A Utah Teaser

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I know I am waaaay behind in this blog thing, but I have been busy. So to whet your appetite, here’s what I’ve been doing for the last week.

As with all my photos, you can click to embiggen.

I promise I will get some blog entries done soon. I’m still working on Lake Tahoe and I haven’t even mentioned how awesome Nevada was.

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I left my <3 in San Francisco, Part Three: Field Trips

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I took another field trip during my stay in the Bay Area: to Napa Valley. Unfortunately, I picked Labor Day weekend to do this, and everyone else in the Western Hemisphere was doing the same thing. Between the crowds and the fact that I was driving, I abstained from imbibing the local spirits.

But, like me, my day was not totally wasted, because I found a few geologically interesting places. The thing that most defines Napa Valley, besides the wine, is the volcanism. Back when there was subduction happening on the coast of California, there was a string of volcanoes along the continental margin, usually 50 to 200 miles from the subduction trench. This is always the case when you have subduction because that oceanic plate dives into the mantle, melts, and goes the only way it can go: up! This is still going on in the Cascades, as well as in Alaska, and Japan, and Chile…hey that’s pretty much the whole Ring of Fire thing, isn’t it?

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I left my <3 in San Francisco, Part Two

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While I was in the Bay Area, I did some touristy things, like riding the cable cars.

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Fire in the Sierra Nevada

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So I was taking a leisurely pre-lunch hike around Spooner Lake (near Lake Tahoe) when all of a sudden I see this.

Yes, that’s a fire fighting helicopter swooping in to scoop water out of the lake.

I don’t know where the fire was, but the fact that I could smell smoke while walking next to the nearest water source made me a bit nervous.

After the fourth dip they didn’t come back, and the smell of smoke was soon gone, so I assume the fire was small and quickly extinguished.

I’ll have more (and better) pictures in a regular blog post.

Let’s get this show on the road!

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Well, the first month of my road trip has barely qualified as such. I pretty much planted myself in Southern California for four weeks and then in the Bay Area for a week. Today I head east, to end up eventually in DC, NY, and New England. When? Who knows?! I don’t even know where I’ll be sleeping tonight!

I left my <3 in San Francisco, Part One

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I love San Francisco. I really do. I’m not really much of a big city kind of girl, but San Francisco is one of the few big cities where I would willingly live. Except that it’s really, really expensive. And hilly. Ask my calves.

Of course, what other picture could I use to lead off my memoir of San Francisco:

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Sleeping on the San Andreas, Part Three: Field Trips

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In parts one and two, I talked about how the San Andreas fault formed the San Gabriel mountains. While I was spending the week sleeping in those mountains, I took field trips to a couple geologically fascinating sites in the California desert that are not directly related to the San Andreas, but are nevertheless evidence of the fascinating tectonic history of California.

The first stop was Rainbow Basin, near Barstow. This lies in an area that was once occupied by a shallow lake. The area is also the home of the Calico fault, which runs parallel to the San Andreas. On this map, the Calico fault is #21; the San Andreas is #30.

Like the San Andreas, it is a right lateral strike-slip fault. Also like the San Andreas, it has a bend in it. Which means that it creates local compressional forces while the blocks on either side try to slide past each other.

This is the beautiful result:

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