Wednesday, February 10, 2010

day two of the short course

I really enjoyed today’s lectures. The morning was a talk on the Dissolution-Reprecipitation During Melt-Rock Interaction in Partially Molten Silicates. It was very well organized and presented, and included movies showing the changes in composition of the crystals and melt during the reactions between them. It is amazing how much easier the topic is to follow when there are movies involved—the last time I would have had classes on melt-crystal interactions of any sort would have been in the early 1990’s when diagrams were still drawn on the board by hand during lectures. It worked (and gave us time to copy them in our notes), but seeing them change (and having a copy of the powerpoint presentation and movies to refer to later) is ever so much better.

During the short coffee break between lectures I went for a walk up the hill, and was delighted to see the lovely stone church at the end of the road. It is built out of an igneous (dolerite by the look of it, though I didn’t actually check proportions of various minerals to confirm or deny that identification) on an out crop of nicely folded schist. In a few places there are layers of the schist incorporated into the building, the thin stones stacked at an angle to the main blocky building stones, in a very nice effect. As soon as I’m home and once again have the cable for my camera I’ll share photos.

The second talk of the morning was on Microstructural Modeling with ELLE—Introduction and Applications. It was also well organized and presented—starting with the answer to the question “Why do numerical modeling at all?” (Because geologic processes operate on way too many scales, ranging from fractions of a μm to 1000’s of km, and from fractions of a second to many million years, and models can handle all of these scales, but experiments are limited in how much time is available and how large of a sample they can operate on, and field work isn’t always enough to show how the rocks achieved their current configuration.)
After lunch we spent some time playing with our own copies of Yan’s movies, and then we started learning how to use ELLE. We were only able to brush the surface of what is possible with this, but with the tools he’s given us, and access to their forum, anyone who is keen should be able to take this information and run with it.

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