A Landing a Day

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Fort Jones and Yreka, California

Posted by graywacke on April 24, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2175; A Landing A Day blog post number 603.

Dan:  After four OSers, this USer was welcome . . . CA; 102/116; 5/10; 7; 149.9.  Let’s see if I can stay below 150 . . .

My regional landing map:

 landing 1

Here’s my local landing map (I circled Yreka because it wasn’t obvious, nestled up against I-5):

 landing 2

I landed in the watershed of McAdams Creek, on to Moffett Creek, on to the Scott River (first hit ever!); on to the Klamath (10th hit); on to the Pacific Ocean (422nd hit).

 landing 3

McAdams Creek didn’t show up on my map, so I drew it myself.  I discovered the name because it was mentioned in a Panoramio shot near my landing (more later).

Let’s catch a ride on a big yellow push-pin on its Google Earth (GE) trip from outer space:

 

Staying with GE, here’s a shot looking up McAdams Creek valley showing my landing:

 GE oblique

Here’s a much closer-in shot, showing that there is Street View coverage on the road next to my landing:

 GE showing SV location

And here’s what the orange dude sees:

 GE street view landing

Down valley a little, the road crosses McAdams Creek:

 GE showing SV mcadams ck

Here’s the orange dude’s view up the valley from the bridge:

 GE SV mcadams ck

I’m going to briefly visit Yreka, before settling in with Fort Jones.  First and foremost, we all must learn how to pronounce Yreka.  Like me, you may be tempted to pronounce it like the northern California coastal city, Eureka.  But that would be wrong.

It’s wy-ree-ka.

From the City of Yreka website:

Gold was discovered near present day Yreka in March 1851 sparking an extension of the California Gold Rush from California’s Sierra Nevada into Northern California.

By April 1851, 2,000 miners had arrived to test their luck, and by June 1851, a gold rush “boomtown” of tents, shanties, and a few rough cabins had sprung up.

Several name changes occurred until the little city was called Yreka, apparently taken from a Shasta Indian word meaning “north mountain” or “white mountain,” a reference to nearby Mt. Shasta.

Mark Twain, in his Autobiography, tells a different story:

Harte had arrived in California in the fifties, twenty-three or twenty-four years old, and had wandered up into the surface diggings of the camp at Yreka, a place which had acquired its mysterious name–when in its first days it much needed a name–through an accident.

There was a bakeshop with a canvas sign which had not yet been put up but had been painted and stretched to dry in such a way that the word BAKERY, all but the B, showed through and was reversed. A stranger read it wrong end first, YREKA, and supposed that that was the name of the camp. The campers were satisfied with it and adopted it.

No offense to the Shasta Indians, but I much prefer Mark Twain’s version!

The city website has a beautiful picture of Mt. Shasta, which is part of a slideshow so I couldn’t do a “save as.”  I decided to do a “print screen” instead.  The pictures in the slideshow fade from one to the next, and it just so happens that the picture after the mountain is of a couple of Canada geese.  Well, I caught that in-between moment between the two pictures:

 city website screen shot

Kind of cool, eh?  And JFTHOI*, here’s a clean shot of the mountain, followed a clean shot of the geese:

temp1

temp2

* Just for the heck of it

Speaking of Mt. Shasta, landing 2052 (September 2013) featured the mountain.  I presented some cool geology and have a lot of great pictures.  Highly recommended reading.  Just type Shasta in the search box, above.

Moving much closer to my landing – here’s what Wiki has to say about Fort Jones:

Fort Jones is a city in the Scott River Valley area of Siskiyou County, California. The population was 839 at the 2010 census, up from 600 as of the 2000 census.  It was founded in 1850 in response to placer gold being found in the Scott River valley and tributaries.

The town was originally named Scottsburg (ca. 1850), but was changed to Scottsville shortly afterward. In 1852, the site was again renamed Wheelock, this time in honor of a local businessman.  In 1854, a post office was established and the town was renamed again, becoming known as Ottitiewa, the Indian name for the Scott River branch of the Shasta tribe. The name remained unchanged until 1860 when local citizens successfully petitioned the postal department to change the name to Fort Jones.

I’ll put my two cents in (as I always do):  I’d’ve stuck with Ottitiewa.

True confession:  I don’t think I’ve ever typed “I’d’ve” before just now.  I like it!

Here’s a little agricultural trivia, also from Wiki:

In the early years of the Twentieth Century, the northern Scott River tributaries of Moffett and McAdams creeks were extensively settled by the Portuguese. The Irish surname Marlahan lives on after that family received a shipment of British hay seed infected with the seed of a plant known as Dyers Woad.

