Blue Marbles

The_Earth_seen_from_Apollo_17Whenever I hear the phrase “blue marble” I think of the famous photograph of the earth taken in 1972 from the Apollo 17 of the earth.  Today I was introduced to a Blue Marble Tree! Sometimes I learn about something new and I am so excited I just can’t wait to share! This is one of those times!

The Blue Marble Tree is part of the Elaeocarpus genus and there are several species. The fruit is edible (but I was told by someone who has tried it that it tastes “like mud”) and is a brilliant blue. The seed inside, well you should just look at the photo!

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I saw this tree on a tour today of a conservation area. The tour guide also told us that the seeds are used as prayer beads. Naturally I was curious (and picked up a few on our way through the area). This has led me on one of those crazy internet adventures old learning.  E. ganitrus that grows in India, Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, Guam and Hawaii, so it is likely that this is the species that I saw, but I do not know for sure.

The seeds from this variety are used to made rudraksha or rudraksh prayer beeds. Rudraksha is Sanskrit for Rudra (“Shiva”) and aksha (“eyes”). Then I started looking around for more information on the rudrasha. I found several videos of using copper plates to test if a rudrasha was real. If you are confused, don’t worry I was too. Turns out there is a belief that these seeds have a magnetic field and should spin on their own when held between two plates. But they are supposed to spin clockwise.

Usually the seeds are strung together to make a mala. This usually consists of 108 beads plus one, and is supposed to be a shield against negative energy.

rudraksh

I am not where near done digging into this but it was too interesting to not share! I hope you are as intrigued as I am! The tree itself has amazing roots that create huge buttresses. It towered above us. I am going to leave you with a botanical drawing of the leaves flowers and berries. What an interesting plant.

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Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elaeocarpus_ganitrus

http://www.ishafoundation.org/blog/yoga-meditation/the-significance-of-rudraksh/

http://www.botanicalartists.com/MargaretSaul/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudraksha

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Hibernation and computer break

I went into a technology hibernation for a few months. It was started by my computer dying on me. After several tries to bring it back from the dead I gave up. About a month later I started looking into getting a computer and about a week ago that new computer showed up! Tech breaks are a good thing. I got a lot of reading and thinking and crafting done during that time. Now I am back.

The biggest change is that I have ended Borealis Meditation Podcast. I touched on my reasons in the last episode but I wanted to get back into that, because I think it is really important. I started the podcast with the intention of giving back to the community. I wanted to share what I had learned in my years in school, in hopes that it would help others connect with their environment. However, I noticed myself being drawn into the traps of the internet. It started to be more about the attention, the likes, shares, and numbers than just selflessly giving. It is a very easy trap to fall into since we are hard wired to want praise and attention. The internet is excellent at lighting up the pleasure centers of our brains.

It is a constant battle when you are fighting your biology. I needed the break. I needed to let go of that project and retreat into myself. As much as I know sharing about your path helps others, I have started to feel the need to go back to my quiet solitary ways. It was so tempting to share all about my path that it wasn’t for me anymore. So I am going to take my path deep into the woods, and just peak my head out to share every now and then. I have needed a refocusing on me. My core doesn’t feel pure. I am not sure if that even makes sense, but that is how it feels. I was feeling selfish, and I didn’t like it. I also don’t like that I haven’t been very good at getting to know you guys more. I am going to try and fix that!

It is SPRING! Things are growing and the world is full of possibility! I’m not sure what lies ahead of me (literally I don’t know where I will be living this time next year….) but I am excited. Right before my computer died I was thinking about writing more. Now that I have a computer again I am thinking about doing that. I might try some things out on the blog. I have a million ideas as usually but I am not sure if I can grab them and nail them down on paper… I want to write more, and read more. I am going to try and clean up my twitter and bloglovin’ feeds so that I can actually follow what is going on instead of just skim by. Who knows how successful that will be. Hope all is well!

~ Kat

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The Gaia Update for November 5 2014

The Gaia Update is a (almost) weekly short news podcast on what the earth has been up to. It focuses on the three big natural disaster types: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis, but also highlights other geology and earth science related news and research.

This week we are covering the earthquakes between 00:00:00 UTC on October 1 2014 and 00:00:00 UTC on November 1 2014.

