Donald Patten

Donald W Patten, a geographer by training, was born in 1929 in Montana, not far from Glacier National Park. He died recently and will be buried on February 20th in Seattle. He leaves behind seven children, fifteen grandchildren, and twelve great grandchildren. He was the owner of Microfilm Service Co. and the Pacific Meridian Publishing Co. He had a lifelong history in ancient history, ancient literature, climatology, genetics, geography, geomorphology, mathematics and philosophy.

Wot a lotta ...

Sand, from Namibia ... courtesy of Gary Gilligan

How would a lump of sand like that, dumped in a catastrophe, look like in a geological bed?

Climate change what just does things

In the UK we have had sink holes swallowing a car parked outside a house in a former brick works (and clay pit) and another sink hole opening up in Hemel Hempstead this weekend - and this follows on from a sink hole appearing on the central reservation of a motorway. However, over in Kentucky (Nashville), and proving they can't all sing and twang a guitar over that way, a museum display of collectors cars was swallowed up in a single bite - see

Inheritance in Plants

This is an interesting discovery. At ... complex heritable traits can affect flowering times and plant architecture - and these, are passed on to subsequent generations according to a paper in Science Express (6th February, 2014). Is a revision of the genetics textbook in the offing?

The Jam Jelly Doughnut - the rock on Mars

At ... the mysterious rock that caused a fuss a week or so back - it looked like a jelly donut/jam doughnut, turns out to be a piece of lunar rock, white on the outside, and red in the centre. It was not a Martian mushroom (among some of the ideas).

Amarna Chronology

The big news this week is that it has now been established there was a co-regency between Amenophis III and Akhenaten. This lasted around 10 years - see or go to The evidence comes from a tomb in Luxor, inscribed with cartouches of both pharaohs.


At ... is a classic case of uniformitarianism glossing over the discovery of an uncomforable fossil, a reptile in the act of giving birth (248 million years ago). One head is popping out of the pelvis of the mother, another is still inside her and yet another is lying alongside her, having just popped out. In that moment of giving birth she and her offspring were buried alive.

Why is it raining so much?

This year has been very cold in N America and very mild in parts of Europe. In Britain and Ireland we have had persistent and continuous rain, so much so the aquifers are so full they are overflowing, and rivers can't drain the water into the sea fast enough. Yes, the tragedy of all this is that all that water will end up in the Atlantic Ocean - not in a reservoir. There might be a drought in the summer.

Footsteps in the Tide

At ... is a report on the discovery of human footprints at Happisburg in Norfolk, going back, it is believed, to 850,000 years ago.      Ther research was headed by Nick Ashton of the British Museum.