Monday, December 21, 2009

Hearty Greetings everyone. I missed the last Postcard Friendship Friday, my first miss in a while. I was out of town at a meeting. May everyone relax and enjoy the season and friends and family.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - California Geology

A simplified Geologic Map of California, from the California Geological Survey, established 1880. Oversized postcard, 5 by 7 inches.
Red areas are intrusive granitic rocks, mostly Mesozoic in age. They hold up the great mountain ranges of CA including the Sierra Nevada and the Yosemite area, the Peninsular Ranges and the San Gabriels north of L.A. In the theme of Christmas, the dark green rocks are older metamorphic rocks, and the swath of yellow is the Great Central Valley, covered with recent sedimentary rocks. The lighter green areas closer to the coast are part of the Franciscan Complex, rocks of rather high pressure metamorphism that went down a subduction zone, came back up, and got stuck here because of the San Andreas Fault.

Here is a state with a lot of geology, and taxpayers who don't mind paying for the Geological Survey. Er, except maybe now, as CA is nearly out of money. As they note: "The CGS staff is dedicated to the fulfillment of our stated mission of providing information and advice to protect life and property from natural hazards and to promote a better understanding of California's diverse geologic environment" BUT "All CGS offices will be closed the first 3 Fridays of every month due to the furlough program mandated by the Governor."

Gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, starting the Gold Rush of 1849 - 1850. California has many other natural resources.

California has the major plate tectonic boundary of the San Andreas fault, and other minor faults. And plenty of earthquakes. How many?

Note that there are 638 earthquakes on this map, and all happened in the last week (!). Most were very small, and detected only by seismometers. The USGS and the CA Geological Survey spend a lot of time and effort on earthquake preparedness. This includes tsunami warning systems.

It's hard to believe it's been 20 years since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, which stopped game 3 of the World Series.
Other San Andreas links:
National Parks and seashores in CA:
All of which I want to visit, some for the second or third time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Call for Mail art

I saw this publisized on and thought I would pass on the information.

A postmaster in Cornelius, Oregon, has asked for help in celebrating "the joy of small works of art and the beauty of personal communication".
Check out


Thursday, December 3, 2009

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, courtesy of our gracious hostess Marie.

This sender may have had writer's block, who knows?

Mailed from Niagara Falls, NY, July 31, 1910 (at 7 PM no less!)
"Dearest Lillian: Please forgive me for not writing you a letter I didn't write to anyone but Mother. Lovingly, Anna."

Early in the 20th century Niagara Falls was a popular honeymoon destination. Perhaps Anna's mother read the advice given by the good Dr. West and was panicky. Anna wrote to reassure her that all was well.

As Dr. West says, "It is advisable that husband and wife should be alone for a week or two, both in order to enjoy each other’s society, and to become thoroughly acquainted with each other. It is also desirable that this relation should be apart from the family and friends of both."

And that includes nosy friends insisting on letters. Thanks, Muse Swings!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Geology of Idado - PFF

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Marie at the French Fractrice.

I am NOT going out shopping on Black Friday. We are decorating for Christmas. Which has little to do with the state of Idaho, but that is the postcard for today.
This is standard sized postcard, published by the Idaho Geological Survey. After scanning it, I seemed to have misplaced it!
The Geology of Idaho is similar to the states around it - after all, geology does not stop at the state line. The pink color represents a huge intrusion of granite, now exposed at the surface. The green and olive colors represent sedimentary rocks, uplifted during mountain building, just as in Montana, and Nevada. The bright blue represents Columbia River basalts. The broad yellow is another basalt flow. This area has developed good soils for growing potatoes.

Time to go, the kids are fighting. Happy PFF!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Geology of New Mexico -- PFF

This week I went through my unfiled papers drawer in my office and dug deep and found, yes, more geology postcards! After going through the west of the USA, we'll have to head east again for CT and VT. Anyway...
Welcome to Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by Marie at the French Fractrice.

This is an oversized postcard (6 by 8 inches) published by the New Mexico Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources, 801 Leroy Place, Socorro, NM. I have scanned it at a higher resolution than usual so there should be detail visible if you double-click on the image.

The back has a good summation of the general geologic history and so I will quote it here, with my comments in [ and ] brackets.