Information is from the following resources:
Earthquakes: The USGS Earthquakes Page

I messed on the storage again so I am going to just host the file here again!

Earthquakes:

Capture

 

Download kml file here

Kilauea Lava Flow:

1105hccdMAP

Sato Family Headstone

Berm location relative to flow front

Other sources:

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/10/14/powerful-earthquake-strikes-off-el-salvador-one-dead

http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/20141105__Kin_gratified_to_learn_ohanas_headstone_abides.html?id=281583741

http://www.bigislandvideonews.com/2014/11/05/video-morning-lava-flow-update-wednesday-nov-5/

http://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/story/27159878/phoa-property-owners-berm-raises-legal-concerns-worries-neighbors

http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/lava-stops-advance-just-less-500-feet-pahoa-village-road-breakouts-remain-active

http://hawaiitribune-herald.com/news/local-news/lava-stops-advance-just-less-500-feet-pahoa-village-road-breakouts-remain-active

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/bombs-walls-might-slow-lava-not-stop-it-n236591

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Borealis Meditation Podcast Season 3 Episode 2

In this episode we let curiosity take us on a twisting path from Mercy Dimes through chemistry, mineraology, and end up with a few stories about hot springs. Curiosity can lead us on some wild and crazy paths if you let it! Come along for the ride!

Guests:

Dean (Lamplighter Blues)

Kai Borealis

 

Promos:

Lamplighter Blues

Pagan Widow Podcast

If you are interested in getting your own Mercury Dime I recommend Candlesmoke on etsy!

 

Music:

Memphis Minnie – Hoodoo Lady Blues

Gaia consort – Goodnight 

Robert A Wolf – Kocatu

 

Sources Used: 

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/tarnish.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulfur

http://www.periodicvideos.com/videos/016.htm

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/572661/sulfur-S

http://faoifengshui.blogspot.jp/2013/06/the-symbolism-of-cinnabar-or-dragons.html

Uni reunion and day-trip to Hakone

http://www.greatpagosahotsprings.com/pagosa-native-american-hot-springs.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sulis

This show is released under creative commons, attribution

I would also like to thank this episodes personification of Curiosity Niels Stenson also known as Blessed Nicholas Steno.

If you like the show you can do one very simple thing to show it…. SHARE IT!

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The Gaia Update for September 29, 2014

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I recorded an podcast but I’m out of storage for the month in my feed.

I have a first world problem. After coming home from work, and after a social engagement I rushed to write and record an episode covering the recent events this weekend. However, I can’t release it on the podcast feed because my storage limit doesn’t reset until the first of the month on Wednesday. It’s not like I am going to deprive you of background on the Ontake eruption that has killed ~ 30 hikers so I am trying something different. I am going to host the episode here on the website. Last night Doctor Hob tested the file and said it works (what a relief). So here is your episode!

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Hikers fleeing from the eruption at Ontake Volcano

In this episode of the Gaia Update we go over a few volcanoes that were in the news this weekend and touch on the main physical difference between them. Ontake In Japan which erupted suddenly seemingly without warning killing ~ 30 hikers who were on the volcano, Mt St Helens which looms over Portland Oregon, and Kilauea whose lava flow is still slowly making its way towards the Hawaiian town of Pahoa.

The Gaia Update is a (almost) weekly short news podcast on what the earth has been up to. It focuses on the three big natural disaster types: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis, but also highlights other geology and earth science related news and research.

Information is from the following resources:

Volcanoes:

Smithsonian Weekly Volcano Activity Report

Mt St Helens:

Video with an interview from CVO talking about Mt St Helens

Volcano Monitoring in the US from i09

Kilauea

Ontake Volcano

Eruptions Blog Post on the Ontake Eruption

The Nature News article on the warning signs

i09 piece on the hikers on the volcano when it erupted 

Satellite Images from the Earth Observatory of the Ontake eruption

Thank you for putting up with the odd release format this week! Let me know if you have any questions!

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NEW BIG EPISODE COMING SOON!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The next Borealis Meditation proper espiode is coming soon! Get your questions in now!

Because of the way that my podcast hosting service works, with a long form episode I can’t also post all the Gaia Updates for that month. So I decided you get the Gaia Update for the months that you don’t have a long one! The aim is to get the next episode out for October.

