Archive | Geochemistry, Mineralogy, Petrology & Volcanology RSS feed for this section

Imaggeo on Mondays: Kerlingarfjöll

2 Jul

Kerlingarfjöll by János Kovács, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Iceland, with its stunning volcanic landscapes, is one of the world’s most geologically rich countries. Kerlingarfjöll, featured in this week’s image, is a prime example of that. This Icelandic mountain range, covering an area of 150 square kilometres, formed during a volcanic eruption in the Late Pleistocene – some 100 thousand years ago.

“Kerlingarfjöll is very different to the environment around, both in shape and colour. The mountains are mostly made out of rhyolite and both dark and bright tuff, and there is also a lot of volcanic glass,”  it is explained in the  Kerlingarfjöll official website. “When Kerlingarfjoll was being created, there was a glacier over the mid highlands, and in certain places it seems that pillars of tuff reached out of the melting glacier ice. That is why there are tuff pillars with a lava top.”

The mountains are located in central Iceland, in an area of stunning natural beauty. “I had the chance to visit this beautiful country several times in the last ten years,” the photographer János Kovács, a geologist based at the University of Pécs in Hungary, says. “If anyone wants to see the real Iceland, they should rent a big 4×4 and drive through the country.”

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

How interviews of famous geologists can help you learn more about geosciences

16 May

Today’s guest post comes from Daniel Minisini, a geologist with a passion for filming and philosophy who created a resource for the geosciences community called minigeology.com. In this post, he tells us a bit more about the website, and the inspiration behind the interviews he conducts and posts online.

Hi! I am Daniel, a sedimentologist and stratigrapher trained as a marine geologist by my maestro Fabio Trincardi in Bologna (Italy). I have studied and worked on modern submarine sediments, ancient turbidites, and black shales, by means of outcrops, cores, seismic data and well logs, around the Mediterranean and North America. Now I work at the Shell Research Laboratories and I live in Houston, capital of geologists. My free time is dedicated to a personal project called minigeology.com, a website where I video-interview protagonists and other characters within the Earth sciences.

It came naturally to me to start video recording the several smart geoscientific minds surrounding me and sharing their thoughts with all of you. Therefore, a couple of years ago, I decided to create a platform to do precisely that. The interviews spark from a variety of thoughts and questions I ask myself, about geology, its origins, its progress, and its relationship with other disciplines.

I still have much to understand about my own research. There are many topics in my research area that I take for granted because I read about them in books and scientific articles, but how did they originate and develop? How does my specific research topic fit in the wider context? And what should I answer when asked: “What is that useful for?”

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Through minigeology.com, I try to find answers to these and other questions by indirectly investigating how geoscientists approach a problem, their work, and their life. The interviews are informal and the format yields a short spontaneous discussion. By asking the ‘right’ questions, the interviews aim to stimulate the viewer to ask his or her own questions in their own research.

All geoscientists are part of minigeology.com, which works as a square to meet personalities in the Earth sciences on one hand, and as a round table for everyone to take part in the discussion on the other. Have an idea for an interview? Then email me by clicking the name below or upload your own video to the website.

By Daniel Minisini

Make sure to check a recent interview Daniel conducted with the 2012 Jean Baptiste Lamarck EGU medalist, Emiliano Mutti!

Imaggeo on Mondays: Burst

14 May

Burst by Melissa S. Bukovsky, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license.

This photo won 2nd Prize at the 2012 General Assembly photo competition and, according to the photographer, Melissa S. Bukovsky, epitomises the idea that an expensive camera is not a necessity for taking great photos. “You just need to know how to use what you have. I travel with a point and shoot that fits in my back pocket,” she explains.

Currently a Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Bukovsky snapped this shot on one of her many work related trips. “This picture of a bursting mud bubble in a boiling pool of mud was taken just outside of the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal area near Rotorua, New Zealand.  The area is part of New Zealand’s Taupo volcanic zone. I stayed in this area for a few days of holiday before traveling back to the US after working in Melbourne for the summer.  Aside from all of the fantastic geothermal phenomena to see in that area, there are numerous hot springs that are great for relaxing in.”

