Monday, November 30, 2020

Drunk on Paleontology - Tooth and Claw Dry Hopped Lager


The next Drunk on Geology post is for Tooth & Claw Dry Hopped Lager by Off Color Brewing, brewed and bottled specifically for the Chicago Field Museum.  

When I was last in Chicago in April of 2019, I was touring around the Chicago Field Museum and I found out that they had a specialty label that appears to only be sold AT the Field Museum in honor of SUE the T. rex. According to Off Color Brewing's website:
"All lagers are not built the same. Czech style lagers are a subtype of pilsner style beers. Less bitter than it's German pilsner cousin, this style of pilsner instead features a hop aroma and a richer maltiness and is more delicate on the palate. Tooth & Claw is brewed as a house beer for The Field Museum of Natural History."

As I mentioned, the bottle proudly displays the skeleton of the Tyrannosaurus rex named SUE that is currently housed at Chicago's Field Museum. This is not the only beer to feature SUE, as I just did another post for Pseudo Sue Pale Ale, but this one is the only one to prominently display her skeleton on the bottle.   

SUE (AKA FMNH PR 2081) is a 90% complete T. rex skeleton, which is one of the most complete T. rexes ever found. She was discovered in 1990 by Sue Hendrickson and named after her. Sue Hendrickson worked for the Black Hills Institute of South Dakota, but there was some legal issues that came with the discovery. I go into it a bit more on my other blog, but I don't want to rehash that here. Eventually, the fossil was sold for $8.36 million to the Chicago Field Museum with backing by McDonalds and the Walt Disney Company. 

SUE in her fairly new home within the Griffin Dinosaur Experience at the Chicago Field Museum as of April of 2019. 

SUE was discovered within the Hell Creek Formation and has been dated to being about 67 million years old. This makes her one of the last dinosaurs of the Mesozoic. She is 40.5 feet and 13 feet tall, has been determined to be ~28 years old when she died, and is estimated to have weighed around 9 tons. 

SUE's original skull before it had been "fixed" by paleontologists in the cast of her complete skeleton.

Besides being nearly complete, one of the really cool things about SUE is the entire reconstruction of the skull. When discovered and pieced back together, the skull of SUE was essentially squished (all of which happened after death and burial). The skull itself also weighs over 600 pounds, so a reconstruction was needed in order to just display the skull. Luckily the original skull is also displayed nearby in the current exhibit as well.

SUE in her fairly new home within the Griffin Dinosaur Experience at the Chicago Field Museum as of April of 2019. 

After years of legal issues and paleontological prep work, SUE was finally mounted in its original location, within the main Stanley Field Hall at the Chicago Field Museum in the year 2000. It was then moved to the new location pictured here in late 2018. 

Secret Ingredient: Discovery

This has to be one of the coolest bottle designs that I have ever come across and I am thankful I was able to pick it up. I have also made to sure save at least one of the bottles with the carrier pack.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Drunk on Paleontology - Pseudo Sue Pale Ale

The next Drunk on Geology is for Pseudo Sue Pale Ale by Toppling Goliath Brewing Company

My case of Pseudo Sue was sent to me by some Chicago based friends who knew that I am big into the geology and paleontology of beers and figured this would be perfect for me. 

SUE (AKA FMNH PR 2081) is the Chicago Field Museum's Tyrannosaurus rex. 

SUE the T. rex in her former home in the Stanley Field Hall in the Chicago Field Museum back in August of 2016. 

There is a lot that can be said about SUE, but in short she was a 90% complete T. rex skeleton, which is one of the most complete T. rexes ever found. The Black Hills Institute of South Dakota was the organization that found her but there was some legal issues that came with the discovery. I go into it a bit more on my other blog, but I don't want to rehash that here. Eventually, the fossil was sold for $8.36 million to the Chicago Field Museum with backing by McDonalds and the Walt Disney Company. 
There are a few T. rex focused alcohols out there, and even two that are specifically about SUE, so for this post I am going to focus on the recreation of SUE on the package. Here SUE is pictured in bright greens and purples, however this same design has been used other times by the brewery with different color combinations. That brings up the question, of what is the correct color of a T. rex?

