This blog provides commentary on interesting geological events occurring around the world in the context of my own work. This work is, broadly, geological fluid dynamics. The events that I highlight here are those that resonate with my professional life and ideas, and my goal is to interpret them in the context of ideas I've developed in my research. The blog does not represent any particular research agenda. It is written on a personal basis and does not seek to represent the University of Illinois, where I am a professor of geology and physics. Enjoy Geology in Motion! I would be glad to be alerted to geologic events of interest to post here! I hope that this blog can provide current event materials that will make geology come alive.

Banner image is by Ludie Cochrane..

Susan Kieffer can be contacted at s1kieffer at gmail.com

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brazil nut effect

Have you ever opened a can of mixed nuts and noticed that the biggest ones are on top?  When a can of mixed nuts is shaken, the big ones do migrate to the top. This phenomenon is known as the "Brazil nut effect", because the biggest nuts in a mixed can are called Brazil nuts. Here's a link to a video about this in a laboratory setting.  In "nature", the physics is much more complicated: what if the 'nuts' have different densities (imagine that one is a real organic nut, but another is a lead weight), and the rate and magnitude of shaking changes. Sometimes Brazil nuts could even end up going to the bottom, instead of the top.  However, keep the Brazil nut effect in mind as you watch this incredible video of a mudflow developing in Pakistan ( the most interesting stuff is at 1.5 minutes). Again, as always, thanks to Dave's Landslide Blog for continuous coverage of environmental hazards around the world.

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