Saturday, June 30, 2012

Field Book Scribbles

Like Short Geologist, I'm unable to post much in the way of what I really write down in my field book, which usually consists of what I do every day (what I worked on or accomplished), who I talk to, phone numbers, ideas, things to do that I shouldn't forget, and other real miscellany. I prefer the kinds of Rite in the Rain® field books that have a grid on one side, title blocks on each page, page numbers, and lots of goodies in the back: these. Because I can't really get into who I've been working for in particular, or when, I've shown a typical title block as mocked up a little: location, date and weather (when a page has notes from more than one day, the rest of the dates and weather go farther down the page), client, and random comments or notes as desired. I don't usually use the scale portion; instead, I draw a scale with diagrams or sketch maps as needed.
On rare occassions, I fill out the table of contents at the beginning of the book. Here's my only "current" example.
I found a few pages here and there that I can photograph to show my general note scribbly-ness. I'm not nearly as neat and exacting as in my early field book years, when I filled them out like I was still in field camp and might get graded at any moment, using neat, small lettering, and very nice drawings. This one is from a field trip up in Alaska. I was obviously concerned about which way some fault or other moved, and am still not sure whether I got it right.
A little drawing of the North Window at Arches National Park, which goes with a photo I haven't digitized, and this watercolor.
Here's a few scribbles from a March, 1998, field trip to the Fort Knox gold mine near Fairbanks, Alaska: "low grade .013-.019 [ounces per ton]." I imagine the "low grade" is lower than that now.
Here's a little (and partial, I'm sure) story about the discovery of the Gold Bar gold mine from a May, 1998, field trip to several gold mines in central Nevada. "Lots of 'smoke' on range front." The underlined "picture rock" indicates that I took a photo and have a rock sample lying around somewhere, probably in a box in the garage.
In the back of my field books, you'll typically find some version of a calendar.
And scattered here and there, you might find doodles taken during some meeting. This one shows a horn of plenty (i.e., ore), on a table??, next to an evergreen tree.
My meeting notes (yes, I generally take meeting notes in my field book so I can find them later), often contain fairly elaborate doodles. Here's a mine adit on a hillside, or maybe it's a hobbit's home.
My field mapping notes, which are small and blurry in this photo by design, are often messier than this, and usually quite succinct.

Oh, and my field books are mine. They don't belong to the company I consult for, unless the company buys field books for me and requires ownership by contract, something I would strongly resist. Companies have a habit of losing things and getting rid of things after projects are over. I don't think I've had to give up any of my field books so far. I *have* left copies of field notes in company files when requested. It's good to know ahead of time that someone will want a copy; that way, I won't accidentally put extraneous notes from one company's business in the middle of pages that will go into a second company's file.

More of my field books can be seen here, at least from the outside.

Submitted to Accretionary Wedge #47: Field Notes.

Friday, June 29, 2012

More Views from the Road to Work

A few more views from the road to work: the sunrise photos are from early April, and the cloudy photos are from early May.
A flock of geese (?) over the Humboldt River, seen from the near the site of Preble in Emigrant Canyon. The south end of the Midas Trough is just coming into view below the rising sun.
I've seen smallish groups of pelicans along this part of the river, but they don't typically fly in Vs.
North edge of the Midas Trough, AKA Owyhee Bluff.
North Valmy Power Plant. The two yellowish, sunlit hills near the plant comprise Treaty Hill. The north, sloping end of Battle Mountain (the mountain) is behind and to the right of Treaty Hill; the bluish Shoshone Range defines the far horizon.
The Pettit Ranch on the east slope of the Osgood Mountains. The supposed true geographic name of this ranch (from the 1945 Osgood Mountains 15' topo) is the Hugh Bains Ranch, but I'm going with what the sign to the ranch says (and what I've known it as for quite a while). I remember driving up to this ranch a long time ago, despite no trespassing signs and barking ranch dogs. I think I was getting the key to a gate near Preble, where some drill cuttings or rock samples for the Pinson Mine had been stored.
At the time, the Pinson was most properly known as the Ogee and Pinson Mine (map from Hotz and Willden, 1964).
Now we're looking westerly, about 20 to 25 miles across Red House Flat, toward a batch of mostly unnamed hills south of the Snowstorm Mountains and the Midas Trough and north of the Sheep Creek Range.

