Hindcasting the Grand Canyon: Geologist Rejects Dam Breach Theory

first_imgA geologist rejects the idea that an ancient lake spilled and carved Grand Canyon, but maybe he misrepresents the theory.  Besides, how can geologists “hindcast” an unobserved event without philosophical assumptions?“Grand Canyon Carved by Flood? Geologist Says No,” reads a headline on Live Science, but the URL is stronger: “Megaflood debunked as Grand Canyon cause.”  Debunked is a strong word.  It implies permanently laid to rest, or falsified, by a concurrence of geologists.  In the article by reporter Becky Oskin, however, it appears that the debunking is just the opinion of one geologist, Bill Dickinson, an emeritus professor of geology at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who could provide no better explanation.Tracing the history of the Grand Canyon is controversial. The deep gorge exposes a billion years of Earth history in its candy-colored cliffs, but geologists can’t agree when it formed, or exactly how.A long-standing hypothesis by both creationist and secular geologists places a vast lake, called Hopi Lake, to the southeast of the current canyon, proposing that a dam breach carved at least much of the canyon rapidly and catastrophically.  The Painted Desert and other remnants called the Bidahochi Formation would be remnants of the old lake bottom.Dickinson doesn’t believe the dam breach is a valid story, so he said “my main purpose is to dismantle it.”  He argues that the lake would have been too shallow, and that the waters could not have climbed over the Kaibab Upwarp.  This argument, though, overlooks the proponents’ scenario that the upwarp and the dam breach were tied together.  Dickinson and others mentioned in the article additionally argue that there’s no way the lake could have existed for 10-20 million years.  Creation geologists, however, do not need the millions of years, while secular geologists have no agreement on the sequence of events in the region, begging the question that the lake required the time.It would seem hard for Dickinson to triumph over a competing theory when he is admittedly baffled by the origin of the canyon:Knocking down Hopi Lake leaves a major puzzle: What was the course of the Colorado River before the Grand Canyon deepened? Some geologists think the early Colorado River flowed south into the lake….“One of the hardest things to hindcast is to know how big a river you’re looking for in Grand Canyon country,” he said. “What was the river like up in Utah? I hope that if people would just abandon the Hope Lake spillover game, their thoughts would lead them on to worrying about Utah.”Although Dickinson presented a proposal that the ancestral river flowed northwest across northern Arizona, his idea hardly accounts for many features of the canyon, including its crossing the Kaibab plateau.  Oskin implied that no other geologist is likely to come up with a better idea any time soon: “Part of the challenge of solving the Grand Canyon’s history is that so much has changed in the ensuing millions of years: climate was different then, the topography has changed dramatically, and tectonic forces continue to reshape the plateau.”It seems hardly appropriate for Oskin to say the megaflood theory has been “debunked” when all the other theories have just as many or worse problems.  Oskin misrepresented the megaflood theory by assuming the millions of years as part of the story.  It’s the millions of years that are a large part of the problem with competing theories.  This was no debunking; it was rather a story of a man on a mission to discredit competition so he could present his own fallible hindcast. (Visited 114 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Desert Varnish Growth Can Be Rapid