Topics:

1) Geology Lesson: Hot spring deposition of minerals (hydrothermal systems)

2) Featured Minerals: Sulfides (have a say in the mineral here)

3) The science of Magic: Reduction and Oxidization Reactions How the Mercury Dime charm works

And you will also get a sort form Gaia Update as well.

I’m excited! Are you!? 

 

 

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The Gaia Update for September 17, 2014

The Gaia Update is a (almost) weekly short news podcast on what the earth has been up to. It focuses on the three big natural disaster types: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis, but also highlights other geology and earth science related news and research.

Information is from the following resources:
Earthquakes: The USGS Earthquakes Page
Volcanoes: Smithsonian Weekly Volcano Activity Report

Listen via the embed above or subscribe via itunes.

This week we have some earthquakes, some volcanoes, and another long form update on the Kilauea eruption. Frist we have earthquakes. The following information was provided by the USGS earthquakes site at earthquake.usgs.gov and covers the 11th of September UTC to the 18th of September at 0 UTC.

All the events of magnitude 5+ are plotted for the last week. The events are colored by age (orange today, yellow the rest of the week) and the size of the dot is scaled for the magnitude.
All the events of magnitude 5+ are plotted for the last week. The events are colored by age (orange today, yellow the rest of the week) and the size of the dot is scaled for the magnitude.

The same data is also available as a KML file for Google Earth if you want to explore the events.

This week there were 31 events between a magnitude 5 and 6 and a significant earthquake with a magnitude revised down to 6.7 located 28 miles North West of Guam. This earthquake occurred at a depth of 137 km or 85 today at 06:14:46 UTC or 16:14 local time in Guam. Because it was so deep there was no danger of a tsunami. Remember tsunamis happen when the earthquake moves the ocean floor enough to significantly displace the water above it. There was no reported damage.

guam
Map slowing the location of the earthquake (the star) relative to the island of Guam and the plate boundary (red).

Volcanoes:
The Volcano Activity Report can be read here
And the report and be downloaded for Google Earth Here

Bardarbunga Volcano:

Shot Sunday September 14th

An aerial picture taken on September 14, 2014 shows fire and smoke rising from the Bardarbunga volcano in southeast Iceland. BERNARD MERIC/AFP/Getty Images

Mayon Volcano:

Charism SAYAT/AFP/Getty Images

Nishino-shima:

Kilauea:

20140916_hccd-June27thLavaFlow-map
Civil Defense Map of the lava flow for September 17th

20140913_DPW-AlternateRoutes
Hawaii Public Radio Stories

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The Gaia Update for September 10, 2014

The Gaia Update is a (almost) weekly short news podcast on what the earth has been up to. It focuses on the three big natural disaster types: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis, but also highlights other geology and earth science related news and research.

Information is from the following resources:
Earthquakes: The USGS Earthquakes Page
Volcanoes: Smithsonian Weekly Volcano Activity Report

Hawaii Segment:
Get the latest Kilauea eruption update: Hawaii Volcano Observatory

The audio is a mix testimonies from a public meeting: Video
and the Hawaiian chant Aia O Pele I Hawai’i: Video

Chant information: Aia Lä `O Pele I Hawai`i (Pele Is At Hawai`i)

The Minerals Post is here

Other Sources:

[1] http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-napa-woman-dies-napa-earthquake-toppled-tv-20140910-story.html

[2] http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2014/09/earthquake_detected_in_north_a.html

[3] http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/indian-ocean-wide-tsunami/1353946.html

Intro and outro music is provided by music alley, and is exerpts from polyambs by litvinov and nomerovskiy. Thank you Blessed Steno for watching over me while I work on this project!

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What is YOUR favorite sulfide mineral?

I guess I should start with what is a sulfide mineral right? A sulfide mineral is a mineral that is defined by the specific chemical bond it’s sulfer has (it has an oxidation state of S[2-]). Some of these minerals are important sources of metal ores.

So, now lets pick one to go over when we talk about sulfur in the next episode! Below are 10 common sulfide minerals. Look them over and help me decide on one or more for the next episode!

1) Galena (PbS)

Galena: PbS  Photo Copyright © 2000-2002 by John H. Betts.
Galena: PbS
Photo Copyright © 2000-2002 by John H. Betts.

