AW#57: Seeing geology everywhere

“Do you see geology in unexpected places? Do you often find yourself viewing the world through geology-tinted glasses? Do you have any adorable cat pictures that could be used to illustrate geology?” Evelyn, Accretionary Wedge #57 call for posts

All liquids spilled on a work desk are naturally drawn to electronics and important papers. No counter-arguments allowed, that’s the rule. But don’t you wish your desk had better drainage? Subtle pathways that divert disastrous fluids to safety? With a little imagination, I think my desk would have pretty good drainage.

What i my desk?
What is my desk? Wood veneer, of course! Click for geology-vision.

I see two parallel N-S valleys with drainage to the south. These hopefully abandoned stream beds are separated by a long narrow ridge with an asymmetric profile like a drumlin. Don’t quite see it on the photo above? Click through for a mockup. And why not a drumlin? This is after all Indiana. Or…maybe Upstate New York? Yes, I rather like that. My New York hometown, here at my desk in Indiana. In fact, it takes no time at all to find similar landforms in a USGS 1:24000-scale map.

What is my desk?
What is my desk? A contour map, of course! A staple for field geologists. (Source: USGS topographic map of a square mile near my hometown)

Although with no elevations for reference, maybe my interpretation is off. Are my drainage pathways in the right spot? Or could those two “valleys” on my desk actually be additional ridges, making this more like a Valley-and-Ridge Province? There’s no way to know for sure, but that’s fine as long as it could make sense.

Creating wood grain landscapes is a fun way to pass the time in waiting rooms…or in your office when your mind goes blank from writing a dissertation. Staring at my desk, which is no longer my desk, but a symbol. A swarm of lines. A wealth of information. The view from a few hundred meters straight up in the air. And in all directions as far as the eye can see, geology is everywhere!