first_img(Visited 31 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 New research shows that the black coating on sandstone known as rock varnish or desert varnish can form much more rapidly than previously thought.The abstract of a paper in Geology1 states:Rock varnish is a thin dark coating best known from deserts, and is believed to grow extremely slowly. Varnish samples from near Socorro, New Mexico (United States), contain as much as 3.7% PbO, derived from nearby smelters operating from A.D. 1870 to 1931. Additional varnish, measuring as much as 4 μm beyond the Pb-rich layer, indicates continued growth from 1931 to 2003. Comparison with other varnish confirms that the Pb is not an artifact. Based on Pb layer thickness, and the period of smelter operation, these very young rock varnishes yield growth rates of 28–639 μm/k.y., substantially higher than previously documented fastest rates of 40 μm/k.y. These rates imply that the average 1–2 μm/k.y. rate for older varnish is not the active growth rate. Rather, it is a long-term value including periods of nondeposition, erosion, and active growth. Therefore, models of rock varnish formation should be reevaluated with consideration of much faster maximum growth rates.The new maximum growth rate is nearly 16 times the old estimate.1. Spilde, Melim, Northup and Boston, “Anthropogenic lead as a tracer of rock varnish growth: Implications for rates of formation,” Geology, published online January 4, 2013, doi: 10.1130/G33514.1 v. 41 no. 2 p. 263-266.Interpretive signs about desert varnish appear in national parks throughout desert parks in the United States and probably elsewhere.  How many of them are going to be updated as a result of this revelation?  Probably few.  They will continue to tell unwary visitors that it’s a slow, slow, slow process.  As this paper shows, not necessarily.  Significant buildup could occur in just a few thousand years.  Even so, does any scientist possess the wherewithal and know-how to understand all the variables?  That this paper shows up in 2013 after decades of research on desert varnish should cause perceptive readers to see, once again, that human “scientific knowledge” is limited and subject to change without warning.last_img read more

Deconstructing the Scene: War of the Worlds

first_imgLet’s take a detailed, step-by-step look at what went into creating one of the most riveting scenes in recent film history: the alien attack that launches the War of the Worlds. A well-developed scene has a million moving parts. Let’s take a look at how those parts come together to make something amazing. We’ll take a detailed look at the craftsmanship of a scene from all major aspects of production. From pre-visualization to the final edit, we’re going to discover exactly what it takes to create something iconic.For this experiment, let’s take a closer look at a scene from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds. In this roughly two-minute scene, we’ll explore several aspects of the entire production, from previsualization, cinematography, staging, editing, and visual effects.Video via MovieclipsIt All Begins in Pre-ProductionGoing into any scene, you must have a developed concept. Set yourself up for success by storyboarding the scene. This will be the foundation you work from before you ever even call action. For a scene like this one, there was a long and detailed previsualization process due to the high volume of visual effects.I’m lost unless I’ve preplanned an action sequence – first in my head, then on paper, then finally, over a period of weeks, on film.  – Conversations with Filmmakers Series, Steven Spielberg Interviews.Image: Tripod concept design via Ryan ChurchSpielberg and the concept artists from Industrial Light & Magic didn’t just create static storyboards. They developed animated storyboards that allowed Spielberg to move around in the space and precompose his shots. By having this type of interactive storyboard, Spielberg was able to discover the best way to move the camera within the mocked up location space. He was also able to use them to give the actors a rough draft of the scenes they were filming.Video via TheMakingFilm™Set Design of the SceneThe right location is everything. You can convey a lot to the audience by the locations you pick to go with your scene. For this particular scene, the scouting team selected Newark, New Jersey. It’s close to the big city, but has a very small town community vibe, which was crucial.By utilizing a small township atmosphere, Spielberg was able to position the main character as an everyman, rather than a typical hero. Also, by choosing this location in conjunction with the narrative of the character, the film can now relate to a much broader audience.It’s important that you look at the location in the full context of the story and in the details of the scenes you need to shoot there while keeping in mind the logistical requirements that must be met to actually shoot there. – Katy McCurdy, Location ManagerCinematography of the SceneIn traditional Spielberg style, he sets up the action with a wide establishing shot, which includes our main character. He then gives us additional coverage of the scene to heighten the sense of space and numbers. He starts this by capturing a reactionary cutaway of stacked extras within the frame. This gives the audience a sense of unsureness and fear, which is amplified by the charging of the Tripod’s ray guns.As we hear this charging take place, Spielberg and cinematographer Janusz Kaminski use several framing techniques to increase the tension. It starts with a quick dolly of patrons looking through a shop window, then cuts to a rack focus from our main character to a man holding a camera, which connects to another shot momentarily. They end this build-up of tension by utilizing a sweeping dolly shot, starting off as a medium and finishing as a close up on Tom Cruise.By framing this section of the scene in this way, Spielberg and Kaminski are able to increase the visual tension to go along with the audio, which perfectly sets up the audience for the upcoming action sequence which jump starts the rest of the film.Video via TheMakingFilm™Editing the SceneSpielberg’s longtime editor Michael Kahn followed the pacing set by Spielberg and his crew.  But where Kahn really shines is when we have to transfer from the actual set location to a sound stage for a visual effects shot, and this happens during the department store sequence.For this section of the scene, Spielberg had to film Cruise running through the door of the department store, then film him in a controlled set for an effects sequence, then film him on location again as he runs out the back door. This, of course, came with some major challenges for editor Michael Khan. To get around these challenges, he got creative.To transfer the main character in and out of the store, Kahn utilized the movement of the people around Tom Cruise. So, as Cruise enters the store, he uses the crowd to mask his transition wipe. Then after the car bursts through the window, Kahn uses a b-roll shot of people running across the frame to help with the transition of Cruise leaving the building and running for his life. It is here that Kahn chooses not to cut, leaving a long take that allows the audience to connect with Cruise and catch their breath.Developing the VFX for the SceneThe visual effects for this particular scene are nothing short of amazing. There are so many moving parts in order to get all of the elements in correct relation to one another. This is particularly evident during the initial attack, as our main character rushes through the street while other citizens are zapped and turned to dust around him.In order to pull off this shot, Spielberg first worked with the VFX team at ILM in pre-production. They knew that they had to film a plate of people running down the street and pretending to be struck by a ray gun.From this plate they built the VFX work on top by mapping the frame and tracking the camera movement. This was then applied to the 3D animation software they used to create the various elements. Not only did they use 3D elements, but they used practical elements as well, filming the clothes and dust in the air. Once all of the assets were placed together within the comp and rendered out, we end up with an impactful scene that sets up the action for the rest of the film.Video via TheMakingFilm™last_img read more

