Friday, December 31, 2010

Most Popular Posts from 2010

Yes, it's the time of year when many bloggers go all retrospective on you, at least to some extent, and so I've made a list. Included here are my Top Twenty geological posts as ranked by a complicated cobbled-together .xls formula combining several different sets of stats (see endnote), along with a smattering of other noteworthy posts, particularly some near the beginning of the year when I had incomplete analytics. I've listed these prime posts by date.





Note: Three of the stat programs I use don't go back to the beginning of the year: I've used FeedBurner stats for a couple-three years, started using PostRank during the middle of February, and started using Google Analytics toward the end of June. The internal Blogger stats only go back to early June and don't show stats for all posts, just the top ten. These several analytics programs came up with different rankings, with only the top two to three really agreeing (with FeedBurner being hard to evaluate), so besides combining the rankings, I also checked posts against comment popularity and added a few from the beginning of the year when analytic coverage was thin.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Page of Inactive GeoBlogs

These are geoblogs that have moved or have been inactive through all or most of 2021 [updated Nov 2022]; many have been inactive longer than that. Several classics on this list are worth perusing if you haven't already. I'll leave you to the exploring.

+/- Science

AAPG GEO-DC Blog - might be available to members

Abi Stone

About Geology

Accidental Remediation

Active Margin

Adventures in Geology


All-geo (tumblr)

All of My Faults are Stress Related (Sb) and All of My Faults are Stress-Related

A Long Way to Go


Ancient Shore

Andrew Alden at KQED

A New Zeal and an Old Volcano

anisotropic reflections

Antimonite (offline)

Apparent Dip (blogspot) --> Apparent Dip (wordpress) - both inactive

Arctic, Antarctic and Alpine

Arctic Dreamer (offline)

Arizona Geology

Arizona State Mine Inspector

Around the Bend

ART Evolved: Life's Time Capsule

Awesome Froth (offline)

Barriers explained! 

Between a rock and a hard place

Beyond the Moho

Blog para aficionados a la geología y mineralogía (Spanish)

Cambriangirl (offline)


Carbonate Sedimentology (offline)


Chaotically Flow - Banded - occasionally active (e.g., for WOGE)

Christie at the Cape

Chronicling the Nisqually Earthquake and Other Northwest Quakes

Chrsphr (offline)

Chuck Bailey's Blog (offline)


Clastic Detritus - moved to Clastic Detritus (Wired) - unavailable - moved back to Clastic Detritus - inactive

Clastic Fill - new blog at Clasticphile - both inactive

Communicating Geoscience

cryology and co.  - see David Bressan  here (SciAm inactive) and here


Daisy's Geology Blog (offline)

Dave's Landslide Blog (offline) - now at The Landslide Blog (AGU)

Dave McGarvie (Iceland Volcano Blog)

Diary of a Geology Student

Dracovenator (blogspot), Dracovenator (wordpress), and A Fragment of Gondwana -- all inactive

Dr. Anne Jefferson's Watershed Hydrology Lab

Dude Diligence

Dynamic Earth

Earth and Mind

Earth InsightCache

Earth-like Planet



Eat. Sleep. Geology

Eclectic Plagiodoxy

Economic Geology Blog

Educated Erosion

Effjot - (also in German)

Elise Harrington's research blog

Emily Erratic - now called Em Ventures - offline

En Morrenas

En Tequila Es Verdad (blogspot) - now at En Tequila Es Verdad (the Orbit)  --> now at Dana Hunter's Unconformity

Eruptions (Sb) - moved to Eruptions (Big Think, not available) - now at Eruptions (Wired, offline) - now at Rocky Planet (Discover)

ESPM-Earth Sci Processes at Manchester (offline)


Exogeology ROCKS! (offline)

Exploring the Earth

Extremofiles - rarely active?

Failed Rift

Fate Tectonics

FLC Geo News (offline)

Four Degrees

Frances Deegan's posts

Fuzzy Science (german) and (english) (offline)

GeoCastAway - now at GeoCastAway



GeoKate in the Bay State

Geokittehs (invited readers only)

GeoIGN2.3 (Japanese)

GeoLog (the EGU blog)

Geologia Marinha e Costeria

Geologic Froth - moved to Geologic Froth (posterous is gone) - move to Geologic Froth (dead link).

Geologic Frothings - also moved to Geologic Froth (posterous dead link) - moved to Geologic Froth (also dead) - UPDATE: moved to GeoFroth, also inactive.

