Friday, August 12, 2011

Accretionary Wedge #37: Sexy Geology

My preference is for big picture geology, especially studying how tectonics influences sedimentation. For this, you need to understand a little bit of everything (or at least be willing to contemplate it). My undergraduate background in geophysics is helpful for understanding geodynamics, and living and studying in Alberta has meant that I've had ample exposure to sedimentary geology in both my degrees. That being said, there are a couple of sedimentary structures that make me swoon. I love a good cross-bedded sandstone. But the one that really gets me is ripples.

I know ripples are pretty common, and I know they aren't great paleocurrent indicators. They are, however, good environmental indicators and for me, seeing a big rippled surface in the field is pretty exciting, especially when it is far away from anywhere it could have formed. What excites me is that they are evidence of tectonics. They've been buried, they've moved,  they've been uplifted and they've been exposed.

There's just something about being up on a ridge, far away from any water and even farther away from a beach, and seeing ripples. It's sexy geology.

Ripples on Dinosaur Ridge, Colorado.
Embiggen to see the scale bar in bottom left.

Ripples in the Puchuni Valley, on the Bolivian Altiplano.
No scale, because this was above me on a narrow path on the edge of a steep hill.

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