Thursday, September 30, 2010

Partial Repost: Basalt Dike with Sideways Columns

I was inspired earlier this morning, while reading the most recent columnar post over at Geotripper, to rejoin the current geoblogospheric meme on columnar joints with a partial repost of photos I took last October. This basalt dike can be seen right along the east side of Highway 139, just south of Lassen County Milepost 52 (Google Maps location), and just before you get to the Willow Creek Campground if you're driving north.
The columnar jointing in the dike is nearly horizontal, making the rock look like a bunch of stacked logs.

Looking end-on at the pile of stacked logs, the cross-section through the stacked columns shows the typical, though is this case irregular, polygonal shapes common to basalt columns.

NOTE: Lockwood has a good running list of blog posts for this meme. Additionally, Kim posted about a dike with horizontal columnar joints in early 2009, and Andrew's article on basalt columns has a great photo of a piece of basalt with an almost perfect hexagonal shape.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the Dark of the Night


It is so good, after a long day - of work, of computers, of tubular rocks - to lie down knowing that I won't have to get up early in the morning. It is also good, after more than ten days of work in a row, to know that I will have a day of sleeping in, a day of some quiet with a few errands - think: laundry - before a partial day of driving to two nights and two days of mine geology field tripping.

Darkness: at night, I love it!


[posted 20Nov2010 from the Draft folder]

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Deep Creek Falls: Continuation of our Oregon Roadtrip

I just love waterfalls, and this one — Deep Creek Falls — was fascinating simply for it's unexpected appearance and basalt-column goodness.
So we turned around, pulled into a small pullout on the north side of the road, climbed over the guard rail on the other side, and I took a few pictures as the light moved across the landscape.
Stop here to see the falls (and some interesting polygonal cracks in columnar basalt on the side of the road).
The basalt columns in at the falls don't seem to show the polygonal cracking seen in exposures on the side of the road — they are either eroded and somewhat subdued if caused by water during basalt cooling, or they are not present because they haven't yet had the chance to be exposed to the forces that create spheroidal weathering. You Choose! (I would have to back and do some mapping and maybe some detailed whole rock sampling or petrography to decide.)

Trip report to be continued...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Friday Field Photos: Mystery Cracks

I posted this photo elsewhere just recently, and got a little feedback as to what the irregular to polygonal cracks on the surface of these columnar-jointed basalt faces might be. Here are a few more photos. At this point, MOH and I had turned around on our Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway journey (turned from going toward Winnemucca to going away from Winnemucca), in order to spot a pullout to view the cracks better, and also to get a better look at the nearby Deep Creek Falls. (Okay, we really turned around to look at the falls.)
From the south side of Highway 140 right below the falls and a little less than 3 miles west of Adel, Oregon, here's the best roadcut I saw of the basalt: other roadcuts are in tight, narrow turns with no nearby pullouts.
A closer view.
The columns are weathering into somewhat rounded, rectangular to irregular shapes, which at times look like stacks of flattened pancakes and other times look like hoodooish sentinels watching over the road. Outcrops up the hill show the same patterns, exposures at the falls look merely columnar. So far, the consensus is that the basalt is undergoing incipient spheroidal weathering.

Additional ideas are welcome!

Location:

View Bend OR to Winnemucca NV in a larger map

Trip report to be continued...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Three Years Ago Today: Newark Valley Geology at 70 Miles Per Hour

Photo of part of the east side of the Diamond Mountains, looking northwest from Highway 50.

I realized a while back, while going through old blog posts looking for specific reports and specific photos, that I really haven't done much of a post about Spencer's Hot Springs (a bit of one here). So, I started writing a post about a trip to Spencer's Hot Springs that MOH and I went on three years ago, describing the trip (briefly, of course), and this is where it went.

To get to Spencer's, we drove west on Highway 50, through Newark Valley, where I saw this part of the local stratigraphy on the east side of the Diamond Mountains (Google Maps location). I wrote some notes about what I thought I was looking at, locating the ever-present, widely recognized Mississippian Joana Limestone near the top of Newark Mountain, the cliffy limestone on the right side of the photo. From there, of course, the Pilot Shale would have to occupy the slope-forming part of the hill below the Joana, the Mississippian Chainman Shale would fill Tollhouse Canyon, the valley behind Newark Mountain, and the Pennsylvanian Ely Limestone would make up the hill behind the valley on the left side of the photo, with Fusulina Peak just beyond that Pennsylvanian horizon (MSRMaps). I thought I had the stratigraphy figured from the road, while passing by at 70 miles per hour.