"The rocks of New Mexico reveal a long and complex of deposition, volcanic eruptions, structural deformation [due to plate tectonics as described in earlier posts], and climatic extremes -- from intensely folded Precambrian cores of mountain ranges more than 600 million years old to black basalts that flowed across the landscape as recently as 900 AD. White sand dunes today move slowly across the world's largest gypsum [a calcium sulfate mineral] desert, where waves of water once broke upon the shores of vanished lakes. New Mexico's extensive mineral and energy resources are a result of this colorful history -- petroleum and natural gas, coal, copper, uranium, gold, silver, molydenum [used for specialty steel] , lead, zinc, barite [a source of barium], fluorite [mined for fluorine, used in industry], gypsum [mined for drywall, aka sheetrock], perlite [see Wikipedia entry] , potash [used in fertilizer], and sand and gravel."
A Virtual Geologic Tour of New Mexico from the Bureau.

Major cities shown on the map are Farmington, Santa Fe (the capital), Albuquerque, Socorro, Las Cruces, and of course, Roswell.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sentimental Landscape

This card is Tuck's card, mailed from London Jan. 23 1907 (and postmarked 10 AM!) to Littehampton. It is part of the series "Picturesque England" and depicts Hayes Common near Bromley.
The cryptic message is:
"I feel very selfish about Nell, really the time flies so quickly & I am afraid that Local work takes up more of my time than it should, however, I have written asking her about a trip to town, which we arranged for at Christmas. Writing later about steamer (?) A."

"Town" would be London, and steamer refers to a ship, but beyond that.....
We'll just have to let the veil fall between us and the past.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Geology of Nevada: Postcard Friendship Friday

I have already blogged about my Geology of Utah postcard (on July 3!), so it's time to move on to Nevada. Utah is to the east, Idaho to the north, California to the West. the large areas of orange to the north of Nevada are fairly young volcanic rocks that extend into Idaho. there are some orange blotches to the south too. Note the pink, purple and blue bands oriented north-south, with pale yellow in between. This is the Basin and range part of the North American continent.

[The following information is from a remote sensing tutorial published by NASA.]

Major C.E. Dutton, an early explorer of the American West, described these mountains as they appeared on a map as resembling "an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico".

Hmm, I see what he's saying. Below is a color - coded relief map (relief: the ups and downs of the landscape) of NV.

The mountains are uplifted parts of older continental crust. This area was being pulled apart, slowly, and the pieces in-between sank lower. The valleys are filled with a lot of sediment that has eroded from the ranges and partially filled them up. This is what the area looks like from the air.
[End quoting]
Some of these peaks are significant. Wheeler Peak in Great Basin National Park is about 13,000 ft (4000 m) tall. What little rain or snow there is falls on these peaks and so the heights are green with pine trees, even white with snow. It is quite different from the dry, hot, desert valleys in between!

There is a wonderful part of the East Humboldt Range where erosion had sculpted the ridges in amazing ways, and the ridge is so thin that there is a hole right through it! This, of course, is called the Hole-in-the-Wall (or Lizzie's Window), near Hole-in-the-Wall Mountain. Please see this website for hiking in the area. The photos are amazing, but copyrighted, so I am not going to reproduce them here.

Las Vegas is way to the south of the state. Many areas in the middle of the state are very sparsely populated. With renewed gold mining in some areas in the north, population has grown somewhat.
Much more detail from
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology:


Thursday, November 5, 2009

Geology of Wyoming: Postcard Friendship Friday

Welcome to Postcard Friendship Friday, hosted by the lovely Marie at

"Geology - interpreting the past to provide for the future"

From the back of this postcard.
"This Geologic Map of Wyoming was reproduced from a part of Geological Highway map n. 5 (1972), Northern Rocky Mountain Region, published by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, P.O. Box 979, Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101. For a free publications list or for information on geologic and topographic map coverage of Wyoming, contact the Wyoming State Geological Survey at 307-766-2286."

Oh boy, now we are getting into complex geology. And some fantastic scenery.

The big red blob in the northwest corner of the state is Yellowstone National Park, worthy of many postcards and blog posts. South of there is Jackson Hole.

The large oval-ish brown blobs (one is under the "W" in Wyoming) are large blocks of continental crust that have been thrust upwards by plate tectonics, often bending the flat-lying surface rocks above them. The dark green and other colored rocks in the northeast corner are the WY part of South Dakota's Black Hills. Devil's Tower is also nearby. Cheyenne, the capital of WY is in the south east corner and Interstate 80 meanders across southern Wyoming.

