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News stories tagged with "geology"

Erika Edgley ice skating on Lower Cascade Lake. Archive Photo of the Day: Matthew Hobart
Erika Edgley ice skating on Lower Cascade Lake. Archive Photo of the Day: Matthew Hobart

Natural Selections: Ice over time

Fresh ice, sometimes called black ice, can be nice and clear and great for skating, but after a while ice gets kind of funky. Freezes and thaws and snowfalls take their toll on ice, creating white ice, which contains a lot of trapped air and gases. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about how the ice evolves over the season.  Go to full article
New Year's frost.  Photo:  Todd Moe
New Year's frost. Photo: Todd Moe

What's that noise? Could be a cryoseism

If you've heard a loud boom, cracking sound, or bump in the night recently, it may be what's called a cryoseism. Scientists say they occur when water builds up in soil and expands. When the pressure gets too great, the rock and soil collapse, creating the noise. Sometimes it can be startling.

Potsdam geologist Frank Revetta says these so called "frost quakes" are not uncommon, and may be happening more often because of recent precipitation and bitter cold temperatures.  Go to full article
Potsdam Museum curator Mimi Van Deusen stands outside the museum, built of sandstone.  Photo:  Todd Moe
Potsdam Museum curator Mimi Van Deusen stands outside the museum, built of sandstone. Photo: Todd Moe

Uncovering Potsdam's sandstone past and present

Potsdam's iconic red rock takes center stage this week during the fourth Sandstone Festival. Todd Moe talks with organizer and Potsdam Museum Curator Mimi Van Deusen about the walking tours, history lectures and activities celebrating the legacy of Potsdam sandstone.  Go to full article
This road in Iceland runs down the fault line where the Eurasian continental plate meet the North American continental plate. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/watz/519498840/">Marius Watz</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
This road in Iceland runs down the fault line where the Eurasian continental plate meet the North American continental plate. Photo: Marius Watz, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: Continental Drift

The theory of continental drift--the idea that the continents are islands of rock adrift on the earth's molten core--first gained acceptance in the 1960s. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley talk about the consequences of their extreme slow motion collisions--earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  Go to full article
Exposed anorthosite on the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Archive Photo of the Day: Judy Andrus Toporcer, Pierrepont NY.
Exposed anorthosite on the summit of Whiteface Mountain. Archive Photo of the Day: Judy Andrus Toporcer, Pierrepont NY.

Natural Selections: Ancient Adirondacks

"Old as the hills" is a relative term. The Adirondacks may be relatively young mountains, but their distinctive grey granite, anorthosite, originated 1.1 billion ago, so deep in the earth's crust that only continental collision could have formed it. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss Adirondack geology.  Go to full article

Natural Selections: New mountains, old rocks

The Adirondacks may be "new," but the rock is a billion years old, pushed up through the newer rock of the Champlain region. Mixed in, the remains of even older rock can be found in pockets and veins--blue calcite laid down by warm oceans before the evolution of coral. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager get geological.  Go to full article
Diamond crystal
Diamond crystal

Natural Selections: Pencils and diamonds

Pencil leads and diamonds are chemically identical--the difference is in the crystal structure. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about carbon crystals, and what it take to form a natural diamond.  Go to full article
Christopher Kelson and Owen Brown with the rare Anomalocaris fossil they unearthed in Nevada.
Christopher Kelson and Owen Brown with the rare Anomalocaris fossil they unearthed in Nevada.

A summer field trip and a rare fossil

A SUNY Potsdam student found a rare fossil during a geology field trip out west this summer. Owen Brown, a senior from Beekmantown, was one of seven students studying the Great Basin in Utah and Nevada. They visited caves, mining operations and studied geologic formations. Todd Moe spoke with Owen and his mentor, Dr. Chris Kelson, an assistant professor of geology at SUNY Potsdam, about the trip and the fossil. They say it's a rare fossil of a 500-million year old invertebrate called Anomalocaris, a long-extinct marine species that fed on ancient trilobites. It was a lucky find.  Go to full article
The USGS site was soon flooded with quake reports
The USGS site was soon flooded with quake reports

BREAKING: Earthquake shakes northern New York, Ontario and Quebec

A magnitude 5.0 earthquake rumbled through Ontario and Quebec shortly before 2 o'clock this afternoon, shaking much of northern New York. There was no word of injuries as of 6 p.m. Wednesday evening.

But damage reports are starting to come in. According to the CBC, The town of Gracefield, Quebec near the epicenter of the quake is calling for emergency help after tremors felled the steeple of its church and damaged several other buildings, including the town hall.

The Ottawa Sun reports a 150-foot section of road collapsed in provincial Quebec, approximately 75 kilometers north of Ottawa.

The epicenter was near Val de Bois, Quebec, about 40 to 50 miles north of Ottawa. That's according to the U.S. Geological Survey, which pinpointed the quake at 11 miles below the earth's surface.

Shaking was reported across Ontario and Quebec and as far away as Michigan and Boston. According to the CBC, buildings in Ottawa were evacuated.

Again, no reports of injuries or damage in northern New York.

For some scientific and historic data on earthquakes in the area, we reached associate professor Mike Rygel in SUNY Potsdam's geology department:  Go to full article

Natural Selections: Adirondack Anorthosite

Anorthosite, the signature grey rock familiar to climbers and hikers in the Adirondacks is an ancient form of granite formed 15 miles below the surface more than a billion years ago. Pushed to the surface by recent mountain building activity, its deep cracks form the valleys and deep lakes of the region. Martha Foley and Curt Stager talk about the area's "ancient bones."  Go to full article

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