The Science of Sustainability

Andrew Alden

Andrew Alden

Andrew Alden earned his geology degree at the University of New Hampshire and moved back to the Bay Area to work at the U.S. Geological Survey for six years. He has written on geology for About.com since its founding in 1997. In 2007, he started the Oakland Geology blog, which won recognition as "Best of the East Bay" from the East Bay Express in 2010. In writing about geology in the Bay Area and surroundings, he hopes to share some of the useful and pleasurable insights that geologists give us—not just facts about the deep past, but an attitude that might be called the deep present.

Read his previous contributions to QUEST, a project dedicated to exploring the Science of Sustainability.

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Andrew Alden's Latest Posts

Gigapans: Panoramas that Bring You All the Way There

Gigapans: Panoramas that Bring You All the Way There

These gigantic, zoomable photographs bring all the glory of great places to your screen. They also bring you geologic lessons of all sizes.

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Our Corner of Cascadia

Our Corner of Cascadia

A moderate earthquake this week in northwestern California is a reminder that part of our state lies in Cascadia, our tectonic analog of Sumatra and Japan.

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What Can Lake Vostok Tell Us About Europa?

What Can Lake Vostok Tell Us About Europa?

Does the prospect of life in subglacial Lake Vostok really point to the same on the icy satellite Europa? The answer may surprise you.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Napa Glass Mountain

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Napa Glass Mountain

A Napa Valley roadcut was once a strategic resource center for the local inhabitants. Today it still draws visitors seeking out that resource: obsidian.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Mount Vaca and the Monticello Dam

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Mount Vaca and the Monticello Dam

Visit two great landmarks of the northeastern Bay Area—one highly visible, the other well hidden—featuring the same body of rock.

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Treasure from the Sky

Treasure from the Sky

The recently authenticated fall of meteorites from Mars excites fever dreams as well as scientific fervor.

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Confounding Concretions

Confounding Concretions

Not crystals, not meteorites and not fossils, concretions puzzle people who find them. Geologists find them only slightly less puzzling than the general public.

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A Most Earthly Mineral on Mars

A Most Earthly Mineral on Mars

The planet Mars tantalizes with its resemblance to parts of Earth. Now space geologists with their trusty field assistant, the rover Opportunity, have found gypsum veins there like those in our own countryside.

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The Bay Area Geological Holiday Quiz

The Bay Area Geological Holiday Quiz

Twenty questions, four days to answer them, and one giveaway hint — that's what this geological quiz is about.

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Getting Started on Earthquake Preparedness

Getting Started on Earthquake Preparedness

Preparing your home is a part of the Bay Area's response to future earthquakes that is just as essential as the Bay Bridge upgrade, but you can manage it yourself with some free help.

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AGU: Twenty Thousand Geeks by the Sea

AGU: Twenty Thousand Geeks by the Sea

Geoscientists mark the holiday season every year by swarming to San Francisco to eat, drink and talk science.

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Bay Area Tides

Bay Area Tides

The daily tides are the Bay's way of breathing, from its windpipe at the Golden Gate to its lungs, the wetlands from the Delta to the coast.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Natural Bridges

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Natural Bridges

There's more to see at Natural Bridges State Beach than the temporary natural bridge. It's a monument to the cultural as well as the geological past.

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Fossil Collecting in the Bay Area

Fossil Collecting in the Bay Area

Many parts of the Bay Area have fossils. Can we collect them? Some situations are clear; others not so much. Perhaps it could be easier.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Fitzgerald Marine Preserve

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Fitzgerald Marine Preserve

The area around Pillar Point is famous for surfing and tidepooling, but its fault-related landforms are significant geological resources too.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Fremont Peak

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Fremont Peak

Fremont Peak oversees a large region of the Coast Ranges between Monterey and Hollister. When you pay it a visit, be sure to look around your feet too.

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Affinity for Stone: The Public Art of Ruth Asawa

Affinity for Stone: The Public Art of Ruth Asawa

Stone is more than the plaything of geologists. Each of us sees it in special ways. Take a look at stone in two masterworks by San Francisco artist Ruth Asawa.

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Cycads: No Longer "Living Fossils"

Cycads: No Longer "Living Fossils"

Cycads are considered "living fossils," unchanged from the days when Jurassic dinosaurs fed upon them. New research shows that today's cycads are much younger than that.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Albany Hill

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Albany Hill

Among the commuters who pass it twice a day, surely thousands of people wonder about that dramatic little hill next to I-80/580 just north of Berkeley. Wonder no more.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Point Pinole and the Hayward fault

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Point Pinole and the Hayward fault

Pinole Point offers a view of the Hayward fault in its natural setting, without the human overprint that brands it as a hazard.

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