If I were one for New Year’s resolutions, which, after decades of disappointing self-scrutiny, I’m afraid I’m not, I would probably resolve to try to manage my time better. A large part of that challenge is simply the escalating wealth of fascinating stuff that is available and addictive – it seems as if every time I check Google reader there are several hundred new items to peruse, while the stratigraphic accumulation of periodicals reaches periodic proportions, and I have to resort to used train tickets to keep the place marked in each of the components of the pile of books that I’m determined to read. If only I could focus, impose some kind of filter on my magpie mind – but then life would be that much less interesting….
I have recently added to my enjoyable burden by discovering two new Geoblogs and reminding myself of another that I had failed to catch up on. First, it was a great pleasure on my November transatlantic voyage, sermonizing periodically about arenaceous topics, to find that one of my fellow lecturers was Susan Humphris, a Senior Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute; Susan was a member of the 1986 Atlantis II/Alvin scientific party that made the first discovery of hydrothermal vents in the Atlantic Ocean – it was an honour to meet and talk with her and to find how well some of our topics interwove. During the trip I was contacted out of the blue by one of Susan’s graduate students who had seen my post and made the connection; she is Evelyn Mervine, “a geologist, writer, traveler, and aspiring polyglot,” who, since November last year, has her own blog, Georneys (header image shown, without explicit permission, above, left). Evelyn is working on the fascinating potential of certain rock types to soak up carbon dioxide, notably the old mantle material of ophiolite complexes: much of her work is based in Oman, site of perhaps the world’s premier ophiolite. This is doubly of interest to me since I did field work in Oman a long, long, time ago – while the amenities and infrastructure of the country, and our understanding of its geology, have changed out of all recognition, the rocks themselves have not, and I much enjoyed the audio slide show on her work that Evelyn provides a link to in one of her posts – well-worth watching. For amusement, and an illustrative break, here are some lantern slides from my time in Oman – the central image is of graded bedding – sedimentary structures – formed in a magma chamber deep in the earth’s mantle.
Second, early last month I did a Sunday Sand post on Australia’s North Stradbroke Island; it’s considered to be the world’s second largest sand island, and I posed the question of which is the largest. Just today came a comment with the correct answer – Fraser Island, not far away from North Stradbroke. I apologised for there being no prize, but, as I always do when a new reader of this blog posts a comment, I followed up on the url provided and found that Malcolm is a “geography undergraduate in an underfunded and unappreciated Canadian university” and has today begun his own geoblog, the gloriously named “Pawn of the Pumice Castle.” The header image from Malcolm’s blog is, again without permission, on the right at the head of this post.
And Chris Rowan, over at Highly Allochthonous has announced a great new idea - a place for folk who don't want to set up their own blog but nevertheless would like somewhere to write stuff periodically. The site is aptly named Earth Science Erratics and explains that:
Earth Science Erratics is conceived as a place for geoscientists or geosciences enthusiasts to be able to write one or a few blog posts, on any earth science topic of their choice, without the necessity of establishing their own blog. Think of this space as a field of erratics…
…We’d like to host an assortment of posts here – from the consulting geologist sharing tales of a field project in an exotic locale, to the grad student anxious to practice his science writing skills explaining a part of their discipline…from the amateur earth scientist who wants to write about the geology in her neighborhood to the researcher who wants to share her newly published results with an audience broader than journal readers.
So, there we are, three new sources of fascinating stuff to keep track of. And, if this weren’t challenging enough, I recalled that Brian Romans at Clastic Detritus, having not long ago migrated to the Wired Science blog community, had also begun a blog for for the Quest Northern California multimedia site. Having overlooked this, I have now begun catching up with this, and, of course, found that this is another non-trivial task. The wondrous geo-turmoil that comprises California’s landscapes, above and below sea-level, makes for literally endless fascination, and Brian’s enjoyment of this is obvious. I was also delighted to see that several of the topics, such as the legacy of the Gold Rush, detail topics that I have occasionally rambled on about.
The joys of Northern California’s geology have been highlighted recently as a result of the Annual Meeting of the American Geophysical Union being held in San Francisco. I am conscious of the need to avoid undertones of envy as I write – reports from the meeting only emphasise the excitement of actually being there. And there have been many such reports around the Geoblogosphere, too many to link individually, but I should express my appreciation of at least vicariously knowing what was going on and being pointed to projects of interest. And, having been in the Bay Area myself earlier this year (and wiring about, for example, Marshall Beach and the sands of the Exploratorium), the descriptions of field trips and other extra-curricular activities have been most enjoyable – if bad for the envy-control challenge. Callan Bentley's series has been typically entertaining.
One item from the AGU meeting that I have missed details on was the session on geoblogging – can anyone point me in the direction of a summary or whatever?
So, time-management, an ever-increasing problem, but an enjoyable one at the end of the day (that arrives, always, too soon). I shall instead devote my attention to a couple of trivial New Year’s resolutions: finding a job and writing another book.