Same photo as above, with approximate contact lines.

Here's the real stratigraphy, according to the White Pine County report: the cliffy limestone is the Devonian Devil's Gate Formation, a Guilmette Formation equivalent, the valley is composed of the Pilot Shale, Joana Limestone, and Chainman Shale, and the hill beyond is capped by the Ely Limestone (well, I got that one right, anyway!).

I was conducting what has been called x-mph geology, where x is the miles per hour one is driving; this time I was doing 70-mph geology. Geology at seventy miles per hour (or 70-mph geology) is generally much less detailed and often less accurate than geology at 20 miles per hour (20-mph geology). And it turns out that if you slow down to about 5 mph or less, you can almost complete a rock report on whatever iron-stained jasperoid or copper-stained porphyry you happen to be driving by, and the speed is almost slow enough for the geo-type in the passenger side of the truck to lean out and grab a sample.

The speed-geology terminology, along with an unrelated warp speed terminology, was invented by myself and another thermally altered geo-type back in the 1980s, probably while bouncing up and down some excessively rocky road in the Mojave Desert. Warp speed terminology is appropriate when gauging speed rather than geology: Warp 1 is 10 mph, a speed indicating that one is probably going steeply uphill or traversing one of those terribly rocky roads. Warp 2 (20 mph) is much preferred to Warp 1, but that still isn't much. If Scotty will give it all she's got, maybe you can get your speed up to Warp 4 or 5 on a dirt road, which is heaven, unless the washboard causes "She's breakin' up, Captain," in which case Scotty will have to wind the engines down to a more comfortable Warp 3 or 4. Also, Warp 4.5 to 5 on a dirt road can result in extreme turbulence when one comes over a hill and then bottoms into some unexpected washout on the other side. Scotty might then decide that, "She's comin' apart, Captain," which isn't a good thing no matter what warp you happen to be doing. Scotty has already resorted to, "I'm giving her all she's got, Captain!" Since that hasn't worked, you might then have to stop to regenerate your dilithium crystals (or have lunch or some other refreshment). Trees are in scarce supply in the Mojave, so the shade of your truck might be all you'll have for the precious dilithium to regenerate in.

I suppose I'll get into "thermal alteration" later; just know for now that it is more common in places where the hydro part of hydrothermal is in much lower supply than the thermal part, and that it can affect rocks, geologists, and prospectors alike. As for a Spencer's Hot Springs road trip, I guess that will have to wait for some other time: 70 mph geology took us from central Nevada into southern California!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Seeking Exposure

USGS Photo: Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Sunset on Cedar Ridge on South Kaibab Trail. July 12, 1957, by E.D. McKee.

Field camp had been planned to be a rather usual affair, to be located somewhere in the overgrown, fault-erratic littered, carbonates of the greater Blue Ridge Mountains of the Appalachians. It was an upcoming event that I really hadn't give much though to, other than to think things like, "Well, maybe we'll map even more faults down valley drainages for lack of good exposure." It wasn't that I wasn't looking forward to field camp, which would theoretically make me a geologist, at least more of one than those who hadn't yet attended, but I was thinking it would simply be more of the same thing: a few more trilobites and ever more limestones. I'd tell you that they were all Ordovician limestones, but you probably wouldn't believe that, and I'd only be exaggerating. I had, however, long since discovered that guessing Ordovician as an age on an invertebrate Palaeontology test gave better than even odds of guessing right, and Silurian and Devonian weren't far behind for good guesses in case you thought you'd overused Ordovician. (Always know how to play the odds.)

Also, serving a sentence term in an overgrown, kudzu-infested, hot and humid field camp wouldn't be getting me any closer to my ultimate goal, that of returning to the west coast as soon as possible. I was, after all, already six years past the unrealistic deadline I had set for myself when I was going on eleven years old.

Fortunately, due to unforeseen and overall unpleasant circumstances, I ended up taking two semesters off at the end of my junior year, and I ended up working downtown at the Smithsonian Institute (pushing papers, not rocks or fossils). It was my dad who suggested that I go to field camp somewhere in the west, a thoughtful suggestion made as a not-quite-desperate attempt to pull me out of the gray, cloudy and smoggy doldrums I had fallen into.

USGS Photo: Coconino Sandstone at O'Neill Butte,
viewed from Kaibab Trail, July 1957, by E.D. McKee


And so, the application process — of which I remember very little — began, and I applied to several field camps, finally deciding on a camp that would begin by hiking part way into and then out of the Grand Canyon, and would end up at a mapping project in the Swisshelms.



