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Friday, August 23, 2013

Ground Water Modeling ...not for the weak heart

Okay so this is a class at Iowa State in the Geology Program. It was a 400 or 500 level class depending on if you were a graduate student. Anyhow Bill Simpkins taught the class very well and even though there was only 11 or so of us, I had a great time....anyhow here is a snippet from his class.


Hydrology is the study of the groundwater. Well mostly anyhow...geology of the groundwater is about how water gets out of the ocean and into an aquifer. Water moves through the groound much like how electricity moves through any sort of medium. Ohms law governs electricity....Darcys law governs water moving in the saturated zone.  Q = -KIA is the secret equation.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What is Pure Sand? SiO2...Its called Arkosic Arenite

This is a lesson I learned very early on at Field Camp...its about the difference in grade of sand. Pure sand is a collection of very mature quarts crystals...the term mature here refers to the idea that as sand is transported from one place to another the sand as a whole will loose various weaker minerals. If the sand moves around from sea to mountain and it makes it all the way to the middle of a large craton (this would be the interior of the continental USA).


craton,  the stable interior portion of a continent characteristically composed of ancient crystalline basement rock. The term craton is used to distinguish such regions from mobile geosynclinal troughs, which are linear belts of sediment accumulations subject to subsidence (i.e., downwarping). The extensive central cratons of continents may consist of both shields and platforms. A shield is that part of a craton in which (usually) Precambrian basement rocks crop out extensively at the surface. By contrast, in a platform the basement is overlain by horizontal or subhorizontal sediments

  • classification  (in  sedimentary rock: Classification of sandstones) whose sand grains consist of at least 95 percent quartz. If the sand grains consist of more than 25 percent feldspar (and feldspar grains are in excess of rock fragments), the rock is termed arkosic arenite or “arkose,” although such sandstones are also somewhat loosely referred to as feldspathic sandstones. In subarkosic arenite (or subarkose), feldspar sand grains likewise...

 Above is a chunk of quartz sandstone. 
This type of deposit is referred to as Arkosic Arenite. 
The term describes the pureness of the sandstone. 

Below is an image of sand that is mostly only Quartz grains. 
This pure sand will be moved and deposited permanently somewhere
and will form a new layer of this pure Arenitic sandstone. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Silicate Part 2 - Sorosilicates

After the Neso and Ortho silicates come the Sorosilicates.
These are less in number than the first type of silicon mineral and their crystal structure is a bit more complex. Their structure is more like isolated clusters of double tetrahedra  that attach at the points where they can share an oxygen molecule.

Tanzinite (Ca2Al3(SiO4)(Si2O7)O(OH)) is an example of a Sorosilicate. Not exceedingly interesting but these double tetrehedra are the next step in the silicate family. From here on out the structure gets more complicated quickly.   

Thursday, August 8, 2013

DIY Whole House Renovation Update - August 2013

Well it has been a long struggle to make some progress, but I think we are almost finally done destroying stuff in the house and ready to put stuff back together. Currently I am working with a company to get some HVAC installed....yes the house was without central air for about 3 months......but it will finally be back in very soon! This whole process has been incredibly challenging for me and my significant other....but we are keeping out heads up and working forward to get back into the house.
Lucky for us we found some friends that would let us live with them for a few months...otherwise this project would have been much, much more difficult.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Silicates Part 3 - Cyclosilicate

Next in our journey through the silicates is the cyclosilicate. This silicate uses the same building blocks as the previous silicates...except this time there are more of them and in a complete ring formation. As we continue through the silicates you will notice the structure gets more and more complicated, but every silicate is still made from the original units known as tetrahedrons (SiO4)

A good example is the mineral Benitonite (BaTi(Si3O9))
-3 ring formation

Or an Emerald Be3Al2(SiO3)8
-6 ring formation

Fun Fact:
Emeralds are much more rare than diamonds....yet diamonds are still more expensive.