Monday, October 25, 2010

A canyon flashes

Last weekend was spent in Moab UT at a literary festival about water. The weekend as a whole was a bit wet and fall in the desert never looked better. Saturday afternoon, however, the heavens opened and the town was treated to a good soaking with severe thunderstorms, a half hour downpour and hail. The canyon we were exploring did not have a gauging station but a nearby stream showed a 10 fold increase in discharge from about 7 cfs to 70 cfs in a matter of minutes. Actually the storm was a perfect addition to a festival about water.

Below are images of Courthouse Wash which originates in Arches N.P. Usually the water is clear, but the sediment load is easily seen as the silt is an especially red color.

A nearby gauging station showing a spike on Saturday October 23.

This is usually an easy river crossing.
A view from the other side.
Using a beaver dam to cross the river. The flash certainly impacted the integrity of the dam and my walking across it didn't help either.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Middle School in the mountains

The weather cooperated today and I was able to take a group of local 8th graders "out into the field". We looked at some nearby outcrops and tried to describe their characteristics and decide their rock type. It is lucky for us that there is quite the geology field trip right out the front door.

Ms. J, their teacher and I were also getting the kids to formulate some simple questions that they can research and perhaps even answer. Their teacher has created an impressive science program that has the kids doing some real world research both in the field and library.

The big picture of the field trip location.
Gratuitous picture of my truck with geological background
The class sitting on limestone outcrop

Monday, October 11, 2010

A trip to Grandmothers house- Colorado style

Last weekend we took a trip to Colorado's Front range to visit some relatives. Since we are having a fantastic fall we took the scenic route. the idea came as we were driving back, so all of the images were found online and do not represent actual conditions. It did snow, but accumulations were in the low inches.

McClure pass from the North Fork of the Gunnison drainage to the Roaring Fork of the Colorado drainage
From the Main stem of the Colorado drainage to the Blue River drainage
From the Blue River drainage to the Williams Fork of the Colorado River drainage
Up and over the Continental Divide
We spent our time between Loveland and Fort Collins for a few days and then headed back. This time we used Interstate 70 to get us into Summit County where we lived during the 1990's.

Back over the Continental Divide to the west side
...and back again to the east side as we traveled from the Blue River drainage to the South Platte Drainage.
No, there was no snow when we traveled across Trout Creek. This small pass divides the S. Platte and the Arkansas river drainages.
...and for the last time, across the Continental Divide towards the Pacific Ocean and down into the Gunnison River drainage and back home.
The Gunnison River takes a strange turn into the Black Canyon. The highway department (and railroads and old trails) thought it would be easier to drop down into the Uncompahgre drainage instead of following the Gunnison River.