USGS Photo: Sunset Crater, by E.D. McKee. A real volcano!

Yes! Bright, brilliant geology everywhere, just the way I had always — after growing up near the Sierra Nevada — thought it should be. And rocks besides limestones! And volcanic rocks that weren't old and decrepit greenstones of nearly unimaginable age!


My geologic imagination was reignited at field camp in Arizona, and my goal to return west hardened. I came to Nevada a mere two years after my western, bright sunshiney, wide open field camp experience.

The story still makes me smile.

The first rendition of this story for an unpublished Accretionary Wedge, Accretionary Wedge #11: Field Camp, includes a few stories.

This post is an entry to Accretionary Wedge #27, hosted this month by Lockwood at his favorite coffee shop (and blog of that name) Outside the Interzone. Go there to read about more significant geological experiences.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blackhawk Landslide Links & Danger in the Mojave

I recently uploaded my first post for Pathological Geomorphology, called Blackhawk: Truly Pathological. This post was inspired first by Kyle House's announcement that the subject of the month would be mass wasting, and second by Callan Bentley's post, Blackhawk Landslide, California. While writing the post, I collected a few related links.

As I mentioned at Pathological Geomorphology, I mapped in the Blackhawk Mountain area in the mid to late 1980's while doing some gold recon and exploration for Former Mining Company. It's a very neat place to work, with complicated and fascinating geology. The area is part of one of my mapping stories, about mapping from the top down or the bottom up and how the results might differ. As far as exploration went, we bulk sampled (as have so many other outfits), we mapped and sampled on the surface and underground, and we drilled using buckets to collect all the fines. All our work resulted in a geologic but not an economic success; we eventually, rather unwillingly on my part, moved on. Another exploration geo, also formerly of Former Mining Company, went back later while at another company; he may have put a couple small deposits together for smaller-scale mining than we had been interested in.

Blackhawk, which we maybe called something else so other companies wouldn't know which area we were talking about, was probably the first area in which I decided to go ahead and carry a gun in the field. This wasn't so much because that particular area was anymore dangerous than any other part of the Mojave (or, maybe it was*), but I thought I should act like a grown person in charge of my own protection, and start doing something about it. I haven't really gotten into the dangers of the Mojave that much before on this blog. Rest assured, the dangers are almost entirely related to people: people coming out of the vast basins or valleys south of the San Andreas fault, other people known as "L.A. escapees" who have escaped the mass city scene to live somewhere out in the desert, and people walking around carrying and shooting their own guns, many of them fully auto.

I found I really didn't like carrying a gun in a holster, either on my hip, or with a shoulder strap. It's extra weight (my version at the time was a .357 Magnum revolver), and carrying it made me feel just about as awkward as leaving the thing in my truck. Either way — whether I had the gun with me, whether it was in the truck behind the seat, or whether I didn't have one at all — I'd always watch my truck from some higher vantage point for several minutes prior to heading for it, to make sure no one was hanging around waiting for me. I'd also always leave the truck already turned around and ready to head out. I still do that; turning to face out, to face your exit direction, has nothing to do with the Mojave in particular, but the Mojave is probably where I started making that one of my own personal requirements.
Here's one of my favorite, out-of-the-way parking spots in the Blackhawk Mountain area, now apparently blocked by... a landslide!

*The unsafe nature of the northern San Bernardino Mountains relates to 1) the proximity of the Blackhawk area to the millions of people living in the L.A. and San Bernardino basins to the south, and 2) the proximity of the area to the tiny, then butt-ugly berg of Lucerne Valley (Google Maps), which at the time was a haven for drug thugs**. The worst of it for me was to call home or call the office from one of the two, count 'em, phone booths in town — the one in front of the Ace Motel — only to have someone drive up almost immediately in some fancy schmancy or beat up caddy and get out and start staring at me while I was talking: pointedly and impatiently staring after zero minutes. We had car phones, but they didn't work unless you got lucky or drove way down the road toward Apple Valley.

**Our claim staker, while using the other phone booth closer to the center of this supposed town, once had some slick dudes pull up on several motorcycles while he was conducting company business on said phone. While our guy was talking on the phone, Head Biker Dude jumped off one of the bikes, glared belligerently at our guy who was trying to say, "Hey, just a minute and I'll be done." Biker Dude then pulled a heavy chain outta somewhere, and then he started swinging it around and around in circles in an obvious threat: get offa my phone or I'll bust your face!