Nehru Cup 2012: Syrian team find solace in football

first_imgWhen the question is of survival, football takes a backseat. However, the Syrian team here at the Nehru Cup defies the norm as they perform on the pitch while their compatriots back home go through turbulence in their lives.This has been the case for the last one year during which time the West Asian country has seen battles between the state and the factions fighting the regime in power. Reportedly, more than 20,000 have lost their lives and the strife does not seem to end any time soon.The footballers, however, choose to concentrate on their game. Their captain and goalkeeper Mosab Balhous has various explanations about the loss to India on Wednesday and the challenges ahead.However, just as questions veer towards the difficulty of playing amid the situation in his country, Balhous’s face turns grim.”I would not like to say anything on that subject,” comes a stern reply from the 28-year-old indicating a strong displeasure about a topic that has so evidently affected the Syrians.Coach Marwan Khouri takes up the damage control exercise.”The international media has been giving a very dark and different picture of our country. The situation is not like that,” he says. “Prior to coming here, we trained in Damsacus (Syria’s capital) for 40 days. We played matches among ourselves and had no problem there.”The duo becomes much more comfortable and lively when football is the subject.”Against India, we were playing well in the first half. In fact we were the better team, but after the rain we just lost the plot,” said Balhous, who is also the senior most member of the squad. “That, according to me, was the main reason for our loss.”advertisementSyria, finalists in the 2007 and 2009 editions, have brought their home-based players this time and the inexperience affected their performance, Balhous admitted.”We have young players and I agree absolutely it has affected our performance,” he said. “This is the third time that we are playing here and winning the tournament is very important for us.”This is Balhous’s third Nehru Cup as he came with the team in the earlier two editions also and he is not ignorant about Indian football.”I know several Indian players. Your goalkeeper (Subrata Paul) is a friend of mine. Your No.11 (Sunil Chhetri) is also good. I heard that he is playing in Portugal now,” he said.When told that the Indian captain is now playing in Sporting Lisbon’s B side, Balhous boasts that top players from Syria too are playing abroad.”We have 20 players who are playing abroad in countries like Jordan, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. But those players are not here,” he said.About their game plan in the upcoming matches, especially after the loss in the opening game, Balhous says: “We face Cameroon next. If we can win that, the other two matches (against Nepal and Maldives) would be easy. We can then enter the final.”last_img read more

