Saturday, March 14, 2009

The It's Barely Spring Meme

Kim at the ALL NEW All of My Faults are Stress Related (on Scienceblogs), Callan at NOVA Geoblog, and Gelology Happens have all been out finding signs of spring in their areas -- so, while up the hill on our most recent hike, yesterday, MOH and I duly looked around to find some signs of spring. We found some!

First off, there was barely any snow below 7000 feet except on the steepest of north-facing slopes (where there is still enough to inhibit field work); second, there was a lot less mud than I expected. (We are lucky enough to have a south-facing hiking hill, and our snow and mud sample might be considerably biased!) Third, as far as plants and other green things, we found hints of grass and other tiny growing things here and there, including these green leaves poking above last year's mounds of dried leaves.
These little plants will bloom with yellow flowers when they get tall enough. (That's a half a wool-gloved finger in dark blue for scale.) My haiku about them:
Tiny paintbrush leaves
poke up through snow-melt mudflows:
Spring, mostly hidden.
Never mind that they won't grow up to be Indian paintbrush; it's the thought that counts.

Mudflows, what mudflows? Little mudflows - and larger ones here and there, especially higher on the hill - some coming directly from presently melting patches of snow; others possibly coming from water oozing underground and then out to the surface (or the snow has all melted directly above the seemingly source-less mudflows). Here's a small mudflow near the bottom of our hill.
Many, like this enlarged part of a slightly larger mudflow about half-way up the hill, had active bubbles in gooey, muddy water: the bubbles can be seen above in the lower part of the mudflow to the right of the boot. These bubbles dry and leave relict bubble shapes, which can be seen in the upper part of the mudflow mostly above the boot. This mudflow, like many, had no apparent or immediate snowmelt source on the slope above it.
The still wet mudflows will eventually dry and harden into an almost concrete - like these two side-by-side flows above - which we saw about one year ago today. A dime was carefully placed on the right mudflow for scale.


Cath@VWXYNot? said...

It snowed here yesterday. It feels like winter will never end... I just hope my daffodil shoots survived!

Silver Fox said...

I doubt if winter is over here, although it has been pretty spring-like these last few days. Not too many flowers so far, though.

Hope your daffodils are alright!