Friendly place. Can't say as I miss the town, but the geology was, and still is, great. And if you happen to be in the area, drive the road to the top of Blackhawk Mountain, to the peak called Silver Peak (MSRMaps): views from the road and from the top are impressive. Use 4WD.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Cornelia Clermont Cameron

By way of introduction, this post was originally scheduled for a long-ago second edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival, started by DNLee at Urban Science Adventures! in February, 2009 (1st edition here). The second edition — which highlighted women in science — was published at Thus Spake Zuska in March, 2009 (originally at Sb). The carnival came and went without me publishing this post about Cornelia Cameron, one of the first professional woman geologists I ever met. Now, I have a perfectly good second opportunity, because @JacquelynGill announced a Women in Science blogfest and tweetfest for today! Follow the Twitter Fest at #womeninscience.

I didn't get to work with Cornelia Cameron, but I met her — and saw her in the halls when she wasn't out in the field — when I was at the USGS in Reston part of one year while in between undergrad and grad school. She was only six years older than I am now, was often smiling, and looked sun-leathered from many years of field work. She was practically one of the first women to have a real geological career (not the first, however, read about Mary Anning and others here). The photo, which links through to the source, was taken when she was working in the Tobacco Range Islands of central America at age 78.

Cornelia Cameron was born in 1911, way before my time or yours. She had the extreme good fortune to have both a scientific father and scientific mother. Her father was a professor of natural sciences and a photographer; her mother, Harriet Clearman Cameron, had an M.S. in Geology and had completed courses for a Ph.D. in Botany. Cornelia's father died when she was about 7, so she was raised from then on by her mom.

Cornelia earned a B.A. and M.A. in Botany in 1933 and 1935, and in 1940 she got her Ph.D. in Geology, with an emphasis on geomorphology. She worked for various geological outfits during her career, inlcuding Cities Service Oil Company, the Iowa Geological Survey, and Stephens College. She was at the USGS from 1951 until she died in 1994 at the age of 83. During the height of her career, she was one of the world's foremost experts on peat deposits, and received many awards for her work: the USGS Meritorious Service award in 1977, the DOI Distinguished Service Award in 1986, a Distinguished Alumni Award from University of Iowa in 1987, and DOI's Public Service Recognition Award in 1990. She was also a prolific writer, publishing a total of 110 papers, of which I list very few, below.

As I said earlier, I didn't really know her, but I do know that she was regarded as quite a character, and I heard a few stories about her field adventures when I worked at the USGS. She and her mom were both going into the field together when I was there in 1975 (she was 64, her mom was 103!), and I remember that she was known for having male field assistants to collect rocks and carry packs as needed, a luxury I have had only one time during my career. Here are a couple quotes about Cornelia and her mom (this source):
Until she was 103, the senior Dr. Cameron accompanied her daughter on field expeditions around the world. Dr. Cornelia Cameron herself continued doing field work until a month before her death at 83. Dr. Cameron joked that when her mother got so old that her eyesight had deteriorated, she put a cow bell on her mother in the field, so she could find her mother if she wandered off.
And from Jennifer Harden (same source):
In a story about daughter and mother’s adventurous military terrain investigations in the Caribbean area before the Bay of Pigs invasion (early 1960’s), Dr. Cameron recounted that “Mother and I were a perfect pair. We told everyone that we were Canadian tourists. One time, as I doing traverses along the slopes of one of the islands, Mother stayed in the car. I was upslope from her when I saw a truck full of guerrillas pull up. Mother simply charmed them and they drove off.”
At some point during my research for this post, I read something stating that Harriet Cameron died in September of 1975, shortly after I left the USGS for grad school. If so, the date — either 9/22 or 9/23 according to my notes — would jive with my memory that Cornelia's mom was still going into the field with her while I was there. I can no longer find the reference.

A Few of her many Publications:
Cameron, C.C., 1970, Peat deposits of northeastern Pennslyvania: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1371-A.

Cameron, C.C., 1970, Peat deposits of southeastern New York: U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1317-B.

Cameron, C. C., 1970, Peat resources of the unglaciated uplands along the Allegheny Structural Front in West Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania: U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 700-D, pp. D153 - D161.

Cameron, C.C., and Palmer, C.A., 1995, The Mangrove Peat of the Tobacco Range Islands, Belize Barrier Reef, central America: Atoll Research Bulletin 431, with a tribute and photo.

Cameron, C. C., 2000, The bogs of Roosevelt Campobello International Park: Roosevelt Campobello International Park Commission.

Read more about Cornelia Clermont Cameron:
Levine, Maxine, 2007, Women in Soil Science: AWSS Newsletter, v. 26, no. 3, p. 10-15.