Also called lead glance. It is the most abundant and widely distributed sulfide mineral and an important source of lead. It forms cubes and personally is one of my favorite minerals. It has been used since ancient times as a source of lead, and because of its low melting temperature it was pretty easy to separate the lead. In some areas galena can also contain silver and has been used as a source of silver as well.

In Ancient Egypt it was used as kohl and applied around the eyes to reduce the glare of the sun, and to repel flies. It is also known as a potters ore since it has been used to make a green glaze for pottery.

source: wikipedia!

 2) Chalcopyrite (CuFeS2)

Chalcopyrite-Quartz- CC BY-SA 3.0 Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com - http://www.mindat.org/photo-237645.html
Chalcopyrite-Quartz-
CC BY-SA 3.0
Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com – http://www.mindat.org/photo-237645.html

Also known as Peacock Ore. This mineral contains copper, iron and sulfur. Fresh unaltered chalcopyrite is a brassy golden yellow color, but when it is exposed to air it oxidizes and forms a distinctive peacock rainbow of colors.  It is a major ore for copper due mostly to its wide distribution and abundance. It is also widely used as a decorative stone because of the bright colors. These can be enhanced with either age for an acid treatment. We also went over this in an older episode and here is the blog post

Chalcopyrite (Peacock Ore)
Chalcopyrite (Peacock Ore)

source: Wikipedia and minerals ‘n’ more

 3) Pyrrhotite  (Fe1-xS)

Pyrrhotite Mexique CC BY-SA 3.0  Didier Descouens - Own work
Pyrrhotite Mexique
CC BY-SA 3.0
Didier Descouens – Own work

This unsual mineral is an iron sulfide mineral with a variable iron content. It is also known as troilite and “magnetic pyrite” since it looks like pyrite and is weakly magnetic. The magnetism decreases as the iron content decreases.

source: Wikipedia!

 4) Realgar (AsS)

Réalgar, tétrahédrite, orpimentCC BY-SA 3.0 Parent Géry - Own work
Réalgar, tétrahédrite, orpiment CC BY-SA 3.0
Parent Géry – Own work

Also known as “ruby sulfur” or “ruby of arsenic” is a beautiful red mineral. It burns with a blue flame. It is used as the main source of arsenic in the world. It is poisonous and the ancient Greeks called it “sandaracha”. It was used to poison rats in medieval Spain and 16th century England and it is still used sometimes to kill weeds insects and rodents. The Chinese name is xionghuang which means “masculine yellow” and was sprinkled around the house to repel snakes and insects and is also used in traditional Chinese medicine. It is usually mixed with rice liquor and consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival to ward off evil.

It was also used in leather manufacturing to remove animal hair from pelts. It was also used in the Roman Empire as a red paint pigment.

source: Wikipedia!

5) Orpiment (As2S3)

   Use this file Orpiment mineral Public Domain
Orpiment mineral Public Domain

This mineral is a deep orange yellow. It is found in volcanic fumerals and low temperature hydrothermal veins. It’s name is from the Latin auripigmentum (aurum − gold + pigmentum − pigment). It was traded in the Roman Empire and used in traditional Chinese medicine even though it is very toxic. it has also been used as fly poison, and to tip arrows. It was of interest to alchemists in the search for a way to make gold because of it’s color in the west and in China.

It was also historically used as a pigment in paint and sealing wax. It was used until the 19th century however it is no longer used.

source: Wikipedia!

 6) Pyrite (FeS2)

Pyrite elbe CC BY-SA 3.0 Didier Descouens - Own work
Pyrite elbe
CC BY-SA 3.0
Didier Descouens – Own work

Commonly known as “Fools Gold” and also known as iron pyrite. It gets the name fools gold due to its pale brass-yellow hue and that gives it a superficial resemblance to gold. Its name comes from the Greek pyrites which means “of fire” or “in fire” and this name was originally applied to several types of stones that would create a spark when struck against steel.  Oh the uses. In the 16th and 17th centuries it was a popularly used for ignition in early firearms. It is also used in marcasite jewelry that was popular in the Victorian Era. We also went over this mineral in an older episode and here is a link to that blog post

Pyrite also formed as a replacement mineral in fossils leading to beautiful pyritised fossils.

