Geo-Joint: Parrotfish and Groundwater

Parrotfish

Ah, Hawaii, that endless font of fascinating geographical oddments. For all the damage that thousands of years of invading species and tourists have done to that paradise, it still manages to be a wonderous locale. The lava that pours up from the depths builds the basis of the islands, but the erosion of rain and waves grinds the lava into … Read More

Geo-Joint: Guinea

Guinea

Geek that I am, this Geo-Joint involves two of my favorite things: words and geography. The etymology of today’s word/place name ties together location and a bit of history, and not surprisingly wanders off into rabbit holes of hard-to-verify factoids. What we know for sure is that the name “Guinea” pops up in a trio of West African country names, to wit: Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, and Equatorial Guinea, the last of which sits on the Gulf of Guinea.

Geo-Joint: Ancient Zircons

zircon

I’ve been keen on geology and biology for a long time, but despite what some say, I didn’t actually witness the initial development of single celled life. Nor was anybody there to start a stopwatch when the Earth was formed, but with clever methods, geo-chemists have pegged the age of the Earth at about 4.54 billion years…

Geo-Joint: ‘Skeeters

mosquito

They’re tiny, they’re easy to miss, and they have very little physical strength. But they have the power to knock you flat and bring big changes to our way of life. Today, the story of these little invaders.

Geo-Joint: Palm Oil Fires

palm oil fires

The versatility of palm oil is impressive. It is used in countless foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, biofuel, and industrial applications. It has become a mainstay in the economy of many tropical countries. The race to develop this crop is headlong, and the costs of its unchecked growth are sobering. Palm oil production occurs throughout the tropics on huge monoculture farms which are planted on land formerly occupied by rainforest…

Geo-Joint: Celestial Navigation – Then and Now

Celestial Navigation

Early humans (and their predecessors) wandered all over the landscape for thousands of years, noting mountains, and rivers, and big trees, and rock formations to give them an idea of where they were and where they were going.

Geo-Joint: Yellowstone’s Explosive Potential

Yellowstone

Yellowstone National Park is justly famous for its geysers, steaming pools and mudpots. The hot geologic features of the park are the remnants of three enormous volcanic explosions that left three calderas covering nearly 1,000 square miles.

Geo-Joint: Beaver Back on the Job

Beaver

Birds build nests. So do rats. Termite mounds are pretty impressive. But what other animal (nevermind us) builds anything so impressive as does the beaver?

Geo-Joint: The Southern Ocean

Southern Ocean

Geographic name changes for large expanses of the earth’s surface aren’t all that common. The breakup of the Soviet Union presented such a moment decades ago, and the one we’ll focus on today isn’t breaking news either. It cropped up 15 years ago and isn’t universally accepted yet. But its story is interesting and illustrates the tenacity of established geographic … Read More