Geological Musings in the Taconic Mountains


Geology and More blog (Greek)

Geology Field Trips

Geology Happens

Geology in Art

Geology is Hard

Geology News (Rockbandit)

Geology Rocks

Geology and the World

Geology and other things

geologygeek (offline) - moved to lithics - inactive

Geology for Global Development (blogspot) - now at Geology for Global Development (EGU)

Geology Jenga




GeoSpace (offline)


GeoStevo (offline)


Geotweeps Discuss...

Geovertical (offline)

Girls into Geoscience

Glacial Till

Got the Time

Good Schist (offline) and Goodschist (offline)

Google Earth Time Machine

Gravel Beach

Green Gabbro (Sb)

Green a green shade

Harmonic Tremors - now see Seismogenic Zone (offline)

Highly Allochthonous (Sb) and Highly Allochthonous Archive (blogspot) - both inactive - now at Highly Allochthonous (

Hindered Settling (blogspot) - now at Hindered Settling (wordpress) - inactive

History of Geology (SciAm) and History of Geology - both inactive

Holey Schist!

Hypotheses (wordpress & great resource) and Hypo-theses (offline)

Hydrofelicity (offline)

hydrothermality (offline)

Hypocentre's Posterous (offline)

Iceland geology blog

Igneous by choice Geoblog

Impossible Geology

Infogeología (Spanish)

Infrasound Huntress

In Terra Veritas

Indiana Meg

Jane McArthur's blog

Johannes Lochmann

JY's 雜記 (offline)

Knowledge Flocs

Laelaps (Sb) --> Laelaps (Wired, offline) --> Laelaps (SciAm, inactive)

Landslides under Microscope (offline)

Liberty, Equality, and Geology (blogspot) now at Liberty, Equality, and Geology (wordpress) - also inactive

Life as a geologist

Life in Plane Light

Life is like a rock...

Life Traces of the Georgia Coast

Lisbon Structural Geologist


Livin2dmax (offline)

Lore Deposits and Other Rich Veins

Magma Cum Laude and Magma Cum Laude (AGU)

Matkalla Maapallon Vaippaan (Finish - Traveling the Globe of the Earth)

me and the laurentide ice sheet (offline) - moved to poorlysorted - also offline

Mente et malleo: ar prātu un āmuru (Latvian)
Mente et melleb: by thought and hammer

Meta-geologist - now at Metageologist (


Mini Me Geology Blog

Mi tierra se mueve

Mountain Beltway - moved to Mountain Beltway (AGU)

Mountain Cat Geology

Mount Baker Volcano Research Center

MSU Geology in the Field

Musings of a Life-Long Scholar

Musings of an Omnivorous Intellectual

My Geologic Adventures

My Patchwork Planet

NOLÖGIC - (offline)

Not Necessarily Geology (offline)

NOVA Geoblog (offline) - now at Mountain Beltway (AGU)

NSF Geophysicists in Haiti - (no blog posts anymore)

Oblate Spheroid - (offline)

Office of Redundancy Office

Off the shelf edge

Olelog (offline)

OnCirculation (offline)

...Or Something --> Clastic Detritus (Wired, offline) --> Clastic Detritus (wordpress, inactive)

Ordinary High Water Mark

Outcrop (Avon RIGS Group)

Outside The Interzone

Paleowave (offline)

Pale Blue Dot (offline)


Pawn of the Pumice Castle

Pathological Geomorphology (offline) - archived at Impossible Geology/Geopathology

Peter Lufti's WOGE Page

Petrified Wood (offline)

Petróleo Sin Riesgos (Spanish)

Phreatic Ramblings

Point Source


Pools and Riffles - now reactivated!! -- now inactive

poorlysorted (offline)

Porter's Papers

Reel Geology: The Good, the Bad and...

Research at a snail's pace

Ripples in Sand

Rising to the Occasion (offline)

Roads of Stone

Rockin' the Himalayas

rock_jockey (offline)

Rocks Math!

