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, November 17, 2011

The Art of Science

"Two fish swimming side-by-side"
Photo by Brigitt Bosehitsch, Peter Dewey
and Alexander Smits
Today the New York Times posted a beautiful collection of pictures in which images from science and technology are presented artistically. These are from the Princeton University Art of Science Competition. My favorite is #10 shown on the left, "Two Fish Swimming Side-by-Side," which shows vortices spinning off of two fins (bottom of the photo) flapping in-phase. Water loaded with hydrogen nanobubbles is flowing from the bottom to the top past the fins. The stripes of bubble-containing and bubble-free water shows how the vortices are created and propagate away from the fins.

NASA Terra MODIS image
Vortex streets are common in the oceans and atmosphere. Here's a Terra MODIS image of one formed when the clouds over the ocean are disturbed by an obstacle, in this case Madeira Island.  A second interesting feature in this photo is the pattern of the clouds in general. There are roughly hexagonal cells of air. These form when the air is heated at the base (or cooled at the top). Warm air rises in the centers and sinks around the edges. This pattern frequently arises when you heat a pot of water on the stove, and is called Rayleigh-Bernard convection.

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