Text from the box:
"This single-hop pale ale showcases the Citra hop for a well-balanced beer that is delicate in body with a mild bitterness in the finish. She roars with ferocious aromas of grapefruit, citrus, mango and evergreen. Pseudo Sue’s unique taste is clean and bright with just enough bite!"
It has long been thought by paleontologists that we were never going to know what colors dinosaurs were. So they could, in theory, be any color possible. However, that is starting to change. Modern science has noted that many theropod dinosaurs likely had at least some feathers on them, unlike this depiction here, which is more akin to the original Jurassic Park's depiction of the Tyrant Lizard King. 

So did T. rex have feathers? There is some controversy to this as well. There have been numerous finds of T. rex with skin impressions, which would indicate that at least some of the animal was not covered with feathers. But that doesn't mean all of the animal was uncovered, or even that baby T. rexes were featherless (of which recent studies indicate that baby tyrannosaurs were indeed feathered). So, even if the baby T. rex was feathered it doesn't mean that an adult was feathered. Or even that the adult was partially covered. It's impossible to tell unless scientists either find enough skin impressions to that there was definitely no feathers, or they find feathers associated with the skeleton. Until then, it is likely that a T. rex probably had at least some feathers in adulthood. 

Depiction of a feathered baby T. rex. Image courtesy of Live Science, the AMNH, and D. Finnin

Putting the question of whether the T. rex was feathered or not aside, can scientists actually determine the color of dinosaurs (the extinct kind and the modern bird kind). And the answer to that is actually yes, at least up to a point. There are some colors in birds and other animals that are considered structural colors, meaning that the structure of the molecules within the body feature, such as a feather, affects its color. Therefore, it is possible to determine the color of the fossil feature (i.e. feathers) by looking at the structure of the melanosomes (color-bearing organelles) within the fossils. These organelles, which can be preserved in exceptional fossils, can then tell scientists what the colors of the feathers were (such as here, here, and here). While this doesn't represent all the possible colors that could be depicted, it does represent a wide array of the possible colors. 

Skin color, on the other hand is a bit harder, however it is not unprecedented that scientists have determined some fossils skin colors. Again, these are generally in exceptionally well preserved fossils. Within these they have found carotenoid-based structural coloration of a 10 million year old snake and as stacked perforated laminae in moths

Within dinosaurs, current knowledge is fairly rare of coloration outside of the feathers. However, recent research has determine some animal colors based on melanin within exceptionally preserved scales of dinosaurs such as Psittacosaurus (black and amber/brown) and Borealopelta (reddish brown). 

However, when we look as the fossil scale colors based on the melanin, the colors that show up are yellow, brown, and red. This is likely not the only colors that are possible, however these are the structural colors for melanin. There are other methods of producing colors that are not preserved in the fossil record as well. 

We know that based on the modern day assemblage of birds, that they represent a wide array of colors. However, those colors are created by their plumage, not their skin tones. It is unknown if a T. rex could produce colors like this without a coat of feathers. But if it is determined that the T. rex does have some variety of feathers on it, it could potentially have a more vivid color scheme. So for now, the colors of the T. rex will remain a mystery.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Drunk on Geomorphology - The Logo

 My next logo is:

Drunk on Geomorphology

Geomorphology is the study of the physical features of the Earth, such as mountains and rivers, and their relation to geology and geological processes. That's why I wanted to show a mountain range with some glacial U-shaped valleys and a river system coming out them. The river system starts as a meandering river and quickly evolves into a meandering river. Within the meandering river valley we have a wine bottle pouring into a wine glass, a rock hammer, and a half full liquor bottle. At the end of the river is a delta in the shape of a lime, pouring into a lake. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Drunk on Glaciology - Going to the Sun Pinot Gris

The next up on the Drunk on Geology series is Going to the Sun Pinot Gris by the Ten Spoon Vineyard from Missoula, MT. 