New York Times, 1994, Cornelia Cameron; Peat Expert Was 83: August 10, 1994, Obituaries.

University of Iowa, 1987, Distinguished Alumni Winner: Cornelia Cameron.

University of Iowa, Cornelia Cameron Papers: Iowa Women's Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries.

Minor editing 8Mar2012; Links updated 19May2013

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hydrogeology Dream: Paddling Upstream

This isn't quite a geology dream, perhaps it's a little more like a hydrogeology dream. The dream begins in a small town in the northerly part of a westerly state, downtown near a restuarant known for it's historical artifacts, semi-unusual food or style of serving said food, and dark, knotty wood inside and out. Possibly we walk around for awhile, MOH and I, and maybe others, like one or both of my parents, are there in the beginning.

MOH and I go up a road where one branch or side creek of a major local river comes down out of the northerly mountains, perhaps walking or driving at first. After a short while, we are going up the side branch in a boat, possibly a canoe. We paddle. This is uphill in real life and uphill in the dream, but we are not really paddling upstream. It's kind of a null current, or something undefined, the way things are in dreams sometimes. Possibly impossible in real life, our paddling is not at all impossible in the dream. The area is all golden colored., as though hydrothermally altered by nearby hot springs.

And so, after paddling uphill a ways, we come to the place where there is a little park or side creek in real life. In the dream, this area is covered with a large building. We go into the building, possibly still paddling our little boat. I'm not clear about paddling to go inside, but it is as though the river goes through the building (or under it?) and then contninues out on the other side.

Oh, did I forget to say that all this time we have been going almost due north? Well, not quite due north, just a hair east of north.

The building consists mostly of one large room with a high ceiling. Tables and chairs are set out like it's a large dining area. The place is brown; everything has a brown tone, although I suspect it's mostly that the walls are made of dark brown paneling, somewhat rough-cut wood, probably stained or painted dark brown. Dark brown like this: BROWN.

The woman there - possibly there is a man, also, but he is not as clear to me - is also kind of brown: brown hair, vaguely olive skin - and she reminds me of someone, someone friendly and helpful, possibly overly helpful. L! Well, not helpful IRL, but friendly, rather rough cut herself, and of Italian descent.

It seems that she wants us to stay, possibly she has set a meal out or has one ready to set out. But we are having none of that. We didn't come here to stay, we came becuase the river brought us here, we will now follow it onward.

So we move on, leaving out in our canoe through an opening like a broad door on the northeast side of the large room. The river goes downhill, and we go with it, still in a generally northerly direction, perhaps a bit more to the northeast than to begin with. The area is still golden colored, maybe even more so.

From the morning of 08Sep2010.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Turning Off onto the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway

Okay, this won't exactly be a scenic post, and that's because, for once, I'm just going to have only three pictures. Yes! I swear it! (Oh, and one road song video.)

And the reason for three pictures is to emphasize how important coming back on the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway really was. The entire route back from central Oregon depended on returning this way. And why? Why did we take this longer road?

Simply because there was a part of the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway that I hadn't ever been on before, a part between this turnoff from U.S. 395 north of Lakeview, Oregon, and Winnemucca, Nevada. It wasn't the first part just east of 395, and it wasn't the last part, just north of Winnemucca. No, it was the hard-to-get-to central part, a part that can only be reached by a few other roads, including a couple coming in from the south that can be impassable with 4WD.
I've written a little about the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway before at Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway: An Outcrop. The somewhat disjointed highway goes from Winnemucca, NV, to Denio Junction, NV, from there to Adel, OR, until it hits 395 at the turnoff we're just arriving at now (these photos). From 395 it turns south, goes into Lakeview, OR, then heads west to Klamath Falls. Through all these twistings and turnings it's signed as U.S. 95, Nevada S.R. 140 (partly old Highway 8A), Oregon Route 140, U.S. 395, and Oregon Route 140 again. From Lakeview, the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway then follows 140 through K-Falls, and from K-Falls, 140 will take you, via a short distance on Oregon Route 62, to Medford, OR. From Medford, you follow I-5 north until you can exit onto U.S. 199 near Grants Pass, OR; 199 will take you west, then south, and then southwest until you almost reach the sea at Crescent City, CA, but not before you have to get on U.S 101 for a brief sojourn. I'm not sure what official exit one should take to go to the sea from 101. That's the entire Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, as it is today. It was originally planned as one continuous road, U.S. 140, but that continuity never happened. (You didn't know continuity could happen, did you?)

