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travels in geology

Getting There and Getting Around Mallorca

To get to Mallorca, you can fly from many major airports in Europe on a one- to two-hour flight. If you have the time (and perhaps already plan to have a car during a trip in mainland Spain), you can also take a ferry. Going from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca with your car can cost the same as a plane ticket on an average airline carrier, about $350 — but it’s a seven-hour trip to cover a few hundred kilometers.

06 Jan 2011

Travels in Geology: Mallorca set in stone

A spring walk along Mallorca’s northern coast yields views of sawgrass, peppered with tiny flowers just beginning to bloom in mauve and white. The stunning blue of the Mediterranean stretches to the horizon, away from the steeply rolling slopes of grass and craggy outcrops. The shore lies several hundred meters below the well-groomed walking trail, and if there is sun shining through coastal clouds, it promises a warmer afternoon after crisp, cool evenings and chilly nights.

06 Jan 2011

The Sleeping Giants

After you’ve gotten a taste of what Kilauea has to offer, consider taking the time to travel to the rest of the Big Island’s volcanoes.

12 Dec 2010

Getting There and Getting Around Hawaii

Many trips to Hawaii’s Big Island involve island-hopping. From the U.S. mainland, you’ll most likely fly through Honolulu on Oahu or Kahului on Maui on your way to either of the Big Island’s airports — Hilo on the east side or Kona on the west side. However, some airlines fly directly to Kona. Once on the Big Island, renting a car is your best bet for getting around because public transportation, albeit free, is virtually nonexistent: Buses run a handful of times a day during the week, but not at all on Sundays. From Hilo, getting to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a 30-minute drive straight up Highway 11. Getting to the park from Kona is more of a trek, a two- to four-hour scenic drive depending on which route you take. 

12 Dec 2010

Travels in Geology: Kilauea: Experiencing Pele's wrath through the eyes of a young geologist

This past summer, I lived a geologist’s dream: residing in a national park and getting up close and personal with Hawaii’s infamous Kilauea volcano. For hundreds of thousands of years, Hawaii’s Kilauea has been erupting on and off. But on Jan. 3, 1983, the volcano began one of its longest (and largest) eruptions, shooting a fountain of lava hundreds of meters into the air. Twenty-seven years later, the volcano is still alive and kicking — in fact, it’s the most active volcano in the world. For volcanologists, Kilauea is a mecca: an accessible active volcano in a picturesque location. So when I landed an opportunity to volunteer at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Hawaiian Volcano Observatory near Kilauea, I couldn’t refuse. 

12 Dec 2010

Making Jurassic Tracks in the Jura

Just to the north of the Swiss Alps, the gently sloping, lower-elevation Jura Mountains — namesake of the Jurassic — sprawl across the French-Swiss border and into Germany to the east. Composed of limestone and karst deposits, the low-lying mountains harbor caves and eroded cliffs, mountain chalets, Swiss watch factories — and dinosaur tracks. 

12 Nov 2010

Walking with Dinosaur Bones

Although some of the Aathal Dinosaur Museum’s displays feel as though they were built in someone’s garage, the museum covers a wide array of dino-related topics fairly well. The main lure is actually imported: a collection of Jurassic fossils from the Howe Ranch site in Montana, with huge skeletons of sauropods that loom over visitors. Special exhibits include gorgeous fossil assemblages of several-centimeter-long fish and tiny vertebrates, as well as huge half-meter ammonites that are often found in the Jura Mountains, once home to an ocean during the Mesozoic. Across the street, you can buy your own fossils at the museum’s affiliated mineral shop.  

12 Nov 2010

Travels in Geology: To the top of Europe: Jungfrau, Switzerland

Intrepid visitors can take at least two paths to the top of Europe: an excruciating and dangerous ascent up the north face of the Eiger to the top of the nearly 4-kilometer-tall peak, or a comfortable (if steep) train ride through that mountain that allows less-athletic visitors to reach the neighboring Jungfrau. 

12 Nov 2010

Getting There And Getting Around Switzerland

Jungfrau and other peaks in the Bernese Alps are easily accessible by train or bus from Geneva or Zürich. The Swiss train system is excellent, and generally on time. Buses are reliable as well, run by Swiss Post (post office, bank and bus system, all in one, and all three are available from mountaintops to lakeshores, in all kinds of weather). 

12 Nov 2010

Travels in Geology: Up to Michigan's U.P.

You have to be tough to be a Yooper. Between the epic lake-effect snow, ship-sinking storms and summertime swarms of black flies, Michigan’s remote and rugged Upper Peninsula is one of the last true wild outposts in the lower 48 states. But while living in the U.P. may not be for everybody, a visit in any season will delight rock hounds, beachcombers, wildlife watchers, storm seekers and fall colors enthusiasts. 

12 Oct 2010