The name "Going to the Sun" could refer to two different but related things, both within Glacier National Park. The main road that crosses the central portion of the park is called Going-to-the-Sun Road, in honor of the mountain that is near the peak of the road at Logan Pass, which is Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. Both of which are glacially influenced features. According to the website:
This label honors the mountain goats leaping the peaks of Glacier Park, often seen at Logan Pass, top of the breathtaking Going To The Sun road.
I had previously done a Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures of Glacier National Park, but I will limit what I talk about here to just the road and the mountain related to the name of the wine. 
Looking closely at the bottle, it is obvious that the artist was intending for the road to look like it is going up to the mountain peak, however, the road pictured doesn't actually exist. Going-to-the-Sun Road generally stays towards the valleys, providing the easiest method from getting from the western part of the part to the eastern part, crossing the central mountains at Logan Pass. And actually, that's not the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain. I'm pretty sure that's Mount Oberlin, which is visible from the Going-to-the-Sun road on the western part of the part going up towards Logan Pass.

There is a shot of Mount Oberlin, from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which does seem to match the mountain on the bottle pretty well. You can see the remnants of the glaciers up among the peaks, however as far as I am aware these are not active glaciers but snowfields. A snowfield remains during the entire year, while a glacier is a snowfield that slowly compacts into ice and eventually flows down the side of the mountain. As a glacier melts away, this process happens in reverse, where the glacier eventually turns into a snowfield. We can compare that to the Going-to-the-Sun Mountain below which is a very different mountain.

Going-to-the-Sun Mountain is the peak located on the left side of the Reynolds Creek valley here, sticking out in the picture. This picture was taken near Logan Pass facing towards the eastern part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road as it continues through the valley.

If we look at the Going-to-the-Sun Road as it traverses across the park from west to east, it travels first along the McDonald Creek valley. The McDonald Creek Valley is seen here directly in the center of the photo. The Going-to-the-Sun Road travels through that valley to the Logan Creek Valley. Both of these valleys are what are called U-shaped valleys, or glacial valleys. When a valley is eroded by a river or a stream it is constantly eroded by the water at the lowest part of the valley where the water is cutting into the ground. This forms a "V" shaped valley. However, when a glacier then comes into the valley, the ice of the glacier often fills the valley. This means that the glacier will then erode in all directions carving out a smoother walled valley in the shape of a "U". From here, high up on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you can see a textbook example of the U-shaped valley through which we traveled through. 

After traversing up Logan Creek Valley, the road crosses the mountains at Logan Pass then continues down the other side through another U-shaped glacial valley, Reynolds Creek Valley, pictured above with Going-to-the-Sun Mountain located along side it. 

Text from the back of the bottle:

"Rich taste follows scents of rose petals and lime in this lively, sure-footed Pinto Gris, made in Montana from grapes grown at the Strand Vineyard, Naches Heights, WA. Take GOING TO THE SUN and follow the goats for a cliff-side picnic with crusty bread and of course, goat cheese." 

As you get near the peak of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you can actually find quite a bit of the mountain goats for which the bottle pays tribute to. Here is one hanging out in the middle of the road in front of the upper part of Oberlin Falls, aka Bird Woman Falls, which is part of the upper reaches of Logan Creek. The rocks here, and really the majority of the rocks within the upper parts of all of these mountains near Logan Pass, is the Siyeh Limestone, a 1.1 billion year old (Proterozoic) limestone rich with early fossils such as stromatolites (algal mounds from a tidal environment). 

The falls pictured above and the mountain goat are perfect for this wine because they are both along the Going-to-the-Sun road, near the peak at Logan Pass. The waterfalls also start at Mount Oberlin, which is the mountain featured prominently on the front of the bottle. 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Drunk on Glaciology - Park Distillery Vodka Espresso

The next up on the Drunk on Geology series is the Vodka Espresso by the Park Distillery from Banff, Canada.  
Although not geological in name, the image on the bottle, which is the same image on many of the bottles at the distillery, is that of Mount Rundle, a prominent geological landmark within Banff National Park. I had previously done a Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures review of Banff National Park on my other page but I didn't get into Mount Rundle much there so that I could cover it here. 

