New blog

Im still keeping this blog alive, but ive recently started a new blog about my favourite hobby, genealogy. So follow me on Nordic Roots

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Leaving geology for a black willow

I’m not that active here as you might have noticed. The reason is mainly that Ive decided to quit studying geology this winter without being finished with my MSc… Yes I’m a quitter…

While becoming a father last year my plans for the future changed. I am now working on starting up my own business (black willow creations) in app development instead (not much to see yet at the webpage) and I hope to work from home being there for my daughter at all times.

I still love geology, but the jobs are not located where I live in Sweden and that also influenced me. Moving to the north of the country is not my cup of tea. I like the civilization. And I hate the dark and cold of the arctic with winter like 11 months of the year and mosquitos and eternal sun that single month of the summer. (Think Alaska, and youve got the north of Sweden). Ive come to a point in life where family and freedom matters to me. Being employed at some mining company from 7 am to 5 pm far from family and civilization… no thank you.

But on an amateur level I might continue to blog here despite all this. Not sure yet. If I do it will be just a few posts a year and most likely only about Swedish geology & nature.

If you keep me in your rss-flow or what you use to read this you will find out. If not, I won’t blame you. It’s been great blogging and I love the response I’ve got when I was active here. I hope that I will find the time and inspiration to blog some more. I really do.

Rock on!

Posted in Biomineral & organominerals, Climate & environment, Economy & politics, Excursions & travels, Exogeology & astronomy, Geoarchaeology, Gotland, Landscapes & Geomorphology, Mineralogy, Paleontology, Petrology, philosophy & history, Pseudoscience, Religion, Scania (Skåne), Sedimentology, Tectonics & volcano, Uncategorized, University & Study | 4 Comments

Crows kicks and a priest’s bathtub

Near the south Swedish town Simrishamn here in the province of Skåne (Scania), in a small fishing village called Vik theres some nice Cambrian quartzite geology exposed near the ocean (the surrounding geology is a mixture of older horst risen gneiss, ordovician shales and quarternary deposits). This quartzite deposits are part of features that exists in small deposits in a line across Skåne, following the Tornqvist zone and its horst and graben-formations in this province.

I went there on a trip this summer and took some photos. (I also include some older photos that I took at the same spot in 2008.)

Cambrian cliffs in Vik

Fig above. The Cambrian quartzite cliffs of Vik where once a part of a beach near located near the South pole. Today its as you probably know much closer to the northern pole. This tectonic journey always make me in awe of nature and the time scale of everything.

Fig above. Cross section of the cambrian quartzite. The stratigraphic sequences of the old beach are still quite clear.

Fig above. Trace fossil Diplocraterion parallellum. In local talk they are refered to as “crows kicks” (swe. “kråksparkar”) – having to do with their appearance in some way. They cover all the cliffs in the area. There are also other types of trace fossils to be found here.

Figs above. The priest’s bathtub (Swe “Prästens badkar”) is thought to be the remains of a cambrian sand volcano. There are several hundred similar known formations in the cambrian deposits around Skåne. But this one is by far the largest and most well known. As far as I know its actually unique in the world. The origin of the name “priest’s bathtub” is unknown to me, but I guess its self explanatory.

Posted in Excursions & travels, Paleontology, Petrology, Scania (Skåne), Sedimentology | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment


I know, most likely noone reads this blog anymore. But I just wanted to know if theres any geologists out there who use and post on Google+? Perhaps even have a nice circle of geologists there. Please let me know here if so. All I have there now to follow are a bunch of physicists and such…

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The sleeping blog sleeps

Here we go again. I promise to blog about geology from Sweden and delievers some posts. Then silence. Long silence. The reasons are many and probably not very interesting for you. But the pattern is of course familiar from my old blog Antimonite.

I hope that when I start on my masters thesis in a couple of weeks, then perhaps some new inspiration to blog about geology will start. So stay tuned (that is: keep me in your reader). In the mean time those of you who can speak Swedish can follow my Swedish blog on pseudoscience if they want. All you other wonderful people just have to wait. Hopefully not forever.

