Gritty has found rocks.

They are all safe but boring to lick. It’s a solid selection of common crystals from a rock shop or museum gift store.

I do have a few questions.
If you go outside and pick up a stray rock, it’s probably quartz.

This looks like quartz. Quartz is an excellent oscillator that is piezoelectric & resonates well.

White sand is also quartz, and is near oceans.

Conclusion: Gritty can use quartz as a distributed spy network.
I have questions on this ID.

If it’s rose quartz, it’s about as fun as licking a window for flavour.

But it could easily be pink halite (like Himalayan rock salt!). If it is...? Lick it! Lick it moar!
This is a very good choice of fav rock. While not all sodalite is vibrantly fluorescent, most is.

If Gritty zapped this rock with a UV flashlight it’s very likely to glow a gorgeous fiery orange.

An orange that would look quite lovely with that fur.
If you haven’t seen sodalite fluoresce before, it’s really pretty!

Here’s a thread on the science of sodalite & tracking down the truth behind a viral vid from last year:
If you pick up a stray rock from Gritty’s collection, it’s probably quartz.

Amethyst: quartz with trace iron, irradiation, or both

Aventurine: quartz with traces of copper & maybe mica inclusions

Quartz point: quartz

Jasper, carnelian, tigers eye: microcrystalline quartz
Assuming the rose quartz is an accurate ID and the salty flavour is lingering sweat, Gritty has a quartz collection and a chunk of sodalite.

This is exactly why I have such a love-hate relationship with quartz.

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More from @mikamckinnon

21 Nov
I’m reading a lot of well-intentioned articles that make it clear how many scicomm peeps have no idea disaster risk reduction is a deep field with a lot of research into effective communication.

ProTip: Using fear & shame as motivation backfires when applied to public health.
I can’t write this article (or even thread!) right now as I’m under medical orders to drop my stress levels (ahahahahasob), but...

If you’re writing well-intentioned pieces trying to influence pandemic behaviour, please take some cues from disaster sociology research. It exists!
Fundamental premise:
Vanishingly few people make active choices they believe will endanger themselves or the people they love.

If they’re making “bad” choices, it’s a fundamentally different risk perception. Until you understand how & why, your argument will miss its audience.
Read 6 tweets
19 Nov
I’m stunned that we’re losing Arecibo.

Even if you don’t pay much attention to ground-based astronomy, you know this telescope from pop culture & movies. It’s somewhere special.…
This article from just before the closing announcement is fantastic for the context of why Arecibo is so unique:…
I just...

I know we’ve got a lot going on, especially with the mass casualty event scheduled shortly after US Thanksgiving.

But take some time to read the Arecibo tributes as they come out. They won’t be cheerful. But they’ll be heartfelt.
Read 6 tweets
14 Nov
Irregular reminder that landslides can behave like fluids.

(Thank you for all the pings!)
Landslides get weird when there really big, and can start behaving more like fluids than solids once they’re over the half million cubic meter mark.

...which was pretty much why I wrote a thesis once upon a time:…
But technically landslide are fluid-like, not fluids.


Because they’re a mixed mess of materials that act differently when moving than when still. You can’t just sample a tree trunk, some peat, and water to figure out the rheologic properties (how it flows).
Read 9 tweets
13 Nov
Searles Lake is a major industrial source of evaporate minerals. Brine is pumped into shallow ponds, where desert sun evaporates water & leaves behind baby crystals to screen, harvest, wash & dry.

The minerals grow so fast they hopper: outside expands before inside fills in.
Searles Lake produces a whole bunch of halites and borates: halite, borax, selenite, ulexite (tv rock), as well as some weirder minerals like searlesite.

The pink cubical minerals are halite: table salt! Not only is it safe & tasty to lick, it’s essential for your health.
Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
Dear coastal Alaska:
Pay attention & be ready to head inland.

Dear coastal PNW:
Keep an eye on the news until we have tsunami confirmation.
Subduction zone earthquakes involve vertical movement of the sea floor. This displacement can trigger tsunami.

While we’re very, very good at forecasting how fast tsunami will travel where, we don’t know how big they’ll be until they start coming on shore.
If you’re on a coast and feel severe shaking, RUN the moment shaking stops. Don’t wait around for assessments or formal warnings, just get as far uphill & inland as you can get as quickly as possible.

Same if you ever see the ocean pull back & exposing sea floor.
Read 16 tweets
4 Oct
Cute lil dropstone!

My initial interpretation:
Once upon a time and long long ago, an existing rock fell into squishy mud. Time, pressure, & natural cementing hardened the mud into rock ...with rocks stuck in it.
This isn’t the only possible story!

I’m basing my interpretation on location (beach), that the rock looks gritty (grains not crystals), and that the boundary between the colours looks raised lips (not weathering rind or contact metamorphism).
All those dimples look like places other pebbles were plucked from the host rock* as it was exposed & eroded.

(*former mud/silt/sand now mudstone/siltstone/sandstone depending on proportion of fines).
Read 11 tweets

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