01 October, 2010

Geology in Bed, at Work, and at a Friend's Place

Ye gods, what a day.  It began at around 3:30am, when Aunty Flow kicked me out of bed for a discussion on pain tolerance.  My side of the discussion is unprintable, even on this potty-mouthed blog.  I spoke to my old friend Ibuprofen, who then negotiated with my darling aunt, and a few hours later we headed back to bed, still achy but no longer turning the air blue, and attempted a bit more sleep.

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you're certain you're awake until you realize this whacked-out shit doesn't happen IRL?  Well, I did.  I had some test drives planned, and since I no longer had the rental, the dealership brought the cars to me.  First clue this wasn't the Really Real World.  But whilst my rational brain shouted, "Hey, waidaminnit!" and tried to kick me out of bed, my dreaming brain adventured merrily on.  How we ended up scrambling up and over some very rocky cliffs when seconds before we'd been test driving, I don't know.  But no shit, there I was, jamming my poor abused sneakers into handy cracks and crevices on a very rough service (vesticular basalt, I believe, possibly some aa,) and watching the holes wear through.  "It's a small price to pay for science," I told myself as the destruction mounted toward catastrophic.  "But I hate shoe shopping."

Needless to say, I woke up exhausted from all the virtual field work.

This evening, I awed my friend Sean by sending him a link to this post at Magma Cum Laude.  It's a pretty stark example of how much destruction pyroclastic flows cause.  Or is that construction?  Lots o' new land, there, which will be prime real estate some fine day.  Right now, it's just a fine demonstration of how harsh Mother Earth can be (damn, I wish I could remember Sean's remark about that.  It was classic).

My pseudonymous friend Rachel dropped by my desk just after I'd run across this bit of yum:

Geologists in the audience will know just what's going on.  For those not versed, go to the link for the answer. 

In the meantime, the rest of us should head over to my intrepid companion's place, where he has delicious photos up of basalt dikes near Devil's Churn, and Devil's Churn itself.  It appears I've now dragged him along on enough geological escapades that he's starting to develop an interest.  Huzzah!

Right, then, are my geo-curious folks back from The Panda's Thumb?  Little shocked that you're not looking at a tree growing through stacks of boards, or a stone wall, aren't ye?  So was Rachel.  So was I, for that matter, because at a casual glance, that's precisely what it looked like.  I'd need to get my hands (and possibly my tongue and perhaps a little vinegar) on those rocks to know for sure what they are, but they're very likely sedimentary, possibly metamorphosed, and were a lot less chaotic before that tree had its way with them.  I found myself explaining to her in very general terms how some rocks can fracture in such an even manner, comparing them to the Moenkopi Formation at home, which had a habit of breaking off in nice, handy bits just perfect for a little pueblo-building.  My hands did the demo, showing how rocks minding their own business could be severely disturbed by rude roots. I pointed out the rough bits that look like a contact with a different rock layer, which tells us even if we didn't already know that this isn't an archaeological treasure, but built by nature.  And she listened, and made the awed noises, and looked at that photo with new eyes.

This, my darlings, is why I want to learn geology.  I like making magic.  And revealing what the rocks say is magical.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

your writing is magical