All views above were from south of the turnoff to Midas, Hollister, Ivanhoe, Willow Creek, and Tuscarora on the Midas Road (see previous post).
Here's a second look at the same hills, this time from where the road splits to go to either Getchell or Twin Creeks.
This time, beyond the Roosters Comb, we can see the low spot between the mostly unnamed hills and the Sheep Creek Range, where Sheep Creek flows out toward the Humboldt River. The Izzenhood Ranch and Izzenhood Gap are tucked away behind the hills in front of the low spot.
Area covered by this post; map courtesy USGS, The National Map Viewer. To see this map more clearly and to explore the area, go here.
A zoomed in map showing Sixmile Hill, Roosters Comb, Izzenhood Gap, Sheep Creek, and the north end of the Sheep Creek Range; map courtesy of USGS, from The National Map Viewer, explore the area using this link.

Selected Reference:
Hotz, P.E. and Willden, Ronald, 1964, Geology and mineral deposits of the Osgood Mountains quadrangle, Humboldt County, Nevada: USGS Professional Paper 431, 128 p., 1:62,500.

Monday, June 25, 2012

The 4:45 Bus to Work

I thought I'd post a trip report I wrote back in March, when the early mornings were very dark and I was riding the 4:45 bus in to work. Nowadays, I'm sleeping in just a little and taking a later ride whenever possible. Photos are from various times since mid-April.

Riding to work on the 4:45 bus: It's dark. Cars and trucks — some clearly heading out to the mines — pass us on the freeway.
Many people on the bus are sleeping. Maybe they didn't have any morning coffee like I did, coffee that makes it possible for me to get ready for work and impossible to sleep on the bus. The light from the phone I'm writing this on, carefully picking out letters with my stylus, is the only light I see besides headlights on the road.

Button Point: Button Point is a promontory at the north end of the Sonoma Range, where I-80 takes a nearly 90-degree turn, and the Humboldt River goes from flowing northwest, makes a kind of large semi-circle, and then ends up flowing west-southwest before heading in more southerly directions toward the Humboldt Sink. Button Point is also a rest stop. We pass it by.
Volcanic rocks south of I-80 just east of Button Point.

Golconda: We get off the freeway here and drive slowly through the small berg of Golconda on the original Highway 40.
Sign on the eastbound exit for Golconda: In case you didn't know which way to go!

Other buses have stopped to pick up people at a large, jumbled parking lot near the center of town; we pass them by, and — leaving the old highway behind at a sharp, 25-mile-an-hour as-posted turn beyond the far end of town — go out the paved road through Emigrant Canyon, where the railroad tracks follow the Humboldt River. Picking up speed after making the turn, we wind through a canyon cut into green, brown, and orangey-purple phyllites of the Cambrian Preble Formation.

At the site of Preble, now a small agglomeration of dilapidated (or rustic) ranch out buildings and sheds, we stop at the railroad tracks before crossing. Up in the distance I see one red taillight.
Preble and the railroad crossing come in to view.

The data connection cuts out somewhere between Golconda and the railroad crossing, picks up again at 5:16 past the curves through the dusty, phyllitic hills, but my mobile device doesn't quite make a connection. I keep trying and finally get a solid connection in the windswept, sand-covered swath affected by last October's fire.
The Osgood Mountains, with the Pettit Ranch (the trees just barely in shadow) in the distance on the alluviual fan.

The road ahead of us is still paved. Vehicles going out to the mines — Hollister, Midas, Twin, TR, and Pinson — pass us. Our speed is regulated by a GPS-based system tied to actual speed limits. A few trucks — including two-trailer semis — go by us in the other direction, leaving the mines, ranches, and isolated outposts like Tuscarora and Midas to make their way back to Golconda, the freeway, and beyond.
A view of the Midas Trough, not far from the turnoff to the Midas Road. Miners (and geologists) going out to the Midas and Hollister mines head out toward the broad low area beneath the rising sun.

