Taxonomy term

travels in geology

Getting there and getting around the Burgess Shale

Traveling to the Burgess Shale requires a plane ticket, a guide, and the legs and lungs to hike high into the Canadian Rockies.

01 Jan 2013

The Burgess Shale bestseller

The Burgess Shale owes much of its fame to a book called “Wonderful Life” by the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. Published in 1989, the book was a bestseller. The title is a reference to the scene in the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which George Bailey’s guardian angel replays the tape of life as if George had never been born, to dramatic effect.

01 Jan 2013

Getting There and Getting Around Sicily

Italy’s volcanoes are mostly in the south, so flying into Rome or Naples is probably easiest. Getting around Italy is also very easy, whether you take the train or rent a car.  

 
06 Dec 2012

Travels in Geology: Exploring Vulcan's Playground: The Volcanoes of Southern Italy and the Aeolian Islands

The prospect of traveling to Italy might conjure romantic thoughts of stucco-covered villas surrounded by terraced vineyards, ancient visages carved in marble, fountains gurgling in cobblestone piazzas, and pasta smothered in tomato and basil. However, when I was asked to spend a semester teaching in northern Italy, these were not my first thoughts. As a geologist, I instead pondered the Dolomites in alpenglow, the exposure of the iridium-bearing Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary (formerly known as the K/T) in Gubio, and the possibility of visiting some of Italy’s famous volcanoes — Mount Vesuvius and Mount Etna — to the south.     

06 Dec 2012

The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast, part of the Namib Desert, is named for the whale bones and the hundreds of broken ships that litter its beaches. Many a sailor lost his life after being run aground in the Skeleton Coast’s thick fog. Those who made it to land often succumbed to starvation and exposure in the coast’s harsh climate. 

 
06 Nov 2012

Travels in Geology: The desert geology of Namibia: A writer and her father explore otherworldly dunes, oases and meteorites

Any minute now a giant sandworm will burst out of the ground and devour me, I thought as I collapsed on the sand. Just like in Frank Herbert’s book, “Dune,” about an alien desert planet. 

06 Nov 2012

Getting There and Getting Around Colorado

Colorado Springs is easily accessible via major roads or by air. Although the city suffered a devastating wildfire this summer, none of its primary tourist attractions were burned, and all are open for business. 

 
06 Oct 2012

Travels in Geology: Touring geologic time in Colorado Springs

Few visitors to Colorado Springs, Colo., realize that the spectacular scenery on display at famous sites like Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, and the campus of the U.S. Air Force Academy is largely the result of varied geologic processes spanning more than a billion years. Pioneering 19th-century geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden summed it up best when he said:  “I do not know of any portion of the West where there is so much variety displayed in the geology as within a space of 10 miles square around Colorado [Springs].” In fact, the city holds the rare distinction of hosting rocks from every geologic time period save one. The presence of this unusually complete rock history means that while enjoying Colorado Springs’ premier attractions, you can also take a tour of the geologic timescale.

06 Oct 2012

Getting There and Getting Around South Africa

Getting to South Africa is going to set you back a pretty penny. Our airline tickets cost about $2,000 each, for coach. It’s a very long flight, so you may as well commit to several weeks in country to make it worthwhile. We broke the journey up by taking advantage of a 10-hour layover at London’s Heathrow airport by going downtown to see the Rosetta Stone and pay our respects to Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell, who are interred near one another at Westminster Abbey.

 
06 Sep 2012

Travels in Geology: South Africa on safari for the geological Big Five

South Africa is hard to beat when it comes to diversity of nature. Whether we are talking about the country’s charismatic megafauna, its marine ecosystem, the unique fynbos plant community, or the extraordinary rock record, South Africa has something for everyone.

06 Sep 2012

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