Featured Articles
8/22/2020 Brian Douglas
Article on today's top Jobs in the Geoscience field.
Top 10 Geology Careers In Demand
5/1/2020 Brian Douglas
What Geology Careers are in demand? I put together a list of the top 10 geology careers in demand for the 2020s.
Geoscience as a Career Path?
1/11/2020 Dr. Chris Geoscience
In this video I talk about my thoughts on geoscience as a career path. It's a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B. Geoscience has treated me well, more or less..., but I can only say you should do it if you love it.

  • A trip to Yosemite for today.. Yay.

  • the-quiet-diary:

    a bison grazing in the distance 

    Jackson, Wyoming

  • timoksanen

    Summertime dusk

  • Sea of clouds beneath HuangShan

    Mount Huang or Huangshan is an 1800 meter peak found in China’s Anhui province, west of Shanghai and south of the ChangJiang (Yangtze River). It has been called the “Loveliest mountain in China” according to the United Nations and it is considered a UNESCO World Heritage site. The surrounding area contains 77 distinct peaks that have elevations over 1000 meters.

    The mountain is composed of igneous rocks surrounded by a much more ancient igneous and sedimentary province. Much of Asia as we know it today is built of ancient continental fragments formed in the Precambrian, over 500 million years ago. Those continental fragments moved around the globe as various plates subducted and occasionally collided with each other. Finally, many of them were scooped up and accreted to Asia as the Tethys Ocean and the Pacific Plate (and its predecessors) subducted beneath Asia over the past few hundred million years.

    Huangshan lies at the border of two of these ancient continental fragments. Two pieces of crust collided over 700 million years ago and rode together, occasionally submerging beneath the waves to allow sedimentary rocks to form. During the Jurassic, around 125 million years ago, subduction took over and began forming new rocks and thrusting up mountains throughout this area. Large magma chambers filled with granitic magma rose into the old continental fragments, fusing them together.

    The rocks of Huangshan are mostly two granite bodies; a body known as the Shizilin is surrounded by a larger granite known as the Huangshan granite. Both of these granites and many of the other rocks in the area were born as magma bodies formed during this pulse of subduction.

    Granite magma chambers solidify slowly while they’re buried beneath several kilometers of rock. When they’re brought to the surface, either by erosion or by faulting, they tend to split apart since they’re no longer feeling pressure on all sides. This process forms sets of fractures called “joints” that break the granite into giant boulders with planes of open space between them. These joints dominate the erosion pattern of the granite.

    Water moving along these joints has, over time, carved this landscape. Some of the incised valleys have a U-shape as seen in glaciated areas, leading scientists to speculate that this area had once been glaciated, but further work has found little evidence of glaciers. Instead, the U-shapes are controlled by the joint sets in the granite – vertical fractures allow the peaks and valleys to form steep sides.

    Lucky visitors will occasionally catch an inversion like this one, where a layer of moist, cloudy air is trapped beneath a layer of dryer air and the valleys between the peaks are filled with what is called a sea of clouds.


    Image credit: Haifeng Zhou

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  • Seneca Rocks, West Virginia


    A little different perspective from the other day in West Virginia. This was maybe the most awesome place that I’ve ever stayed in my life. I know many people might not want to stand there and I totally respect that but I really love stuff like this.

  • working-with-rocks:

    Why seismic design is important, a three decade remembrance. 

    These images are of the formerly two-deck Cypress Structure on the route of Interstate 880, the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland, California after the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake.  When we arrived in the SF Bay Area in the early 1960s, the highway was known as State Route 17 and there was some amount of scandal over alleged shortcuts taken in the construction.  Not enough rebar, not enough portland cement in the concrete and more.  It didn’t help that the pilings were set into bay mud that wasn’t particularly stable.  Even with normal traffic, the structure shook and vibrated badly and I hated driving on it. 

    So with just 15 seconds of shaking, down it came. 

  • One of the first snaps of our planet from space

    On October 24 1946, a captured German V2 rocket fired into the edge of space from the White Sands testing station in New Mexico by Werner von Braun and the US military rocketry research group captured this photo. Their rocket reached an altitude of 65 miles, and slammed back into the ground on landing - with the film captured during flight protected by an extra metal case. This was more than 5 times the altitude of the highest photographs ever taken by balloon prior to this rocket flight. It seems a bit grainy compared to the current lush photos from the space station or high res satellites, but it remains however a historic piece, and a direct ancestor of so many of the photos we share and comment on here on TES. This frame captures the tip of the Gulf of California in the distance.


    Image credit:

  • Original caption:

    Geology of Shoes film is a result of collaboration between film director Petr Krejci and footwear designer Barbora Vesela.
    The design concept draws inspiration from geological processes such as sediment layers and effects of their erosion in nature.
    Barbora experimented with creative possibilities of discarded unwanted leather scraps and noted the potential of this overlooked resource. Her investigation resulted in creating new innovative process whilst holding on to traditional craft and celebrating some of the oldest techniques in shoemaking.
    Multiple layers of leather scrap pieces are added on to a last and subsequently sanded down to allow unique colour and textural pattern to emerge with striking effect.
    Colour scheme is borrowed from old geological maps where different colour represent different geological strata.
    Geology of Shoes film has been loved and shared by astonishing number of people and media channels globally since it’s publication in 2013.

