On the Cusp of Enlightenment: An Advice Column

Looking for answers? In need of advice from a Taurus-sun, Virgo-moon, Gemini-rising? Think you can stump me? Email Simone at simone.a.levy@lawrence.edu with your own questions and you just might be featured in next week’s column.

Dear Simone, 

Can you explain types of faults and boundaries, geologically speaking? 

Signed, Dave Matthews 

Dear Dave, 

I’ll do my best to recount my knowledge from freshman year geology class.

At an ocean/continent or ocean/ocean convergent boundary, a subduction zone is created, meaning there is an increase in seismic activity as well as volcanic activity. As for elevation, at an ocean/continent convergent boundary, you would see mountains on one side, probably. At an ocean/ocean convergent boundary, you would get a trench and deeper seismic activity along with volcanic activity. 

At a continent/continent convergent boundary, you would see mountains because both of the continental crusts would be pushing against each other, which then creates mountains. This would be a symmetrical boundary with shallow seismic activity and no volcanic activity. An example of this is the Himalayas. 

At an ocean/ocean divergent boundary, the seafloor is spreading, so the crust is very new closest to the fault line. There are shallow earthquakes specifically along the fault line and not extending outwards really at all. You would also have volcanic activity at this mid-ocean ridge. An example of this is how the North American Plate and the Eurasian Plate are moving apart from each other and the Atlantic Ocean is getting larger each year. 

At a transform boundary, the plates are sliding against each other, which generates massive shallow seismic activity, not really any volcanic activity and not really any mountains or sea floor spreading is relevant here. An example of this is the San Andreas Fault going through Southern California. This is why there are so many earthquakes in Los Angeles. 

Any and all of this information is subject to revision. 

Signed, Simone 

Dear Simone, 

I’m scared of black widows! Help! 

Signed, Hugh Jass 

Dear Mr. Jass, 

Allow me to show you the text of a flier I have produced that will hopefully quell your fears of these beautiful and gorgeous and sexy creatures: 

Black Widow Facts: 

In the U.S. each year, about 2,200 people report being bitten by a black widow spider, but most do not require medical treatment. 

Many bites have no venom injected — these are called “dry bites.” 

Each year, only about 12 bites are considered serious, and no deaths from a black widow bite have been reported in over 100 years. 

Contrary to popular belief, most people who are bitten suffer no serious damage. 

Fun Fact: Since the venom is not likely to be life threatening, antivenom has been used as pain relief. 

Fun Fact: Because black widows are such docile creatures, they are often kept as pets! 

Black Widows:

Have extremely poor eyesight

Are unlikely to bite 

Only bite when they cannot escape/are pinned down 

Prefer to play dead instead of bite.

Dear Simone, 

Why should I believe that tarantulas are “sexy”? Isn’t that… a little weird? 

Signed, Eura Snotball 

Dear Sir Snotball, 

I am someone who is, unfortunately, a picky eater. I do not really like cheese, and I do not like avocados, condiments, squashes, zucchini, cucumber, beets, Greek yogurt, honey, cashews and whole grain pasta, among many other things. This is an unlikeable quality of mine and is something I work toward changing every day of my life. But I do understand that it is not sexy of me to not like mac and cheese. Spiders, on the other hand? They will eat literally anything. That is so sexy of them. Tarantulas in particular have an extremely varied diet and are known to eat centipedes, millipedes, other spiders, lizards, mice, bats, birds and even small snakes. I literally would never eat any of those things, except for, like, chicken, because that is a bird. That is so sexy of them to eat so many things that I would not eat. 

Signed, Simone