The bus driver has a radio on, set to one mine frequency or another, and chatter picks up now and again, about the road and the traffic.

5:25: We come to the Midas turnoff. At the turnoff, a plethora of signs pop up on the right side of the road, pointing the way to various mines. Companies with signs: Atna, Barrick, Newmont, and Great Basin Gold. Mines mentioned on the signs: Pinson, Turquoise Ridge, Twin Creeks, Midas, and Hollister.
A plethora of signs.

We have now left S.R. 789, called the Getchell Mine Road by NDOT, and are on its extension, a well magged (treated with magnesium chloride), fairly smooth, wide dirt road that I've always known as...the Getchell Mine Road.
This is (reportedly) a county road maintained by Newmont with monetary contribution from Barrick. Road access is still public: side dirt roads, if you know which ones to take, lead to canyons, mountain passes, ranches, and reservoirs.

I see the vague dark outline of the Osgood Mountains to the west, and the lights of Twin at one o'clock. We pass some lights on the left (probably the Pinson Mine), and come to the "No Passing Next 3 Miles" sign at 5:31, after crossing a cattle guard.
The old tungsten mine [Pacific or Valley View mine] north of Atna's Pinson Mine, which we pass at about 5:30, just before crossing the cattle guard. In March, the outline of the Osgood Mountains was just an outline: black on a dark background.
The lights of Newmont's Twin Creeks Mine off in the distance to the right.
5:34:The road splits, with one road heading off toward Twin, the other continuing straight toward TR-Getchell. Access on both roads is still public, at least for a short ways: the continuing Getchell Mine Road provides access to at least one side canyon; the Twin Creeks road provides access to the Chimney Reservoir.

Beyond this final juncture, the road becomes a little more curvy, maybe a little more corrugated or rutted. Lights from both mines are visible. After passing through the main gate at 5:39, the bus makes its way to at least one stop before arriving at my worksite at 5:53.

End of Trip. (E.O.T.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bad Route

MOH sent this sign picture to me from eastern Montana, the sign being located on the eastbound lane of I-94 (Google Street View). I don't know if he visited the rest stop; other than that possibility, I know he didn't drive down the road to check it out. Bad Route Road may have been named after the nearby Bad Route Creek (which has a Bad Route Creek Bridge, and an East, West, and Middle Fork). There is also a Bad Route School.

As it turns out, this is the same sign that was used in the famous internet meme, "All Your Base are Belong to Us" (known as AYB or AYBABTU). The original shot of the sign, here, was turned into this sign, here.

All Your Base website.
All Your Base flash video.
All Your Base at Know Your Meme.
All Your Base at Uncyclopedia.
All Your Base video on YouTube:


I recommend watching the flash video, it seems a bit clearer.

The sign, and its partner on the westbound lane of I-94 (Google Street View), is also a bit of a meme in and of itself, having been posted on at least a couple blogs, and mentioned or linked to in threads about strange signs and strange placenames in the U.S. and around the world. Get your Bad Route Road e-card here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

American 101 Geo-Sites Meme

Callan Bentley has a new geo-meme up over at Mountain Beltway, based on the book 101 American Geo-Sites You’ve Gotta See, by Albert Dickas. I've bolded the ones on the list that I've seen.