Wyoming has many natural resources, including oil (in the aformentioned bent rocks), natural gas, coal, and uranium. A shot from NASA, showing the mountain ranges topped with snow (and portions of other states):


Friday, October 30, 2009

PFF: Geology of Montana

Nothing too creepy from me, but see Postcard Friendship Friday for more from our hostess Marie and other people playing along. I'll skip the catacombs of Paris, thank you.

Today, the big wonderful state of Montana. Haven't been to the Big Sky country? Please go, for it's really beautiful. Yellowstone is in that inside corner. Glacier National Park is not to be missed.
The legend shows igneous rocks in red and pink. Very old rocks (over 1,000,000,000 years old) are in deep orange. Lighter orange is a formation called the Belt Supergroup. This is a very thick layer of different sedimentary rocks, some with pretty coarse (boulder-sized) stream sediments. Big mountains had been uplifted nearby and were eroding in a hurry.

The blues and greens are younger, Cretaceous or the time of the dinosaurs. There are some famous fossil localities in the general area of Great Falls.

Much later, bits and pieces of the Western USA came crashing into the North American continent. In a previous post I had described mountain building as a process similar to a carpet on a hardwood floor rumpling. Here, the push was so hard and so sustained, the rocks broke along faults and slivers were pushed up on top of other pieces. Think of how you can bend a piece of wood, but if you keep bending it, it will break. The faults are shown as thin black lines, esp. in northern Montana.

The other thing to note is the white line with hash marks along it. This is the extent of continental glaciation at the height of the last Ice Age, a pretty recent event in geologic time.
Ok, enough geology, I can see your eyes glazing over. Remember, there's a quiz next Friday! ;-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - Postcard of Bedrock of Nebraska

Hello everyone to one of my favorite memes, hosted by our wonderful leader Marie, at Vintage Postcards.

Remember I am going through the USA from generally east to generally west, so hold on please for Montana and California.

We have the cut away block diagram and the legend or key on the right side, with youngest rocks (yellow orange) on top and older rocks (greens, then blues) on the bottom. Gee, just like the rock layers in Nebraska.

From the back:

"Block diagram of Nebraska Geology, on front, is available in The Groundwater Atlas of Nebraska from the Conservation and Survey Division, as is the Geological Bedrock Map of Nebraska and other maps and publications.

Nebraska Geological Survey
Conservation and Survey Division
113 Nebraska Hall
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Well! In the center of the continent there are many layers of flat-lying rocks. The bright pink at the bottom represents the old old basement rocks of the Precambrian. The thick gray layer is the Pierre (pronounced 'peer') Shale, named after the city in South Dakota, which after all is the state just north of Nebraska.
The rolling plains of the American West is here, especially in the Sandhills region of north-central Nebraska. See these beautiful photos of this area. I have driven through here, and it is a beautiful place, empty of humans, but full of grass, sky, and wind.
And FYI: Willa Cather spent her formative years in Red Cloud, Nebraska.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bedrock geology of Wisconsin PFF

With our lovely hostess Marie at Vintage Postcards. Her postcard and story this week ... Shocking!

Not so shocking: Bedrock Geology of Wisconsin

From the back: :An example of one of many maps available from the Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey. Write to the M.A.P.S. Office for a free list of publications.
Geological and Natural History Survey, 3817 Mineral Point Road, Madison, Wisconsin. "

Here in Wisconsin there are older flat-lying layers of sedimentary rocks of Devonian and Ordovician in age, but also some much older rocks. See the geologic time scale on this web page. There is also a PDF (handy when reading my blog ;-) )

Those purple and lavender rocks in northern Wisconsin are about 1000 million years old! The patches of orange are even older, about 2500 million years old! These rocks have been metamorphosed and folded - hard to escape that when you have been around so long.
There is an area in west-central Wisconsin that was not covered by ice during the last glaciation event in the Ice Ages. How do they know? because there are no piles of glacial sediments as there are in most parts of North America, and Northern Europe and Asia too. This is still pretty difficult to explain.
Catch up on your geology postcards:


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bedrock Geology of Illinois

From the back:
Sedimentary rocks ranging in age from about 510 million (Cambrian) to 290 million (Pennsylvanian) are at the bedrock surface in Illinois and were deposited in and near ancient fluctuating seas. Cretaceous sands and gravels deposited in extreme southern and western Illinois are about 100 to 66 million years old. Tertiary rocks were deposited as coastal plain and deltaic sediments between 66 and 2 million years ago. Coal, oil and gas, building stone, fluorite, clays, groundwater and other resources in the bedrock contribute several billion dollars annually to the Illinois economy.

