Archive for the 'Geology' category

Friday Sprog Blogging: paleozoic poetry

A little early this year, the elder Free-Ride offspring wrote these "sci-kus" for science class. They're like haikus, except with a few more syllables per line (7-9-7* rather than 5-7-5), because the names of geological periods require more syllables.

* * * * *

Cambrian oceans were full
Of sponges, trilobites, and snails
Invertebrate paradise

Ordovician fishes
Were the first, and coexisted with
Crinoids and cephalopods

Silurian plants survive
On land, and in the seas, fish with jaws
Have made themselves known to us

Devonian forests
Made up of ferns and conifers
Situated on land

Tree ferns, amphibians,
And insects in Carboniferous
Became the coal of today

At the end of Permian
Mass extinction of the sea's creatures
Farewell, sweet amphibians

*Two of these are actually 7-8-7. I'm guessing poetic license (or perhaps poetic learner's permit).

Wouldn't it be cool if they had the equivalent of driver's ed for poetry? What would they show instead of Red Asphalt to scare the kids off reckless poetry?

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Friday Sprog Blogging: anthropomorphic earth science.

Nov 19 2010 Published by under Environment, Geology, Kids and science

As you may have guessed, I've been buried in work. (Maybe Khrushchev was talking to me?) Nonetheless, the Free-Ride offspring continue to go to school, to interact with the world, to learn stuff ... and to represent much of it visually.

Here are some recent images from the younger Free-Ride offspring, who has been studying earth science in school this year. The first explains some salient facts about volcanoes:


The text reads (starting with the block at the lower right corner and working counter-clockwise):

Pressure builds, pushing magma upward.

Magma pushes toward Earth's surface through cracks.

Hot lava, gases, and rock flow from the volcano.

Lava cools, hardens, and becomes part of the land.

The other images are ... let's say less canonical:


An earthquake destroying a city is imagined as a "marriage gone bad". The quarreling spouses are, apparently, plates on either side of the San Andreas fault. (Ironically, the divorce lawyers in the audience will be quick to note that California is a no-fault state.)

The text reads:

Fact: land plates rub or slide past each other to create an earthquake.

The story: No one came to the landplates' wedding, so they want to share it with everyone. Marriage failed!

The next image continues the story:


Fact: Earthquakes or volcanoes can make rock or mud slide down a steep slope, damaging a lot of things.

The Earthquake went for miles ... Just enough to roll away the baby.

It should be noted that mother Earth looks sad that baby boulder is sliding away.

Finally, a rather more anthropomorphic version of the water cycle than I'm used to seeing:


The text reads:

Ice cube of Bart.

Sun Homer kills him and gives the corpse to cloud Marge.

She rains and gives birth to puddle Maggie.

Yeah, I don't know where this stuff comes from either.

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Friday Sprog Blogging: the rock cycle.

Oct 22 2010 Published by under Geology, Kids and science

The younger Free-Ride offspring shares a diagram from school.

The Rock Cycle

As promised, much of the science so far this school year has been earthy, and part of that is learning where rocks come from. (No, it's not the stork.)

Sedimentary and Metamorphic

Different kinds of rocks, of course, have different origins. They also present different spelling challenges. (Yes, I'm looking at you, "metamorfic".)

Igneous and Sediments

I kind of want to ask if there was a discussion about the size cutoff between a sedimentary rock and a sediment. (What's the biggest you could get and still be a sediment? What's the smallest clump of compressed sediments that you'd count as a rock?) But my offspring inform me that this kind of request that they spell out distinctions makes me sound like a philosopher or something.

Molten rock

Molten rock is always the prettiest.

But, I'll confess, I look at all the forces at the center of this schematic of the rock cycle:

Prevailing forces

and I feel a lot of empathy for the rocks. I think these are some of the same forces acting upon me this semester.

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A worrisome plan to make the earth move.

Apr 26 2010 Published by under Geology, Passing thoughts, Technical issues

It has come to my attention that a number of people are risking catastrophic seismic activity today by exposing n00bs.
This so-called "n00bquake" frightens me, and not just because I live in earthquake country.

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Friday Sprog Blogging: where does land come from?

Aug 21 2009 Published by under Geology, Kids and science

Dr. Free-Ride: So, where do you think land comes from?
Younger offspring: Land comes from ... I don't know.
Dr. Free-Ride: If you had to guess ...

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6 responses so far

Friday Sprog Blogging: rocks and erosion.

Aug 07 2009 Published by under Geology, Kids and science

Yesterday afternoon, I attempted to talk with the younger Free-Ride offspring about erosion. It would seem, from our conversation, that it is not just rocks that can erode -- recall of material learned in science class can also erode, as can patience.
Below is a rough transcript of our chat. I'll see if I can clean up the audio and put the MP3 up as a SprogCast by sometime this weekend.
Dr. Free-Ride: I wanted to ask you what you can tell me about rocks. I think you learned a little about rocks in school, didn't you?
Younger offspring: No.
Dr. Free-Ride: No? Did you learn something about different kinds of rocks?
Younger offspring: No.
Dr. Free-Ride: No? Am I thinking about your sibling?
Younger offspring: Yes.

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6 responses so far

Friday Sprog Blogging: what's shaking?

Jan 30 2009 Published by under Geology, Kids and science

Dr. Free-Ride: What have you been learning about in science this school year?
Younger offspring: Lots of stuff.
Dr. Free-Ride: Like what?
Younger offspring: We learned about rocks and minerals. Rocks are made out of minerals, and some rocks have more than one kind of mineral in them.
Dr. Free-Ride: So, what's a mineral?
Younger offspring: Umm ... I think quartz is a mineral. They can cut it in the shape of jewels. And also marble. But I think granite has more than one mineral in it. And we talked about how different rocks are formed.
Dr. Free-Ride: Oh?
Younger offspring: There are some rocks that form from the lava when volcanos erupt. We got to look at some pumice and see all the bubbles that were in the lava when it got hard to make the rock.
Dr. Free-Ride: I know another kind of rock mad by volcanos.
Younger offspring: What?
Dr. Free-Ride: It's called obsidian. It's really smooth and glassy, so I'm guessing that the lava that hardens to make obsidian has hardly any air bubbles at all.
Younger offspring: Yeah.
Dr. Free-Ride: So, do you know anything about earthquakes?

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The Earth, then and now.

Jan 01 2009 Published by under Environment, Geology, Kids and science

... as drawn by the younger Free-Ride offspring.
The Earth as described in 2006:


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In earthquake country, familiarity breeds ... yawn.

Oct 31 2007 Published by under Geology, Personal

I'm told we had a moderate earthquake here last night. Indeed, it is reportedly the largest earthquake in the area since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake -- which, as it happens, was the temblor that welcomed me to the San Francisco Bay Area.
I completely missed it.

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