Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Here Comes the Sun

Today is Earth Day, and so I'm giving you some pictures of the rising sun and an early-morning sun dog -- the atmosphere and atmospheric phenomena are part of the earth and part of our everyday experience.

I remember the excitement and hoopla that attended the first Earth Day back in 1970, when I was still in high school. People were optimistic about what they could do, and yet much pessimism was focused on the way things were. I'd like to remind everyone that a lot of good has been accomplished since those days: rivers on the east coast are much cleaner, and you can see the mountains that surround L.A., which was rare in the early 1970's. The air we breathe today is cleaner in many places than it was on the first Earth Day in 1970. Look up. Enjoy the view.

I occasionally participate in Earth Day clean-up programs, but what I really have enjoyed over the years is participating in Earth Science Week field trips - field trips which are designed to introduce geology to the general public, including children of all ages. These field trips are run every year by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology I think in conjunction with the Geological Society of Nevada). Here is an example of an Earth Science Week field trip program.

I like what Julian has suggested about remembering and honoring the brown places, because I have been a desert person for several decades. And I like Andrew's suggestion to read science fiction in order to become familiar with envisioning alternative futures.

Andrew also summaries several other good Accretionary Wedge #8 posts.

Accretionary Wedge #8: Earth Day the Geologists' Way


Anonymous said...

I missed Earth Day, but next month I'll be taking ninety 11-year olds to Kimmeridge Bay in Dorset on England's Jurassic Coast.

It's a wonderful place to introduce geology to children - lapping waves of the English Channel, leading out into the Atlantic just 200 million years young, and ammonites galore for the kids to find beneath their feet on the wave-cut platform.

The Kimmeridgian at its type locality dates back to the restricted circulation phase of the Atlantic and outcrops here as a rhythmic succession of organic-rich mudstones, marls and limestones, together making up the Kimmeridge Clay, the prolific world-class source rock for the North Sea as well as Wytch Farm, Western Europe's largest onshore oilfield (500 mm bbl) which is hidden away in the trees just a couple of miles away.

If you break a piece of shale you can really smell the petroleum, and if you've a kitchen blowtorch handy, not only could you make a crême brulée, you can also get the rock to ignite.

A nodding donkey from the (much smaller) 2 mm bbl Kimmeridge field is still active on the clifftop, clearly in sight from on the beach.

Truly, it's geology in action.

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Roads, for the description of Kimmeridge Bay, the geology and geologic history - and the way you've written about it, it's just like being there!

Ninety 11-year olds sounds like a handful, and it sounds like you have an ideal place to go for such a field trip. Good luck, and have fun.