Watching Zion Grow

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The latest installment of Accretionary Wedge is a call to write about the “most memorable/significant geologic event that you’ve directly experienced”. This will be my first contribution to Accretionary Wedge, so if I’m doing it wrong, someone please let me know!

When I first heard the topic, I thought “well, I grew up in Southern California, so I’ve experienced lots of geologic events.” I’ve experienced more earthquakes than I can remember.

The 1994 Northridge quake knocked me out of bed.

I felt the 1987 Whittier Narrows quake while walking to school.

Then there was the one (unnamed, as far as I know) that occurred while I was in the shower, and my 14 year old self panicked at the thought of having to run outside naked.

I was in San Francisco a few weeks after the 1989 Loma Prieta quake, so while I didn’t feel it personally, I saw the aftermath up close.

I was at Mt St Helens a few months after the 1980 eruption. Again, not a direct experience of the event itself, but that experience is certainly something I’ll never forget.

(The real question here is why I didn’t become seriously interested in geology until a couple years ago!)



Screamin’ across the continent

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The first trip across the country went about as well as one could expect. We covered about 2400 miles in a total of 38.5 hours of driving. Hotels had vacancies when we were ready to stop. The U-Haul trailer didn’t blow a tire. The weather was pretty cooperative, although some bad winds in Arizona had me worried we’d get blown off the road. I think we might have run into some remnants of the former Tropical Storm Don.

The third day brought us to the scorching hot deserts of Arizona, where it hit 100 degrees in Phoenix before 9am.

However, I don’t think we got quite hot enough to boil water. When we stopped at a rest stop sporting 102 degrees, I declared I’d take 100 degrees in Arizona over 85 degrees in Florida any day.

Unfortunately, I-10 doesn’t go through any especially spectacular scenery. Much of it runs through wide open spaces with nothing but dirt, rocks, and some dull green plants.

The startling incongruity of a bright green farm in the middle of this monotony would jolt us out of our road hypnosis for a few minutes.

Of course, one of the highlights of the trip was finding the first In-n-Out Burger in Tuscon for dinner. (There are several in Texas, but they’re all in the Dallas area.)


The challenge for me will be to avoid having one of these every day while I’m in Southern California. Did I mention how fantastic the weather is here?