I've still missed out on the section between Lakeview and K-Falls, probably on the section between K-Falls and Medford, and possibly on part of the section between Grants Pass and Crescent City.
Strikingly, at least to me, there is no signage saying anything about Winnemucca-to-the-Sea at this turn-off from U.S. 395; none that I spotted, anyway.

Another reason for going this way, other than to travel part of that strangely fascinating Winnemucca escape route, was to see the north end of the only part of Highway 8A that is still called Highway 8A. Will there be any 8A signs on the north end of that road? Stay tuned to find out...

And now, for the treat: a road song starting off with a mention of a dusty Winnemucca road:




View Bend OR to Winnemucca NV in a larger map

To be continued...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ancient Shorelines and a Basalt Dike southeast of Paisley, Oregon

In our last episode of the long saga of going to Oregon, hanging around, and then coming back, we had just left Paisley, where we had breezed through without stopping for the Annual Mosquito Festival. Past Paisley, we continued southeast on Oregon Route 31 toward our primary goal, the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway. Prior to that turnoff, however, and only some ten miles down the road, we entered a freshly graveled stretch of pavement that points straight at The Narrows of the Chewaucan River (MSR Maps).

This is a good stretch of road for viewing a little geology. Near Milepost 107, you can catch a view of the ancient shorelines that wrap around the north side of Tucker Hill, a smallish, talus-covered and rocky butte on the south side of the highway.
These shorelines are from pluvial Lake Chewaucan, the remains of which now consist primarily of Summer Lake and Lake Abert. Lake Chewaucan reached an elevation of about 4500 feet at its high stand, the elevation of the highest terrace seen here.

For a much better view of the shorelines on Tucker Hill, see Andrew Alden's Outback Oregon Gallery (or take a road trip).

This little map, a modified version of this map, shows the extent of pluvial lakes in southern Oregon and will enlarge when clicked. I've highlighted Lake Chewaucan in bright periwinkle blue. The full extent of late Pleistocene pluvial lakes in the Great Basin can be seen here as Figure 13. Also see this pdf map of Pleistocene lakes in the western Great Basin; the map doesn't name Lake Chewaucan but shows its area.
Continuing along to the southeast, somewhere near Milepost 113 you will see one or two basalt dikes to the northeast. I managed to get a picture of the dike closest to the highway. It cuts vertically through basalt flows and intra-flow sediments, here showing a less than 90 degree apparent dip because we aren't looking straight down the strike of the dike. To look straight down strike, you should stop somewhere between MP 113 and MP 114.

This dike may be a feeder for the basalt flow capping the lower ridge: on Google Earth and Google Maps, it looks like the dike fails to cut through to the overlying flows.
Right at Milepost 114, you'll look almost perpendicular to the trace of the highway to see this view the dike. The second dike should be visible at this point, almost due north of the first and a little farther back in the hills. To get a closer look, try taking a dirt road that heads north and passes near the lower part of both dike outcrops. I won't, however, guarantee the condition of the dirt road — it's been many years since I passed that way, and who knows? For this trip, we just zoomed past in the Prius.

Also worth noting: more ancient shorelines are visible in the low rise to the right of the dike. In fact, shorelines abound throughout the area.

Some References:
Reheis, Marith, and Bright, John, 2010, Late Quaternary Paleohydrology of the Mojave Desert: U.S. Geological Survey, Geology and Environmental Change Science Center, page last modified on 15-Apr-2010 13:38:29 MDT.

U.S. Geological Survey, and Reheis, Marith, 1999, Extent of Pleistocene Lakes in the Western Great Basin: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-2323, U.S. Geological Survey, Denver, CO.


View Bend OR to Winnemucca NV in a larger map

To be continued... onward to the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Garden Update: A Morning View

I haven't been updating about our garden this year, the way I did last year, but on sunny mornings this is the view that greets me as I walk out the door when I leave for work. I love the way the sun shines on the chocolate mint plants, which are potted in hanging pots currently setting on the ground. I love their green leaves and reddish stems.

In the foreground you can see a couple of the tomatoes that probably won't ripen this year (we gotten zero, so far). We planted two plants, and have two volunteers from last year. June is just too cold here to get many things growing. It's the chard and yellow squash that are doing the best; in fact, they are both producing more than we can eat. Oh, and also the basil: it's been hung and dried, and it's ground leaves are mostly away in little jars for the winter.

The white flowers in the background, seen mostly as shadows, are cilantro plants that went to seed very rapidly. I'll have to check to see if the seeds can be used for coriander.

