Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday to me


my 1st anniversary as a geoblogger blew right past me. I can't believe it has already been a year.  I hope that you have learned 0.085% as much from me as I have learned from you. In this year I have
1. visited another geoblogger.
2. Rode the C&O canal with NOVA geoblogger's notes and maps.
3. Brought our online discussions about teaching science into practice on some national curriculum's.
4. Have made reservations to visit Yosemite...1st time since 1968!
5. Participated in more carnivals and memes and tweets than I would have ever thought possible.
6. Have made plans to visit Hawaii (YES!) using all of your trip guides, ideas and photo essays.

I would like to say thank you to the whole geoblogosphere for your posts, comments and advise. 

Friday, February 27, 2009

the subtle desert

I grew up in New England amidst all kinds of trees that hid the geology from my young inquiring mind. My move west for school opened my eyes to a more grand landscape. I am sorry but Massachusetts is lacking in the 14,000 foot mountain department. My trips to the desert and the canyons of SE Utah was filled with the long view. I loved the naked geology and being able to study the landscape without all that biology in the way. I was into the big picture...

Over time, I have been seeing the desert in a smaller more subtle way. I still get excited about that view from Waterpocket fold out towards the Henry Mountains, just the largeness of it! But... I am also looking at the small things. How the desert varnish highlights the conchoidal fracture patterns on sandstone. The difference in the sand grains on the wind and lee side of obstacles. Following old moki ( is there a better name?) steps up a sandstone wall or the small prints of a rodent who visited camp the night before. And, of course finding evidence of water!

I was reminded that I should explain the picture. This is the Wingate sandstone which has a nice homogeneous grain structure. When a chunk of the sandstone broke off, it broke away making a nice conchoidal fracture. We find these same structures often in strata that exhibit homogeneous grain structure. On one of my first visits to the canyons, I was told that these semi-circles were made by UFO's during the uranium days. Glad I was only 7 when they told me that.

The desert has always been a special place.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Accretionary Wedge #16 where would I go?

This month's theme is What are the places and events that you think should all geologists should see and experience before they die? What are the places you know and love that best exemplify geological principles and processes?

So I changed it to:  If I had my year of geology traveling where would I go?

These are in no particular order.
1. Visit the type area of my favorite formations.
2. Do a Powell and travel the length of the Grand River system by boat.
3. See lava coming out of the earth. This need not be a significant event.
4. Climb in the Himalaya.
5. See a surging glacier if there are any left.
6. Calving icebergs
7. Climb an icefall
8. Walk a transect of some really interesting geology, coast range of California or the Appalachian mountains
9. Visit a deep sea trench
10. Feel an earthquake, again this need not be a major event.
11. Spend a summer at the INSTAAR field camp.
12.   Climb the walls in Yosemite Valley

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Saw this at both NOVA Geoblog and Looking for Detachment. Unlike Callan, I am fascinated by waterfalls and will hike a few miles just to see them. Watching the water fall over the edge is a little like watching campfire flames...anyway

#10 Lower Calf Creek Falls, Escalante National Monument, Utah
#9 Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
#8 Upper Whitewater Falls, in southwestern North Carolina
#7 Snoqualmie Falls, between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington
#6 Havasu Falls, Supai Village, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Grand Canyon, Arizona
#5 Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho
#4 Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
#3 Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park, California
#2 McWay Falls in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California
#1 Niagara Falls, Niagara, New York

Monday, February 16, 2009

new scientist time

Last year I was chosen to be a lead trainer for National Geographic's JASON project, a science curriculum designed to engage middle school students using science inquiry methods.  Just this last week, there has been having an interesting discussion on All my Faults about Earth Science and the traditional view of being a scientist.  This week, I get the chance to work with the newest JASON project and help in the tweaking and fine tuning of some of their newest labs. I will certainly be having Kim's blog post in mind as we test and tweak these new laboratory experiences.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

High points meme

Saw this at NOVA geoblog and couldn't resist. It sure beats doing what I am supposed to be working on.

Cheaha Mt., Alabama 2,405'
Mt. McKinley (Denali), Alaska 20,320'
Humphreys Peak, Arizona 12,633'
Magazine Mt., Arkansas 2,753'
Mt. Whitney, California 14,494'
Mt. Elbert, Colorado 14,433'
Mt. Frissell, Connecticut 2,380'
Fort Reno, Washington, DC 429'
Ebright Azimuth, Delaware 448'
Britton Hill, Florida 345'
Brasstown Bald, Georgia 4,784'
Mauna Kea, Hawai'i 13,796'
Borah Peak, Idaho 12,662'
Charles Mound, Illinois, 1,235'
Hoosier Hill Point, Indiana 1,257'
Hawkeye Point, Iowa 1,670'
Mt. Sunflower, Kansas 4,039'
Black Mt., Kentucky 4,139'
Driskill Mt., Louisiana 535'
Mt. Katahdin, Maine 5,267'
Backbone Mt., Maryland 3,360'
Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts 3,487'
Mt. Arvon, Michigan 1,979'
Eagle Mt., Minnesota 2,301'
Woodall Mt., Mississippi 806'
Taum Sauk Mt., Missouri 1,772'
Granite Peak, Montana 12,799'
Panorama Point, Nebraska 5,424'
Boundary Peak, Nevada 13,140'
Mt. Washington, New Hampshire 6,288'
High Point, New Jersey 1,803'
Wheeler Peak, New Mexico 13,161'
Mt. Marcy, New York 5,344'
Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina 6,684'
White Butte, North Dakota 3,506'
Campbell Hill, Ohio 1,549'
Black Mesa, Oklahoma 4,973'
Mt. Hood, Oregon 11,239'
Mt. Davis, Pennsylvania 3,213'
Cerro de Punta, Puerto Rico 4390'
Jerimoth Hill, Rhode Island 812'
Sassafras Mt., South Carolina 3,560'
Harney Peak, South Dakota 7,242'
Clingmans Dome, Tennessee 6,643'
Guadalupe Peak, Texas 8,749'
Kings Peak, Utah 13,528'
Mt. Mansfield, Vermont 4,393'
Mt. Rogers, Virginia 5,729'
Mt Rainier, Washington 14,410'
Spruce Knob, West Virginia 4,861'
Timms Hill, Wisconsin 1,951'
Gannett Peak, Wyoming 13,804'

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Whole Story?

By now any one who reads this blog knows that I have this infatuation with following the amount of snow we get all winter. Well we have had two weeks of incredible spring like weather. Not only hasn't it snowed but it was in the 50's today! So what is that doing to the snowpack? The graph above is dated today and shows a basin wide 112% of the 30 year average...pretty good!

But, the lowest snotel reporting site is in the high 9,000 feet. I am curious what did the lower elevations look like back when the snotel network was set up? Could it be that when the upper basins were sitting at 100%, that the lower slopes had 3 feet of snow instead of the 3 inches we have now? Are we missing some data about water availability for next summer because we don't measure that lower stuff? It's time to hit the web sites and see what I can find out.