Rockscape Geology


Romania Rocks

Ron Schott's Geology Home Companion

Rosetta Stones - now at Rosetta Stones

Scenic Overflight

Seattle Rocks (offline)

Sedimentary Basins and Petroleum Geology

Sedimentary Soliloquy


Seismogenic Zone (offline)

Sense of Shear (offline)

Shaken Not Stirred (offline)

Shaken Not Stirred! The Volcano Diaries

Shaking Earth

Shifting Paradigms

Sinuosity (offline)

Sismordia - Seismology at Concordia

Sling Shot Thought

Southern Exposure (no posts)

Stories in Stone (blogspot) - now at Stories in Stone Blog ( Internals


Structural Geology

Stubborn as a Rock (offline)

Tales from Mid-Ocean Ridges (Japanese)

Tannis Likes Rocks

Teaching the Earth Sciences

Teen Geologist

Ten Million Years of Solitude (offline)

Terra Incognita (offline)

Terra Motus

The Accretionary Wedge

The Bu Element

The Engineering Geology Project

The Great Winter of 2008-2009

The Ethical Palaeontologist (offline) - now at Stages of Succession (offline)

The Flying Trilobite (blogspot) - now at The Flying Trilobite Blog

The Lost Geologist

The Petrographer

The Road to Endeavour

The Rock Crusher (offline)

The Rocks Know

The Transantarctic Mountains 

The Trembling Earth (wordpress) & The Trembling Earth (AGU)

The Volcanism Blog

The Wilds of Wyoming: A Little Bit of Culture, A Little Bit of Dirt

Through the Sandglass - Michael Welland, deceased 2017

Toilet training a furry cat with frictionless paws

Thoughts about things

Thoughts on a watery planet (offline)

Uncommon Vistas

Uncovered Earth (offline)


UnEarthed Tees' Geology News

Urban Museum of Natural History (geoliterate)

Volcanic Activity Blog

Volcanista: a magmalicious blog


Volcanoclast (offline)




Wandering Spheres

WATCH FOR ROCKS – - – - – Travels of a Sharp-eyed Geologist (blogspot)

WATCHING FOR ROCKS-Travels of a Sharp-eyed Geologist or WFR

Water and the Same Time (blogspot) and Water and the Same Time (wordpress) - both inactive

Watershed Hydrogeology Blog - and Dr. Anne Jefferson's Watershed Hydrology Lab



Your Friendly Neighborhood Geologist

Zona de Cizalla (offline)

These blogs have been deleted from my Geoblogosphere page (except when reactivated or sporadically active), and are now shown as one link: A List of Some Inactive GeoBlogs (this post). There are several more inactive geoblogs; you used to be able find a complete list at Ron Schott's site, but it's offline. If you think you shouldn't be on this list, let me know.

NOTE: My Geoblogosphere page does not necessarily link to all geoblogs.

The list, as continually updated, shows blogs inactive for about a year (or more). Last updated 24Nov2022.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Like caterpillars, crawling or marching...

...northward out of or toward Mexico.

On Christmas Day, I went hunting for the source of the widely quoted description of the Basin and Range, starting with my easy-to-find reference in Bill Fiero's Geology of the Great Basin. He said that a long time ago a geologist had compared the mountain ranges of the Basin and Range to "dark fuzzy caterpillars crawling northward" [his words]. He didn't reference the geologist, so I got to wondering and went online. Well, I was already online, but I went farther, into that great Google machine, starting with "basin and range caterpillars," which got me the Wikipedia Basin and Range page and The Basin and Range Province (Coulter, 2005). Both pages state that it was Clarence Dutton who made the analogy, quoting him as saying "army of caterpillars marching toward Mexico" and "an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico," respectively. You'll immediately notice the double discord: marching v. crawling and toward v. out of.

I was inclined to go with the second quote, because it partly agreed with what Fiero had said, and because at least Coulter (2005) had given a reference, namely to King (1977). Going back to Google with basin and range "army of caterpillars" dutton, I found another reference to "an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico" by Mac and others (1998), who again cited King (1977), with Dutton being the quotee; and I also found this article (Jensen and Platts, 1990), which quotes Dutton (1880) as saying "army of caterpillars marching to Mexico," reinforcing the quote confusion, but providing the alleged source: Dutton (1880).

So, hence to Dutton's 1880 tome, Geology of the high plateaus of Utah, which is searchable online by various methods, including visual scanning. The quote, if present in that volume in any form, would have to be hidden on a map included in the Atlas (which I also viewed and eliminated), or in the footnotes, many of which I scanned. Searching for "caterpillars" or "Mexico" does not yield the quote; searching for all occurrences of "north" does not yield the quote. I didn't try all occurrences of "out of" or "toward," but did scan all seemingly relevant chapters and sections more than once without results. The problem with search methods other than reading or visual scanning, is that the original is old, so some words don't search properly or have been changed by the various methods of acquisition (e.g., digital scanning) to other words or nonsense words. Also, a word like northward can be broken at the end of a line into "north-" and followed in the next line by "ward." The quote might still be in there somewhere, but I doubt it.