Here is a close up of the image on the front of the bottle. The mountain is extremely easy to see from the town of Banff, as shown in the picture below. The mountain itself is not glacial in origin, however I have included it in my Drunk on Glaciology portion because of the heavy impact glaciers had on the mountain landscape itself as well as the surrounding region such as the glacially formed U-shaped valleys carved out of the thrust fault valleys described below.

Here is a view of Mount Rundle taken from the Banff Upper Hot Springs facing west. The hot springs actually use water that percolates into the soil from Mount Rundle in the distance. The water initially seeps into the ground in Mount Rundle's high western slopes, then works its way down into the ground through the sedimentary rock layers were it is slowly heated, pressurized, and enriched with local dissolved minerals (including sulphates, calcium, bicarbonate, magnesium, and sodium). After hundreds of years it then rises up towards the surface along the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault until it reaches the surface at one of the several outlets, including this one at the Upper Hot Springs. 

Location of Mount Rundle and Cascade Mountain in relation to the neighboring thrust faults and the town of Banff. Image modified from Travel Tales of Life

Mount Rundle is located on the south of the town of Banff, mirroring the equally impressive Cascade Mountain on the northern side of Banff. Both mountains are flanked by the Rundle Thrust Fault to the east and the Sulphur Mountain Thrust Fault to the west. 

Diagram of the formation of Mount Rundle along the thrust fault. Image is shown flipped where the fault should be dipping towards the west (left). Image courtesy of Travel Tales of Life.

The rocks of Mount Rundle were pushed upwards along the thrust from west towards the east, folding along their edge as they went. This thrust produced the westward sloping beds that are so well known along Mount Rundle. These mountains were thrusted up and over the neighboring rocks during the creation of the Canadian Rockies approximately 72 million years ago. 
Geology of Mount Rundle highlighted. Image courtesy of the Geological Survey of Canada.
Mr - Mississippian Rundle Limestone; Mb = Mississippi Banff shales; Dp = Devonian Palliser limestone cliffs

Mount Rundle is primarily made up of three geological formations. The Palliser limestone (aka Palliser Formation) is a Late Devonian (~360 million years old) that was deposited along a warm, coastal shelf environment, very similar to the Bahama Banks today. Then above that along the more eroded slopes is the Banff Shale. The Banff Shale (aka Banff Formation) is also a Late Devonian age deposit that was deposited in a sediment rich marine environment. And the top of the mountain is capped with the resistant Rundle limestone. The Rundle Limestone (aka the Rundle Group) is a Mississippian age (~340 million year old) limestone deposited in a marine environment.

Text from the side of the bottle:
"From 100% locally-farmed Alberta grain. Double distilled in our hand-built Kothe copper column still. Steeped with organic espresso beans from the Banff Roasting Company. Just like a rich cup of coffee brewed over an early morning campfire. But with vodka. So even better. 
Vista - Mount Rundle"


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Drunk on Glaciology - Park Distillery Glacier Rye

The next up on the Drunk on Geology series is the Glacier Rye Unaged Grain Spirit by the Park Distillery from Banff, Canada.  

Located in the heart of Banff National Park, the Park Distillery has many spirits with a geological flair to them. Besides just the name of the "Glacier Rye", the image on the bottle features one of the glaciers within Banff National Park, Crowfoot Glacier. I had previously done a Geology of the National Parks Through Pictures review of Banff National Park on my other page and talked a bit about the Crowfoot Glacier as well as many other geological features within the park. 