Mud pools, hot springs of bubbling mud, form in high-temperature geothermal areas where water is in short supply. The little water that is available rises to the surface at a spot where the soil is rich in volcanic ash, clay, and other fine particulates. The viscosity of the mud varies, from fluid during the rainy season to viscous in drier months.

The Wai-O-Tapu geothermal complex has been protected as a scenic reserve since 1931 and it remains a major tourist attraction.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Publications by the EGU

10 May

The EGU is responsible for 14 Open Access journals, all freely available online

Since 2001, the EGU and Open Access publishing house Copernicus Publications has published a growing number of successful geoscientific journals. These include 14 peer-reviewed Open Access journals, of which 11 have a Thomson Reuters Impact Factor, placing them in the top echelon of their respective discipline. EGU also publishes a host of other materials available in paper and online. As a signatory of the Berlin Open Access Declaration (2003), the EGU is committed to making all their publications freely available.

The EGU’s Open Access scientific journals are:


Imaggeo on Mondays: A rock and a hard place

23 Apr

'My way' by Amirhossein Mojtahedzadeh, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license

Rocks within the Earth are constantly being subjected to forces that bend, twist, and fracture them, causing them to change shape and size. This process is known as deformation. Polyphase deformation occurs over time when rocks are affected, or stressed, by more than one phase of deformation.

Geomorphologist Amirhossein Mojtahedzadeh captured this stunning scene whilst on field work. “This photo was taken near Qom in central Iran. These formations are contained by sedimentary rocks, which underwent polyphase deformation and metamorphism – clearly visible in areas at this location,” he says.

Iran covers an area of 1 648 000 square kilometres. The central plateau, located between the bounding mountain ranges, is a major feature of the country’s diverse morphology.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: A mineral under the microscope

9 Apr

Epidote by Gunnar Ries, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons license

Epidote, an abundant rock-forming mineral found in metamorphic rocks, nearly always appears in green, although it may vary in shade and tone. Under a microscope of polarized light, however, it exhibits strong pleochroism, that is, it shows different colors when observed at different angles. The thin section (a laboratory preparation of a mineral or rock sample for use with a polarizing microscope) in the picture displays strong yellow colours, beautiful tones of pink and purple, and light and dark shades of blue.

This photography under a microscope was taken by mineralogist Gunnar Ries. He comments, “I took this picture in 1996 from a unakite sampled in the German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, near the town of Rerik, during a field trip. The thin section was one of the first I ever made!”

Although Epidote can be found worldwide, including in Pakistan, China, and across Africa, it is particularly prevalent in the Austrian Alps, where it appears in the form of distinctly large, sharp, and lustrous crystals. Epitode is often seen on display at mineral conventions, with the finest pieces – featuring delicate and elongated crystals – being highly treasured by collectors.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Green river

2 Apr

Water dyed green runs down a thermokarst during a scientific experiment, by Simon Gascoin, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Thermokarsts occur when solid permafrost melts and soil gives way forming pitted, irregular lands surfaces. They are common in the Arctic, as well as the Himalayas and Swiss Alps. To study them, scientists trace the water using fluorescence dyes, temporarily creating water flows of exotic colours, like the bright green one in this Imaggeo photo.

This photo was taken by Simon Gascoin, a researcher at the Centre d’Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère. “I took this picture during a field experiment near the Tapado glacier in the Andes of north-central Chile. All of the meltwater flowing from the glacier snout infiltrates in a thermokarst underground network and reappears in a proglacial spring located about 2km further downhill. The objective here was to determine the time of transfer between the infiltration hole and the spring, however, this particular experiment failed as we never observed the dye at the outlet! The hydrological dynamics in the Tapado watershed are currently being investigated by the CEAZA institute in Chile and Hydrosciences Montpellier,” he recollects.

In the context of environmental change, thermokarsts serve as effective geo-indicators of current and historic warming temperatures. However, they may also be directly formed by human activities, such as drilling and road construction.

See more of Simon Gascoin’s photography at https://sites.google.com/site/sgascoin/gallery

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Quito and Cotopaxi

26 Mar

Quito and Cotopaxi by Martin Mergili, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

The sky is painted purple in this stunning evening photo taken near Quito, Ecuador. The country’s second most populous city is illuminated by artificial light, and Cotopaxi, an active volcano forming part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, looks out in the background.