Illinois Geological Survey, 615 East Peabody Drive, Champaign, Illinois.

In Europe, The time period correlating to the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian periods is known as the Carboniferous. It was a time of great swamps, both in physical extent and how long they lasted. Large amounts of plant material were deposited, which later changed to coal. Half of the USA’s electricity is generated from Coal-fired power plants, so this is still a major commodity. (It sells for $40 - $50 a short ton – don’t ask what a short ton is!) See more information (LOTS more) at the Energy Information Administration

Fluorite is a mineral with the chemical composition CaF2 – calcium fluoride. It is mined for the fluorine for industrial purposes.

We are in the heart of the continent – lots of flat-lying sedimentary rocks here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday - MA post office

With our lovely hostess Marie, at Vintage Postcards.

I was traveling last week and was sure to stop at this brightly painted building, that I had noticed on a previous trip to western Massachusetts.

This is the West Chesterfield MA (Massachusetts) post office at 627 Main Road (also know as State Route 143), 01084-9998. "For students and children?" Is it a museum? No it is an honest-to-goodness US Post Office. I checked on line.
Too chicken to go in (and running later for meeting a friend for lunch!) The population of West Chesterfield is 147 people.

This post office should NOT be confused with the Chesterfield MA post office, less than 2 miles away on route 143, with the zip code of 01012-9998.

Chesterfield MA has a population of 523 people.

Both these towns (I use the word loosely) reached their peak of population over 100 years ago, double (or more) what it is now. West Chesterfield is more of a hamlet. Chesterfield has two general stores, a town meeting hall, the library, a bed-and-breakfast, several churches, the ambulance/fire station garage (volunteer of course), and maybe other businesses that are not on the main road. It was founded in 1752, has few to no modern houses, no gift stores or boutiques. In other words, an untouched New England town.

P.S. When they called this place New England, they meant it! Other counties in Massachusetts are Berkshire, Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bristol, and Plymouth.

Mysterious Sentimental Landscape

An old divided back card from Europe. It may be Czech writing on the back - I cannot tell. It has that extra air of mystery that I like.

Friday, September 25, 2009

PFF: Geology of Florida

A late hello for Postcard Friendship Friday.
Published by the Florida Geological Survey, Tallahassee, FL.
From the back of the card:
"The surface and shallow subsurface of Florida is composed entirely of sedimentary rocks - limestone, dolostone, sand, and sandy clay, deposited in and near a shallow marine environment. The thick section of carbonate rocks underlying the state has given rise to our many large springs and lakes. Florida produces 75% of the nation's phosphate and has large reserves of high-quality limestone, sand, peat, fuller's earth and heavy minerals."
Florida has much fresh groundwater and caves underground and beautiful lakes and springs, such as Weeki Wachee. However, pollution that gets underground can quickly contaminate the groundwater.
Phosphate is used as a fertilizer.
I was on the road last week, so a late entry today!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Geology Postcard: Oklahoma PFF

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday, with our lovely Hostess Marie.

Published by the Oklahoma Geological Survey, Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman OK
From the back of the card:

"The geology of Oklahoma was formed through millions of years when rocks that represent each geologic time period were deposited. Sedimentary rocks dominate exposures across the state, with major areas of igneous-rock outcrops located in the Arbuckle and Wichita Mountains of south-central and south western Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Geological Survey was formed in 1908 to investigate the geology, the energy-, mineral-, and water resources of the State and to make the results available to the public."
First of all, the 'mountains' of Oklahoma are really ranges of hills. The prairie are so flat though, they must have looked impressive.
The red colors on the map are old, uplifted igneous rocks. The tan and green colors are the various sedimentary rocks. The squiggles of yellow are recent river deposits - everything since about the Ice Ages is recent to a geologist!
The cross-sections at the bottom contain some important information. This is a view sideways through the crust and you can see the bending and folding of the layers. (How do they know this? Interpretation of seismic or earthquake studies.) The Anadarko and Arkhoma basins have produced a lot of petroleum, and continue to produce oil and lots of natural gas, which is Oklahoma's main petroleum product. An overview on how these resources formed is described on a Survey webpage. Oklahoma is not living in the past however. They are investigating wind energy too.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Alabama Geology Postcard - PFF!

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! With our lovely hostess Marie.