Then, tyring to get some help via Twitter, I was led by @rschott to the above picture, which is from Dante's View at Death Valley National Park. The sign quotes Dutton (1880) as saying, " an army of caterpillars crawling toward Mexico...." Darn, there for a minute I thought the caterpillars crawled when going north, and marched when going south!

Ron Schott also found an old reference to the quote, wherein Keyes (1920) said that Dutton "likens [the ranges] on the map to an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Old Mexico." This is the oldest reference (so far), perhaps giving credence to the northward crawling aspect of the alleged Basin and Range quote. Additionally, at least one reference (Udall, 1998) has Dutton "quipping," suggesting that Dutton might have been speaking at a meeting rather than writing a report.

Another tidbit in this intensive reference hunt: I found one endnote (in Goin and Starrs, 2005) that states:
"army of caterpillars" is without a doubt Clarence Dutton's comment, but exact attribution is impossible – although everyone knows he wrote or said it, chapter and verse are undocumented in our experience, but it is quoted by John McPhee in Basin and Range (1981).
I couldn't find the quote or a reference to Dutton in Basin and Range.
Basins and ranges in central Nevada

And then things got interesting.

This search led to a more detailed quote from Dutton: "composed of many short, abrupt ranges looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars crawling northward. At length the army divides into two columns...." I couldn't, however, search farther in that book (Anderson, 1977), or find where Dutton said that. Later, on Boxing Day, I used this search confining the timing to 1879 to 1921, and found this long reference to Dutton's description of the desert mountains or arid ranges of the west (Keyes, 1909), though it isn't explicitly a quote:
Upon the map Dutton has likened them to an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico, dividing as it enters the United States, the main body turning westward and then northward again until it passes into the British possessions.
I was pretty sure at this point that we had narrowed it down to, more or less, "an army of caterpillars crawling northward out of Mexico," but I still couldn't find the reference!

I then went a little farther, using this search to reveal even more of the Dutton quote, still with no viewable reference (Anderson, 1977):
"...composed of many short abrupt ranges looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars crawling northward. At length the army divides into two columns, one marching northwest, the other north-north east."
Anderson (1977) then goes on to say, "Hence the Great Basin's ranges, and the Rockies...," implying that the quote refers to the entire west, not just the Basin and Range.

By this time, I was ready to finish up this blog post and move on, so I grabbed another view of the west from Google Earth...
And then, late in the afternoon, another link came in from Twitter, this time from @microecos, who blogs here. It's the full and entire quote, with the source! Dutton (1886) says:
The great belt of Cordilleras coming up through Mexico and crossing into United States territory is depicted as being composed of many short, abrupt ranges or ridges, looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars crawling northward. At length, about 150 miles north of the Mexican boundary, this army divides into two columns, one marching northwest, the other north-northeast The former branch becomes the system of mountain ridges spread over the southern and western portions of Arizona, the whole of Nevada and the western portion of Utah and extending into Oregon and Idaho.
What he goes on to say from there, makes it clear that the western army going to the northwest (to begin with) is the Basin and Range of Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Oregon, and Idaho, and the eastern army, going to the north-northeast (to begin with) is the Rocky Mountains.

Check it out for yourself, right here!

How many times has Dutton been misquoted? Not sure, but I'd say tens of times—or more! I own at least two such misquotes, myself (the caterpillars crawling or marching to or toward Mexico rather than crawling northward). Surprisingly, the misquoting began as early as 1915!

Some References:
Anderson, R.S., 1977, A biography of Clarence Edward Dutton (1841-1912), nineteenth century geologist and geographer: Stanford University, 252 pp.

Coulter, Poppy, 2005, The Basin and Range Province: Volcanoes of the Eastern Sierra Nevada,: Geology and Natural Heritage of the Long Valley Caldera, at Indiana University Geological Sciences (a field course website).

Dutton, C.E., 1880, Geology of the high plateaus of Utah: U.S. Geographical and Geological Survey of the Rocky Mountain Region, vol. 32, 307 pp, with Atlas.

