About Penny

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

Friday Headlines – October 4, 2019

Friday Headlines, October 4, 2019

THE LATEST IN THE GEOSCIENCES

Topics from this week in EES 101 – Earth Systems Science

  • Bubblegum rock
  • The 2011 Japan Earthquake

The Origin of the Rose Quartz Monument

This week was the annual week of the Mount Hope Cemetery field trip for my Introduction to the Geological Sciences course. It’s a short walk from the classroom, so it’s ever a great opportunity to see “rocks in the wild.” In this case, I consider them ‘feral’ rocks, because they’ve escaped containment and have been living in the elements for many, many years.

One favorite stop is “Bubblegum Rock,” a large chunk of pink quartz.

Students checking out "Bubblegum Rock"

Students checking out “Bubblegum Rock”

Students are challenged to figure out the origin of the rock. Some do. Some don’t. But all are fascinated by it.

This piece of quartz is an example of a pegmatite. Pegmatites are huge minerals that grow under very specific circumstances. In the case of these giant quartz grains, they were the result of extremely slow cooling of magma well below the Earth’s surface.

Here’s another blog post about Bubblegum Rock on Paleopix

A visualization of the March 2011 Japan earthquake

This is one of my favorite videos. Both audio and video illustrate the magnitude of the 2011 earthquake off the coast of Japan that resulted in a massive tsunami that killed thousands of people and destroyed a nuclear power plant.

Turn up the volume and enjoy!

Inktober 2019 – Day 1

It’s Inktober. Time to draw.

This is my first Inktober. I’ll be drawing pictures, comics, and characatures of the cats of Mew-Mew House at Second Guess Farm.

Mew-Mew House is the retirement home and hospice for cats at Second Guess. It’s currently occupied by 11 cats, which you’ll get to know as Inktober goes on.

It’s Mew-Mew House – a crazy social group for cats!
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W is for Work – #AtoZChallenge

W is for Work

Godwin sat, sharpening the blade of his sword, casually watching Barth teaching a handful of men how to use a dagger to defend themselves against men with swords. “We’ll be in tunnels and narrow passages,” Barth said. “The sword loses its advantage.”

A shout came up, echoing through the cavern system. Everyone fell silent as Barth rushed toward the noise. Godwin followed at a walk, keeping his sword at the ready. Vincent dashed past Godwin, and Godwin started to jog.

A man was dragged in, with a sack over his head, and forced to his knees. Kenrick was close behind, now talking vigorously with Vincent. He caught sight of Godwin.

“David!” shouted Kenrick. “Here.”

Godwin passed the kneeling man, who was weeping under the sack. “Who is this?”

“I pray I’ve found the right man.”

Godwin turned back the the sobbing man and whipped the sack off of his head.

Simon cowered back in the torchlight.

“Simon,” said Godwin.

Simon blinked up through his tears. Godwin squatted down in front of him. “Simon, my friend.”

“Godwin?” Simon stammered.

“My friend.” Godwin embraced Simon.

“Help me, Godwin.”

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