Generally, a glacier is a body of ice that doesn't melt during the warmer summer months. It starts off as a snowfield around the higher elevations, often near the peaks of mountains. The snowfield, which also doesn't melt throughout the year, builds up more and more snow over time. Eventually, the snow reaches a thickness where it starts to compact in on itself, forming ice in the lower layers of the snowpack. Eventually this ice gets so thick that is starts to flow and slide down the mountain peaks. At this point it can be deemed a glacier. As the temperature increases down the mountain sides eventually the glacier will reach an elevation where it is too warm to remain frozen for the entire year and will melt. If the local, and really global, temperatures are stable, the glacier will reach a balancing point where the amount of snowfall and ice accumulation at the top will equal the amount of melting at the bottom and the glacier will remain the same size (however always still flowing from top to bottom). If global temperatures are decreasing, the glacier will grow until a new balance point is achieved. If temperatures are increasing, then the glacier will decrease, or even completely disappear, until a new balance point is achieved. 

Text from the back of the bottle:

"We distill in the purest place on the planet. Out water originates at six Rocky Mountain glaciers, and our grain is sourced from high-altitude family farms in the Alberta foothills. Our Spirits are like no other in the world, because there is no other place in the world like Banff.

From 100% locally-farmed Alberta rye. Double pot distilled in our hand-built Kothe copper still. The remarkable nature of this 100% heart cut spirit demanded we bottle some unaged. The way a sky-blue, glacier-fed lake demands you dive right in. Which you don't. Because it's freezing [see below]. 

Vista - Crowfoot Mountain at Bow Lake, Banff National Park" 

As noted in the description, the image on the bottle is of Crowfoot Mountain at Bow Lake. Here is a panoramic shot of Bow Lake with Crowfoot Mountain on the left side of the image. Along with the formation of a glacier, there are many different features that are characteristic of glacial landscapes. These are both erosional and depositional. When a glacier is sliding down the side of a mountain it collects the rocks, soil, and pretty much anything that gets in its way and carries it down the mountain with it. Once it reaches the end of the glacier, where the ice is melting, the glacier acts like a conveyor belt and all of the material that it is carrying gets dropped into one big pile. This big pile is called a moraine, while the debris within the moraine is called till. 

Glaciers also carve out the valleys that they are travelling in. Starting as stream valleys, the profile of the valley will start out in a "V-shape" due to the stream carving down into the ground at the one central point. However, a glacier will often fill the valley it is traveling in, carving out the sides of the valley as well as the base of the valley. This will smooth out the "V", creating what is known as a "U-shaped" valley. Landscapes impacted by glaciers are often very easy to identify by these U-shaped valleys. A lot of times these features will overlap, like here at Bow Lake. Bow Lake is what is known as a moraine-dammed lake. This was a valley initially carved out by a glacier, forming a U-shaped valley. At the end of the valley, where the end (or toe) of the glacier was located, it formed a moraine. After the glacier melted away, the meltwater from the glacier flowed down into the valley but was dammed up by the moraine, forming Bow Lake that you see here.  

A close up shot of Crowfoot Mountain and the Crowfoot Glacier that can be seen on the front of the bottle. The Crowfoot Glacier is part of a much larger icefield, the Wapta Icefield, all of which are found along the Icefields Parkway at Banff National Park. The icefields located within Banff and other national parks in the region, are so large that they frequently have several glaciers that stick out from them, traveling down the surrounding mountain ranges. 

As the glaciers grow and slide down the mountain they form a bowl-shaped depression that they sit in known as a cirque. Eventually, should the glacier melt, the cirque, which is often cut down into the bedrock, provides an ideal location for a lake to develop. Crowfoot Glacier sits within the cirque that it has carved out and hopefully will remain there for a long time. However, with global temperatures rising, the amount of glaciers within Banff have been quickly decreasing and the size of the glaciers that are still present have all been shrinking. So, it is only a matter of time before these glaciers are gone for good.

I reemphasize what the back of the bottle says: "The way a sky-blue, glacier-fed lake demands you dive right in. Which you don't. Because it's freezing." 

We visited the park towards the end of July, which is around the warmest part of the year and even then the water was COLD, because they are direct runoffs from the melting glaciers. Here is another view of Bow Lake with the Bow Glacier up in the background, another glacier that is part of the Wapta Icefield. Both Bow Glacier and Crowfoot Glacier melt into Bow Lake. 