Review of Dutton's 1880 monograph at Magma Cum Laude

Dutton, C.E., 1886, Mount Taylor and the Zuni Plateau, p. 105-198 in Volume III of Report of the Secretary of the Interior; being part of the Message and Documents Communicated to the Two Houses of Congress at the Beginning of the First Session of the Forty Ninth Congress in Five Volumes: Washington, Government Printing Office.

Fiero, Bill, 1986, Geology of the Great Basin: University of Nevada Press, 198 pp.

Goin, Peter, and Starrs, P.F., 2005, Black Rock, Volume 2004: University of Nevada Press, 273 pp.

Jensen, S.E., and Platts, W.S., 1990, Restoration of degraded riverine/riparian habitat in the Great Basin and Snake River Regions, p. 367-404 in J.A. Kusler and M.E. Kentula (eds.) Wetland Creation and Restoration: The Status of the Science. Island Press, Washington, D.C. 591 pp.

Keyes, C.R., 1909, Lineaments of the desert: Popular Science Monthly, v. 74, p. 19-30.

Keyes, Charles, 1920, Paleozoic Diastrophics of the Northern Mexican Tableland: The Journal of Geology, vol. 28, no. 1, p. 75-83.

King, P.B., 1977, The Evolution of North America: Princeton University Press, 216 pp.

Mac, M. J., Opler, P. A., Puckett Haecker, C. E., and Doran, P. D., 1998, Great Basin—Mojave Desert Region in Status and trends of the nation’s biological resources Vol. 2: U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA, p. 437-964.

McPhee, John, 1981, Basin and Range: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 215 pp.

Rice, W.N., Adams, F.D., Coleman, A.P., Walcott, C.D., Lindgren, Waldemar, Ransome, F.L., and Matthew, W.D., 1915, Problems of American geology: a series of lectures dealing with some of the problems of the Canadian shield and of the Cordilleras: Yale University Press, 505 pp.

Udall, S.L., 1998, The myths of August: a personal exploration of our tragic Cold War affair with the atom: Rutgers University Press, 412 pp.

A Few Google Book Searches:
clarence dutton caterpillars
dutton caterpillars crawling (1879-1921)
dutton caterpillars crawling northward divides northeast
abrupt ranges looking upon the map like an army of caterpillars

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Xmas Greetings from Nevada!

Christmas tree inside Middlegate Station, along Highway 50 in central Nevada—that "loneliest highway" and also the Lincoln Highway.
Decorated antlers.
Decorated six-pack condiment holder.
The view from inside, with decorations.

Decorations were spotted earlier this month, when MOH and I were at Middlegate to do some exploration and to generally get away from it all.

Happy Holidays to all, wherever you may be!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Geology on the Road: Breccia with Flow-Banded Rhyolite

The other day, we looked at some flow-banded rhyolite, beginning at the vertical fractures near the fence on the left side of this photo, and ending on top of the knobby hill overlooking the corral. Warning: we won't see much flow banding, if any, today, but its still there. We will, however, find out why we stopped here while on our way to somewhere else. For scale, the log forming the top of the corral fence is about 5.5 feet above the ground. Location: near Middlegate and The Shoe Tree, just north of Highway 50 (Google Maps, Google Maps Street View, MSRMaps).
This mass of breccia in the center of the exposure immediately caught our attention, but we stopped to examine the caves, and only after stopping noticed the breccia. Note the bird nest, possibly an owl's, on the upper flat surface. And note the several caves, with MOH for scale climbing up to check one of them out. You'll also want to note that about waist high on MOH, and over to the right just before the rightmost vertical fracture, you can see a large dark patch or two. These are breccia fragments.
The inside of the upper cave: a good place to find pack-rat middens and small bones.
The largest, uppermost breccia fragment is about 2.5 feet in length and perhaps a foot or more wide. It appears to be surrounded by small fragments, with another large fragment below it to the left. I didn't try chimneying up the fracture to check them out in more detail, so we'll have to rely on this crude description.
In the main exposure to the right of the caves, large breccia fragments are within reach of even short people like myself. Besides the large, dark brown fragments to the right, you can see several small fragments near my hand. The breccia fragments consist of angular to subrounded pieces of rhyolite, which are set in a matrix of smaller fragments.
This large fragment shows what looks like volcanic flow banding or hydrothermal streaming around the right side of the fragment. I suspect that more than one type of brecciation might be exhibited at this outcrop. Candidates include primary volcanic brecciation, brecciation associated with caldera formation, and tectonic brecciation associated with faulting. Another candidate is hydrothermal brecciation.
Here's another example of what the matrix looks like, closer to that first exposure of flow-banded rhyolite from the other day, and visible as a large bright orange spot near the fence on the left side of today's first photo. At first glance, this pale to dark yellow orange to dark yellow brown mass looks like a clast or breccia fragment, but I think what we're seeing is a weathering phenomena, with a piece of the outer, dark brown weathering rind broken off, exposing relatively fresh rock beneath. We can see some light gray veinlets of silica shooting vertically through the yellow orange mass, and there are hints of large fragments cut by small veinlets. The next picture shows a portion of the rock to the right of the middle silica veinlet.
The rhyolite is fractured, possibly brecciated or at least crackled, and shows moderate iron-oxides, mostly goethite and jarosite.
A closer view shows a lot of very fine-grained to microcrystalline light gray silica that forms a matrix around tiny breccia fragments, or has at least replaced an earlier volcanic matrix. Possibly some of the brecciation seen in this exposure is hydrothermal. I recommend petrographic work to get down to the nitty gritty and to really understand what we're seeing.
From the top of the knob, we see the main road north into the central part of the Clan Alpine Mountains. We'll drive up there later, and make a sharp right turn in about a half mile, not far past the second little bend.
And lo, there's Fairview Peak off to the southwest, visible through two knobs of lichen-covered flow-banded rhyolite and rhyolite breccia. Middlegate Station is behind the knob on the right. Will we make it beyond Middlegate Station to Fairview Peak?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Alcan Mileage Links

While we're experiencing being semi-snowed in, I'm going to post a few Alcan links, in case any of you have been thinking about driving that highway this winter. (I've been thinking of it, but decided that I don't have enough time right now.)

Alaska Highway - at Wikipedia

Alaska Highway or Alcan? - some history

Alaska Highway 97 - towns and more info at

Alaska Highway Road Log - road log by miles and kilos

Bell's Travel Guides: Alaska Highway - another road log - photos along the Alaska Highway

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Snow Days = White Christmas

Yes, we'll be having a white Christmas, thanks in part to the recent (and now tapering) Pineapple Express. Image is from NOAA, the evening of the 19th (2:30 Dec 20 UTC).
Here's what it looked like yesterday in front of our little house...
...and here's what it looked like this morning.
The Prius yesterday...
...the Prius this morning, slowly getting buried deeper and deeper.
We don't have all that much room to pile up snow when we shovel it, so we use a wheel barrow to haul the snow uphill out of our driveway, down the street where it can be piled out of everyone's way.

Note the conspicuous absence of my truck in these photos. It's parked on the street below because it wasn't possible to get it up the hill yesterday, though by the end of the day it probably would have been possible. It is, however, safe from becoming snowed in like the Prius, so we're just leaving it there for the nonce. If we do laundry today or tomorrow, we may have to haul our baskets down to the truck with MOH's snow sled, the one he uses to carry extra gear when snow camping.
Snow on our roof, as of this morning. Yesterday, after two days of snowfall amounting to about a foot per day, I measured 14 inches of compacted snow on the low roof behind our garden.
Here, MOH is measuring the snow on our rooftop. L-square height is 24 inches. His measurement of 17 inches agrees with my behind-the-garden measurement, also of 17 inches. Snow depth varies considerably from place to place, and the 2 feet of Sierra Cement that fell the first two days (after a day of rain) compacted immensely.
Another shot of the Prius.
Inside, I have found the view out my window to be fascinating: ice from icicles has melded with snow on branches.
Unfortunately, these shots can only be taken through the non-removable window screen.

Why does it snow?
More on the Pineapple Express, called an "Atmospheric River" at the WunderBlog.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

2010 Oregon Trip Series

While going through my posts for the last two memes (12MoMeme and travel meme), I noticed a lot of unfinished business. I have a huge number of drafts (87!), many of which will never see the light of day, but which I hesitate to delete for various reasons. And I have a few ongoing or nearly complete series. Some of the series will, with any luck, be picked up next year. The Oregon Trip series is nearly complete, but needs to be posted all in one place, for my sake if for no one else's. So here goes.

