Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A month to go!

With just under a month to go until I move, I'm trying to get in as much of the Twin Cities (my home) before heading away again for a few years. I've been doing a lot of biking around where I live, and one of my favorite places to bike is the trail along the Mississippi River between the Ford Parkway Bridge and Shadow Falls. Can't beat that view!

View along the Mississippi River at Shadow Falls Park, St. Paul, Minnesota
I'm standing atop the Platteville Limestone, which forms a bit of a cap or ledge over the underlying Glenwood Shale and St. Peter Sandstone. The layers form nice blocky steps on the way down, and if you look closely, some of them have brachiopod fossils. A great description of the park can be found here by the Equatorial Minnesota blog.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cephalopod Week!

I was lacking in desk flair to share for #CephalopodWeek, so here's an arthropod instead, in its natural habitat.

While on a geology field trip through Texas and New Mexico, we stayed at Monahans Sandhills State Park one night and went hunting for scorpions. I had never seen a scorpion before, and I had no idea they fluoresced! The little ones we saw glowed a bright green under the black light. So, I decided to get this little guy at the gift shop to remember it.

Both cephalopods and arthropods have been around since the Cambrian, so are of particular interest to paleontologists. Today, most people would recognize cephalopods as octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish, and arthropods as insects, arachnids, and crustaceans.

During the Ordovician, around 480 million years ago, the most famously known cephalopods were the nautiloids:

Orthoceras BW.jpg

And of course the arthropod everyone knows and loves, the trilobite:

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

New Blog

"Come back with your PhD, or on it" - said the Minnesotan mother to her son as he left to the Temple (University).

Welcome! I decided to create this new blog in order to accomplish a few things:
  1. To share my experiences, from start to finish, of pursuing a PhD in Earth Science.
  2. To write about topics of interest to myself - namely, interesting areas of research, books, and research conferences.
  3. To keep myself motivated and provide a creative workspace for me to vent, joke, and entertain.
Some topics I'll likely blog about:
  • Science education and news
  • Geology, hydrology, and earth science
  • Geospatial information systems and remote sensing applications
  • Science literature, both journals and books
  • Life as a PhD student

A little about myself, and what I'm doing...

I'm currently a 30-year old Minnesotan guy with a background in geology - earned my Bachelors in southeast Minnesota, focusing on GIS and aviation science, and my Masters in southwest Missouri, focusing on karst hydrology and geophysics. For the last three years I've been a groundwater protection hydrologist with the Minnesota Department of Health. In a few weeks, I'll be moving to Philadelphia, where I'll be pursuing my PhD in Earth Science at Temple University, focusing again on karst hydrology.

From my time in and out of school, I've learned that I am very much an academia-shaped cog, and I'm in my element when researching and helping others learn. Professorhood is my calling, so join me as I share my adventures here.

Again, welcome!