India lose to Belgium in Champions Trophy hockey, Australia stun Germany

first_imgIndian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh put up a disappointing performance as they lost to Belgium 1-2 in a round-robin game of the Hockey Champions Trophy Belgium at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in London on Monday.Belgian players – Alexander Hendrickx (25th minute) and Jerome Truyens (44th minute) – both scored through captain Sreejesh’s legs. Devindar Walmiki scored the lone Indian goal in the 30th minute.With this loss, India dropped to the third spot in the points table with four points from three games. Britain, who earlier in the day thumped South Korea 4-1, also have four points but are ahead on goal difference.Belgium rose to the fifth spot with the win, while South Korea (three points) and Germany (two points) are fifth and sixth respectively.India will face South Korea on Tuesday. In other matches, Australia meet Belgium, while Germany will be up against the hosts.EARLY PRESSURE ON INDIAAt the start of the match between India and Belgium, the latter looked menacing from the push-back and in the first quarter they got a penalty corner but the Indian defence managed to keep it away.The European outfit continued to push ahead the Indian failed to muster up serious attacks initially. Meanwhile, midfielder Simon Gougnard put himself in a strong position to tap in a pass from Thomas Briels but he fired over, much to the relief of the Indian camp.Later in the second half, a soft push from saw goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh going forward but missed the ball before Kothajit Singh came to India’s rescue with a fine save near the goal-line.advertisementBelgium got another penalty corner in the 19th minute but Sreejesh did well to stop the flick from Hendrickx.SREEJESH COMMITS TOO MANY MISTAKESHowever, Belgium scored in their fourth penalty corner in the 25th minute as Hendrickx’s hit went through the legs of Sreejesh in a big error from the Indian custodian.India equalised five minutes later when Devindar swept home after a half-hearted clearance from goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch fell in front of the Indian midfielder, who launched a powerful shot to the right side of the roof.After the break, the first minutes saw India earning two penalty corners but V.R. Raghunath’s hits were not up to mark. While the first one was slow and got cleared at the goal-line by Florent van Aubel, the second one was palmed away by goalkeeper Vanasch. Belgium also got a penalty corner but India denied them with the first runner.Both the teams tried hard to take the lead and it was the Belgians who regained the lead in the 44th minute in another mistake from Sreejesh. Gougnard’s pass from the right corner was met at the near post by veteran Truyens, whose drive went through the legs of captain Sreejesh, resulting in a 2-1 lead for Belgium.Afterwards, Gougnard continued to dominate the right side of the midfield as he once helped Tanguy Cosyns earn a penalty corner but Hendrickx’s flick went wide. Gougnard crossed for Sebastian Dockier but the latter, with only goalkeeper Sreejesh to beat, fired it over.BRITS THRASH SOUTH KOREAIn the first match of the day, Britain delighted the home crowd by scoring a goal in each quarter to overpower South Korea 4-1.Ashley Jackson opened the scoring for the home side with a clinically dispatched penalty stroke after South Korea goalkeeper Hong Doopyo brought down rival captain Barry Middleton, before David Condon scored the first of two goals when he dived in to finish a wonderful team move.You Seungju pulled a goal back for South Korea when he fired into the roof of the net from a smart penalty corner routine to make the score 1-2 going into half time. But strikes from Alastair Brogdon and a second for Condon sealed a deserved triumph for the well-supported Brits.AUSTRALIA BEAT DEFENDING CHAMPSIn the second match, world champions Australia bounced back from a two-goal deficit to defeat Olympic champions and Champions Trophy holders Germany 4-3.Goals from Germany captain Florian Fuchs and Tobias Hauke put them into a commanding lead at the end of the first quarter. But the Australians hit back in the second quarter thanks to strikes from Glenn Turner and Tristan White before Fuchs struck again to give Germany a 3-2 lead at half time.Blake Govers restored parity with a blistering third quarter penalty corner, with Aran Zelewski scoring the winner seven minutes from full time.last_img read more