Monday, February 16, 2015

Things You Find in the Field: Old Sedan

I found this old sedan a few years back while out doing a tiny bit of off-roading south of Railroad Pass (one of at least five Railroad Passes in Nevada) along S.R. 722, formerly known as S.R. 2, formerly commissioned as U.S. Highway 50 from about 1926 through 1966.

Railroad Pass, Lander County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Esmeralda County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, White Pine County +/-Eureka County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Clark County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Washoe County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)

I did some work in the area way back in the 70s, mostly while stream sediment sampling for the NURE program, and have driven by on the old highway several times when taking the scenic route to or from Austin. Somehow, I never spotted this old vehicle during the many times of driving by; perhaps I was concentrating on missing the potholes that used to be so prevalent along Route 2 (722) back when the signs seemed to indicate that the state was trying to let the road go back to dirt.
My attempt at artistry.
In the photo above, and the one below, I focused concentrated on getting the background in focus. The southeasterly direction of the shot has us looking down Elkhorn Road, across Elkhorn Pass and essentially down Elkhorn Canyon — located on the east side of this low divide in the Shoshone Mountains — at the snow-covered Toiyabe Range Peak in the elevated Toiyabe Range of central Nevada. The USGS GNIS lists Elkhorn Pass at 6883 ft (2098 m) and Toiyabe Range Peak at 10925 ft (3330 m).
A more level shot, with part of the foreground almost in focus.
And now we have in foreground in focus!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Circle 'Round the Sun in Water Canyon

Yesterday, when out hiking in nearby Water Canyon (before the Super Bowl), MOH and I slowly (at least for me) made our way up a variably steep, grassy to rocky hillside until we came to a large rib of quartzite. While standing there admiring the many geological and other features of the rib (including quartz veins, fractures and joints, bright greenish yellow lichen patches, and packrat middens), I noticed that a nice circle (22° halo) had formed around the sun. I moved into position behind the towering quartzite rib and shot a picture or two. The best one (which is enhanced to match the way it looked on the camera, which is the way it looked IRL except for the high contrast or excessive darkness of the foreground, where my eyes could see better than the camera) is shown above. You can also see just a bit of the bright greenish yellow lichen on the quartzite, barely shining through the camera-darkened foreground.
The lichen, also with a more common dark gray to black or dark brown variety and a pale green variety, can be seen better in this photo showing the same quartzite outcrop, although here I've moved over a little to the right to center the photo on a tall, narrow cleft formed along a couple parallel fractures or joints, possibly a small fault zone.
I immediately walked into the fracture so I could turn around and take this picture looking back to the north. The white bands in the center of the brownish quartzite, slanting shallowly to moderately to the right, are several of a complicated quartz vein set that are no doubt saying something about the stress regime during the time of their formation.