Guest Video: The Somme, Then and Now . . .

This is something different. But a hundred years ago today, at 11 a.m., the war to end all wars ended.

War did not, unfortunately.

But for all the people shown in this remarkable short film during fighting two years earlier, it was finally over. (Note: There are a few long-distance shots of dead bodies, but nothing gory or “Matthew Brady” style.)

Featured image: Ernest Brooks, public domain, via Wikipedia.


Guest Videos: Lykoi–The Werewolf Cat

Happy Halloween!

For facts about the Lykoi, ask the Cat Fanciers’ Association or TICA (the International Cat Association). And this is a good overview about cats with sparse hair on their coats.

But the following video, which I suspect is mostly fact-free, is a lot of fun:

Meanwhile, at the cat show . . .

Featured image: Steptacular via Wikimedia, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Guest Video: Redwood National Park

So how’s your week going? Ready for a break?

Let’s go for a walk in the park and meet some BIG trees and the wildlife that lives among them.

What most of us don’t realize is that this isn’t just a forest of giants–it’s the last remnant of a biome that once covered western North America until Earth’s climate changed back in the Miocene, a few million years after the continent’s “cat gap” ended.

I came across this while researching the cat book series (emphasis added):

Subsequent to 15 Ma [million years ago], the West began to aridify, and the forests gradually shifted coastward . . . A few remnant species from the Miocene forests still remain in the modern coastal regions of California (e.g., the northern California sequoias), but they have been eliminated from inland regions. The Miocene deciduous forests did not disappear rapidly but slowly declined. A significant drop in warm season temperature occurred around 13 Ma, and the first signs of seasonal drought in the growing season appear in leaf assemblage analyses in the early late Miocene (circa 10–11 Ma) . . .

— Lyle et al., “Pacific Ocean and Cenozoic evolution of climate

Featured image: 12019 at Pixabay. Public domain.

New Link in the Top Menu: Updates

I have been updating several posts recently (as well as the Kilauea and Popocatepetl pages) and thought it would be better to link to all updates rather than bump each post. I have put the most recent ones in there (plus an older update on an adorable little wild cat); news on those two volcanoes is available on their pages as soon as I came across it.

Thank you very much for your interest!


There is going to be a brief pause in the blog posts; hopefully, it won’t last much longer than a month. I’ve gotten the final draft of the book together and now I must go through it carefully. This is my first such book, so it requires even more time in order to do it right. I had hoped to be able to continue daily posts–at least guest videos–but that’s not possible.

In the meantime, I’ll still be on Twitter now and then, and there is plenty of material in the archives to explore. Check back frequently, too, because after the book does go up on Amazon, blog readers will get a special offer. Thank you very much for your interest!

Featured image: Alexas_fotos, at Pixabay, public domain.

Guest Video: The Salton Sea

A study at the end of June made headlines about earthquake hazard on the San Andreas Fault. The research looked at the area covered by the Salton Sea:

According to news reports, geologists found:

. . . a nearly 15.5-mile-long, sheared zone with two, nearly parallel master faults and hundreds of smaller, rung-like cross faults. . . The discovery . . . reveals the southern tip of the San Andreas Fault changes fairly gradually into the ladder-like Brawley Seismic zone. The structure trends northwest, extending from the well-known main trace of the San Andreas Fault along the Salton Sea’s northeastern shore, to the newly identified East Shoreline Fault Zone on the San Andreas’ opposite edge.

. . .

Future earthquakes in that zone or near the San Andreas Fault could potentially trigger a cascade of earthquakes leading to the overdue major quake scientists expect along the southern San Andreas fault zone . . .

So, perhaps it’s good that the “Riviera” scheme never worked out.

While seismologists scramble over the area to learn more about earthquake hazards, the USGS is monitoring the local volcano situation–which includes five vents discovered in 2013–through the California Volcano Observatory.

Again, not a good place for a resort!

Featured image: 12019, at Pixabay. Public domain.

Guest Videos: Bear Cams in Katmai National Park

August 6, 2018: Here’s a tweet from Katmai NPS to capture a little of the experience for the whole year.

Yep, the salmon are jumping and the bears are fishing at this time of year!

Of note, the clock in this part of Alaska is 8 hours behind UTC right now; dawn is around 4 a.m. Alaska time and dusk is shortly before 1 a.m.

There is even an underwater cam.

More information:

Katmai National Park and Preserve

Guest Video: Tumbler Ridge, British Columbia

There will come a point in this drone video, made in the UNESCO Tumbler Ridge Geopark, when you will wonder where the dinosaurs came from. Here you go.

Seriously, look at those flat rock formations: that’s all undisturbed sedimentary rocks that have accumulated over a vast amount of geologic time. Of course there are fossils in there! (Bonus points if you can spot the cirques; here’s more geological background.)

Here’s a bit more about the dinosaurs. To show how far out in the wilderness this geopark is, note the hope expressed that they won’t need much helicopter support:

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Guest Videos: Dunhuang Yardang National Geopark

For today’s geopark, believe it or not, we need to start out on Mars!

“Yardang” doesn’t sound like a typical scientific term (in English, anyway), and it isn’t. It’s Ugyur for the same type of rock formation on Earth, and it was first used by geologists to describe these desert features near Dunhaung in China.

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Guest Video: Time Lapse Videos in 2016

We move too fast to see much of the movement made by this giant we live on and in, unless it has a spasm of some sort, like an earthquake, eruption, landslide, or storm.

None of us has the time to just stand around, watching the fascinating world around us. Fortunately, there are cameras.

So relax now for 16 minutes or so and let the sky roll over you (watch out for the snails and pity the ants, who live at an even faster pace than our own).