1. Wetumpka Crater, Alabama
2. Exit Glacier, Alaska
3. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
4. Meteor Crater, Arizona
5. Monument Valley, Arizona
6. Prairie Creek Pipe, Arkansas
7. Wallace Creek, California
8. Racetrack Playa, California
9. Devils Postpile, California
10. Rancho La Brea, California
11. El Capitan, California
12. Boulder Flatirons, Colorado
13. Interstate 70 Roadcut, Colorado -- which one??
14. Florissant Fossil Beds, Colorado
15. Dinosaur Trackway, Connecticut
16. Wilmington Blue Rocks, Delaware
17. Devil’s Millhopper, Florida
18. Stone Mountain, Georgia
19. Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii
20. Borah Peak, Idaho - I've driven by, anyway
21. Menan Buttes, Idaho
22. Great Rift, Idaho
23. Valmeyer Anticline, Illinois
24. Hanging Rock Klint, Indiana
25. Fort Dodge Gypsum, Iowa
26. Monument Rocks, Kansas
27. Ohio Black Shale, Kentucky
28. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky
29. Four Corners Roadcut, Kentucky
30. Avery Island, Louisiana
31. Schoodic Point, Maine
32. Calvert Cliffs, Maryland
33. Purgatory Chasm, Massachusetts
34. Nonesuch Potholes, Michigan
35. Quincy Mine, Michigan
36. Grand River Ledges, Michigan
37. Sioux Quartzite, Minnesota
38. Thomson Dikes, Minnesota
39. Soudan Mine, Minnesota
40. Petrified Forest, Mississippi
41. Elephant Rocks, Missouri
42. Grassy Mountain Nonconformity, Missouri
43. Chief Mountain, Montana
44. Madison Slide, Montana
45. Butte Pluton, Montana
46. Quad Creek Quartzite, Montana
47. Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska
48. Scotts Bluff, Nebraska
49. Crow Creek Marlstone, Nebraska
50. Sand Mountain, Nevada
51. Great Unconformity, Nevada -- have seen this in Grand Canyon, AZ
52. Flume Gorge, New Hampshire
53. Palisades Sill, New Jersey
54. White Sands, New Mexico
55. Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
56. Shiprock Peak, New Mexico
57. State Line Outcrop, New Mexico
58. American Falls, New York -- have seen American Falls, ID (ha!)
59. Taconic Unconformity, New York
60. Gilboa Forest, New York
61. Pilot Mountain, North Carolina
62. South Killdeer Mountain, North Dakota
63. Hueston Woods, Ohio
64. Big Rock, Ohio
65. Kelleys Island, Ohio
66. Interstate 35 Roadcut, Oklahoma
67. Mount Mazama, Oregon
68. Lava River Cave, Oregon -- other tubes, other places
69. Drake’s Folly, Pennsylvania
70. Hickory Run, Pennsylvania
71. Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania -- other water gaps
72. Beavertail Point, Rhode Island
73. Crowburg Basin, South Carolina
74. Mount Rushmore, South Dakota -- if I can't remember, does it count?
75. Mammoth Site, South Dakota
76. Pinnacles Overlook, South Dakota
77. Reelfoot Scarp, Tennessee
78. Enchanted Rock, Texas
79. Capitan Reef, Texas
80. Paluxy River Tracks, Texas
81. Upheaval Dome, Utah
82. Checkerboard Mesa, Utah
83. San Juan Goosenecks, Utah
84. Salina Canyon Unconformity, Utah
85. Bingham Stock, Utah
86. Whipstock Hill, Vermont
87. Great Falls, Virginia
88. Natural Bridge, Virginia
89. Millbrig Ashfall, Virginia
90. Catoctin Greenstone, Virginia
91. Mount St. Helens, Washington
92. Dry Falls, Washington
93. Seneca Rocks, West Virginia
94. Roche-A-Cri Mound, Wisconsin
95. Van Hise Rock, Wisconsin
96. Amnicon Falls, Wisconsin
97. Green River, Wyoming -- and Flaming Gorge, etc.
98. Devils Tower, Wyoming
99. Fossil Butte, Wyoming
100. Steamboat Geyser, Wyoming
101. Specimen Ridge, Wyoming

I've only got 24, with huge gaps in the east, central, and northern states.

Should be listed: Neguanee Iron Formation, MI.
Only one for AK?!

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Misty Mountains

Four weeks ago, we were driving west over Emigrant Pass on I-80 on our 2nd, and final, U-Haul van trip, when I noticed (I was in my newish jeep, and MOH was in the U-Haul) that the mountains and valleys of the northern Basin and Range were rapidly becoming obscurred by dust.
In this first shot looking southwesterly from a relatively obscure point on Bobs Flat, down Bob Creek toward the Horseshoe Ranch near Beowawe, NV, our view has been dusted, making the visible hills and mountains appear vague, as if lost in a morning mist. The prominent hill in the central part of the photo is a subrange of the northern Shoshone Range, and the cliffy north-facing side of the subrange is officially known as Malpais, but is usually called the Malpais Rim.

