A stark introduction to geologic time

When I was a kid, my mom would measure time for me in units of Sesame Street. During a road trip when I’d inevitably ask, “Are we there yet?” she might answer, we’ll be there in two Sesame Streets. For a kid, two hours can seem like forever. We imagine the world through the lens of […]

Dance Party!

I miss dancing. One of my favorite activities as a kid was dropping the needle on our Hooked On Classics record and letting loose across the living room’s faded oriental rug. Later, I danced with gusto in church pageants, whether in charming second-grade square dances or hippie-esque liturgical dances that involved wearing leotards and waving […]

The Pursuit of Balance

My neighborhood, as I’ve mentioned, is an interesting place: At our weekly potlucks, we speculate on everything from the number and sex of the next batch of goat kids (money’s on two girls) to the efficacy of bourbon as mouthwash (not promising, sadly). Last week, a guest announced that he was on his way to a […]

Galápagos Monday: Southern Inhospitality

This is the second installment of a six-week series about my recent trip to the Galápagos. You can read my first post, about tortoises and donkeys, here. At dawn on June 6, more than 30 years after Lynn was chasing tortoises at the top of Alcedo, our boat anchored near the volcano’s base in Urbina Bay. By […]

Continuity and Deep Time

About a decade before my father died, he asked me to start collecting rocks for him. I didn’t fully understand why, but since I was studying geology at the time, I began to pick them up wherever I visited. Limestone from the Alps; granite from New Zealand. He kept the rocks I collected on a […]

Guest Post: Oldest Rocks Could Weigh A Man Down

“It’s not your usual rock that you would find,” says Jonathan O’Neil, a geologist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington DC. It’s a bit of an understatement because O’Neil is referring to what he believes is the world’s oldest rock, a funny-looking basalt embedded in the Nuvvuagittuq greenstone belt in northern Quebec. The rock itself […]

Guest Post: A geologist and a creationist walk into a store

It’s a sunny evening in Fairbourne, a coastal village in rural Wales. Inside a small food shop, I’m listening to the owner and his wife discussing the true nature of the holy spirit. I reach for a packet of breakfast cereal. “The woman just didn’t understand,” says the shopkeeper. I place a tin of tomatoes […]

Guest Post: Limestone, the Civil War’s Great Equalizer

I am a bit of a Civil War nerd. I inherited this interest from my dad. Together we have visited many of the Civil War’s top landmarks (we’ve even paid our respects to Stonewall Jackson’s left arm). But for all of the time I’ve spent on battlefields, I never gave any thought to the landscapes […]