Where in the World Contest : November 2013

Earth PuzzleYou still have time to enter our Where in the World contest! Each day this week, we’ve posted a new photo of this mystery location. Identify the location and win a mystery prize! Visit the Geology Library and look at the 5 photos on our bulletin board.

Send your answer to georequests@lib.utexas.edu

To be eligible to win, you must be a UT student. In the case of a tie, the most detailed answer, including place names, formation names, coordinates, or description of the imagery, will win. Deadline is December 2, 2013.


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You Are Here: ¡Viva Tequila!

You Are Here ¡Viva Tequila!

Event: “You Are Here: ¡Viva Tequila!” This event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

When: 6:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 4.

Where: Benson Latin American Collection, Sid Richardson Hall (SRH) 1.108, The University of Texas at Austin.

Background: The University of Texas Libraries, along with the University of Texas Press, is presenting an event highlighting the historic maps of Mexico’s agave-rich western region contained in the collections of the Benson Latin American Collection.

Terroir meets territory as the second installment in the Libraries’ cartography series — “You Are Here: ¡Viva Tequila!” — focuses on the crossroads of historic and contemporary culture of Mexico and its tequila.

Lucinda Hutson, author of the UT Press-published ¡Viva Tequila!, will talk about the history of the region and the rise of Mexico’s most notable contribution to the world of distilled spirits, and attendees will view historical maps of Mexico from the Benson’s collection to help place the story of tequila into geographical context.

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You Are Here : Austin Represent

Maps at Geology LibrarySave the date: Tuesday, October 15, 2013, from 11:30-1:30! We are starting a new series, You Are Here, showcasing maps across campus. Our first one will be in the PCL Map room with an exhibit of Austin Maps.

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Where in the World Contest : August 2013

Earth PuzzleIdentify a mystery photo and win a mystery gift certificate! Visit the Geology Library and look at the photo on our bulletin board.

Send your answer to georequests@lib.utexas.edu

To be eligible to win, you must be a UT student. In the case of a tie, the most detailed answer, including place names, formation names, coordinates, or description of the imagery, will win. Deadline is September 9, 2013.

We’ll offer a “where in the world” mystery image contest once a month.

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Demon duck of doom!

MegafaunaI wish that I had come up with the nickname for Bullockornis planei, an extinct flightless bird, but I didn’t. Speaking of megafauna from a different part of the world, the Geology Library recently added Megafauna : giant beasts of Pleistocene South America by Richard A. Fariña, Sergio F. Vizcaíno, and Gerry De Iuliis at call number QE  881 M475 2013 Geology Library.

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More extinct, revived, rediscovered, time-traveling creatures!

Megalodon JawsDinosaurs are not the only extinct creatures to capture the imagination in geoscience fiction. We have strange sharks, birds, and cats! Plus some plesiosaurs and marine reptiles! Here are some more cryptozoological thrillers:

Megalodons or Ginormous Extinct Sharks:

The ARC by Paul Rudd
Meg series by Steve Alten
Extinct by Charles Wilson
Megalodon Lives by Flash Rex
Monster Shark: Umira the Accursed by Stephen D. Sullivan
Midnight Sea by B. Luciano Barsuglia
The Pacifica by C.M. Loomis
Titanic QED by Catt Dahman
Megalodon by Robin Brown

Smilodons or Sabre-toothed tigers:

Smilodon by Alan Nayes
Fatalis by Jeff Rovin
The Valley by William Meikle (featuring other prehistoric creatures)


The Flock by James Robert Smith

Marine creatures:

The Crater by David D. Holt
Loch Ness by Donovan Galway
Monster: a tale of Loch Ness by Jeffrey Konvitz
Liopleurodon King of the Carnivores by Michael Zucker

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Dinosaur Thrills!

When I first started compiling a list of fiction related to geoscience, I had no idea how many fictional dinosaur books there were nor how many common ways authors found of introducing dinosaurs into the story to thrill readers. Here’s how some authors brought dinosaurs to life, with example titles. Beware, there are many thematic cross-overs!Dinosaur

Dinosaur point-of-view

These stories are told from the dinosaur’s perspective and may or may not include interactions with humans. This category includes the possibility that dinosaurs are aliens or that aliens are dinosaurs.

