Weekly Highlights

Sedimentary, my dear watson.

I held a rock in my lab yesterday. But this wasn't just any rock, no - it was the oldest meteorite ever found. I know it looks plain, but you probably would too after entering the Earth's atmosphere at 50 kilometers per second through 1,500°C heat.

Older than dirt. No, really.

The PSU geology department just happened to have a meteorite specialist on hand with $10,000 worth of his collection, so we got to hear about the composition of each sample, how they were formed, and where they were found. The one pictured here is dated at 4.6 billion years old and contains carbon, water, and alien amino acids. This means it's from when the solar system was forming! Scientific magic in my hands!

Meanwhile, in petrology I'm learning to identify key features of rocks under a microscope. This slide was by far my favorite - the little orange watercolor streaks are actually places where oxidation is occurring in olivine. Click on the picture to zoom in and see how modernist the lines look in non-polarized (plain) light. Doesn't it seem as if they were manually drawn on?

Tin roof... rusted.

A lot of my lab time this quarter is going to be spent at the microscope, so check back soon for a quick overview on how to analyze thin sections and some associated vocabulary!


  1. Wow, that's a rad magical ancient rock.

  2. I know! Though it's not nearly as magical (or pretty) as my superpower ring.