The Malpais Rim, site of The Geysers near Beowawe, NV, — the geysers are, sadly, no longer geysing — is "one of several east-northeast-striking, fault-bounded cuestas in north central Nevada" (Eric Struhsacker, 1980). In the photo, the north-northwest facing scarp of the Malpais Rim is facing just a little away from us toward Whirlwind Valley, the flat area on the right side of the photo. Beyond Whirlwind Valley, a farther part of the northern Shoshone Range has an unusually vague outline. We can't see the Cortez Mountains in this dusty view; they are usually visible beyond the Malpais Rim.
Here's our general location (map and link from The National Map, courtesy U.S. Geological Survey). [Btw, all the maps shown here will look better when enlarged by clicking; maps from The National Map can be explored more fully by following the link provided.] Carlin is near the east edge of the map, just west of the U.S. 40 loop through Carlin Canyon (this fairly ancient AMS sheet for the area shows I-80 as partially built, and Highway 40 still in existence before the completion of the Carlin tunnels). Battle Mountain is not far off the west edge of the map.
Zooming in somewhat (map courtesy U.S.G.S. but downloaded from a different part of their website, we can see Bobs Flat, the flat area in the upper center of the map (Highway 40, rather than I-80, is shown on this old 15-minute map), and Beowawe, the tiny town, ghost town, and ranch area on S.R. 306 in the lower left of the map.
Zooming in even farther, we can now finally see the area of The Geysers and the Malpais Rim (The National Map link). I've outlined Beowawe and The Geysers in dark cyan.
A little farther down the west side of Emigrant Pass on the descent toward the Beowawe Rest Stop — which used to be a great place to see The Geysers before their feeder geothermal exploration wellheads were plugged for geothermal production — we see two subparallel slopes comining southeastward off the Argenta Rim in the northern Shoshone Range, in front of the closer and clearer hills east of Whirlwind Valley. These closer, unnamed hills — irregularly north trending — sit between Bobs Flat and the northeast end of Whirlwind Valley.
The Argenta Rim (skewed rectangle) is another east-northeast-trending subrange of the northern Shoshone Range, similar to the Malpais Rim (The National Map link).
Coming into Battle Mountain, I grabbed this shot of the north end of the Shoshone Range near the Betty O'Neal mine in the Lewis silver mining district, in hopes of showing an alluvial fan slope coming off the mountains toward the Reese River Valley, but that slope is barely visible in this grainy, overprocessed photo. Nevertheless, you see the dusty conditions. This dust, and the dust we first saw coming over Emigrant Pass, is coming all the way from the Carson and Humboldt Sinks, located about 100 miles southwest of Battle Mountain and about 120 miles southwest of Emigrant Pass.
Coming around the usually blustery turn at Button Point, I had this view of the southern part of the Santa Rosa Range, with Bloody Run Peak being the high point on the left (south). The high part of the Santa Rosa Range — to the north, and off the photo stage right — was being thoroughly dusted by winds coming off the Black Rock Desert, and was not visible from I-80.

Our next view to the west, of Winnemucca Mountain, meant our second and last U-Haul trip was nearing an end, except for the unloading that took one more day — and except for the unpacking that is still in progress. A few views from Winnemucca Mountain, including one of Bloody Run Peak, can be seen here.

Selected Reference:
Struhsacker, E.M., 1980, The geology of the Beowawe geothermal system, Eureka and Lander Counties, Nevada: University of Utah Research Institute, Rept. ESL-37, 78 p.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

