Wednesday, December 21, 2011

AW #41 a significant geologic event

From Ron: What we seek for Accretionary Wedge #41 is an account of a geologic event that you experienced firsthand. It could be an earthquake, a landslide, a flood, a volcanic eruption, etc. (but don’t feel compelled to stick to the biggies – weathering, anyone?) – some geologic process that you were able to directly observe and experience. The event itself need not have been dramatic or life threatening, or it may have been.

It has been said that as we grow older our tendencies to be high in the mountains change into spending quality time in the desert. I am in that stage where my summit time is being eclipsed by my canyon time. So it was just last summer on a blue sky day that I saw the very beginnings of a flash flood coming down the canyon.

Lucky for us, the catchment basin was small and so was the run off amount, but the idea to see the very tongue of red frothy water coming down the once dry stream bed was enough to make us sit up and take notice.

We were actually between two choke points of narrow slot canyons. So it was easy to step up and out of the way of the water. If we had been up or down stream just a little it would have been harder to get out of the way.
I have taught classes about the bed load and suspended load of streams. I have had my students put pfd's on and act as particles as we float down the Colorado River, but to see the red mud flowing around the corner where there was no water just moments ago was pretty cool. It was so cool, that we just watched and didn't take as many pictures (or video) as you might imagine.

The last part of the canyon, where we would rather not be during any water event flashing or not.

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