Musings of an autodidact


Opening a geode


The Himalayas forming…on fast forward

A couple minutes of stunning splendor

All the history and some of the future in less than 10 minutes

An excellent visualization!

Quite the background

As we’ve seen, the beginnings of civilization had quite the background. After millions of years of development and migration from pre-human hunter-gatherers, humanity is overtaken by, and overcomes an ice age, remaining hunter gatherers, though of a stone tool-making variety. What may seem to our modern thinking tragically slow innovations gradually caused smaller groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers to coalesce into villages. Little things like learning to control the food supply with agriculture and the domestication of livestock or the span of thousands of years, rather than millions, are utterly revolutionary and transformative.  (more…)

Laacher See: older than Crater Lake

Geology300Today’s geological/historical factoid! This beautiful lake, about 25 miles south of Bonn, Germany, formed as the result of a massive volcanic eruption. The people in the region at the time were far less enthusiastic about this change, as one might imagine. Depopulation and migrations even resulted in one culture losing their bow and arrow technology, much like some living traditional cultures today stand to lose the same technology, along with canoe making, but for the efforts to teach these skills to newer generations. (more…)

One of the mysteries of geology

Geology300Nature: The Fiery Birth of Earth’s Largest Ocean Exposed

The study is a rare step forward in understanding the origin of the Pacific, one of geology’s most enduring mysteries.


The work shows how basic thinking about plate tectonics can still yield surprises, says Bernhard Steinberger, a geophysicist at the GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences in Potsdam, Germany. “This is one of those rare cases where a discovery could be made simply by an elegant thought,” he says.

We’ll be delving into Earth systems history over time, so this is rather serendipitous.