Posted in Pseudoscience, Uncategorized, University & Study | 2 Comments

The union of conspiracy theorists and sceptics

When something cool is announced, there will always be the ones who automatically does their best to put down the discovery. So when the new very cool arsenic bacteria got announced yesterday it didnt take long before they started to complain. I basically think that most of this has nothing to do with them being right or more sceptical than the rest of us poor sheep. I think it has more to do with them being disapointed that it wasnt the discovery they had expected. Not life on Titan/Rhea. No green men from Mars. And in some cases I also think it has to to with ignorance on the topic and pure envy. We call the latter thing Jantelag in Sweden.

And there is also the really nutty people out there who sees this in a conspiratory manner. Ive already seen a lot of claims on NASA trying to raise their funds. And the real nutty cases about this being part of NASAs big announcement. Where they slowly will introduce humanity to the hidden fact of aliens among us… *sigh*

But on a less nutty perspective its still sad. It has developed in to a fight on semantics today. Pharyngula tries to make this in to a unimportant discovery where its not at all a bacteria made of arsenic.

“It’s an extremophile bacterium that can be coaxed into substiting arsenic for phosphorus in some of its basic biochemistry. It’s perfectly reasonable and interesting work in its own right, but it’s not radical, it’s not particularly surprising, and it’s especially not extraterrestrial. It’s the kind of thing that will get a sentence or three in biochemistry textbooks in the future.”

There is NO bacteria or lifeform on this planet that can incoporate arsenic in to its structure (not what I know of at least). Pharyngulua should read up on the matter if he doesn’t understand why this is important then. There is a lot of bacteria that can control and/or respire with and in an arsenic rich environment. Something COMPLETLY different. And there is a lot of microbes than can control and use several types of elements. But they don’t change their DNA.

And his headline… “its not an arsenic-based life form“.

Eh, yes it actually is. It doesn’t become less of that just because it prefers the “normal” conditions with phosphorus. The second a bacterial generation adapts and change its building blocks to include arsenic – it’s def. made of arsenic. Not completely of course. And no, its not a question of poisonous bacteria. I was told that the public could interpret it so, but the publics ignorance can hardly be an argument against this.

This IS big news. Way beyond any normal extremophile/biomineralization process and discovery. It shows us that life can exist and adapt to extremely more “alien” conditions than we previously thought. No its not a discovery of actual life on a different planet, but it is the confirmation of endless new possibilities in the search for life. Now we can start for real to look beyond the ridiculus “habitable zone”. And also learn new thing on the evolution of life on earth. This opens new doors for science.

The only real problem with this discovery (that I have seen) is that there seem to be no actual study of the DNA of the bacteria. That the results more are based on the absence and presence of arsenic and phosphorus in weight%.

Well. Its good to be skeptical. But you can actually go too far on that. And you will join ranks with the conspiracy nutcases whether you like it or not.

Update: It seems to be confirmed that it is DNA and nothing else.

(BTW, sorry for the lack of posts lately. Im not sure when it will pick up again. Got so much on my mind right now and not that much inspiration when it comes to writing posts. But fear not, the blog isnt dead)

Posted in Biomineral & organominerals, Exogeology & astronomy | 1 Comment

Wtf its snowing?!

Ok, so now it snows outside my window :O

Its evening here, the 20th of October. Where I live, in the south of Sweden we often have winters without any snow at all. And NEVER this early. This early in the fall must be close to a historical record.

The climate is usually to warm for snow here many winters for any snow at all. And if we do get snow it usually falls in december at the most earliest, most most often first in January. It rarely stays for long on the ground.

This spring I also experience snow in May.We usually have like 20C then. But not this freakish year. No. We also had temperature records. Both low in winter time and high temps in July (34.5 in Lund where I live – hottest day for 300 years of historical measurements)

The climate is seriously fucked up.

Posted in Climate & environment, Scania (Skåne) | Leave a comment


Oh yes, the blog is still alive and kicking despite lack of posts. Just got loads of stuff to do at the moment. Ill be back with posts real soon!

