Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fancy Lady Geology and Plate Tectonics!

A couple weeks ago I got married in a very small but fun and no-stress wedding in the Colorado National Monument. I say no stress, but we did get married practically on one of the largest faults in the area, the Redlands Fault! Here is a pic with the Wingate Formation backdrop.

Ah, Nature!

For the wedding I decided to go outside my comfort zone and get acrylic nails for the first time in my life.you can see them here, along with the best wedding ring ever... functional white-gold lego ring!

Even a pretty flower on the ring finger.

Well, you can put fake nails on a geologist, but you can't keep her from thinking about geology. As the nails have grown out over the past couple weeks, instead of thinking about removing them, I started thinking about plate tectonics. From early on in geology we are exposed to the saying that plates move about as fast as your fingernails grow. Now, I had a way to see exactly which plate my nails were most like!

Exhibit one:
Good ol' pinky finger.
Yellow lines denote the edge of the fake nail and the edge of the cuticle.  This was the slowest growing nail at 2 mm or so in 18 days.

Exhibit two:
Still a pretty flower under there somewhere.
Again yellow denoting the growth region. This was the fastest nail at about 3 mm in 18 days.

After a little dimensional analysis and using 365.25 days per year the pinky came to a growth rate of 4.1 cm/year and the ring finger came to 6.1 cm/year.  Using a Google image search I pulled up a map from ASU with relative plate velocities I can now say my nails grow faster than the Mid-Atlantic Ridge spreads!