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I'm a consulting geologist for a small company in the Denver area. I study problems related to active tectonics, using geomorphology, structural geology and remote sensing.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


That's the windspeed right now... 32 sustained with gusts over 70mph. I had thought I might go for a bike ride today, but with my chances of being blown over approaching certainty I'll opt instead to go do some work in a solid brick building that doesn't shake when the wind blows. If you were to stand on top of the flatirons with a paragliding chute today, you'd end up in Kansas, or at least Denver.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008


just reading up on the Great Sumatran Tsunami and Mw 9.2 (Mw=Moment Magnitude) "megathrust" earthquake of Dec 26th, 2004. Megathrusts are actually very common all around the globe, but the term has only recently reached a status of common recognition amongst the scientific community. It refers to the faults that run along subduction zone boundaries, which are larger and more laterally extensive than normal continental thrust faults. Anyway, I just like the word "Megathrust"... it kind of reminds me of Megatron (the leader of the evil Decepticons of the fictional Transformers characters)... of course megathrust earthquakes are morally and ethically neutral, being hazards of a geologically active planet, but I suppose if one were to think of a particular natural disaster as evil it would have to be this kind of earthquake. The 9.2 EQ and tsunami four years ago caused the deaths of more than a quarter-million people.


Sunday, January 20, 2008

still stuck...

in procrastination mode. Not that I actually have any work due for this semester yet, but I'm referring to work that needs to be completed from last fall.

Fall 07 was probably my second-least favorite semester of my entire academic career, but unfortunately it's not really over yet. I still have a few unfinished loose ends to take care of but I feel so burned out on them. I finally seem to be over the cold that floored me a while ago, and every neuron in my brain is telling me I should be out enjoying the snow and the sun... except that one single brain cell that's tied directly into my guilt gland.

Anyway, I'm heading home (from my office) and I'll try to keep working on this stuff, but if my work over the past week is any indication, chances are I will not get much done. ugh.


Sunday, January 13, 2008


So, as a result of further procrastination today, I've just run across something called the ULHS, or "Ultimate Lindy-Hop Showdown" series. It's a swing dancing contest series that runs annually. The funny thing about this is that these competitions feature a guy I went to highschool with quite prominently... apparently he's a dance instructor in DC now. It's interesting to run across people you've known in such a random way, but Skye seems like one of those guys who would naturally be visible to a lot of people (in a good way). I was actually looking for some you-tube videos of "Locking" and found some old videos of the Charleston dance style (from the '20s and '30s), which is very similar to some modern kinds of break dancing, and then into swing dancing. Anyway, check out the following clip... Skye's not in this one, but his regular dance partner (Frida) is.


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Finally, some new posts...

I'm back (more or less) from meetings, holiday breaks, injury (a badly sprained ankle) and sickness. At the moment I'm just sitting in my office and procrastinating while I should be working on some loose ends from last semester, but I decided to finally put some new material up here and let people who check this blog know that I'm still alive.

After the harrowing suck-fest that was the fall semester I'm eager to start the next few months of work. I'm finally done with the banal classwork that has been the bane of my graduate career to date. I will be working more closely with my advisor on my research and attending lectures on active tectonics and structural kinematics for the first time since coming back to school... it only took three years!

Anyway... I'm back, hopefully this finds all of you well and healthy at the start of this new year.


eastern forests

The following was written while flying from VA to CO about a week ago...

wow... it's really been a while. as I recall, my last public post of anything related to my life was something about having passed my comprehensive exam. I think that happened about two months ago, but I suppose in reality it was really about 4 weeks ago. plenty has happened since that time, and I'm not referring to political elections in the united states and political demonstrations in Africa, united nations peacekeepers involvement in Darfur, political assassinations in Pakistan and also in Africa, and the opening of bidding for oil rights in Alaska's wilderness...

yes there have been many interesting and mostly disturbing developments in world politics and policy over the last few weeks, but I'll talk about things on a more personal level. I think I mentioned during my last post that I was in the midst of a most-hellish semester, which saw me approach historical levels of stress bordering on mental breakdown. luckily for me, that semester is over. I'm flying home now, leaving the south-eastern united states ( a region of the country which I have never enjoyed, but now holds a new and worthy reason for my renewed attention) and headed back to Colorado. as much as I enjoyed myself over this holiday break, I find myself breathing a sigh of relief as I return home. I'm grew up in the east, albeit the northeast and newengland, and many things about returning to the countryside and forests of the eastern seaboard were wonderful. I immersed myself in the smells and sights of oak and laurel forests... the aroma of wet soil and fallen leaves heightened by the cold rain overcoming my senses and reminding me so vividly of fond memories from my childhood. ...also, but to a much lesser degree of some memories from my childhood which were decidedly bittersweet, or in some cases just bitter.

I recently attended the annual American Geophysical Union's meeting in SF, along with some 15000 other geoscientists, in early December. AGU is always an amazing and overwhelming collection of talks, posters and many of the most influential minds in our field of science. The climate change researchers were out in force, and were a major contributing factor to the increase in general attendance this year... up a few thousand from last year alone. I myself gave a talk to room of close to 100, thanks in large part to going immediately after one of the most influential structural geologists of the last two decades, John Suppe. My interpretations and field models actually clashed somewhat with his, but I only received two questions which were very benign during the Q&A portion of the talk. The more time I spend at these conferences the more I realize that these researchers and scientists, who are held in such high regard, are really my colleagues; people who I will be working and arguing with for the rest of my career... assuming I end up in an academic position and continue along the path that I have begun to follow.

Growing up in the hills of maple and gorges of slate in central new york, I was surrounded by academics for as long as I can remember. Cornell University was always a fixture in my life, in some way or another. I was friends with children of professors, my parents were students there, my dad taught there for a short while, and many of their friends were on staff there. I rode my bike through the campus, often at irresponsible speeds down crowded staircases and through the plazas, to eventually attend, teach and work there myself.

The soils in Ithaca are of higher organic content that the red clays of the southeast; clays which when wet can wreak havoc on a sprained ankle during an easy walk in the rain if one is not careful. the overall feel of the forests is similar though, and so different from the open grasslands and evergreen forests of Lodge-Pole and Ponderosa in Colorado. Revisiting those eastern forests brought to light just how much I have accepted the western mountains as my new home and how free I feel here... but also reminded me quite vividly of my Yankee roots.