GeoSphere

GeoSphere

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

Cruisin’ for Deep Sea Vents

My friend John Jamieson, who is now a prof in the geology department at Memorial University in Newfoundland and Canada Research Chair in marine geology and is also a former GeoSphere guest poster is currently on a research cruise near Fiji. John researches deep sea vents, aka. black smokers/seafloor massive sulphide deposits that are exhaling super heated water at tectonic plate boundaries around the world. These vents are modern analogues of the conditions in which volcanogenic massive sulphide deposits form, which are major sources of iron, copper, lead and zinc around the world.

Watch the really cool video below to learn all about the cruise and why we care about black smokers and mapping the ocean floor.

While you’re at it, check out some of the other awesome videos from the Schmidt Institute for Ocean Science!

 

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