Archive for the ‘Geologic Food Analogy’ Category

Graded bedding is one of my favorite features to find in rocks when out hiking. In the rock are details of paleo-orientation (which way was originally up) and what the depositional environment was like. The basic concept to understand is that the heavier/larger sediments settle out first while being deposited and the lighter/smaller sediments settle on top. As I was digging through my fridge to find lunch another geologic food analogy dawned on me. Caesar Dressing is graded bedding! Not the creamy kind though. Next time you get a chance grab a bottle of Caesar dressing and shake it up; this will act as the turbidity current. Over the next few minutes watch as the heavier “sediments” like the salts settle to the bottom of the bottle first. Then watch as the next layer of intermediate sediments like romano cheese, anchovy bits, and spices settle, and finally the vinegars and oils settle on top.

Below are a few quick pictures I took of this process. The last one is annotated to really show the effect.



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For the people (both of you) who requested the video:

At 0:17 the video switches to a point when the temperature was hotter. Notice how the movement becomes more intense.


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Today as I was cooking up a batch of tapioca pudding a thought occurred to me. Given the teaching habits of one of my professors, I now have a propensity for finding geologic analogies in food. Which can sometimes be a messy habit. Today that took shape in the form of pudding. As I sat and stirred over medium-low heat as not to let the tapioca stick to the bottom of the pot, I would watch little tapiocas (?) rise in some places travel along and sink near the edges. Then it dawned on me. I was watching at a food inspired geologic analogy for the asthenosphere!

As the heat from the stove (heat from radioactive decay) warms the pudding (partially melted rock of the asthenosphere) it becomes less dense and rises. Once it reaches the surface (or the under belly of the lithosphere) it flows away from the spreading center. Being pushed by and pushing other little tapiocas in their path. Once they are far enough away they either cooled enough or collided with the scummy build-up along the edge of the pot (the continental crust).  My little tap’s would then dive back into the depths of the “asthenosphere” to be heated up again, and repeat the entire process.

I also consider that if I let enough of the scummy build-up propagate out, I could have an analogy for plate tectonics as well.

Needless to say, as I sat and watched this (and took pictures and video) I let the tapioca burn and stick to the bottom of the pot.

What do you think? Is this an accurate analogy or do I need some fine tuning?

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