Monday, November 24, 2008

Remembering Field Camp.......

I can't believe that I completed field camp over 4 year ago. The reason I bring up my field camp experience is my son turns 4 years old next month and I still shock myself that I completed field camp pregnant. I enjoyed my 6 week field camp with the University of Nevada, Reno, as it was my first time on the Colorado Plateau. The first two mapping projects were completed in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument along the Cockscomb monocline (the first and second photos). The Cockscomb fold consists of the Carmel-Page Formations, Entrada Sandstone, Tropic Shale, Dakota Sandstone, and Straight Cliffs. The trace of the fold can be driven on Cottonwood Road. We mapped for 9 days and stayed at Kodachrome Basin State Park. One day was designated for travel to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Cedar Breaks National Monument and Brian Head. The below photo is the view of Zion Valley from the 1/2 mile Canyon Overlook Trail. I was over 2 months pregnant at the time and remember feeling sick, but that did not stop me from hiking.

Cedar Breaks National Monument consists mostly of the Clarion Formation, deposited as lake and river sediments around 50 my ago. Located on the side of the Markagunt Plateau, we arrived close to sunset, so the bright white and red rocks and associated hoodoos just absorbed the sun. The last photo is Grosvenor Arch located along Cottonwood Road. It was the first arch I had ever seen.

Hatfield et al., 2003, Geology of the Cedar Breaks National Monument, Utah; in Geology of Utah's Parks and Monuments, 2003 Utah Geological Association Publication 28, 562 p.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sacramento State Rock Auction

I finished my big paper on magma mixing and crystal size distributions for my advanced volcanology class yesterday, yeah! So tonight I am going to reward myself by attending the rock auction the Geology Club has been hosting the last five years. Geology club members contact local geologists, rock shop owners, and anyone else who will donate rocks, fossils and minerals. The event has a live auction and silent tables. The auction is an excellent way to raise money to help students pay for field trips and computer lab supplies. Which brings me to, I finished reading a great fossil book, Cruisin' The Fossil Highway, by Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll. They state a condition called IPNS or Isolated Paleonerd Syndrome. I do not have a full blown case of IPNS, but I would like to think I have a minor case. I tend to focus on fossils at rock shops much longer than minerals and I am really hard to drag away from a fossil hunting site. Even the above picture is one of two fossil ferns slabs I bought at the rock auction two years ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wild Animals in the Field

Ok, so they are not your typical wild animals, but I realized that I do not have many pictures of any kind of animals. My first photo is from the parking lot at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park. I love the Going to the Sun Highway! My second photo is from my first field mapping project at Red Red Canyon State Park, CA. My third photo is from my structural field mapping class to the Poleta Folds in the White Mountains. My fourth photo is from a limestone cave in the mother lode of the Sierra Nevada. My last photo is from Lake Tahoe while listening to a lecture during field camp with UNR.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Using Clean Natural Resources

For my advanced volcanology class, we were encouraged by my professor to attend a Volcanological Society of Sacramento (VSSAC) meeting. Of course, he is one of the head members of the organization and the meeting meets on the second floor of the geology building on campus. The presentation was given by a geologist named Tom Box. He gave a wonderful talk, The Nature, Development, and Preservation of a Unique Resource on "The Geysers". If "The Geysers" are unknown to you, it is the world's largest producing geothermal plant and is located near prime wine country in the California Coast Ranges. He was a on-site geologist for several decades. The geothermal area was found in the late 1840's and used as a destination resort for many years. Commerical steam power started slowly in the 1960's, didn't become a big producer until the 1970's, and reached its peak in the 1980's. Currently, the plant has a extensive ground water injection program, which might explain the continuous microquakes in the area (see diagram above, cluster of small earthquakes outlines "The Geysers" region).

Other geothermal plants in California include locations at the Salton Sea and Coso Volcanics.

I really enjoyed the talk and greatly improved my knowledge of geothermal power as a clean natural resource. This presentation brought to my mind, we as a society need to focus on alternative resources, instead of beating around the "bush" for more decades by using coal and foreign oil.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

More High Rock Caldera

Here is the Google Earth image of the High Rock Caldera. I put the detailed directions (the way we took) of the little white path on the image in the comment section of a previous blog entry, High Rock Caldera.....almost.

Change can begin now

This afternoon when I casted my vote, it was for the winning candidate and I can say I am happy about that! My polling place only had a short line when I went to vote, but I voted around 10:30AM. I was taking a break from my massive stack of journal articles I have been reading. I have a first draft of a paper in my advanced volcanology class due in a little over a week. Luckily my topic is about some work I have completed so far for my masters thesis. That is were the luck stops, because I have some sections of the paper completed, but other sections need to be vastly improved, so that's were the big stack of papers rears its ugly head! All of the papers I have read in the last three days are on magma mixing and enclaves. I still probably have several more days of reading with a equally large stack of crystal size distribution papers to get through. So I am defiantly going to be busy the next week or so, woohoo!

Here is a sampling of some of the papers I have read. My list could be much longer, but I don't want to bore you.

Bacon, C.R., 1986, Magmatic Inclusions in Silicic and Intermediate Volcanic Rocks: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 91, p. 6091-6112.

Browne, B.L., J.C. Eichelberger, L.A. Patino, T.A. Vogel, J. Dehn., K. Uto, and H. Hoshizumi, 2006, Generation of Porphyritic and Equigranular Mafic Enclaves during Magma Recharge Events at Unzen Volcano, Japan: Journal of Petrology, v. 47, p. 301-38.

Eichelberger, J.C., 1980, Vesiculation of mafic magma during replenishment of silicic magma reservoirs: Nature, v. 288, p. 446-450.

Koyaguchi, T., 1985, Magma mixing in a conduit: Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, v 25, p. 365-369.

Martin, V.M, D.M. Pyle, and M.B. Holness, 2006, The role of crystal frameworks in the preservation of Enclaves during magma mixing: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 248, p. 787-799.

Sparks, R.S.J., H. Sigurdsson, and L. Wilson, 1977, Magma mixing-a mechanism for triggering acid explosive eruptions: Nature, v. 267, p. 315-318.

Monday, November 3, 2008

High Rock Caldera.....almost

Finally, northwestern Nevada and in the distance is the rim of the approximately 16 million year old High Rock caldera, but that is as far as I would get. The problem traveling in school owned vehicles is that they are always 2wd drive vans. The snow was from the first big storm of the season several weeks back and it was decided that we would not take to take the van into snow country, seeing if we got stuck, we would be stuck for awhile. Plus there was going to be an increase in elevation and the group decided, we had never camped in snow, why start now!

But not being able to get to the caldera was not entirely bad. While stopped to figure out if the road was passable or not, lying on the ground in incredible amounts were dull red rounded rocks, when broken exposed the most beautiful obsidian I have ever seen.
Which then made everyone forget about how cold it was outside and like kids in a candy store, search for the obsidian "eggs". See how excited grad students can get about rocks!

I found my share of good "eggs" and decided to photograph the snow and scenery, in which I quickly got hounded for. I also couldn't resist my urge for sneak snowball attacks and to build a snowman, no matter how big it was, only a ft tall.

So it was on to Plan B........