Today's card is published by the State of Alabama Geological Survey. "Compiled from Special Map 221 of the Geological Survey of Alabama."
Hmm. The printing on the legend is pretty small on this one, and I did not scan at a super high resolution. I'll tell you though that most of the rocks in Alabama are sedimentary rocks, made from rock particles laid down by wind or more likely water.

The oldest rocks are at the bottom of the legend, and the youngest are on top. The pattern in the upper right, of different rock layers trailing from southwest to northeast, is the absolute tail end of the Appalachian Mountains. Now, the Appalachian trail ends in Georgia. No mountains here in Alabama, just low hills. But they were folded like this because of collisions between 2 tectonic plates. Yep, long ago Africa crashed hard into North America (esp. at the latitude of North Carolina), and rocks were folded and uplifted as a result. Think of a carpet on a hardwood floor rumpling. Some folds are big, but they flatten out at some distance from the dog or child doing the rumpling.

Southern Alabama is made of younger sedimentary rocks, laid down when sea level was much higher than today. Pale yellow represents the most recent river and delta sediments. The prominent bay in the south is Mobile Bay.

Happy PFF, and happy geologizing!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Happy Postcrossing!

Happy Postcrossing!

What is it? “It's a project that allows anyone to receive postcards (real ones, not electronic) from random places in the world.”

You send a postcard to an unknown person anywhere in the world. After they receive it and register it, your name goes in the queue for a random person to send a postcard to you. At the beginning, you may send up to 5 postcards at a time.

I was skeptical at first, and wondered if problems could arise – after all, you have to put in your real name and mailing address. Also I was doing this to help my 7 year old daughter with a second grade geography project. I wasn’t going to put HER name in the system!

I chose to send 4 postcards, to Finland, Australia, Germany, and Norway. This included a mom of a 2 year old, a student studying in Cologne, a woman genetics engineer. All sounded like such great interesting people! As they registered my postcards, I was free to then send more. I sent a few more postcards.

Then, a few postcards trickled in. The first was a boring card from Finland. Then one from Taiwan. Then a card from Austria with a reproduction of a painting of a beautiful Austrian princess. A scene from an Irish market town, signed by a mom with 3 children the same age as mine. Then, one from an 8 year boy in Poland, signed up and helped with his English by a neighbor. Well, my children thought this was the greatest thing! Children just like them, sending postcards! That’s when my daughter insisted she wanted her own Postcrossing account.

Since then I have exchanged with at least 3 school groups involved in Postcrossing as a school project, and one home-schooled family also involved in teaching geography this way. I have also exchanged with high school and college students, home-bound people, retirees, and people who love postcards and stamps. In 500 days I have sent 244 postcards, and received 229. I have sent or received cards from 47 countries.

Yesterday the mail delivered my biggest haul of Postcrossing postcards yet – 6!

1. Germany: From a young woman in the tourist industry.
2. Brazil: From a 13 year old boy in an English Language program, sending cards and writing in English as part of an assignment to improve his English. His card was a great photo of Rio de Janeiro.
3. Czech Republic: a man close to my age, very active in Postcrossing, from a small village near Pilsen, who sent a card of a beautiful rushing stream in a Czech nature preserve.
4. Thailand: Postcard of an elephant being trained to paint (!) from Ting.
5. Portugal: From Ana, close to my age and mom of 3 children.
6. Netherlands: from a high school student who loves music and plays the oboe.

Why do I write this entry today? Well, because I received 6 postcards in the mail… but also because I heard from A Postcard a Day that she drew my name in Postcrossing! How unusual is that? It is such a small world.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tennessee Geology Postcard

Published by the State of TN, Dept. of Conservation, Division of Geology. Modified from the Geologic Map of TN, 1966.
Color coding in the legend is for the age of the bedrock under all the loose sediments and soil. Yellow and peach are the youngest rocks, followed by green Mesozoic rocks, and the older Paleozoic rocks. All these rocks are sedimentary: limestone, shale, sandstone claystone, and coal.

The far eastern part of the state is more mountainous, and is underlain by mostly igneous and metamorphic rocks, shown in bright red and burgundy. These rocks are resistant to erosion, so stand high over time. Just to the west is a band of bright pink rocks. This is the Valley and Ridge province. Some layers are resistant and form long ridges. Other rock layers are soft, and weather to form long, somewhat narrow valleys.
More information is at this webpage by Clay Harris.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

PFF: Postcards with History: Berlin wall

Sometimes a mundane tourist postcard can be a window on history in a way that can take your breath away. That’s the case of someone doing a grand tourist tour of Europe in August 1961.

