It’s February 2013, which means it’s my turn to host the Accretionary Wedge!
The Accretionary Wedge is a geology blog carnival that was started in August 2007. Editions will be monthly (roughly) and hosted on a different geoscience blog each time.
The accident-prone person that I am, I chose the topic of Geo Injuries. Look at the four pictures above, and these are not counting my wounds from non-geology-related incidents. Who better to host?
Clockwise from top left and in chronological order:
1) 1979: While playing on a Bay Of Kuwait beach at low tide, my right ankle hit exposed limestone and that left a big gouge. This rather low-information geologic map of Kuwait shows that its urban areas (on the east side of the country along the water) are underlain by cemented coastal deposits. As I recall, the limestone I cut my leg on is oolitic and the literature indicates that it belongs to “Pleistocene and Holocene coastal ridges that [are] composed of calcareous sandstone and oolitic limestone, which formed during the flood flow from south to north.”
Pleistocene and Holocene?! Great, so the first rock I cut my teeth on, so to speak, couldn’t even be Miocene or older. Talk about adding insult to injury. (If you’re new to this blog, you may or may not get used to the puns and mixed metaphors after a while.)
Here is a 1960s-era photograph of my mother standing on the aforementioned Dibdibba Formation of the Kuwait Group. See how light and ethereal and Not Falling On The Rocks And Ripping Her Skin Open she is even in a sari and no-grip sandals? The woman is like that to this day. As you will see, I definitely do not take after her in this department.
A couple of interesting historic notes before we move on: a) In the mid-1980s, Kuwait began to pour billions of dinars into waterfront beautification, which essentially meant pulverizing a substantial portion of these coastal deposits into sand or importing sand from other locales to pour over the bedrock (think Waikiki Beach). In 1990, Saddam Hussein’s forces trashed all of these beaches to dig trenches and plant mines and other explosives as a defense against amphibious attacks by their enemies. Starting in 1991, Kuwait “rebuilt” all the beaches to the point where they now have a paint ball park on the grounds of the famous Kuwait Towers, a Hard Rock Cafe and – wait for it – an Applebee’s along the beachfront. Check out Kuwait City and Salmiyah along the water on Google Maps and see what tax-free oil trillions can do for you. b) Sinkholes. Sinkholes that swallowed expensive shore-front homes. Limestone + groundwater decline due to rapid urbanization = bad things. See what tax-free oil trillions cannot do for you.
2) Fast forward to 1993 when I took up geology in earnest: A knee wound that looks nothing like it felt at the time, this is the result of rappelling down the side of a cliff made of Mississippian Ste. Genevieve Limestone at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky, and not sticking my feet out to meet the cliff when my friend Brian told me to. In shorts. With no kneepads and helmet on. Body armor is overrated.
3) 1997: Ever hear of that really slow rock? It moved a mylonite. (Badum-dish!) Ever hear of a geologist who lost her balance and slammed her left arm into a rather striking outcrop of mylonitized quartzite and marble in Arizona’s Buckskin-Rawhide metamorphic core complex? Well, you did now!
And it bled like a son-of-a-cuss. Poor Steve Marshak; he had to deal with so many injuries on that spring break field trip, including the re-opening of my lacerated cornea right after the hike up the Grand Canyon. (I’m a medical mess, I know.) On the bright side, the weather was perfect and I got some beautiful pictures and hand samples out of the deal. Photographs forthcoming.
4) 2000: This injury is so spectacular not just because of how dumb I was being while receiving it, but also as it is an example of polyphase deformation! I even took a picture of it from another angle and color-coded it from oldest (blue) to newest (red) so you can follow along at home. Callan Bentley would be so proud.
Deformation event 1: Road rash from bike accident in 1993. (The pedestrian who stopped while crossing the bike path to take a smoke break got it a lot worse.)
Lineation 1: Structural geology masters field work in the Sierra Gigantes above Loreto, Baja California Sur, Mexico in 2000 – On the discovery of a gorgeous vertical Pliocene dike intruding a Miocene-aged volcaniclastic sandstone, I decided I had to climb it to get to a plateau above the ravine in which my field assistant (Scott G., a fellow undergraduate of Callan, in fact) and I were taking measurements. A jointed section of dike gave way and I slid down the dike with a piece of the broken volcanic material embedded in my leg, and with little shards of volcanic material raining down on me.
Duct tape over gauze is awesome, if not the most hygienic. I could have shredded my face or chest coming down the dike and we were many hours away from even small-town Mexican medical attention, so I was pretty lucky to get away with the above. But, what I really feel bad about to this day is that I wrecked an outcrop for no good reason. Don’t be dumb like me.
Lineation 2: Fell off bicycle in 2002. Edge of railroad track peeled my skin off in a nice layer. (I’ve asked Rachael Acks to go on a bike ride with me. She may not want to now.)
Deformation event 2: Gouged by furniture while helping a friend move in 2007.
Show me your injuries! Leave a comment or link to your post below. You don’t have to be a geologist to play; simply having been injured by a rock or while doing something geological is sufficient. I will put the entries together and post them here as well as at the AW site at the beginning of March. The winner (one with the most spectacular wound or story) gets their choice of two bandage tins from this website mailed to them.
Who wants to be a winner? Fine print: Don’t go around hurting yourself to do this. Also, if your battle scar is NSFW, please say so or don’t share.