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

GeoZeum: A Personal Museum of Geology

GeoZeum: A Personal Museum of Geology

GeoZeum is something between a rock shop and a discovery museum in historic—and geologically rich—San Juan Bautista.

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Care and Feeding of Geology Teachers

Care and Feeding of Geology Teachers

Opening the eyes of geology teachers to geology in everyday life helps open their students' eyes in turn. The coming events of Earth Science Week can do the same for the rest of us.

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Making Better Land

Making Better Land

Humans have been reclaiming land for thousands of years. Lately we have gotten better at reclamation, but nature continues to test our work.

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Local Geological State Parks to Close

Local Geological State Parks to Close

The state is set to close 70 state park properties this fiscal year. I call out nine that are special to Bay Area geologizers.

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Shaking Things Up

Shaking Things Up

Earthquake engineering researchers use their giant shakers to do stuff as cool as Burning Man, and not just one week a year.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Moraga Formation

Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Moraga Formation

The Moraga Formation's distinctive set of volcanic rocks can be visited in many places in the East Bay hills. Let's have a look at five localities.

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There's Nothing Like a Rock Show

There's Nothing Like a Rock Show

No one is above the appeal of a pretty rock. Bay Area rock-and-mineral shows will use geology's loveliest faces to entice you into Earth science.

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What Happens to Old Quarries?

What Happens to Old Quarries?

Some of our older quarries left fairly benign footprints. These can be turned into assets that offer some geological interest as well.

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Access to Geologic Maps: The Landscape's Hidden Rooms

Access to Geologic Maps: The Landscape's Hidden Rooms

A geologic map presents a set of clues that, diligently pursued, can teach you to perceive the hidden rooms of the landscape. Some of the best are free.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Point Año Nuevo

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Point Año Nuevo

Elephant seals are seasonal attractions at Point Año Nuevo, but the geology and the earthquake hazard it presents is there year-round.

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Bay Area Mercury

Bay Area Mercury

The Bay Area's mercury problem arises from the special geology of the Coast Range that concentrates the metal in the mineral cinnabar.

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Petroleum in the Bay Area

Petroleum in the Bay Area

California's early oil districts included Half Moon Bay and the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can still find oil and gas around these parts.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Great Slickenside of Corona Heights

Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Great Slickenside of Corona Heights

Everyone loves San Francisco, but geologists love it for reasons others don't, such as its gigantic slickenside.

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Is the Salton Sea really "15 Months Pregnant" with our next big quake?

Is the Salton Sea really "15 Months Pregnant" with our next big quake?

In Southern California an intriguing journal article turned into "we're all gonna die" TV stories in the space of a day. Be ready for the next time this happens in the Bay Area.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Stinson Beach

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Stinson Beach

Even if geology weren't a factor, Stinson Beach would be among my top Bay Area beaches. But with me, geology is always a factor. Let's take in the scene.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Cordelia and Green Valley Faults

Geological Outings Around the Bay: The Cordelia and Green Valley Faults

The Cordelia fault is about as user-friendly as a fault can be, and its appearance west of Fairfield is the best fault exposure in the Bay Area.

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Bay Area Geology Books

Bay Area Geology Books

Learning about geology isn't just a matter of going out and wandering around, as fun as that is. Books help a lot, and here are my favorites.

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Mount Diablo Views

Mount Diablo Views

Mount Diablo, in the heart of the East Bay, is an interesting mountain in many ways. But first of all, Mount Diablo is just there.

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New Fossils from the Caldecott Tunnel

New Fossils from the Caldecott Tunnel

Paleontologists have shown new fossils from beneath the Berkeley Hills, where the Caldecott Tunnel is being expanded with a fourth bore.

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Geological Outings Around the Bay: Ring Mountain

Geological Outings Around the Bay: Ring Mountain

The body of rock underlying the central Tiburon Peninsula is the rarest and most scientifically precious part of the Franciscan Complex, an assemblage of materials that was once involved in subduction.

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