Pokemon Geology Series: Camerupt

12 04 2012

I spent some time sorting through my past posts and stumbled upon my post about basalt columns found in a transition screen in Pokemon. The post, coupled with a few weeks of playing a few of the versions, made me think about how some of the pokemon are based on elements of geology. It also made me wonder how exactly some of these “creatures” function.

TAKE NOTE! this series will get nerdy, childish, and incredibly fun.  But since I am still without a working camera, I have to manage.  Who knows? this may catch on.

Let’s start with introducing the subject of the post today, Camerupt, known as the “eruption” pokemon, it has an affinity for both ground and fire, perfect for volcanism, right? So what does this fiery beast look like? Well, here it is….

Awwww look how adorable this lil’ guy is.  But that’s beside the point, lets discuss the geo-anatomy.  Right off the bat, it looks like a Bactrian Camel, but its humps appear to be composite volcanoes, now we know why it’s called the eruption pokemon (besides the fact its signature move/main form of defense is a volcanic eruption).  But, what drives the eruption? what makes this creature create its form of defense? I have a few ideas as to how it can create a full blown volcanic event.

Lets go over how the camel makes its magma.  Start with the humps, they’re rock, which can provide the melt needed for an eruption.  The heat needed to melt the rock can be due to a chemical reaction inside the animal’s body(like the bombardier beetle creating boiling fluid and shooting it).  Which begs the question, what would be the rock type/magma type camerupt uses? Look at the volcanoes, they aren’t shield volcanoes, and if the eruptions are explosive, then its most likely that the magma/rock type is felsic, with high amounts of silica.

Some of the water camerupt drinks can be used to add volatiles to the magma, increasing pressure which would lead to a more explosive eruption.  This could also account for multiple uses of eruption to weaken with each succession (without water replenishment)  both water vapor and magma are being spent. lets look at a diagram of this process….

Any rock lost from the melt might be replaced by residue melt solidifying inside the humps, as well as on the outside by lava flowing on the sides of the humps.  Overall, this would probably be a very quick process and would impart a good amount of stress on the animal, which would cause this defense mechanism to be used sparingly.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing this post, i grew up playing pokemon and to be able to tie it in with another one of my passions is a treat.  Hopefully people enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.

Geologic Bucket List: Banff, Alberta

1 02 2012

I may be unveiling this item a tad early, since it is where I would like to find myself settling down.  Today’s location on my geologic bucket list is Banff, Alberta.  Located on the Canadian Rockies, I first heard about the town from my grandfather who found himself there long before I was even a thought.  He had stumbled upon the small town when he was travelling through Canada and his train had to be stopped in Banff due to inclement weather.   He then called home and jokingly proclaimed he would never return due to the beauty of the town….

Thanks Wikipedia!

Fast forward 40-something years, enter Joe Maloney on field camp in the U.S. Rockies.  Camp decides to take a break from mapping and take a slight detour to Glacier National Park.  Now, I had already gained an affection of glacial morphology from a geomorphology paper I had composed, but seeing the real deal, that was something else.  The sights (and the proximity to Canada itself) brought me back to stories from my grandfather about “the most beautiful place he had ever been.”  Enter my vision of finding myself in Banff.  One day I will experience what my grandfather experienced, and one day I will get to make my own adventures in this small town of roughly 8,000 people.  One day i will visit Banff National park and hike through the Canadian Rockies and separate myself from pretty much all civilization (for the most part).  And one night I will get to see something like this, something that my grandfather saw almost 40 years ago…..

Once again...Thanks Wikipedia!!

Geologic Bucket List: Salar de Uyuni

25 01 2012

Whats that? I am too young to start a bucket list? BOOHOCKEY! I can start a list whenever I want!

Anywho, I want to start sharing some of the places on Earth I would kill to visit. And to start off the list, I will present a post  about the Salar de Uyuni. A salt flat located in Southwestern Bolivia…..

