Terrestrial Sedimentary Systems (February 4 & 6)

This week we continue our discussion of the sedimentology of desert systems. (You’ll have to just endure my enthusiasm for deserts.) To fully sample my joy, I simply must link you to the Wooster Geologists blog entries for our field trips to the Mojave Desert. You may also want to see posts from our geological field trips in the Negev Desert of southern Israel. There are some other more spectacular desert geology websites. Start with the USGS page set on the geology and resources of deserts. The Great Sand Dunes National Monument also has superb geology sections, as does Death Valley National Park. Here is a nice site for Space Shuttle photographs of the Atacama Desert in Chile. The DesertUSA commercial site will introduce you to other desert pages and images.

Let’s take a moment to remember, as we will in class, a geological and military hero: Ralph Bagnold. He was a pioneering geologist, particularly in deserts. He was also a significant contributor to the Allied victory over the Italians and Germans in North Africa during World War II.

For fluvial systems, here is the Wikipedia page on alluvium (note links within to other specific pages). Here’s a video of a flash flood in southern Utah. (Don’t mess with flash floods!) Here’s another with a drone perspective. Note that people don’t drown as much in flash floods as they get pummeled to death by debris. Be safe out there. As for meandering rivers, here is a spectacular series of LiDAR images of past Mississippi River channels.

NASA has an extraordinary website called “The Visible Earth“. It is a diverse and large set of satellite and Space Shuttle images of the Earth’s surface, all searchable. Look for views of deserts from space.

Please note again the Earth Sciences Department Writing Page, the link to which is always on the right side of this page.

Finally, Test #1 will be on Thursday, February 13. As a sample of what to expect, here is a pdf of the 2019 first Sed Strat test. We will not have covered all the same topics, so some questions in that test are on material we may not do this year.

Sand from Kelso Sand Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. (Click to enlarge.)

Geology in the News –

We live in an anti-science age in which scientists and scientific ideas have lost considerable credibility with the public. Here is an interesting take on why we should not call this a “war on science”as so many do. Such aggressive language usually has a negative effect on audiences. What we should do to restore respect for the scientific method and discourse is unclear.

This BBC article on the Thwaites Glacier in Antarctica is fantastic, especially the images and graphics. This is where Dr. Alley did her recent field work. It is a very dramatic place of high consequences. Here’s an accompanying video.

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