EGU Blogs


Welcome New EGU Bloggers

The EGU blog network has been running for about 10 months and has been a great experience for me so far. The blog network has now expanded with 6 new blogs, covering a variety of topics, and I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the new EGU bloggers! In no particular order they are:

1. Flo Bullough (@flo_dem) and Marion Ferrat (@mle_marion) will be writing about climate and environmental policy at Four Degrees

2. Laura Roberts (@LauRob85) and Daniel Schillereff (@dschillereff) will be blogging about Quaternary geoscience at Geology Jenga 

3. Will Morgan (@willtmorgan) will be writing about atmospheric science and aerosols at Polluting the Internet

4. Simon Redfern (@Sim0nRedfern) with be sharing all things mineralogy at An Atom’s-Eye View of the Planet 

5. Elspeth Robertson (@eamrobertson) and Charly Stamper (@C_Stamper) will be blogging about volcanology at Between a Rock and a Hard Place

6. Antonio Jordan will be spreading the soil science word at G-Soil

So pull up a chair everyone and grab a cup of coffee/tea. There is some reading to catch up on!!!!!


p.s. I don’t know why everyone’s twitter handles appear with strikethrough? They all still work.


GeoSphere: In Review

After two years of regular geology blogging I was thinking it might be fun to highlight the posts that I think are my best work as well as the ones that have been the most popular…they are not necessarily the same. This just goes to show it is impossible to predict what the collective consciousness of the geoblogopshere or the geotwitterverse will like the best. Some of these posts come from my old blogging home, which is just a regular blogger site so the links will take you there. Others are more recent and were posted on my EGU blog. I hope you enjoy this little blast from the past.

This EGU blog went live on October 1, 2012 and in that time it has had 2,530 visits of which 66% were by unique visitors, who spent on average 3 minutes on the site, which I think/hope means they actually read something. The most viewed pages have been:

There have been visits from 73 countries so far. Interesting ones include: Laos, Faroe Islands, Iran, Oman and Mauritius. The countries that have made up the largest proportion of my visits have been the United States with 39%, Canada 20% and the UK 11%, Germany 5% and Australia 4%.
My old blogging home, pre EGU, has received 59,503 pageviews since it went live in early February 2011. The numbers for this site come from Blogger stats since I didn’t start using Google Analytics until last year. The most popular posts there have been:
Entry Pageviews

10 Reasons Geologist’s are Weird

Apr 21, 2012, 13 comments


Some Facts about the Moon

Apr 11, 2012, 4 comments


Back to Basics on Groundwater

Jun 13, 2011, 3 comments


Spotlight on: THE CRETACEOUS

May 6, 2011, 3 comments


The Truth about Radon

Mar 4, 2011, 5 comments

The countries that liked this site the most are pretty much the same as the EGU site, which I hope means I pulled a few people over with me!  The United States makes up 62% of the pageviews, Canada 7%, UK 5.5%, Australia, 2% and Russia 1.5%. I guess it should’t come as a surprise that most of the views for both sites come from North America, where I am located and English speaking countries, the language the blog is written in. I suppose I could read a bit deeper into and point out that both sites have a lot of countries with resource driven economies in the top 5, but that might be too big a stretch since I suspect it has more to do with the language.


My favourites

My personal favourite posts over the past few years are mostly on the most viewed lists above. It is hard to pick just one that I like the best though and there are a few that I wrote early on in my blogging career that only got a few pageviews, but I think are pretty interesting. Here are my top 5 in no particular order.

The Odyssey and Geology – The Search for Ithaca – this post summarizes a Nature Geoscience paper that surmises the legendary island of Ithaca has been lost in plain sight for the past few thousand years…

The Art of Geology – this was an Accretionary Wedge topic and for whatever reason I felt inspired and feel that I made a pretty solid contribution to this one.

The Media Portrayal of Geologists – This is a funny one….my apologies if not all the videos work…they were uploaded 2 years ago.

Back to Basics on Groundwater – This one is a really simple primer on groundwater and groundwater flow. It has proved to be extremely popular so far…maybe I should write another one…

It’s all about scales – I had been planning this one for some time and I have to say it turned out better than I had expected.

