Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer vacation continued-Sierra Nevada

After leaving the Silver State we made our way to Yosemite. I had last visited as a 12 year old kid but I had some expectations after reading through geotripper's travelogues. I had read his posts and in the text books, I understood the batholith that is today the granite of Yosemite...but it was the brilliant white       of the rock that took my breath away.  The granite's that I have played on have not been as white as what I saw in Yosemite. The image on the left is the view of Yosemite valley that we saw. The white is not the granite, but a meteorological event called a storm. 

All the rain of the day before translated into some incredible waterfalls. Most of the water falls entering Yosemite valley are from hanging valleys, a byproduct of the last ice age. Here Nevada falls makes its way downward towards the ever popular and aptly named mist trail. The mist trail is in near Vernal falls and every hiker is "misted upon" making a favorite hike on a hot day.

The rocks along the roadside in King's Canyon showed a little bit of deformation here. From what I could find, this area was positioned immediately above the great batholith as a pendant of former rock. It was not quite melted but sure had some significant changes take place.

What visit to the Eastern Sierra would be complete without a visit to the Devil's Postpile. This classic... nay textbook example of columnar basalt was at the end of a short fun hike.

I remember when I read John McPhee's annals of a former world, he made a statement about needing a Californian to understand the geology of the Golden State. I am sure glad that there were a variety of guide books as well as geotripper's comments to help me along a great road trip.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

our summer vacation-Nevada

It has been awhile since my last post and actually its been awhile since we had regular Internet access. This is just a quick update.

 The summer started with a whirl wind trip to Yosemite. We crossed Nevada and did some  geology at 70 mph. We stayed a total of 3 nights in the Silver state. Our very first night of the trip was spent in Cathedral Gorge State Park. Very cool place, reminded me of the Badlands of South Dakota. The sediment is all from a Pliocene era lake bed. The erosional features are cathedral looking hence the name. The best part were the long narrow gullies that are called "the caves".  The picture on the left is from inside one of the gullies.  The picture below is one of the Cathedrals in the park. We then took the extraterrestrial highway to the Sierra Nevada mountains.

 Our final stop on the tour was in Great Basin National Park. We visited years ago and said we needed to visit again. What a fantastic representation of the basin and range province. 
Unfortunately it snowed quite a bit while we were there and we couldn't see everything we wanted to. What amazed me the most was the elevation change from the desert floor to the summit of the park...over 8,000 feet.

more to come when time permits...