The beauty of Banff National Park can't be understated and the fact that Park Distillery highlights one of the most ideal glaciers to see along the main Icefields Parkway within the national park is no accident. This park is a sight to behold. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Drunk on Glaciology - The Logo

 My next logo is:

Drunk on Glaciology

Glaciology is the study of glaciers and landforms produced by those glaciers. So for this one I wanted to show the side view of a glacier, cracked as it moves along. This glacier is in a hanging valley, which is a smaller valley that comes out into a much larger "U-shaped" glacial valley, except here the larger glacial valley is filled with a lake. Our bottle-shaped glacier is currently melting, producing the waterfall that is characteristic of a hanging valley, falling into the glacial U-shaped valley. To top it off our glacial lake contains iceberg ice cubes and some dropstones. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Drunk on Volcanology - Fire Rock Pale Ale

The next up in our Drunk on Geology series is the Fire Rock Pale Ale from the Kona Brewing Company

Like the Volcano Red I did previously, the Fire Rock is named in honor of the Hawaiian Island in which the brewery calls home. The imagery on the bottle depicts the basaltic lava flows characteristic of the Hawaiian Islands as the lava flows into the oceans. Basaltic lava is a fairly high temperature lava with a low silica content. Because of the higher temperatures and low silica content, this type of lava then has a low viscosity, meaning it flows very easily. On the opposite end of the spectrum is felsic lavas which have a high silica content, a lower temperature, and a high viscosity. The high viscosity lavas lead to volcanoes that are steep sided and tend to get plugged up by their own lava flows. These are type of volcanoes most people associate as a volcano, with its stereotypical conical shape. The felsic volcanoes also produce the more explosive eruptions, while the basaltic volcanoes, such as these on Hawaii, are rarely explosive. 

The much lower viscosity basaltic lavas are not able to create a steep sided volcano. So even though the pictured volcano is conical in shape, typical Hawaiian Island volcanoes are much more laid out with a slight curvature. This curvature is what gives this volcano type its name, shield volcano. 

Graphic depiction of the Hawaiian hotspot. Image courtesy of Clark Science.

All of the islands of Hawaii are actually volcanoes, with only the Big Island having active volcanoes on it. Hawaii is a special type of volcano known as a hotspot. A hotspot is a type of volcano that sits in one place as the crustal plate on the surface of the Earth rides over it. The source of the magma for a hotspot is an area known as a mantle plume. This spot is essentially "fixed" within the Earth and doesn't move while the plates on the Earth's surface are all moving around on top of it. As the plate moves, the Pacific Plate in this instance, over the hotspot, volcanoes pop up out of the sea floor. As the plate continues to move on, the old volcanoes are pulled away from the hotspot source and die off, while new volcanoes are created. 

Text from one side of the bottle neck:
"Active volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii leave visitors awestruck by their power. The glow of lava as it meets the ocean is an amazing sight."
On the Big Island there are actually five subaerial volcanoes, of which three are considered active (last erupted in the last 10,000 years): Kilauea, Mauna Loa, and Hualalai. When we had visited the Big Island at the beginning of April in 2018, the glow of the lava, giving the "Fire Rock" its name, could easily be seen within two parts of Kilauea. Here in the main crater, named Halema'uma'u Crater and ...

...and here at the Pu‘U ‘Ō‘Ō crater further to the west along the flanks of Kilauea. 

Text from the other side of the bottle neck:
"Our Fire Rock Pale Ale is inspired by this place with a bright copper color and rich roasted malt taste. Aloha!"

Since we were staying the beaches in Kailua-Kona, I was able to get a picture of the Fire Rock Pale Ale along some of Hualalai's lava flows, the same lava flows that the brewery is located upon. Hualalai volcano last erupted from 1800 to 1801, however the volcano started erupting 800,000 years ago and breached the surface of the ocean around 300,000 years ago. The lava flows that underlay the city of Kailua-Kona range in age from 5,000 to 13,000 years old, however with lava flows from the volcano just over 200 years old indicates that this volcano is very much still active. This last, and only historical lava flow, was witnessed by one of Captain Cook's crew who remained on the island.