In late July, MOH and I took a trip to central Oregon for a family reunion. We took four days in getting there, we spent three days there, and we took two days in coming back. For the first four days, I have four rather long posts with lots of pictures. For the three days in central Oregon, I have four posts, all from a single geological field trip on one day. For the two days coming back, I so far have six posts, and haven't even gotten us back to Winnemucca. When that will happen remains to be seen; the last post was written in October. So, this is it: the 2010 Oregon Series as it stands now, with a good deal of geology, lots of photos, some flora and fauna, and a few scattered beers and brewpubs. The geology seems heavy on the volcanic rocks and volcanoes, perhaps fitting for a central Oregon trip.

Getting There:
Oregon Trip Day 1: A Brewery, Some Geology, Wildlife, and Other Stuff: To Jarbidge, NV, via the Ruby Mountain Brewery. Includes the Great Basin to Snake River Plain transition, mesas capped by ash-flow tuff, an intrusive contact, an old hot spring or two, a basalt dike, wildlife, and more.

Oregon Trip Day 2: A Hike near Jarbidge across Two Rhyolites: Jarbidge, NV. Includes the Jarbidge Rhyolite, Cougar Point Tuff, flow foliation and flow lineation, trees, wildflowers, and the canyon of the Jarbidge River.

Oregon Trip Day 3: Hoodoos, a Snake, more Rhyolite, and Another Brewery: Jarbidge, NV, to Baker City, OR. Includes the Red Dog Saloon, hoodoos in the Cougar Point Tuff, the Jarbidge Forks, jointing in the Dorsey Creek Rhyolite, a snake, a marmot, Salmon Falls Dam, waterfalls into the Snake River at Thousand Springs, and Barley Brown's Brew Pub.

Oregon Trip Day 4: Coffee, Fossils, Formations, Basalt, and Brew: Baker City, OR, to Redmond, OR. Includes a bit of Baker City, part of the Blue Mountains, larch and other trees, John Day Fossil Beds at Sheep Rock, the Columbia River Basalt Group with columnar jointing, the Rattlesnake Tuff and other ignimbrites, and the Red Dog Depot.

Our Field Trip:
Travel Tuesday: Central Oregon: A few pictures from Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, OR, and the Terrebonne Depot with Terminal Gravity IPA.

Oregon Trip Day 7: The Tuff of Smith Rock: The tuff of Smith Rock at Smith Rock State Park near Terrebonne, OR, with photos of distant Cascade volcanoes and columnar-jointed basalt.

Oregon Trip Day 7: The Petersen Rock Garden: The Petersen Rock Garden near Redmond, OR, with rocks, lots of rocks, ponds, and peacocks.

Oregon Trip Day 7: A Volcano Observatory: The Dee Wright Observatory on McKenzie Pass, with lots of volcanoes and volcanic rocks, birds, threatening clouds, and a bit of Sisters, Oregon.

The Return Trip:
Travel Tuesday: Cliff near Summer Lake, Oregon: A neat volcanic cliff, with basalt and interlayered volcanic ash or tuff, and a mosquito festival in Paisley.

Ancient Shorelines and a Basalt Dike southeast of Paisley, Oregon: Shorelines of ancient Lake Chewaucan and a basalt dike.

Turning Off onto the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway: North of Lakeview, OR. The turnoff from Highway 95 to Highway 140, with a song that mentions Winnemucca.

Friday Field Photos: Mystery Cracks: West of Adel, OR. Some columnar-jointed basalt with possible spheroidal weathering.

Deep Creek Falls: Continuation of our Oregon Roadtrip: West of Adel, OR. A nice waterfalls over columnar-jointed basalt.

Highway 8A: The Cutoff from Cedarville to the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway: Oregon-Nevada state line on Highway 140 to the junction with Highway 8A. Signs, roads, more signs, and 8A stories.

Onward to Denio Junction!: Highway 140 from its junction with S.R. 8A to Denio Junction. Volcanic flow (rhyolite?) and roadside sediments, signs, and the oasis of Denio Junction.

Onward to Winnemucca!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

My 2010 Year of Traveling Meme

This traveling meme began last year, and was started by Alice at Sciencewomen. Others who did it in 2010 include Magma Cum Laude, NOVA Geoblog, Geotripper Part 1 and Part 2, and Geology Happens. This has been a fairly impromptu meme, with no detailed rules, and everyone should consider themselves tagged.

January: First off, I drove to Salt Lake City for a blogger meetup with Hgg. Later, I went to Elko for a meeting and to the lake to check out the snow.

Snow-covered valley in Utah with distant ice-fog.

February: MOH and I went to Great Basin National Park, which I've blogged about incessantly over these last couple years. I also made one roadtrip through Nevada, although I'm not sure why.
Ice near Sacramento Pass on the way to Wheeler Peak

March: In early March, I drove across the wet salt flats of Utah...
...and ended up on the icy mud flats of Alaska. In Alaska, we saw wildlife, a river (an icy river), a glacier (or not), a lodge with good beers, and more snow. I had flown north to see the Iditarod, but we ended up watching it on TV instead of braving the downtown cold.

April: Work, nothing else.

May: MOH and I went to Wheeler Peak, and later in the month we attempted Spencer's Hot Spring (too crowded), stayed in Austin, hiked to the Cold Springs Pony Express Station (not yet blogged), and went to the lake. I drove across Nevada to go to the GSN Gold Symposium, and went on two field trips, including a stop at Goldfield.
Lupines and ash-flow tuff on the trail to the Cold Springs Pony Express Station.

June: MOH and I came back from our late May trip to the lake, and then I drove to Big Smoky Valley, stopping briefly in Kingston, Carver's Station, Manhattan, and Belmont. We stayed once again in Austin, and went to Wheeler Peak at the end of the month.
Spectacular lenticular cloud in Big Smoky Valley, east side of the Toiyabe Range.

July: The biggest trip of the year for both MOH and I, was our trip to central Oregon via a brewery, Jarbidge, Baker City, and John Day Fossil Beds. While there, we saw lots of geology. We then returned via the Winnemucca-to-the-Sea Highway, a story which is not entirely complete.
Mt. Jefferson as seen from the Dee Wright Observatory

August: Work picked up again in August, so I didn't travel much. I did, however, manage to make it down to that Nevada hub, Tonopah. Over the course of three days, I crammed in lots backroad driving while looking at various geological features...
The Crater, in Clayton Valley north of Silver Peak.

...wandering around a couple old stomping grounds...
A southern pass into Fish Lake Valley,
with Mount Pinchot (13,494 feet, 4113 meters) of the Sierra Nevada in the distance.

...and dropping in on the infamous Silver Peak.
The Miner's Inn of Silver Peak, now defunct and rather bland looking. Was once the home of Alice's Restaurant, where you could, indeed, get anything you wanted.

As you may remember, I returned from the Tonopah area on one of the dustiest roads in Nevada.

September: After going to Elko for a meeting, I drove through Ruby Valley (MSR Maps), then took a long dirt road through Long Valley.
Ruby Lake NWR in the fall.

October: I went on the GSN fall field trip (a very dusty and slow affair due to an inexperienced bus driver who didn't like dirt roads or mines); then MOH and I took our famed Ophir Canyon route to Middlegate and beyond, returning via Pyramid Lake and Austin, NV.
Old building in Austin, NV.

November: Work.

December: While I was returning from an unexpected trip to the lake, MOH was making his way through central Nevada to another destination, so we decided to meet at Middlegate Station, where we spent two nights. We attended one of their twice monthly (or every other week) Prime Rib feeds, which I highly recommend. We banged around on some rocks, looked for fossils, and walked around on the fault scarps from the 1954 earthquake at Fairview Peak, which wasn't very photogenic because of heavy overcast. Central Nevada roads, even in the lowlands, are no longer recommended because of mud, snow, and continued storms. The central Nevada lowlands in question are at about 4000 to 5000 feet in elevation (MSR Maps). Low lowlands below 4000 feet are muddy to questionable.
The 1954 fault scarp is that irregular line cutting across the face of the mountain, generally below bedrock and often near the top of the alluvial fan. The scarp is by no means linear, and more than one can be seen in places. (Photo taken at about 6500 feet on the east side of Fairview Peak from a muddy road.)

MOH and I have already been to Wheeler Peak once this month, where the slopes were partly hidden by slowly lifting ice fog.
Wheeler Peak shrouded by ice fog and ice clouds.

And the year isn't over yet!
Where have you been?

2010 Participants:
The Musings of a Life-Long Scholar
Geotripper Postscript
Mountain Beltway
Andrew's Geology Blog
Maitri's VatulBlog
Geology Happens
Magma Cum Laude
Chris Rowan at Highly Allochthonous
Point Source
En Tequila Es Verdad
Anne Jefferson at Highly Allochthonous
Liberty, Equality, and Geology