Postcard of Hanau am Main – Marktplatz, Dated Friday Aug. 25, postmarked Aug 26 1961 by the US Army Air Force Postal service. Addressed to Gregg Spence in Dayton Ohio.
“Here at Hanau, just outside Frankfurt, we found Capt. Don and family greeting us at the airport. After touring in Holland, France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland, we are glad to be with our own people. The tense feeling over Berlin has decreased somewhat. Next we go to Bremen and British Isles. When we return, I want to see if the porch roof has leaks, see back steps and find leak on big roof – [illegible]"

Just one sentence but what a piece of history. I direct you to and the Wikipedia entry on the Berlin Wall for background history.

The first iteration of the wall was constructed during the night of August 12-13, 1961. All border crossings to East Germany were closed. Barbed wire and rolled barbed wire (concertina wire) were strung up. See image below.

Streets were torn up, and the rail lines and subway lines connecting East and West were broken. Soon, the building of a solid wall began. As of August 23, citizens of West Berlin were no longer allowed to enter East Berlin. On September 20, forced evacuation of houses immediately at the border started. (People were jumping from the windows, you see, and running to West Berlin).

The West did not really respond except with words, and the building of the wall continued. Who knew what importance the Berlin Wall would have over time? At the moment, maybe a leaky roof in Dayton Ohio was more important to the writer. What aspects of history are happening today that we are overlooking?

November 9, 2009 will be the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Kentucky Geology Postcard

Published by the Kentucky Geological Survey.
From the back: "Detailed geologic maps for all areas of Kentucky, as well as reports about Kentucky's geology and mineral and water resources, are available from: Kentucky Geological Survey, 228 Mining and Mineral Resources Bldg., University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0107."
This is an older postcard, no Internet address, so I am not sure if the Survey is still at this address.

The Legend has the color coding for the rocks of different ages - the geological periods - from oldest at the bottom to youngest at top. Alluvium means recent river deposits. Yes, geology students have to memorize these names - in order too!

The rocks in Kentucky are all sedimentary rocks. the Pennsylvanian rock formations have many layers of coal, for which KY is well-known. The electricity powering my house and my laptop comes from burning coal, sending CO2 into the atmosphere.
The black lines are faults. These are areas where one side of the earth's crust has moved relative to the other side. It could have moved sideways, or up and over, or slide down and away.

Notice the line with 'teeth' on it in the lower right or southeast portion of the state. This is Pine Mountain Fault, an area where one part of the earth's crust was shoved up and over to the northwest, and the rocks are tilted as a result.
If you drew a cross section from London KY to Middlesboro KY showing the layers underneath, it might look like this image from the KY Geological Survey.

I have not been feeling well but I am getting better. And I miss Marie's posts at vintage postcards. Oh well, keep on blogging, even if no one comments. See you Friday for PFF I hope!

Monday, August 17, 2009

August Postcard scavenger Hunt: My funniest postcards

A scavenger hunt hosted by Postcardy.

First, A Ken Brown favorite. My brother was at college living much like this when this card was published - much laughter in the family.

Postcardy says: "My funniest postcards are ones that stand out in my mind from hundreds of funny, but forgettable, postcards. I always remember these."

This next one I find horrible yet funny, and unforgettable. DO NOT scroll down it you are a sensitive soul.




copyright Richard Watherwax. P.O. Box 429, Rockport, Maine 04856. Address your complaints to him. Yes it's awful. But it is unforgettable.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Geology Postcard: Earthquake hazards map

Published by the US Geological Survey.
From the back: "USGS Earthquake Hazard Map showing earthquake ground acceleration having a 10 percent probability of being exceeded in 50 years for a firm rock site condition. This map is based on seismicity and fault-slip rates and takes into account the frequency of occurrence of earthquakes of various magnitudes. Locally, hazard may be greater than that shown, because site geology may amplify ground motions. Map for other parameters and probabilities of exceedance may be found on the Internet."

OK, in everyday language:
Where earthquakes (EQ) have happened in the past, they are likely to happen again. We also know the location of the San Andreas fault and other faults. These areas are likely to have earthquake shaking in the future.
Big earthquakes are rare but the ground shakes a lot. Little earthquakes are more common but the shaking is much less.