First Day Off After Nine

Early morning: This was my rousing view of clouds and the foothills of Winnemucca Mountain when I awoke this morning. This photo now seems to represent what was a somewhat inspirational beginning to what turned into a busy, erratic day. Perhaps the day was also a bit like the clouds: scattered.
Early evening: It was a hectic day, seemingly, and I'm finally relaxing with a cold beer — a Rotator IPA in a Ruby Mountain Amber pint glass. I think the only reason the day seemed hectic was that I did things other than what I planned, things that weren't on my TTD list, so I felt as though I didn't accomplish anything. Instead of relaxing and blogging (both were on the list), I did a modicum of unpacking, a bit of arranging, and quite a bit of rearranging. I did get two things on my list done, including having a relaxing hot bath. And, for things not on the list, I accomplished the hanging of a peg strip near the front door of the apt, which now looks like this (sign compliment of furnished apt):
By the end of the day, prior to beer, I didn't find a Father's Day card to my liking. Whereas it seemed that the cards in our moved-away-from town were dorky and quite repetitive year to year, it seems as though the cards in this new town, while ostensibly or superficially quite varied, trend overall either toward the overly sentimental (for either myself or the way I view my dad), or they are raucous musical and noisy things that I'm pretty sure he wouldn't like. Consequently, because I'm already late in mailing anyway, I'll probably dig through the many cards I have on hand, which I've bought for myself not to use but to look through and enjoy (art cards), then I'll pick one out and hopefully get it sent by tomorrow afternoon when the mail gets picked up at our nearby apt-based boxes. With any luck, the card will arrive in AK by Monday, only one day late.

In the meantime, I'm expecting a phone call from MOH. He's on his northern adventure, checking out oil fields and small towns in northerly areas that I've never visited. (I'm jealous, in a way, but am getting daily pictures of campsites, rivers, and the way my old truck currently looks as a mini-RV. One thing I've learned is that the Yellowstone River is quite beautiful, though a long way from here.)

And now, my beer is still cold but needs to be refreshed with a new one, the sun coming through the open-to-the-freeway window — open to let swamp-cooler air on high out — is warm. After beer I'll have a dinner either of mint chocolate cookie ice cream or mini-ravs and milk. That will be the end to what I now see as a good day.

P.S. The "our town" tag refers to the old place in the hinterland of eastern Nevada, and the "wnmca" tag refers to a uniquely named town in north-central or north-western Nevada (depending on how you view Nevada geography).

P.P.S. I am finding myself, as I've mentioned before, considerably shorter on time for blogging while working the industry-wide normal 10-hour days and having a door to door driving/riding time of 45 to 60 minutes, depending on particular logistics. These logistics create what are actually 12 hour days, longer than my previous 10-hour work days plus 30 to 45 minute max round trip times (10.5 to 10.75 hour days compared to ± 12 hour days). I'm still adjusting, rather slowly, to my lack of blogging time. I'm not awake enough in the morning to do much serious (or very good) writing or link finding, and the short evening is often crammed with brief winding down, dinner, getting ready for the next day, enjoying a netflix-streamed old TV series episode or two with MOH when he's here, OR just crashing, OR reading the internet but not blogging. Haven't figured all that out quite yet — and I haven't quite scheduled time in for any excercise besides what I get at work, walking up and down metal-grated stairs and walking back and forth down my rubber-padded cement-based core-logging lane.

P.P.P.S. Wrist and elbow overuse pain (started in one arm, is now also in the other becuase of using the other almost exclusively at times) has also limited what I have been able to do on the computer. The pain, soreness, inflammation, whatever it is, is better. It all probably began from packing and lifting/carrying boxes; consequently, any unpacking I do puts me at least slightly at risk of a longer healing time. (RICE: REST, ice, compression, elevation — need the former, acheiving very little of the latter - how does one raise the elbow without using it or other possibly compromised muscles? Meh.)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Hummingbird Moth in Chocolate Mints

Yesterday I received an email while at work telling me that there was a hummingbird moth in one of our two pots of chocolate mint, which are sitting outside on the front porch. MOH thought the moth might still be there when I got home, and sure enough, it was.
It didn't move when I approached as close as I wanted with my camera, but it was dark in the shade of the mints, and several pictures were a little blurry.
Here's its cute little face, sharpened somewhat by photo processing.

This is the same kind of moth (Hyles lineata) as seen here between Goldfield and Beatty, Nevada, about three years ago, and these are the same mints that came from overseas and made a first appearance on the blog mid-summer of 2009. The mints have been subdivided and passed around amongst family; the moth has moved on. This particular type of hummingbird moth tends to be nocturnal, so maybe it was just in the mint to sleep for the day.