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Metamorphic construction

Metamorphic construction

Author’s Note: This part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt required students discuss the use of metamorphic rocks in construction. Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category. I find marble counter tops to be awesome, but that’s not the only place you’ll find marble. It is also used on floors, as sidings on buildings such as the Taj Mahal in India…

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Carson Sink rocks

Carson Sink rocks

Author’s Note: This part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt required students find and take a picture of a sedimentary rock. Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category. After looking at the prompt, it was not hard for me to decide to head out to Carson Sink. I wrote a little about Carson Sink a few weeks ago, but that was…

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First hand accounts of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption

First hand accounts of Mount St. Helens’ 1980 eruption

Author’s Note: This part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt required students to interview somebody who had firsthand experience with a volcano. I interviewed my grandparents, who lived in Kennewick, Wash. when Mount St. Helens erupted in 1980. Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category.  Mount St. Helens famously erupted immediately after an earthquake caused the north side of the mountain…

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Salt is my favorite mineral

Salt is my favorite mineral

Author’s Note: This part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt required students to find a mineral in their local area and explain what it is. Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category. Featured Image: The Great Salt Lake Desert as seen from Interstate 80 near Wendover, Utah. (Personal photo) Okay, no, I didn’t go out in nature to find this mineral,…

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Earthquakes in the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Earthquakes in the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Author’s Note: This part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt required students to find a news article, post it on our blogs and explain how plate tectonics played a role in the situation. Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category. Featured image: Damage and flooding in Sendai, Japan as a result of the 2011 Japan earthquake. (Source: U.S. Navy) The article…

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Thermal Springs of Nevada

Thermal Springs of Nevada

Author’s Note: This the first part of a weekly series on geology for a class I am taking this semester at BYU-Idaho. This week’s prompt is “Where have you seen geology in your daily life?” Other posts from this assignment can be found under the “Geology 111” category. Geology, like weather, is all around us and has a profound influence on our daily activities. Sure, most geological processes seem to occur in the background without much day-to-day change, but when you…

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Does Bethlehem ever have a White Christmas?

Does Bethlehem ever have a White Christmas?

Recently, I saw a post in a Facebook group I am a part of. It was posted by an Australian who was frustrated that, despite it being summer in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas still carries a winter theme there. This reminded me of when I lived in Abilene, Texas. Unlike my last Christmas, which was in Idaho, Abilene is neither in the mountains nor in a state that borders Canada. I enjoyed four Christmases in Abilene, but the weather on…

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What difference does elevation make for air pressure?

What difference does elevation make for air pressure?

Saturday, my wife and I took a few kids we go to church with up to Mount Rose and Lake Tahoe while their mom had a work meeting in Reno. After spending some time playing in the snow where Highway 431 crosses the mountain (elevation 8,911), we drove down to Kings Beach for some hot chocolate. As we descended to the side of the lake, the oldest kid we were watching was unable to make her ears pop despite several…

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How Hurricanes Get their Names

How Hurricanes Get their Names

This hurricane season has proven to be an intense one, with several major hurricanes causing destruction across the Southeast and the Caribbean. The remnants of one hurricane, Ophelia, even caused damage in several western European countries. With names like Ophelia and Philippe, one might wonder how hurricanes get their names to begin with. The short answer is that we name hurricanes to avoid confusion in forecasting and warning and that the names are chosen by the United Nations. If you…

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No, we don’t need to add a ‘Category 6’ to the hurricane scale

No, we don’t need to add a ‘Category 6’ to the hurricane scale

Hurricanes are categorized according to the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale, which organizes tropical cyclones with winds greater than 74 mph into categories from 1 to 5. Each category comes with a description of what damage can be expected in an area that the center of the storm passes over. Occasionally, I see talk of a need to add a 6th category to the Saffir-Simpson scale. Some recent examples of this come after Hurricane Patricia (2015) managed to get itself to…

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