Shadow of the Volcano

Pahoehoe, pyroclastic flow and The Shadow of the Volcano

18 April, 2015 / 2 comments

P is for… pahoehoe and for pyroclastic flow Pahoehoe (pa- ho-ee ho-ee) is possibly my favourite Earth Sciences term – it is a type of lava that forms great masses that look like rope, so also dubbed ‘ropey lava’.  I seem to remember that it mainly forms under water, where the outside cools relatively quickly….

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Nepal Fishtail cloud

Flash Fiction Friday – Orogeny

17 April, 2015 / 7 comments

What mad fool decided to do natural phenomena for her A to Z Challenge theme this year and still keep her Friday Flash Fiction theme?  Oh, that would be me. Orogeny is the process of mountain building and has nothing to do with erogenous zones!  Most mountain ranges are formed by the collision of two…

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noctilucent clouds from

Noctilucent clouds

16 April, 2015 / 5 comments

Amazingly white clouds even though it’s dark?  It could be the effect of sunlight on the upper atmosphere illuminating the clouds (up 50k in altitude) when the surface of the earth is in darkness. These noctilucent clouds can be truly spectacular! And today I’m tying in my Natural Phenomena theme for the A to Z…

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Antarctic Lake

Methane Archaea

15 April, 2015 / 9 comments

Strictly speaking, I think microscopic animals that use methane instead of oxygen to support life are not classed as ‘natural phenomena’ but just as ‘amazing nature‘. The first chemophiles (lovers of chemicals) were discovered living in the depths of the oceans near hydrothermal vents – areas of new crust formation at the spreading junction of…

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Lyrid_meteor_shower_radiant_point McClure -Hall

Lyrid meteor shower

14 April, 2015 / 16 comments

Meteor showers are the best time to look at the night skies in search of ‘shooting stars’.  Meteors are particles of dust and other space particles that hit the earth’s atmosphere and burn up, causing a stream of light that we can see passing through the atmosphere until it winks out as all the dust…

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Pingos NWT

Kettle holes and pingo ponds

13 April, 2015 / 6 comments

Kettle holes are small lakes formed by the melting of hard lenses of ice that were left behind after the last ice age.  So the ice was left in a lump in the frozen earth, and usually also covered in earth to form a hill.  These still exist in permafrost areas, like northern Canada, (the…

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Burton Bradstock beach

Jurassic Coast (and the other half of a book review)

11 April, 2015 / 11 comments

The Jurassic coast is the name given to 100 miles of coast between Swanage, Dorset, and Exmouth, Devon, in the UK.  This amazing stretch of land, now a World Heritage Site, covers the whole range of Mesozoic rocks (180 million years’ worth), exposed for geologists, fossickers and lovers of the strange and beautiful. The area ranges from the landforms…

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sea ice blocky Saturday

Flash Fiction Friday – The Icefloe Cometh

10 April, 2015 / 15 comments

Icefloes, icebergs, sea ice of all kinds – amazing stuff.  My letter I for the A to Z Challenge is ice, but as it’s flash fiction day I have to do a short story (500 rather than the usual 1000 word story). There are so many different kinds of ice – these are just a few I…

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Halley's comet

Halley’s Comet

9 April, 2015 / 14 comments

Halley’s Comet is one of the most famous of all, partly because it is featured on the Bayeux tapestry.  It’s the most easily visible of the short-period comets, i.e. ones that come back fairly often, in Halley’s case every 75-76 years. It was last here in 1986 and I don’t remember seeing it.  I was…

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H&C on Giant's Causeway 2002

Giant’s Causeway

8 April, 2015 / 9 comments

Have you ever seen a set of hexagonal columns stretching out from the land and sinking beneath the waves?  Well, I finished with a view of the ones at Fingal’s Cave yesterday, and here are some more. This time we’re in Northern Ireland, at the Giant’s Causeway, which is officially described as ‘polygonal’ basalt columns…

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Fingal’s Cave

7 April, 2015 / 18 comments

Fingal’s Cave is a cave on the island of Staffa, off the west coast of the Isle of Mull, which is itself off the west coast of Scotland.  And if you like the repetition, Scotland is off the west coast of Europe! It’s a place of legend, and much visited by tourists as far back…

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Eclipse of the Sun, Svalbard 20.3.15

6 April, 2015 / 19 comments

An Eclipse of the Sun occurs when the moon passes between the earth and the sun.  Basically, the shadow of the moon moves on a path over the earth’s surface.  Depending on where you are, you might see a chunk bitten out of the sun by the moon, because you are only in the partial…

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Diamonds (and half a book review)