Obtained from Reddit user "ametron"

Beautiful? Isn’t it?

These salt flats are the largest in the world coming in at 10.5 thousand square kilometers.  The flats first origins can be traced to a saltwater lake in Bolivia somewhere around 42,000 years ago.  Over time, the lake could not be recharged with water and eventually evaporated, leaving the salt flats behind.

I would love to make an excursion to these flats soon, and preferably after it rains to witness the “mirror effect” that can be seen in the picture.

The Burgess Mail

5 12 2011

As my first semester as a master’s student/lab instructor comes to a close, I decided to reflect back on how teaching and post-grad work have shaped my email inbox.  And during my ruminations, an email came in directing me to a very informative website from the Royal Ontario Museum  covering a subject I find quite interesting, the Burgess Shale.

The Burgess (which is located in the Yoho National Park in British Columbia)  made its claim to fame a little over a century ago when scientists discovered it hosted a treasure trove of fossils from the Cambrian explosion (of life, not destruction).  The interesting thing about the organisms preserved is that whole communities of soft-bodied organisms have been discovered in the shale.  These specimens (which would otherwise decompose and have no chance of preservation) managed to stand the test of time and find themselves leaving a perfect picture of what would be a thriving, underwater, Cambrian ecosystem. 

The site is great, with large photo galleries of the fossils and informative sections on the geology, history, and a neat video of a virtual ancient seafloor. The information included in the site is very useful for students and instructors, and perhaps those teachers looking to have a 2 credit field course out in the Canadian rockies during the summer of 2012…..

The webstite can be found here, and I encourage everyone who happens to find their way on this blog to visit the site, it is really cool!

Also, a very happy birthday to a good friend and author of Got the Time, Aaron Barth.

Usher Makes a Music Video, Tries to Re-Create Pangaea

21 11 2011

I am in quite the musical mood today since I was just recently included on a new album cover.

A video was sent to me earlier today by a friend who noticed some plate tectonics in Usher’s music video “Without You”. To start off, i am not a huge fan of the song, but I do appreciate Usher’s efforts to appeal to my geologic side.

Here is the link to the video, feel free to skip to 1:30 where the tectonics start through the magic of DANCE!

But I have a few issues with the video.  He is doing it backwards, Instead of North and South America moving towards Africa and Europe, they should be moving towards Asia and Australia.  What Usher has done is tried to recreate the great supercontinent Pangaea.  While Pangaea is great, I feel like Usher really lost his chance to really make his mark on the geologic world.  Think of it, he could have forecasted the future supercontinent and had the honor of naming it “Ushrania ft. David Guetta” or something.  Alas, he went back to a safe zone and played what we know, which I can’t fault you on Usher. 

P.S. It’s good to come back and blog.  A trip out to the shenandoah with some fellow bloggers (and a little guilt from all of them) refreshed the spark to come back and post.

Montana Cross Bedding

16 02 2011

Has everyone become tired of stories revolving around field camp yet? No? Great!

Today, I give you a beautiful bit of cross bedding found while in my final study area in the Tobacco Root Mountains.

Hammer for scale


I would love to say that this example provides a sense of younging direction but sadly, the face these beds are shown on is from a large piece of float found in a riverbed. But for the sake of learning, lets say this piece is in situ….

Truncation of the beds tells you the younging direction.  So, in this case, the truncations point up.  Therefore, the beds are upright and the younging direction of strata is up. If they are flipped, such as if this happens…..



then the younging direction is down.

Cross beds are a great way to locate yourself in your stratigraphic section, if you know the formation you are in and the younging direction, you can anticipate what formations you may encounter next and possibly tease out any anomalies that may show up.

Callan Bentley also discusses the importance of younging direction here in one of his “Friday Fold” segments.

Geologic Loooooove

14 02 2011

Found while sunning alongside a reservoir…



Happy Valentine’s Day!


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