Pyrite elbe CC BY-SA 3.0 Didier Descouens - Own work
As a replacement mineral in an ammonite from France
CC BY-SA 3.0
Didier Descouens – Own work

source: wikipedia!

 7) Molybdenite (MoS2)

Dakota Matrix Minerals
Dakota Matrix Minerals

It has similar in appearance and feel to graphite and is used as a lubricant. It occurs in high temperature hydrothermal ore deposits. It is currently mined for its lubrication properties.

source: Wikipedia!

8) Cinnabar (HgS) –

Cinnabar on Dolomite CC BY-SA 3.0 JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) - Own work
Cinnabar on Dolomite CC BY-SA 3.0
JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work

This mineral is one of the most common sources for mercury. It has occurrences all over the world and is currently also being formed and deposited in the hot waters of Sulfur Bank Mine in California USA and the Steamboat Springs, Nevada USA. It has been mined since the Neolithic age and during the Roman Empire it was mined for use as a pigment as well as for its mercury. To produce quicksilver (liquid mercury) cinnabar is crushed, and roasted in rotary furnaces. The mercury separates from the sulfur and evaporates. It is them condensed and collected. It was often shipped in iron flasks.

It can be toxic to humans because of the mercury content.  “the toxic properties of mercury were well known. It was dangerous to those who mined and processed cinnabar, it caused shaking, loss of sense, and death…data suggest that mercury was retorted from cinnabar and the workers were exposed to the toxic mercury fumes.” – Petersen, G. (2010). Mining and Metallurgy in Ancient Perú. The Geological Society of America.

Cinnabar was used for its color in the New World since the Olmec culture ( Mexico 1500 BCE – 400 BCE), and was used in royal burial chambers in the Mayan civilization. The most dramatic example is the Tomb of the Red Queen (600-700AD). In China it was also used in lacquerware.

source: wikipedia!

 9) Sphalerite (ZnS)

Sphalerite  CC BY-SA 3.0 Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com - http://www.mindat.org/photo-221270.html
Sphalerite
CC BY-SA 3.0
Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com – http://www.mindat.org/photo-221270.html

This mineral is the chief ore for zinc. It is used in gems and crystals of suitable size and transparency are used and generally are cut with a brilliant cut. This is a range of colors usually yellow, brown, gray, and can be either shiny or dull. The gray-black crystals with a red iridescence are called “ruby sphalerite“.

10) Stibnite (Sb2S3)

Stibnite-150558CC BY-SA 3.0 Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com - http://www.mindat.org/photo-150558.html
Stibnite-150558CC BY-SA 3.0
Rob Lavinsky / iRocks.com – http://www.mindat.org/photo-150558.html

It is a soft mineral, and pastes used from a powder of this mineral in fat have been used since ca. 3000 BC as eye cosmetics in the Middle East. It was also used in Anchient Eygept as a medication to clear vision and make hair sprout. In the 17th century the alchemist Eirenaeus Philalethes used it as a precursor to philosophical mercury which was a hypothetical precursor to the Philosophers stone.

source: Wikipedia!

Alright! Now that we have gone through 10 different sulfides… you get to help me decided which one (or ones) to go over in the next episode! That is right the featured mineral is BACK! So, which one(s) do you use? Which one(s) are you interested in? Help me pick!

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The Gaia Update for September 4 2014

The Gaia Update is a (almost) weekly short news podcast on what the earth has been up to. It focuses on the three big natural disaster types: Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Tsunamis, but also highlights other geology and earth science related news and research.

Information is from the following resources:

Earthquakes:

The USGS Earthquakes Page

Volcanoes:

Smithsonian Weekly Volcano Activity Report

Highlights for this week are…

Bardarbunga

Video showing the eruptive activity in Iceland! Beautiful illustration of what is going on!

Rabaul

News story about the affects the eruption is having on the local population

Video of that first large eruption

Kilauea:

footage from an overflight

image-103

 

 

Map of the most recent lava flow activity as of September 3, 2014

multimediaFile-759

 

Photo from the overflight showing the farthest extent of the flow on September 4, 2014 relative to the closest residential area.

Witches-High-Tea-Flyer

Music by Wendy Rule was Creator Destroyer

more information about the Witches High Tea can be found on THIS WEBSITE

 

Listen to the episode:

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