4 April, 2015 / 16 comments

I usually do book reviews on Saturdays, but couldn’t think of a book with diamonds in the title that I wanted to read.  But later I found I had one for next Saturday that needs mentioning today as well…  Read on! D is for Diamonds in my journey through natural phenomena.  They’re just a chunk…

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Flash Fiction Friday – The Coprolite Conundrum

3 April, 2015 / 22 comments

I’d better give sensitive souls a mild language warning for today’s post; we’re talking about faeces in both coarse and refined terms! Coprolite – the most amazing fossil you’ll ever find.  Does it beat dinosaur footprints?  Trilobite hairs? Archaeopterix?  I think so.  Coprolite is… there’s no better way to describe it than… fossilised poo. It…

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Barrier Reef

Barrier Reef

2 April, 2015 / 19 comments

Day 2 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, and my theme this year is Natural Phenomena. Barrier Reef; there are three main types, the best known of which is of course the Great Barrier Reef, of the east coast of Australia.  They are all made of coral, a colonial animal which secretes…

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Northern LIghts 151014 Treshnish & Haunn Cottages

A is for Aurora Borealis

1 April, 2015 / 35 comments

It’s April 1st, and that means the A to Z April Blogging Challenge.  I’m blogging from A to Z – each day of the week a post with a different letter, and time off on Sunday.  If you haven’t signed up there’s still a few days left, and you can find out all about it…

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White Water Landings cover

Adventures in Book Publishing

30 March, 2015 / 7 comments

It’s been a crazy month. Anyone who self-publishes knows the hoops you have to go through to get your file ready for Kindle.  If, like me, you like your books to go to other ereaders like Nook and Kobo or on Apple’s iPad, you know that there are subtle differences between the standards needed for…

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Book Review | Homecoming by Sue Ann Bowling

28 March, 2015 / 0 comments

I first discovered Sue Ann Bowling on my first A to Z Challenge, in 2012.  I loved her blog, I loved her theme, and as I followed her afterwards, I loved what she was interested in and her view from Alaska.  I was a little confused by the serialised Jarn’s Journal, which is a prequel…

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Flash Fiction

Friday Flash Fiction: Centenary

27 March, 2015 / 13 comments

Just when I had enough time for a big one, Chuck Wendig throws a curved ball and says “100 words, any subject, genre, whatever.”  Or words to that effect.  One hundred. OK. Centenary 2069 “Ready?” Gail Collins-Ito checked with the landing module. “Ready!” “Cleared for evac.” Aldrina Chernyov unsealed the hatch; the ladder unfolded. Her…

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Oddity Odyssey

Local Heroes Reading Challenge March Update

25 March, 2015 / 4 comments

This is my third Challenge update, and I haven’t read any new books towards my Local Heroes target of 6.  In fact I didn’t do much reading this month – until my holiday – except of the manuscript of my Dad’s memoirs, White Water Landings, which I’ve been preparing for paperback, hardback and ebook release on 11th…

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path of 2015 eclipse

10 things I learnt in the Arctic

24 March, 2015 / 11 comments

As you may know, I went to see the eclipse last week – to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, in the Arctic Circle (78 deg N 15 deg E).  Svalbard is a group of islands, including Spitsbergen, that is now independent but used to be part of Norway (and still uses the kroner). It was cold.  The warmest…

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A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest

23 March, 2015 / 44 comments

Greetings, one and all, welcome, welcome! Here we are for the great and amazing Theme Reveal Blogfest, where hundreds of people unleash their plans for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  And this year my theme is… Natural Phenomena I’d like to make that jump about and dance at you, but frankly, I haven’t…

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The Uncommon Reader

Book Review | The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett

21 March, 2015 / 5 comments

To me, Alan Bennett is a ‘proper writer’.  The sort you could expect to find on reading lists for literary appreciation, advanced critique courses, and MAs in Fine Arts.  Or is it Liberal Arts, I never was quite sure which is which. Fortunately, thanks to the brilliant “Talking Heads” which translated so well to television,…

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Flash Fiction

Flash Fiction Friday: Equinox on Ice

20 March, 2015 / 7 comments

It’s the spring equinox, and I’m off travelling.  Chuck’s challenge of the week is a randomly generated cocktail, and I think an Equinox on Ice would do well for that, although, I won’t get to link it on his blog (unless some kind soul does it for me?).  This is what I think my trip will…

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Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop

19 March, 2015 / 3 comments

My favourite time of year – spring. Well, I also like summer, autumn and winter, provided it’s not too wet. Anyway, the time is right for another Spring Cleaning (Clear your Shelf) Giveaway hop, courtesy of I Am A Reader. This year, one lucky reader anywhere in the world will get a choice of ONE of…

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