Located about 28 km south of Quito, Cotopaxi is the second highest summit in Ecuador (5,897 m) and features one of the few equatorial glaciers in the world. Since 1738, Cotopaxi has erupted more than 50 times, including some disastrous events during the 18th and 19th centuries. Its activity continues to impact the surrounding landscape considerably. A major eruption of Cotopaxi could produce a lot of meltwater from the ice cap. The resulting mudflows of volcanic fragments may also affect part of suburban Quito, thought to house over a million people.

Geomorphologist Martin Mergili took this picture in 2007 during a field excursion with a team from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. “The photo was taken from the Cruz Loma hill at an altitude of about 4,000 m in the Western Cordillera of Ecuador. In that region just south of the equator, the Andes are divided into two major chains. The Eastern Cordillera is dominated by the ice-capped Cotopaxi stratovolcano shown in the background, which is one of the highest active volcanoes worldwide. Quito, the capital of Ecuador, is located at approximately 2,850 m above sea level on a terrace above the longitudinal valley separating the Eastern and the Western Cordillera,” he explains.

To view more from Martin Mergili’s collection of photos, many of which have geoscientific relevance, please visit: www.mergili.at/worldimages.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Open pit in Mirny, Siberia

5 Mar

Mirny open pit mine by Jean-Daniel Paris, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

This former open-pit diamond mine is currently the second largest excavated hole in the world. After diamond was discovered in there in 1955, the area became the first and largest diamond mine in the Soviet Union, producing up to 2,000 kg of diamond per year during the 1960s. Its surface operations continued until 2001 and the mine was permanently shut in 2011.

This photo was taken on 22 July 2008 by climatologist Jean-Daniel Paris on a trip with the YAK-AEROSIB project (https://yak-aerosib.lsce.ipsl.fr), which sought to measure the trophospheric composition of greenhouse gases and pollutants over Siberia.

“The scientific flight itinerary from Novosibirsk to Yakutsk and back is completed in about five days. Along the way, we overnighted at a handful of towns, including Mirny. We spent a few hours around the town waiting for the refueling and visited this old diamond mine pit. Despite emissions from its scattered industrial and extraction activities, Siberia remains close enough to a pristine continental tropospheric laboratory,” commented Paris.

Diamond is formed when carbon bearing material is exposed to high pressure within the Earth’s lithospheric mantle or at the site of a meteor strike. Annually, approximately 26,000 kg of natural diamond is mined worldwide, a harvest worth almost €7 billion. Roughly half the planet’s mines are located in Central and Southern Africa, but others can be found in Canada, Brazil, Australia, India, and Russia. Another 100,000 kg is also produced synthetically each year and is mainly used for industrial purposes.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

Imaggeo on Mondays: Serene landscape, active volcano

20 Feb

Osorno Volcano — Chile by Lilli Freda, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.

This image, captured in Chile by Lilli Freda from Italy’s Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia, depicts a cloudless sky, a calm blue lake (Llanquihué), and a picture-perfect mountain with a snow-covered top. But the serenity of the landscape is only apparent: the triangular structure in the background is in fact the very active and explosive Osorno volcano.

“Osorno is a 2652-m-high stratovolcano, one of the most active volcanoes of the southern Chilean Andes. During the past 14,000 years, explosive eruptions occurred frequently and produced pyroclastic flows and surges. Recorded historical eruptions have originated from both summit and flank vents producing basaltic and andesitic lava flows that have entered both Llanquihué and Todos los Santos lakes,” Freda explained.

There are 11 historical explosions recorded for Osorno between 1575 and 1869, when the last known eruption occurred.

Freda took this photo in 2004 during a field trip that followed the General Assembly of the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, held in Pucón, Chile, that year.

Imaggeo is the online open access geosciences image repository of the European Geosciences Union. Every geoscientist who is an amateur photographer (but also other people) can submit their images to this repository. Being open access, it can be used by scientists for their presentations or publications as well as by the press. If you submit your images to imaggeo, you retain full rights of use, since they are licenced and distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons licence.