Many continued thanks to Julia, at Stages of Succession, for sending the chocolate mint across the ocean!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Highway 50 Series

I've been working on a Highway 50 roadside geology series for quite a long time, and have managed to get a few posts in every now and then, but have many more to go before I really consider it complete (could it ever be complete?). The entire Highway 50 Series as listed below includes posts that reference Highway 50, stories about or revolving around Highway 50, and roadside geology some distance off Highway 50 (but not too far). The part of 50 that I'm considering as "mine" right now is really the stretch that runs through Nevada, from Stateline, Nevada, at Lake Tahoe to the Utah state line near Baker, Nevada. The Loneliest Road in America is considered to run from Fernley to the Utah state line near Baker, NV. Fernley is on Alt 50, which leaves 50 at Silver Springs, goes north to Fernley and then east toward Fallon. It rejoins 50 some few miles west of Fallon (I'm not sure whether to include Alt 50 as part of this series). I often access Highway 50 by driving through the canyon of the Truckee River from Reno to Fernley on I-80, but I won't include any of that with the Highway 50 Series.

I'm going to go ahead and list some things I haven't yet posted about that I consider part of this series. I have an intent to post about these areas; when or whether I get to them remains to be seen. So, from west to east:
  1. Locations color coded plain black (and not bolded) - I don't have photos for posts (though I might link to a photo in another post not entirely about Highway 50).
  2. Locations color coded red - I have photos but haven't written a post .
  3. Locations coded blue have a link to an existing post.
Additionally, I've listed some general Highway 50 road trip posts at the end of the main list; these go from one area on the road to some other area on the road. Some of these could be consolidated into location specific roadside posts, but so far haven't been.

Hazen to Sand Springs:
Dipping beds near Hazen
Soda Lake maar
Old barite mill (or not, location in question)

Grimes Point archaeology - petroglyphs in basalt
Salt Wells

Dust and Deflation (Fernley to Hazen to Fourmile Flat to Middlegate Junction)
Dust Devil Links (Eightmile Flat and Fourmile Flat)
Huck Salt Mine
Pink Playa Phenomenon (Fourmile Flat)
Lake Lahontan shorelines
Sand Mountain for Sand Dune Week
Two Years Ago Today: The Loneliest Phone
Dikes near Sand Springs
Sand Springs (photo)

Sand Springs to West Gate:
Frenchman (for now, see Fairview Peak, Nevada)
Fairview Peak (photo)
Where in the West - March (Fairview Peak)
Fairview Peak, Nevada
Friday Fault Photos #6 (Fairview Peak)
Chalk Mountain (photos)
Things You Find in the Field: Stingaree Valley
West Gate geology
Friday from the Road: West Gate
Friday from the Road: West Gate Windmill
Lizards of the Day: Blue Bellies (at West Gate Windmill)
Windmill Down! (West Gate)

West Gate to Eastgate (old Highway 50):
Middlegate Junction (one sign photo)
Friday from the Road: Middlegate Station, central Nevada
Views from Middlegate
Friday - Back from the Road (Middlegate Station)
Backroads: Ophir and Out (Middlegate Station)
Clan Alpine Mountains (photo)
Geology on the Road: Flow-Banded Rhyolite with Breccia (Clan Alpine Mountains)
Ash-flow tuff near The Shoe Tree

Old 50 Turnoff to Reese River Valley:
Desatoya Mountains (west side photos, photo)
Cold Springs Pony Express Station
Desert Critters: Horned Lizards (Cold Springs area in the Desatoya Mountains)
Signs of Fire (Edwards Creek Valley)
New Pass Canyon western roadcuts
Friday Fault Photos #4 (New Pass Canyon)
Shoshone Mountains (photo)
Columnar jointing in tuff near Mt. Airy Summit
Flash Flood on Highway 50 (Mt. Airy Summit, Mt. Airy Mesa)
Flash flood, sheet wash deposits, and erosion from 2008, with tuff

Reese River Valley to Big Smoky Valley:
Reese River Valley (looking south photo, looking west photo)
Toiyabe Range (photo, photo, photo)
Stokes Castle
Friday from the Road: Austin, NV (Reese River, Austin)
Geology on the Road: Austin, NV (powder cache door, quartz monzonite, dikes)
Things to do in Austin, NV
Austin: Is it Time to Leave Yet?
Geology on the Road: Highway 50 #2 (ash-flow tuff & granite, Austin Summit)
Geology on the Road: Highway 50 #1 (ash-flow tuff, Austin Summit)
Austin pass geology, granite, faults
Bob Scott Summit granite, contact
Field Trip Day 1: Getting There (flowers, Bob Scott Summit)

Big Smoky Valley to Hickison and Pete's Summits:
Big Smoky Valley (photo looking north)
A Saturday Drive (Big Smoky Valley)
A Road Trip to the Hot Springs (Spencer's Hot Springs)
Spencer's Hot Springs (also mentioned here)
Linka Mine skarn
Pete's Summit petroglyphs, graptolites (mentioned here)

Hickison Summit to Lone Mountain:
Hickison Summit ash-flow tuff, faults, base surge?