Raptor Red by Robert Bakker
Dinosaur Wars by Thomas Hopp
Far-Seer by Robert J. Sawyer
Fossil Hunter by Robert J. Sawyer
Foreigner by Robert J. Sawyer

Re-discovered dinosaurs

Dinosaurs never died out completely. Some dinosaurs lived on in hard-to-find places or evolved into something unexpected.

Dinosaur Summer by Greg Bear
The Land that Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The Lost World by Arthur Conan Doyle
West of Eden by Harry Harrison
Winter in Eden by Harry Harrison
Return to Eden by Harry Harrison
Dinosaur Planet by Anne McCaffrey
Dinosaur Planet Survivors by Anne McCaffrey

Revived dinosaurs

Scientists decided it was a good idea to recreate some of the most terrifying creatures that ever roamed the earth.

Carnivore by Leigh Clark
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
Bone Wars by Brett Davis
Two Tiny Claws by Brett Davis
Carnosaur by Harry Adam Knight

Time-warp loopholes

Humans travel back in time, dinosaurs travel forward in time, or a rift in the fabric of the time-space continuum causes a jumbled timeline that has dinosaurs and humans existing at the same time.

Footprints of Thunder by James F. David
Dinosaur Thunder  by James F. David
Thunder of Time  by James F. David
Cretaceous Dawn by Lisa M. Graziano
Hell Creek by Lisa M. Graziano
Cretaceous Sea by Will Hubble
Sea of Time by Will Hubble
Safari World by Dale Martin
End of an Era by Robert J. Sawyer
The Dechronization of Sam Magruder by George Gaylord Simpson
Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick

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An earthworm for a bookworm

Worm’s-eye views is a Library of Congress cartographic materials genre term. In terms of drafting, photography, and cinema, a worm’s-eye view offers the perspective of the world as seen from the ground.

Although worm could refer to many creatures, even to ancient serpents or dragons, I most often think of the earthworm. Earthworms do not even have eyes- they have photoreceptors. Maybe I unfairly stereotype earthworms as creatures that exist and toil with no interest in their marvelous nature nor in their important role in the cycle of life. So how would a worm gain a gloriously unique perspective of insight and beauty?

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Your stars, they wound me

Astrobleme, or star wound, is a vivid synonym for impact structure. I came across this term in Philippe Bouysse’s Explanatory Notes for the Geological Map of the World.

Bouysse also included this quote on the title pages:

«Ce qui est simple est toujours faux. Ce qui ne l’est pas est inutilisable.» Paul Valéry (Mauvaises pensées et autres, 1942)

Geological map of the world sheet 1


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Reality Now Rare

On my way to work in morning, I walk past a sign that advertises “Reality Pros.” No wait, that’s ”Realty Pros.” Realty professionals manage property, not reality.

Although the roots and meanings for reality and realty overlap, I’m much more interested in questions concerning:

reality- Real existence; what is real rather than imagined or desired; the aggregate of real things or existences; that which underlies and is the truth of appearances or phenomena.- OED


realty- a. The quality of being real, reality; real existence. Cf. reality n. 1, 2a. Now rare.- OED

rather than

realty b. Law. As a mass noun: real property (cf. real adj.2 7c); (now chiefly U.S.) real estate. Freq. attrib.- OED

In compiling a reading list for geoscience fiction, I discovered a number of books and films about dangerous sea creatures with lethally sharp teeth.


If a book summary describes a monster lurking in the murky depths and is tagged under the category of cryptozoology, how do I decide if a book concerns science (reality) or fantasy (legend)? Are these sea creatures extinct sharks or megalodons? Sometimes in popular science fiction, even legendary creatures are recipients of scientific explanations and eat Scully’s dog Queequeg. The definition of cryptozoology encompasses a wide range of the real and imagined.

Cryptozoology: The study of unknown, legendary, or extinct animals whose existence or survival to the present day is disputed or unsubstantiated.

I would gladly hire the services of a reality pro to interpret vague plot summaries and to distinguish between extinct animals such as megalodons and cryptids such as the Loch Ness monster.

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