea work.

Here is a turbidity current video we will use in class; here’s another of a geologist explaining turbidites. Here is a diagram of a Bouma Sequence.

Did you know that the director, producer and explorer James Cameron made an extraordinary dive to the deepest waters on Earth? Check out the Deepsea Challenge website. I am very impressed with his torpedo-like submarine. This site has a nice section on the geology of the Mariana Trench. Of course, the biology is way cool too.

Your second lecture exam is on Thursday, April 4, and it covers everything we have done through Tuesday, April 2. Here is a copy of the Spring 2017 Sed Strat test.

Oxford Clay (Jurassic) exposed near Weymouth, England. (Click to enlarge.)

Geology in the News –

Here’s an interesting article speculating on how the dinosaurs would have fared without the asteroid impact. It turns out to be a complex statistical problem to solve. Of course, we mean the non-avian dinosaurs!

At least one Cretaceous shark (Squalicorax) ate one pterosaur (Pteranodon) based on a chewed-up wing bone. Must have been quite a scene at the time!

A new reconstruction of Tyrannosaurus rex is now on display at the American Museum of Natural History, and it is a feathery masterpiece. Not without controversy, of course!

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