Bonus Favourite: The Wooden Wall – the story of how a silver mine saved the Greeks during the Persian Wars…I enjoyed doing the research and looking a mineral pics.

Things I’ve Learned

By the way, to put some of these numbers into perspective I also monitor a website about a book called Breaking the Vicious Cycle. It was written by my grandmother and is in its 14th printing right now having sold well over a million copies and been translated into several languages. Her website receives between 1,500 and 3,000 visits per day!!! It has gotten 266,125 visits since October 1, 2012 and 1,471,484 pageviews. If I ever get too cocky about getting a measly 2,530 visits I just think about her website and that helps restore me to an even keel.

All in all I am very happy with how being a geology blogger has gone and am extremely happy to be part of the EGU blog network. I think blogging has been an enriching experience that has allowed me to connect with fellow geoscientists from across the globe and expand my network. Not only that, it has allowed me to hone my writing skills, and given me a soapbox of sorts from which to expound my views on geoscience communication and outreach. I certainly intend to continue blogging in the future and I thank any readers who do stop by for your encouragement and support.



Translate Radioisotope Hydrogeochemist – #1000simplewords

There is a new craze sweeping twitter…at least among those that I follow, which is mostly geoscientists. This is of course the #1000simplewords challenge. In essence the challenge is to explain your profession using only the 1000 most common words in the English language. The most complex/specific title that I could come up with for myself was radioisotope hydrogeochemist. What a mouthful of jargon! I have tried to simplify this in the paragraph below. If you would like to try it out for yourself go here. There is a nice little collection of job descriptions being posted at the Highly Allocthonous blog and that is great place to go see the attempts of others.

I have to say that this is not the easiest thing in the world. Words like earth, soil, rock are not allowed. Words that I take for granted when I describe what I do like: contaminant, groundwater, radioactive, analyze, etc. are all not allowed. This made the challenge a lot harder than I expected. It was also a very rewarding experience and got me thinking about what I do in the simplest terms possible, which was pretty eye opening.

 Water is every place and in everything. We need water to live and we use water to drink, make power and grow food. I study the amazing field of what is in our water. I look at where our water comes from, how it moves and if there is anything in our water that should not be there. I pick up water from all over the world and try to find out what is in it. If I find something that should not be in the water I try to explain how it got there and what we can do to clean it. I also use what I have learned to understand how bad things get in our water in the first place and how they move with the water. Knowing this can help us keep our water clean and how to keep bad things from hurting our water. Keeping our water clean is something that we should all care about and I try to talk about this with as many people as I can.

Cheers and let me know what you think of my attempt.


Geology Photo of the Week # 18 – Jan 13-19

The photo for this week is something that I stumbled upon the other day when looking for directions to a friend’s house. It is a large scale concentric feature on the landscape and is located about 40 minutes north of Kingston near the hamlet of Holleford. I have actually been to this location in person when I was a geology undergrad and so I had the benefit of prior knowledge to help me interpret this feature. However, the person who discovered the feature, using aerial photos in the 1950’s did not. Try to guess what you think this could be?

Well, have you thought about it? It is actually an impact structure left behind from a meteorite impact. It was first identified by Dr. Carlyle Beals using air photos and has since been the subject of geophysical study and drilling by the Geological Survey of Canada that has confirmed its identity as an impact feature. It is about 2.5 km in diameter and only 30m deep as it has been extensively eroded by glaciations since its impact about 550 million years ago in the Ediacaran.  Nonetheless, the topography still remains and the geophysics confirm it. The geophysical surveys showed gravity and magnetic anomalies and drilling found evidence of shocked quartz, which is a smoking gun for meteorite impacts.

I think it is pretty cool that features like this are visible in Google Maps/Earth and available for anyone to discover or rediscover in this case. I imagine that there are dozens or even hundreds of features like this around the world that have not been discovered yet or realized to be impact related.  I expect there is still room for exploration now that tools like these are available to everyone and could shed light on the tortuous history our Earth has experienced.



Further Reading: