geology of disney, karst

Could a Sinkhole Swallow Walt Disney World?

Sinkholes are all too common of an occurrence in Florida, frequently swallowing cars and houses. The state of Florida has so many sinkholes because it is a karst landscape, composed primarily of limestone bedrock. So what are the odds that a sinkhole appears at Walt Disney World? What if I were to tell you there’s… Continue reading Could a Sinkhole Swallow Walt Disney World?

Glacial, sedimentary, wisconsin

The Wisconsin Dells | An Ice Age and modern water park

Despite its location in the heart of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Dells is today known as the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” However, it was its rocks—the actual Dells—that first made it a popular Midwest tourist destination back in the 1800s. The Wisconsin Dells—which come from the French word dalles, or narrows—is a 5 mile stretch of… Continue reading The Wisconsin Dells | An Ice Age and modern water park

geology of disney

The Geology of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Think there’s no geology behind theme parks? Think again! In this video, I’ll teach you about the real-life geology behind popular attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Learn about the formation of the Himalaya from Expedition Everest, the End-Cretaceous mass extinction from Dinosaur and the sandstone peaks of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park from Pandora’s floating mountains! If… Continue reading The Geology of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

karst

Speleothems

Imagine that there’s a faucet that’s slowly dripping. If the faucet is left to drip long enough, you’ll notice that it will leave behind deposits from the dissolved minerals in the water. Now, imagine if you left your faucet dripping long enough to create a mineral deposit that was a meter-plus tall. This process is the… Continue reading Speleothems

volcanology

Pinacate Volcanic Field 

Located in far northwest Sonora, Mexico, the Pinacate volcanic field comprises a 1,500 km2 area of Pleistocene lava flows with over 400 cinder cones and 8 maars. The volcanoes in the Pinacate are monogenetic—meaning they erupt only once and each have a unique magmatic signature. The field today is part of El Pinacate and Gran… Continue reading Pinacate Volcanic Field 

paleoclimate

Yes, climate change is real—and we’re causing it

Especially in the news as of late, there has been a lot of talk as to whether politicians “believe” in climate change. Framing the question like this makes it seem as though climate change is in the league of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny—things that require belief for their existence. However, climate change doesn’t… Continue reading Yes, climate change is real—and we’re causing it

sedimentary

Types of unconformities

Unconformities—erosional or non-depositional gaps—are abound in the geologic record. These erosional surfaces separate a lower, older strata from a younger, upper one (unless the sequence has been overturned). An unconfomity will typically form when an older layer is subject to a period of erosion before the deposition of new sediments. For example, the “Great Unconformity” of… Continue reading Types of unconformities

paleoanthropology

The real-life hobbits of Flores, Indonesia | Homo floresiensis

Hobbits are no longer just fictional residents of Middle-earth, they were real-life inhabitants of Flores, Indonesia. This species of extinct hominin, Homo floresiensis, was first discovered at the cave site of Liang Bua on the island of Flores in 2003-2004. They received their nickname of “the hobbits” due to their small size. The occupation of… Continue reading The real-life hobbits of Flores, Indonesia | Homo floresiensis

isotopes, paleoclimate

Oxygen Isotopes and Paleoclimate

Direct measurements for global temperature only date back to about 1850, so how do we figure out what past climates were like? Once we move beyond the limits of direct measurements, we need to use proxies—preserved physical characteristics of past environments. Oxygen isotopes are the most commonly used paleoproxy to reconstruct long records of past… Continue reading Oxygen Isotopes and Paleoclimate

sedimentary, wisconsin

Ripple Marks

If you’ve ever looked through clear waters at a beach or gentle flowing river to the sand below, you’ve likely seen ripple marks formed by the moving water. The image above actually shows preserved “fossil” ripple marks in the 1.7 billion-year-old Baraboo (Wisconsin) quartzite. These ripple marks were formed when the marine sandstone was initially deposited… Continue reading Ripple Marks