Saturday, June 13, 2009

What do you mean, “if”?

Lockwood, our accretionary wedge compiler for this month, wants to know what I would do if I had a time machine. What is this “if” business? I work in a SHRIMP lab, and the SHRIMP is a time machine. For the past 5 months I’ve been commuting to the early Proterozoic to see how one of Australia’s major ore-bearing tectonic regions was assembled.

So, there’s no *If* about it. I time travel every day. The thing is, so do most geologists. That’s what we do. Geology is a type of investigative reporting where we piece together stories from hundreds of millions of years ago by extracting eyewitness accounts from whichever rocks happened to be witness to the events that interest us. Being a dastardly sort of geologists, I simply do this by torture. I stick the rocks in a steel chamber, suck the air out, and then blast them with an ion beam until they talk.

So, a more appropriate question is, where do I take my time machine, and for that question, I give you this: A probability density diagram for my geochronological career. Note that my current project is embargoed, and thus is not represented. Expect the period 1500-2100 to fill up one it becomes available.

Figure 1. A probability density diagram of all my geochronology.

* This is like one of those placeholder abstracts you see at big meetings, only even more blatant. A big slab of the data I want to plot is not actually available- I’ve been working on the paper at work at nights and on weekends, and only have the raw data at home, which I can’t be bothered reducing all over again just for blogular expediency. So I’m slide the figure in whenever I get a chance sometime in the next few days.


BrianR said...

very nice peak ... I've been redoing a bunch of dz plots for paper revisions just yesterday and today ... good times

Lockwood said...