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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

From Microscopic Kaolinite Booklets to Macroscopic Sequence Stratigraphy in the Book Cliffs of Colorado and Utah

          Kaolinite is a clay mineral with a microscopic structure resembling long booklets as seen in this Scanning Electron Micrograph (SEM):


     
           I recently learned that the name is derived from the Chinese Kao-Ling, a village in Jiangxi province, China, where kaolinite was first named. The name entered English in 1727 from the French version of the word, kaolin. Can you read these kaolinite booklets?


          Kaolinite's chemical formula is Al2Si2O5(OH)4. Rocks that are rich in kaolinite are also known as china clay



           Kaolinite is used in the production of ceramics, 
as a filler for paint, rubber and plastics, in anti-diarrhearal products, and to produce glossy magazine paper (which brings us to books and the Book Cliffs. . .)

        We now segue from the microscopic to the macroscopic  Book Cliffs of western Colorado and eastern Utah:




           I have spent a fair amount of time in the Book Cliffs studying the sequence stratigraphy described there extensively in the 1980's by Exxon geologists.  Stratigraphy in a chronostratigraphic framework emphasizes unconformities and other time disruptions. 



      Sequence stratigraphy is the alternative to a lithostratigraphic approach which emphasizes similarity of the lithology of rock units rather than time significance. Sequence stratigraphy is a revolutionary change (akin to plate tectonics) in looking at the generation of rock layers. A good primer on sequence stratigraphy is linked here (Motto: The data are in the strata).





       Sequence stratigraphy: can you read it like a book?

Stratigraphically,
Steph



44 comments:

  1. Steph,

    That last Book Cliffs photo reminds me of the avocado/chese/lettuce,sour cream dip I made a few weeks back for the Big Game, although my dip was more of a Cliff-notes version of those majestic formations.

    Are they called Book Cliffs because of the fanned-out open-book appearance in the previous photo? (Actually looks more like golden locks of hair) Or is it because the strata in the “salad photo” kind of resemble pages? Or are they just named after some guy (or gal!) named Book?

    You say stratigraphy. Dubya says strategery. Why don’t you two just call the whole thing off?

    Kaopectate related to kaolin?

    LegoProDiarrhearal

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    Replies
    1. Yes, Lego, Kaopectate was originally kaolin (to absorb water) + pectin, but is now bismuth subsalicylate, the same thing as Pepto-Bismol (which is why they now market it for problems besides diarrhea).

      A little-known (alas!) related compound is bismuth subgallate, sold under the trade name Devrom as an, ahem, internal deodorant, for people with colostomies, fecal incontinence, irritable bowel syndrome, etc. Not for me; my shit doesn't stink.

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    2. Lego, thanks for the dip connections. I believe people thought they looked like stacked books but, hey, their origin could be an open book also.

      jan, why the switch from kaolinite to the bismuth compounds? Always interesting to see where this conversation starts. . .and ends.

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    3. It used to be that OTC meds in wide use were "grandfathered" by the FDA, and manufacturers weren't required to submit proof of safety and effectiveness. They've given that up, and the makers of Kaopectate (and others) decided it was easier to switch than fight.

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    4. You know you're a nerd when chip-and-dip makes you think of integrated circuits in their dual in-line packages, rather than Doritos and guac.

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    5. Haha. I got some of that when Trader Joe's opened here last year -- just for the packaging. The guac was unremarkable.

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    6. Was the kaolinite ineffective or dangerous or perhaps both? A little googling found folks eating kaolinite in some countries, particularly countries in Africa.

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    7. In the presence of my high school chem prof, I would always refer to 602, 300, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 000 as “Avocado’s Number.” ( I didn’t have the guts, though, to do that on exams.) This discussion reminds me fondly of the first puzzle I posted on Puzzleria!, “Mop-up needed in produce!”

      I was a real wise-ass teen. Whenever I was served that red, white and brown ice cream I would invariably ask for seconds of “Napolean.” (Okay, I just googled images for “red white blue ice cream Neapolitan” and all I got were pictures of red- white and brown Neapolitan ice cream. Some ice cream companies are missing the boat on a natural seasonal Fourth of July flavor: strawberry, vanilla and blueberry “Patriopolitan” ice cream!

      Speaking of brown, jan, the waste by-products of my body’s processing of food do not stink either. They are the fragrance of roses and lavender.

      Well, now that I’ve brought PEOTS down completely into the toilet…

      LegoMarketingGenius!

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    8. Yah sure, you guys win the elimination round.

      Wow, > 3/4 year at Joseph Young's Puzzleria. Yeah!

      Where'd all those extra spaces come from in Avogadro's number? Does that make it even larger?

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    9. I don't think anyone's shown kaolin to be unsafe or ineffective; it's just that no one wants to go through the expensive testing needed to get approval for a cheap, generic med like that.