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Sometimes it takes a geologist to point out the difference between habitable planet and habitable zone when the big minds get carried away... 🙂

Posted in Exogeology & astronomy, Petrology | 1 Comment

The more I learn about astrobiology…

I am quite aware of the fact that bashing other academic fields is quite unpopular to some people – and you probably can make a lot of enemies that way, or at least lose friends. But I dont care, I must give my two cents on this debacle that Pharyngula has written more about. I hope that more sensitive ppl can take it. And if not… then fine.. see you later.

I am also quite aware of the fact that one scientific magazines dubious behaviour is not the same as the behavoiur of an entire academic discipline – so dont give too much remark to that connection – it was simply the inspiration for this post. I know for a fact that there are a lot of astrobiologist out there who are just as good scientists as anyone else. But still, it doesnt surprise me that the connection between astrobiology and a poor peer-review is on the table.

Anyway – I have noticed that it seems like astrobiologist in general try to form their own discipline, despite being a multidisciplinary field of geology, biology and astronomy from the beginning.

I have no problem with the notion of a new perspective on lets say the geology of Mars. They could very well find new things in the geology pointing to life that traditional geologists would have missed. But at the same time, there is a huge potential problem in this.

Astrobiologist very often interpet geological material on other planets as far as I have seen when looking at their papers – despite often not being schooled in geology beyond basic levels. Most astrobiologists are astronomers or astrophysicists as I have understood it all. Sure, they can bring fresh new ideas from their backgrounds, but they will miss out on a lot of geological facts.

I have a friend, and perhaps he reads this post now and no longer considers me a friend 😛 , but from the beginning I have been very sceptical of the thesis he wrote (not seeing it in full! I could be totaly wrong now) – for the simple reason that it discuss satelite photos of Mars surface, and features on the surface, without consulting proper geologists. I mean, we are talking about sand dunes and the black spots that sometimes are visible on these on Mars.

Fig. Black spots on dunes on Mars. DDS also called. Many theories exist on their origin. But as I see it, nomatter what theory you prefer, you must consult a sedimentologist or at least their knowledge when discussin sedimentology, right?

So the very first person I would have asked for an opinion on what this could have been is a geologist, a sedimentologist preferably since they are the experts on dunes and sediments. But no, they skipped that part for reasons I didnt understand. His call of course, but I dont like it in a strict scientific approach. They made a separate theory instead, based on Co2-movement in the sand I believe. Certainly plausible and possible – but without the insights from the real experts on sand dunes, on Mars or Earth, I wouldnt have approved it – no matter how good it was.

What do you guys think. Is it ok to approve and/or accept papers/thesis on topics without consulting experts of that field? Is that really good science to just ignore the existing fields on the matter? Too me it sounds that at best, the only thing you will produce is a contextual proof/theory of something, not a real proof/theory.

I asked him if he had talked with any sedimentologists on the dunes of Mars, but it seemed like he didnt at that time. I think its because he perhaps didnt know that he had stepped in to the world of geology when discussing dunes. For me that is obvious, but for many ppl its is so that geologists deal with rocks, and nothing but rocks with the pick-axe and such… Sand and how that behave is something else. 😛

And no, this is not the only reason that I have difficulties accepting astrobiology – I have also learned that they actually also discuss the formation and construction of planets – without geologists. They say: “We look at the dynamics when a planet is formed and how it wors from a strict physics point of view” (since they are astrophysicists in general). They actually dont understand that geologists work with large scale functions of planets as well and that not understanding petrology will make any theory on the large scale of planet dynamics as useless as not understanding thermodynamics.You cannot explain how a planet works with magnetic fields and not understanding how and why we have hot spots, subduction zones and so on. Planets are geology.

It might seem like I place geologists on a ivory throne now, that only we must be asked on matters of sediments and stone and noone else, but Im not, I AM open to alternative points of view. I would like to see much more multidisciplinary science. But with one condition: That they always make sure that the leading experts of every sub field is consulted.

I could do other comparisons as well. Such as when archaeologists and historians dont consult each others theories on the same topic – that is just sad. But this is perhaps even more sad in my opinion since astrobiologists seem to not even know or care that they often work with geological questions where there are geological material and experts available.

The more I learn about astrobiology… the less I wish I knew about it… I hope that this changes for the better.

Posted in Exogeology & astronomy, Pseudoscience | 2 Comments