Hickison Summit petroglyphs in ash-flow tuff
Gold mines near Gold Bar up the 3 Bar Road
Three Bar Ranch Road

Lone Mountain to Eureka:
Eureka! It's Lone Mountain!
Lone Mountain: Intro to Stratigraphy
Lone Mountain Stratigraphy in Brief
Tweeting the Eureka Quartzite
The Eureka Quartzite at Lone Mountain
Antelope Range (photo)
What Dust Hazard? (Roberts Creek Rd, Slough Creek, east side of Lone Mountain)
ENE of Center: Breccia at Devils Gate
Coarse-Grained Calcite in the Devils Gate Breccia
More about Devils Gate: limestone, horst, sill (?)
Speaking of Slag and Silver (Eureka)

Eureka to Newark Valley:
Eureka Summit hoodoos in poorly welded tuff
Eureka Pass contact of tuff against limestone?
A Fan Weekend - Nevada Style (alluvial fan in Newark Valley)
Three Years Ago Today: Newark Valley Geology at 70 Miles Per Hour
Pancake Summit (mentioned here)
Newark Valley (looking west photo)

Newark Valley to Ely:
Geology on the Road: Ely Limestone Panorama (near Illipah Reservoir)
Springtime in the Egan Range (north of the Thirty Mile turnoff)
Garnet Hill
Friday Fault Photos (Keystone Junction, Ely Limestone, fault and folds)
Geology on the Road: Highway 50 #3 (Keystone Junction continued)
Today's Hike: Trees, Wildflowers, Stratigraphy, and Faults (stratigraphy near Ely)
Pronunciation... (Ely)
Signs of Spring: Ravens (Squaw Peak quartzite)
Tweeting the Eureka Quartzite (Squaw Peak photo)
The Eureka Quartzite on Squaw Peak

Ely to the Utah border:
One & Two Years Ago: Trips to the Ovens (Ward Ovens)
Cave Lake
A Change in Weather: Fall becomes Winter? (Duck Creek Range, Success Summit, mylonite, contact)
Success Summit view
TheTail(s) of Thirty or Forty Antelope (Steptoe Valley)
Geology on the Road: Slate near Connors Pass, Highway 50
Friday Field Finds: An Old Trommel (Spring Valley)
Snake Range detachment fault (mentioned, photo, photo, photo, photo, and header photo)
Friday Fault Photos #9 (Snake Range detachment)

On and near Wheeler Peak:
Hiking in the Mountains
Where in the West: Wheeler Peak
Our Campsite on Wheeler Peak
Bristlecone Pines
My First Geology Tool
Rock Glacier: The First View
Rock Glacier: Closer and Closer
Rock Glacier: Higher and Higher
Rock Glacier: Near the Top
Rock Glacier: View from Above!
Rock Glacier: History and Links
Friday Field Photos: Wheeler Peak
A Snowshoe Trip
More Snowshoeing
Wheeler Peak Photo Sets, Spring and Summer 2006-2009
Friday Field Photos: Tarn It! (Teresa and Stella Lakes)
Friday Field Photos: Looking down on some Alluvial Fans
The Trail to 10,800 Feet
The Trail to 11,600 Feet
The Trail to 12,100 feet
The Trail to 12,350 feet (Or so)
Plants and Birds and Rocks and Things: Another Trip to Wheeler Peak
A Quick Note (Teresa Lake)

General Highway 50 Road Trip posts:
Spring Snow Squall in Central Nevada (Middlegate to Mt. Airy Summit)
Back Again - At Least for Now (Clan Alpine Mountains, Shoshone Mountains)
This is (More or Less) a Test (Eureka to Fourmile Flat)
Friday from the Road: There & Back Again (Edwards Creek Valley, Big Smoky Valley, Antelope Valley)
Through the Rain (Clouds: eastern and central Nevada, West Gate, and beyond Reno)

Also see: Highway 50 Links; posts tagged Highway 50.

Last updated 18Aug2013.