      As for eating white dirt in Africa, we discussed pica here last August.

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    10. And I just changed the type size here. Not elitest! ;-)

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    11. I'd forgotten about our pica discussion. I have often wondered why humans don't eat grass like Maizie or other dogs or cats. It seems to help their digestive health.

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    12. I'm just as happy not eating what I've seen dogs and cats eat, thank you very much. And I think Lego and I have already established that our digestive health is exceptionally fine. Haven't coughed up a hairball all day.

      Speaking of what animals eat, and (as always) of penguins, did you catch this morning's NPR story which said (sort of) that they eat fish because they can't taste them? If their taste buds were frozen, they'd probably prefer Napolean ice cream or Doritos and guac, like the rest of us.

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    13. Thinking I ought to rename this blog "Penguin Ellipsis of the Snow" ;-). "Savorfish" was a new term for me. My savorfish is swordfish :-).
      Eating stuff you can't taste-huh. . .

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    14. [Make that, "If their taste buds WEREN'T frozen..."!]

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    15. Thinking I ought to rename this blog "Penguin Ellipsis of the Snow" ;-). "Savorfish" was a new term for me. My savorfish is swordfish :-).
      Eating stuff you can't taste-huh. . .

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    16. And, speaking of hairballs, is BEZOAR a great word, or what?

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    17. Yea, I knew what you meant.

      The double posting thing seems to happen when two people are posting simultaneously. Happened at Blaine's also.

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    18. BEZOAR is a great word. It brought to mind some dinosaurs and birds and gastroliths.

      Ever treat a persimmon-induced bezoar with Coca-Cola?

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    19. Never treated a bezoar of any kind, unless you count the beer bottle cap that a kid swallowed while I was on my GI rotation (we snagged it with an endoscope). If the Coke doesn't do the trick, some Mentos would probably help, explosively.

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    20. Steph,

      Sorry about those superfluous spaces that cropped up in Avocado's Number. I used a space pen to write it....

      Okay, busted! I am online. I use no pens. I admit, I used a keyboard to submit my comment. But it does have a space key on it.

      LegoWellIsn'tThatSpatial

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    21. Your signatures are so humourous, Lego. Imagine if you wrote them with those pens! Although, perhaps they might be more pensive. Or, alternatively, expensive. ;-)

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    22. Oops! Sorry again. Not "space key." I meant space bar.

      LegoWanKenobi

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    23. I kinda saw that coming, Lego, but I enjoyed seeing that clip again. ¡Gracias!

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    24. Of course, I have long had one of those AG7 space pens. The Fisher Space Pen company, founded by Paul Fisher, make a variety of pens, including some with gold from the wreck of the Spanish sailing ship Atocha, recovered by treasure hunter Mel Fisher. What I can't figure out is whether the two Fishers are related (other than by business)?

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  2. And it's good to know there are fellow logomaniacs around. . .

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    Replies
    1. Of course, we have some legomaniacs over here as well!

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  3. Replies
    1. I can overlook the Carnegie Mellon error, I suppose, and long for the days of no e-mail but actual envelopes in the mail. [My son told me he didn't get into Brown U. when he got home from school. He waited all of dinner time and all of my best "It wasn't the right place for you, etc" to say "Just kidding, mom!"] Can't overlook the OK antics over the AP exam though. Ridiculous.

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    2. UMass Amherst has announced that they're reversing their ban on Iranian students.

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    3. Good. I didn't think that could last very long.

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  4. Replies
    1. This looks great. Looking forward to a WegnerFest this evening.

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  5. Replies
    1. Ha! Wild that the media has turned this frozen fountain into a "geyser!"

      60 degrees here.

      We may get some geyser weather and up to a foot of snow this weekend.

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  6. Replies
    1. I'd only seen one shirt so far. Pi sure has grown in popularity, all tau-ing aside.

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  7. Does anyone else think "I see what you did there" is not such a subtle way to acknowledge a pun as in Urban Dictionary's "A common turn of phrase on the internet, generally used as an expression of quiet, subdued admiration for one's wit. Especially appropriate after a particularly deft pun."

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  8. Does anyone else think "I see what you did there" is not such a subtle way to acknowledge a pun as in Urban Dictionary's "A common turn of phrase on the internet, generally used as an expression of quiet, subdued admiration for one's wit. Especially appropriate after a particularly deft pun."

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  9. These seem like pretty sketchy sources, but is there anything of interest/concern here?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/23/holes-siberia-investigation-safety_n_6736744.html

    http://siberiantimes.com/science/casestudy/news/n0127-dozens-of-mysterious-new-craters-suspected-in-northern-russia/

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    Replies
    1. Maybe. But, likening them to mushrooms was just odd.

      They are pretty spectacular craters.

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  10. New post on "From Bdellium to Bdelloid Rotifers: Scrabble and Science Merge" is up. Happy BDay!

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