GeoSphere

GeoSphere

Photo of the Week (Approximately)

Photo of the Week (Approximately)

The truly insane photo above shows “Different generations of calcite cements in Late Miocene seep carbonates (Piedmont, Italy; cathodoluminescence microphotograph)”. It was taken by Marcello Natalicchio, University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germania  – Source.

This photo was taken using a cathodoluminescence microscope which is both a standalone tool or can be an adaptation to a scanning electron microscope. In cathodoluminescence microscopy an electron beam is fired at the sample which causes it to emit light (luminesce). The chemistry of the material being imaged determines the wavelength of the light emitted. Cathodoluminescence microscopy is a very useful tool for visualizing interior features such as fabrics, growth periods or other changes in the crystal interior that are not visible using traditional visible or polarized light microscopy. In the picture above the cathodoluminescence is being used to show the different stages of formation of a calcite cement.

In the geosciences cathodoluminescence microscopy is most frequently used to investigate the growth and deformation history of sedimentary carbonates, the interior structure of fossils, diagenetic processes, growth and dissolution of igneous and metamorphic minerals, and the growth of hydrothermal veins. The reason cathodoluminescence microscopy is so useful is that it allows the interior chemical variability of the sample to be imaged at the microscale without destroying the relationships that exist between the different stages of crystal growth.

I’m not counting Photo of the Week posts any more. The photo updates to the blog will now come whenever I feel like it. To be honest, I’m not sure how often I’ll feel like it. Although, now that daylight savings time has ended that may be more often since getting outside now involves enveloping myself in several layers of fabric. Also, daylight savings time is stupid, and I hate it.

Cheers

Welcome to Water Underground

Welcome to Water Underground

A big welcome to the new EGU blog network blog Water Underground! Water Underground is the first geoscience blog that I am aware to be cross-hosted on both the EGU and AGU blog networks allowing it to reach people across the world. Water Underground, founded by Dr. Tom Gleeson, a prof at the University of Victoria, Canada, is a welcome addition to the EGU as it will cover groundwater, climate, and much more (it’s also good to have a fellow Canuck)! The writers of the blog are actually a collection of hydrogeologists and hydrologists from across the world, bringing a truly international perspective.

By the way, the image above is of an artesian spring that I took a few years ago near Chalk River, Ontario. See this link for my post about it.

Pilgrimage to Pompeii

Pilgrimage to Pompeii

One of the highlights of my honeymoon in Italy was our trip to Pompeii. Both my wife and I are big classics nerds so for us a visit to Pompeii had something of a pilgrimage aspect to it. For me, as a geologist, it was doubly impactful to see the effect of Vesuvius on the town. For the record, we got in a huge discussion about what actually constitutes a pilgrimage.

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It’s hard not to feel emotional during a trip to Pompeii. Photo: Matt Herod

As a bit of background, Mount Vesuvius, pictured below, erupted in 79 AD releasing a massive cloud of ash and rock which rained down upon the nearby town of Pompeii killing over 1,000 residents and entombing the town. In addition to the ash fall, pyroclastic flows also hit the town bringing more destruction and were responsible for most of the death. Mount Vesuvius is still active to this day with its last major eruption occurring in 1944.

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Looking at Mount Vesuvius from Sorrento across the Bay of Naples. I hope you all like my hat! Photo: Matt Herod

The Pompeii site is absolutely massive. My wife and I spent about 5 hours walking throughout the town and feel like we only saw maybe half. Around every corner was another incredibly preserved relic of ancient Roman life along with poignant reminders of its fragility. The contrast between everyday life juxtaposed with the destruction is very moving.

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The ancient amphitheater of Pompeii. I learned that Pink Floyd once recorded here. Photo: Matt Herod

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An incredible fountain in the back garden of one of the villas. Photo: Matt Herod.

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A very well preserved fresco showing the birth of Venus. Photo: Matt Herod

 

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A frescoed room. Pretty much every room had incredible designs telling stories. To be honest it kind of makes we wonder why painting a room a single colour is the trend today, when this is clearly so much cooler. Photo: Matt Herod

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A reminder that ancient Roman life did not differ that much from ours is found here at the food stand.

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Wagon tracks in the stone as well as these convenient crossing stones.

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Another cool fountain in the back garden

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The theatre. It is in such great shape it could still be used…maybe it is?

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A beautiful room with a crazy mosaic floor.

Another cool fountain? I think water bubbled out of that hole in the middle.

Thanks for reading!

Update: Concidentally, renowned Canadian naturalist David Suzuki is doing a CBC special on Pompeii. Check it out here: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/episodes/pompeiis-people 

It’s Been a While

It’s been a long time since my last post. This is mainly due to the ridiculously busy summer I have had. The biggest thing was getting married, but the honeymoon, work trips and deadlines as well as working on a few papers kept me pretty occupied. I’m sad to say that blog updates dropped lower on my priority list then I would’ve liked.

In any case, I am going to try to get back at it now that life has settled down a bit. Stay tuned for some detailed posts on research, geopolls and other stuff. I am of course always open to guest posts so if anyone would like to volunteer I’d be more than happy to host.

In the meanwhile here is a great photo from my honeymoon on the Amalfi coast of Mt. Vesuvius taken from Sorrento. Maybe I’ll write about Pompeii….just a thought.

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Looking across the Bay of Naples towards Mt. Vesuvius from Sorrento. Photo: Matt Herod

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