Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Geology Sonnets!

Here in Australia, it is National Science Week, and I have been surprised and delighted at the bizarre and creative ways that many people around Canberra have been celebrating science.  It is inspirational, to the point where I might try to join in.  So in this spirit, I give you Geology Sonnets.  These are articles from the high-profile scientific journal Geology, presented in the form of Elizabethan verse. I don’t know how many of these I will get through this week, but here is the first:

Just Sixty-six million short years ago
(Though Deccan volcanism coincides)
The Yucatan was smote a cosmic blow
And the Gulf shelf collapsed in those fell tides
Late Cretaceous sediments were scoured,
Deposited as “boundary cocktail.”
Unsorted forams, lime mudstone, powered
By Chicxulub-induced collapse of shale
The wildcatters call the seismic line
“Middle Cretaceous Unconformity”
Not middle, end; deluvian, malign,
Complete destructive uniformity
The Mesozoic ended with this splat
So Gerta Keller, please hang up your hat

Richard A. Denne, Erik D. Scott, David P. Eickhoff, James S.Kaiser, Ronald J. Hill, and Joan M. Spaw (2013) Massive Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary deposit, deep-water Gulf of Mexico: New evidence for widespread Chicxulub-induced slope failure.
Geology 41, 983-986


The single largest-known mass wasting deposit has been identified at the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) boundary in the deep-water Gulf of Mexico, in 31 industry-drilled wells and on seismic data, corresponding to the “MCU” (middle Cretaceous unconformity) horizon. The deposit has an average thickness of 10–20 m on the upper slope and 90–200 m on the lower slope and basin floor, and is on an unconformity that represents 9 m.y. to 85 m.y. The deposit contains the distinctive association of lithic fragments, impact-derived material, and reworked microfossils (i.e., the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary “cocktail”) associated with the Chicxulub impact, and is predominantly composed of graded pelagic carbonates. These new findings substantiate widespread slope failure induced by the Chicxulub impact and provide further evidence of a single impact coincident with the K-Pg mass extinction.

Other geosonnets: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

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