Red areas can be interpreted as areas where EQ are likely to happen in the future, and the shaking will likely be pretty strong. This includes the San Andreas fault area in California, but also the area from Death Valley north along the state line. Also Yellowstone National Park. White areas are safest. In terms of statistics, Wisconsin and Minnesota have had the least number of earthquakes of all the states.

Surprising areas of past EQ activity: Charleston, SC. There was a devastating EQ there in the 1880's and nothing much since. Central USA: 3 huge EQ's in 1811 - 12 that knocked down most houses, scared the **** out of everyone, dropped large areas of the land and momentarily made the Mississippi River run backward. Click on that link if you don't believe me. Still, many tiny earthquakes happen in that area weekly.

See a map of current earthquake activity at There are several largish earthquakes in the world EACH DAY.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Miami Beach postcard folder- PFF

Happy Postcard Friendship Friday! See Marie's webpage for more fun!

Sent to Miss Margaret Spence, Woodbridge, Conn., from Mrs. George Pierce of Providence RI. Postmarked 1947.
After MuseSwings did her series of postcards from Private Burns, Florida post cards jump out at me. (You must see her series of posts of his 5 postcards sent to his wife Anna during WW2.) I noticed a group of postcards at an antique mall, with the Miami Beach folder on top.

A folder holds a number of images, in a fan fold. They are not for mailing individually because they are printed with images on both sides.

Pvt. Burns also sent a postcard of the 41st street bridge, which crosses over to the wealthy community of Indian Creek. Muse Swings has described this area well.
"Exclusive Hotels on Collins Avenue." This is just like the postcard sent by Pvt. Burns! See this Post by MuseSwings. Yep, even down to the clouds and the cars on the street. Above that image, some "palatial ocean front hotels". I wonder if they have been replaced by gigantic high rises.

And finally two more scanned images. The classic palm trees and sunbathers, but also a less scenic image of the MacArthur Causeway connecting Miami and Miami Beach. And a blimp. Somehow I'm attracted to blimp postcards.
Note the drawbridge. It has been replaced with a new high bridge. This picture from Wikipedia, is, I think, taken from the same angle.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

New Jersey Geology Postcard

Published by the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Science and Research, Geological Survey, 1997.

From the back: "New Jersey's rocks and sediments record 1.5 billion years of geologic history and hold valuable mineral resources and ground water. Minerals production includes approximately $ 290 million per year in sand, gravel, crushed stone, glass sand, peat, clay, and greensand. Groundwater is pumped at over 535 million gallons per day, providing about 40 per cent of the drinking water used by the state's 7.95 million people."

Large quantities of sand gravel, etc are needed to make concrete. Crushed stone is the bottom layer of road beds, including railroad beds, so these items are needed in bulk. glassware of all types starts with a good clean quartz sand. Clay is used in paper-making and many other things as well as pottery. Greensand is a soil amendment, added if soils are too basic.

Groundwater is, simply, water under the ground. It is pumped out for irrigation if needed, but in the East it supplies water for people. Americans use a lot of water every day! Drinking, bathing, cleaning, preparing foods... and many factory processes require water also.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Don't spill Diet Coke on your laptop!

Friday I was arranging books on a shelf when an old Diet Coke can fell over, spilling a bit of flat soda on my keyboard before falling to the floor and spilling most of the rest of the contnets on the carpet. Computers that have not been "rugged-ized" (is that a word?) do not like this. Monday, I think it's off to the computer reapir shop. Be careful out there people! Oh yeah, and back up your files.
I am on the home laptop now - I'll get more geology postcards to you soon.

Friday, July 31, 2009

PFF: New Hampshire Geology

Staying in the east, following Massachusetts geology (see older post). Just to the north of Massachusetts, New Hampshire is known as the Granite State, and with good reason. Much of the northern portion of the state is underlain by igneous rocks, especially granite. To the south, the blue, purple and green hues indicate various metamorphic rocks, but look a those big blobs of yellow and pink. Those are the igneous rocks. Magma pooled underground long ago and slowly solidified, forming large crystals of different minerals. It could look like this:
New Hampshire's emblem is the Old Man of the Mountain. Formed out of a series of rock ledges, projecting out over a valley, viewed from a certain angle it looked like a craggy face. Until May 2003, that is. The rock ledges had been weakened by erosion and part of the face broke off. This New Hampshire website has more information and photos.

Happy PFF and Happy Geology!
See Marie's website for more postcards!


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