With a central cavern measuring 350 by 215 by 430 ft, the 10 million year old Grotta Gigante in northeastern Italy is the second largest cave in the world open to tourists. The 10 million year old cave was first explored in 1840 by a spelunker hoping to find a water source at its bottom, but, alas, the river that carved the cave had left it 3 million years prior! The elusive "disappearing" Timavo River enters the ground near the mountains and exits near the sea, its underground course through the carbonates of the Karst Plateau still largely a mystery. Read more
Grotta Gigante in Trieste, Italy
Military Geology of Tre Cime Nature Park
I recently completed an internship in Trieste, Italy, the highlight of which was a day hike around the Tre Cime Nature Park in the Dolomites. On top of the incredible geology, the park features relics of the World War 1 front between Austria and Italy, such as the pictured trench and cave dug into the carbonate rocks. Besides tunnels, other war uses of the geology included the use of explosions to trigger fatal rock slides. I can't imagine fighting and hauling heavy equipment across (and up!) this rugged terrain. Read more →
Geology of Hawaiian Coral Reefs
HAWAIIAN CORAL REEFS
EOS 402S, Duke University
He pūko‘a kani ‘āina.
A coral reef grows into an island (from small beginnings come great things).
Part animal, part plant, and part mineral, corals sit at the crossroads of biology and geology. In the Hawaiian Islands, geographic isolation and hot spot volcanism have created a uniquely trying environment for coral reef development. This paper will summarize the biology and ecology of Hawaiian corals, as well as their economic and cultural importance, in order to understand the geologic contributions that corals make in producing carbonate and aiding the interpretation of igneous features. Read more →
Structure and formation of recent limestone (Miami & Key Largo) of Southern Florida
This post provides a brief overview of the formation and characteristics of recent limestone deposits in Southern Florida, the Miami Limestone and Key Largo Limestone. Most of this material was collected as part of a presentation for EOS 404S: Geology of Tropical Marine Environments in Spring 2013, but has been expanded and re-formatted here. Read more →