Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Only ignorant people wash their driveways with water hoses to get the dirt off of them when they live in a desert... Did you hear that Kern County???

This year I was the MESA faculty adviser, and was asked to do a "green" educational outreach project with some students. The students naturally selected were those of the newly founded Geology Club, and the project (appropriate for people who are unaware that they are living in a desert) was on water conservation.
We teamed up with some folks over in Digital Arts who helped make our information look pretty and appealing (ie, the poster above, which was simply a photo I took in Yosemite until Will transformed it). The culmination of our hard work was a week of display booth on campus - complete with water taste test - during what I called "Earth Week" (the week during which Earth Day falls).

You can check out our outreach efforts (Odyssey: The Journey of Water) at our website. In fact, please do check it out... it's not outreach without people seeing it!!! As a grand finale we viewed the documentary Flow, which was enraging, and either pushed me to rapidly pursue a PhD and get employed by the UN or to rapidly get a yurt in the mountains and run away from this world... I'm not exactly sure which. But if you haven't seen Flow yet, get on it. And read Water Follies too while you're at it. And Bottlemania. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

last school field trip of the semester...

Parkfield (pop.18) and Montana de Oro are not new to my field trip assortment, but this year I put them together and teamed up with my Rock Buddy and his class to make the excursion. On the day out I was annoyed by not being able to photograph the bend in the bridge well enough to see the right-lateral motion on the San Andreas Fault. Then, when I looked at my photos, I found this one and proved myself wrong...

Later on that day, right before we headed home, sea lions were spotted just off the coast! I was pretty excited, but there's just not enough zoom on this camera to capture them clearly. They are the shiny things on the rock. The shiny things in the water are seaweed type stuff.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

desert scenes, abundant licking, and a heart shaped xenolith

My annual field trip pilgrimage out to the Mojave came with a lot of the old, but with fresh new eyes... A few faithful ones made it up the dunes and we jumped and didgeridoo-ed our way down until nearing exhaustion, as is required there.

Desert Scenes:

Kelso Dunes

Flowering Cactus Growing out of Vesicular Basalt

Joshua Trees

Bristol Dry Lake: a new terrain adventure for wheeling extensive distances in surprisingly short spans of time... B the Singer was gone in a flash!

Abundant Licking:

J-Spazz and B-Singer are all over this rock salt

The Knee (above) and All American below show them all how it's done
...I didn't even ask (only to take the photo)

And a Heart Shaped Xenolith:

Heart shaped piece of Farallon plate xenolith, composed almost entirely of olivine, likely making it a dunite inclusion. But a HEART-shaped one.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Moro Rock (the one with 1 "r")

View behind Moro Rock, at Castle Rock.

Lunch spot at Moro Rock, looking down into the valley.

Big red snowy trees.

Near Potwisha (where I camped for xmas), gorgeous little stroll by the river - had no idea this was here before!!!

Last week's delayed update was a jaunt with my Faithful Rock Buddy up into Sequoia National Park for a relaxing 4 mile hike in the fresh crisp air, big trees, snow, and that other giant intrusive igneous rock named Moro. (You might remember the other, Morro, from previous posts). Later we also did "research" at various wineries (ok, 7) for my future "wine & geology" class.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Riding the Ridge Route

My "commuter bike" - rather than take my beloved road bike on this journey, I opted for the knobbier tires and the massive saddle bags of my commuter so that I would be able to carry a full fledged picnic along the ridge for us to enjoy. My ipod (which obviously normally resides in the case taped to my bike frame) did not come on this journey!

Due to the locked gate some of you might remember seeing from my previous Ridge Route post, I came up with the concept of biking it. We headed out yesterday and did some 17+ miles on it, way up high in the Transverse Ranges, battling wind the whole time. It amazed me on the Century I rode a few years ago how the wind managed to be a headwind the whole time, even when we switched directions, so I wasn't entirely taken off guard when that happened again yesterday.

Most of the shots I took look the same, so I picked a couple with riders & geology in them. You'll note that these shots tend to be looking up hill. This is largely because it felt like most of the ride was up steep inclines. Of course, every steep incline meant a downhill on the return. The downhills though, on this ancient battered overgrown rubble-filled sand patchy road, were more bone-rattling "try not to die as I veer around yet another steep corner" panic ridden rather than opportunities for my hobby of taking photos while riding a bike.

Here we are at Swede's Cut, which is comparable to Beale's Cut in a sense. This cut, however, was not dug by hand, but rather by steam shovels brought up there by mules. Beale's Cut, which in its glory days reached a staggering 90 feet deep, is out-shone by Swede's Cut, which is to this day, 110 feet deep. Geologically, it's a fabulous example of Plate Tectonics. I mean really. Here we are, up on a high ridge in the Transverse Ranges, ogling some tremendous angled and interbedded sediments: the muddiest of mudstone shale and the biotite-iest of arkose sand. Clearly the edge of a delta? And now here? Brilliant.

For a sense of ridge-ness, this is a view up on the Ridge Route, and waaaaaaaaay down in the distance is the I5, all ugly and trafficy. From up where I took this photo it sounded like bees in the distance.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Roller Derby!

Well, a few of you know that I picked up a new sport a couple of months ago, and yes, that sport is roller derby! And no, for those of you who grew up with me, I did not magically learn how to skate during these last 4 years in Bake-town. The ladies, or Divas I should say, are a great bunch and I'm happy to be on a team again. Although, I must admit that I am not happy to be just about the least talented on the team... lots of work to do!!!

Anyway, this weekend we had our first "bout", against Visalia:

I was not playing (thankfully!) and unfortunately 2 things lead to the less-then-fabulous 2 photos that I have below. 1) batteries died. 2) even if they hadn't, I got so into cheering for my team - I would not have gotten around to taking photos anyway. Our girls did amazing for their first ever bout. We were almost tied at the first half. But then endurance failed and fatigue set in, and we fell behind unrecoverably in the second half.

Here our team is warming up. We're on quad skates, not inlines. This is a terrific opportunity for fun socks (don't worry, I have plenty!). The belts are actually more functional than fashion accessory, the jammers can grab a belt to help them get pulled through the pack and whip themselves around the track. The tights are also functional... darn it. This is a fundamental way to prevent your skin from peeling off onto the floor... which means that I will have to invest in some tights before our next bout on May 9th.

She's "lead jammer" - check out the stars on her "helmet panty" (yes that's what it's called).