arizona, geomorphology, structure

Understanding Earth Fissures: A Man-Made Geohazard Earth fissures are long, narrow cracks in the ground that form where the ground is sinking. They can erode very quickly, posing a hazard to nearby infrastructure. In Arizona, land subsidence--the sinking of the earth--is caused by groundwater withdrawal, meaning that earth fissures are a man-made--or anthropogenic--hazard. This video that I made as part… Continue reading Understanding Earth Fissures: A Man-Made Geohazard

Blog, geomorphology, GSA, paleoanthropology, sedimentary

A Greener Sahara: Ancient Oases and Prehistoric Human Habitation in the Modern Desert

via A Greener Sahara: Ancient Oases and Prehistoric Human Habitation in the Modern Desert I was able to interview Dr. Kathleen Nicoll, an Associate Professor at the University of Utah, as part of the Geological Society of American Science Communication Internship. You can learn about some of the research Dr. Nicoll works on in the… Continue reading A Greener Sahara: Ancient Oases and Prehistoric Human Habitation in the Modern Desert

arizona, geomorphology

How do you form a mushroom rock?

Thanks to a variety of weathering and erosive processes, rocks can come in all shapes and sizes. The above rock from the McDowell Mountains near Phoenix, AZ has a peculiar shape similar to that of a mushroom! This rock is an example of a tor--an exposed mass of rock that abruptly rises above the surrounding ground… Continue reading How do you form a mushroom rock?

geomorphology, Southwest

An aerial perspective

Whenever I have the opportunity, I always try and grab a window seat on airplanes. Because I live in Arizona, I’m lucky enough to regularly fly over the American Southwest, which features some of the most stunning and dramatic landscapes from the air. In the image above—flying near the Chaco Canyon area in New Mexico—you… Continue reading An aerial perspective


The Badlands in Chicago?

Just by quickly looking at this harshly eroded landscape, you might think you were at Badlands National Park in South Dakota. In reality, this image is actually from Thornton Quarry just south of Chicago, Illinois; hardly a place where you would expect to see badlands-like formations. Badlands landscapes are predominantly erosional terrains. The rocks in… Continue reading The Badlands in Chicago?

geomorphology, wisconsin

Wave-cut Platforms and Coastal Geomorphology

While Wisconsin more so conjures images of snow and cold (and cheese) than it does the ocean, it actually has a spectacular coastline along Lake Michigan that undergoes traditional coastal geomorphology processes. Cave Point County Park in Door County, Wisconsin features great examples of wave-cut platforms (shown in the above photos). Wave-cut platforms are the… Continue reading Wave-cut Platforms and Coastal Geomorphology


Geology of the Indiana Dunes

Located in northwestern Indiana along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, the Indiana Dunes are a fantastic display of aeolian (wind) processes at work. Incredibly tall sand dunes line the shores, and dune fields from former lake highstands extend even further back away. These impressive ‘beach mountains’ originated from glacially transported sediment post-last glacial maximum… Continue reading Geology of the Indiana Dunes


Prograding Delta Deposits

Typically when you think of a sediment deposit, you think of a fining upwards sequence. That means that the heaviest/coarsest stuff is going to be at the bottom and the lighter stuff is going to be at the top, ‘cause you know, gravity settling. In laterally migrating streams, we see these fining upwards deposits of sand under… Continue reading Prograding Delta Deposits