  • staudnhuckn:

    Lost in the right direction

    Berchtesgaden National Park, Bavaria, Germany

  • voyage_provocateur

    I T A L Y // Capri on my mind ✨ Location:


  • What’s under your feet?

    Have you ever dug into the ground and noticed that, even in the midst of a drought, the soil is still damp? If you’re reading this and you don’t own your own lawn, please do not attempt to find out for sure. Also please do not test this on the neighbor’s lawn. (Just making sure).

    This graphic from the U.S. Geological Survey labels the various parts of a shallow groundwater system. First we have the land surface where rainwater falls; this area is typically dry unless it is raining or you’re standing in a river.

    Below the surface there is a layer of soil that is called the vadose zone or the unsaturated zone. Soil minerals hold onto water and stay damp unless the surrounding area is completely dry, but in the vadose zone there isn’t enough water to fill all the space between soil grains. Instead, this zone stays damp by holding onto water that moved through it the last time it rained and by wicking a bit of water upwards from what lies below.

    The capillary zone is the source of water wicked upwards. In the capillary zone, water actually moves upwards due to electrostatic interactions between the molecules of water and the molecules in the soil, with an assist from surface tension that holds water beads together.

    Finally, if you dig deep enough, you reach the water table; a level where there is enough water stored that all of the space between mineral grains is filled by water. While it’s shown fully blue here, it’s still mostly dirt - maybe 80-90%. You might even think of it like a saturated sponge - filled with water in the gaps, but the substrate is held together by the solid part.

    When it rains, water moves down through the vadose zone until it reaches the water table. If it rains too much, the tiny spaces in the vadose zone can’t carry the water downward quick enough and it starts flowing over land and drains to rivers. If something is spilled on the surface or in the soil, a pollutant or fertilizer, rainwater will eventually carry that pollutant downwards to the water table below.


    Image credit: USGS

  • Check out this beautiful little Flourite cube


    Fluorite and quartz from Yaogangxian Mine (China) size: 6 cm, price: $350 (+shipping fee). We ship worldwide. To see more of our minerals visit

  • Maar

    40 years ago this crater formed when the rock blasted itself out of the surrounding landscape. This is a maar, a hydrovolcanic crater on the Alaskan Peninsula, within the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge.

    In 1977, molten rock was moving through the ground beneath this site when it hit groundwater. The combination caused a series of explosions over a 10-day period, ejecting the debris that today surrounds this 300 meter diameter hole. The edge of another crater in this complex can be seen at the upper left.


    Image credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

  • Drone captured hike up the slopes of Mt. Etna

  • Labradorite

    Feldspars are the most common minerals in the Earth’s crust. They vary in composition between calcium, sodium, and potassium rich end-members, and enough names have been applied to the different compositions that I’ve never even tried to memorize them.

    Labradorite is a feldspar variety named for Labrador in Canada. Its most distinctive property is the spacy, shimmering, iridescent color reminiscent of the famous ammolite we’ve featured many times.

    That color originates from a tiny mixture of two minerals, inter-grown along planes inside the crystal. When minerals form at about the scale of visible light, a few hundred nanometers, it can split light into its various colors and create an iridescent pattern like this. As you change the angle that you look at the stone, the color of the light reflecting back to your eyes can change, making the stone move from violet to blue and sometimes all the way up to red.

    Labradorescence forms because of exsolution - a feldspar is mixed, as a single mineral at high temperature. But, once it gets to lower temperatures, two slightly different minerals separate along the crystal planes, creating the boundary where light is reflected.


    Image credit:
    UCL Geology


  • zimydakid

    When I made it to Fuji, I had to witness amazing sunset conditions from the bus window as it was slowly making its way to the final stop. When we made it, I rushed out of the bus to try and capture it but didn’t make it in time… I woke up the next morning before everyone else in the city, walked to a place I spotted a couple of years ago and witnessed one of the most insane Sunrise I ever saw. This is what I captured…


  • he Virgin Rainbow goes on display

    Opal is Australia’s national gemstone, and they were born in what were once sediments at the bottom of a Jurassic shallow and muddy inland sea called Eromanga, that covered some 60% of the country that were transformed by chemical weathering and bacterial action into lovely gem silica at the time that the sea dried up (see and for a detailed explanation of the process). Opals are found all around the boundaries of the Great artesian Basin in the centre of the red continent that marks the trace of this once upon a time sea, including in Coober Pedy in South Australia.

    A miner was rooting around in a disused mineshaft back in 2003 when he came across this fine 6cm piece that has been hailed as the most spectacular black opal ever found. While this is subject to debate it certainly is a lush one, displaying the full spectrum of play of colour in a powerful and glowing artist’s palette. The South Australia Museum in Adelaide purchased it to keep it in the country and has put it on display as part of an exhibition celebrating a century of opal mining in the state.

    Like many opals from the region the silica gel flowed into the space left in the rocks by a fossil, in this case a shell of an extinct cuttlefish like creature related to ammonites called a belemnite (see for another lovely opalised example and explanation). The opal preserved the fossils well, helping scientists to reconstruct the ecosystems in this Jurassic sea and by its shores by comparing the finds from the various opal fields, most of which are close to the coasts of the Palaeo Sea.


    Image credit: Richard Lyons/South Australia Museum

  • Flight and hike up to the summit of Yasur crater, Vanuatu.