Those seeds spread their spawn throughout Scott Valley, culturing a plant known in the area as Marlahan Mustard. The plant has a beautiful, canary plume in the spring which matures to small, black, hard seeds. Unfortunately, the herbivore beasts of burden will not eat hay in which this plant exists, and ever since it has been a scourge on the ranchers of Scott Valley.

Here’s a lovely picture of dyers woad, from the Bureau of Land Management (OK, it’s WY, not CA):

 dyers-woad.Par.56966.Image.-1.-1.1

And get this!  I mentioned at the beginning of this post that I discovered I landed in McAdams Creek Valley because of a Panoramio picture.  Well, here’s the photo, entitled “Looking South on McAdam’s Creek” by BeanePatch (taken just down the road from the same bridge over McAdams Creek featured earlier):

 pano beanepatch just S, looking down the valley

So whaddya think?  The yellow is Marlahan Mustard?

Anyway, there’s not much to say about the historic Fort Jones.  It was established in 1852 (about a mile south of the current town) to protect miners and settlers in the area.  It just so happens that some famous Civil War officers were stationed there in the 1850s, including Philip Sheridan (Union, best known for Appomattox), John Hood (Confederate, Gettysburg) and George Pickett (Confederate, Gettysburg).  Ulysses Grant was ordered to go there.  He refused and was AWOL for a period.  Evidently, he somehow managed to resurrect his career . . .

I found this random (but cool) old photo, from PoliceGuide.com (Siskiyou County page).  The caption is below:

 siskiyou-cc500

Nice old cabinet photo by A. Liljegreen, a traveling photographer who worked out of Happy Camp and Fort Jones, CA in Siskiyou county.

From SiskiyouHistory.org:  Imagine that it’s 1886 and you want to take the stage coach from Yreka to Fort Jones.  This is it (getting ready to leave Yreka):

 FJM_Ftjonesstagecoach

I’ll close with this Pano shot of the Scott River Valley (about five miles east of my landing), by TwisselMaster:

  pano twisselmaster east of landing, scott valley

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Colon, Michigan (with a bonus trip to Colón, Panama)

Posted by graywacke on April 20, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2174; A Landing A Day blog post number 602.

Dan:  All right, enough already.  Here’s my fourth OSer in a row (pushing me further above 150) . . . MI; 53/41; 5/10; 6; 150.4.

As tradition demands, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

Followed by my local landing map:

 landing 2

My watershed analysis is straightforward, as shown on this map:

 landing 3

I landed in the watershed of what I call an “unnamed tributary” (see series of lakes on my local landing map); on to the St. Joseph’s River (2nd hit); to Lake Michigan (34th hit); to the St. Lawrence (98th hit).

Here’s a Google Earth (GE) Panarmio shot by UnagiUnagi of the St. Joseph River near my landing:

 pano unagiunagi st joe r

And just for the heck of it, here’s a 1911 shot of two women on the river.   They don’t look very prepared for their boat to sink (which seems a distinct possibility):

pano patrick hawkins 1911 scene on the st joe r

Here’s the trip to my landing spot via GE:

 

 

I’ll dive right into Colon (as unpleasant as that sounds).  From Wiki:

The village (pop 1,173 in 2010) is named after Colón, Panama.

Colon was the home and burial site of world-famous magician Harry Blackstone, Sr. (The Great Blackstone), and is recognized as “The Magic Capital of the World.” It is the home of the Abbott Magic Company, which is well-known among professional stage acts, with customers around the world.

FAB Magic Company and the Sterlini Magic Manufacturing Company are also based in Colon.

Weekly magic shows are performed during the summer at Abbott Magic Company and FAB Magic.   Each July FAB Magic presents The MagiCelebration Magic Festival which features performances by world famous magicians.

Each August more than 1,000 magicians and lovers of magic gather there for “Abbott’s Magic Get-Together”, a 4 day magic convention, doubling the population, sharing magic tricks, and recollecting their knowledge of the famous occupation.

The Colon High School teams are known as the “Magi”, and the high school mascot is a white rabbit:

Magi-Pride-rabbit-mascot

Magic is really a big deal here.  The three magic shops mentioned above are practically right next door to one another. 

Here’s a quickie You Tube video from The Verge:

 

I love close-up sleight-of-hand magic.  Here’s a very cool video (shot in Colon) by Dan Trommater:

 

I also found an old Harry Blackstone, Sr. video.  It’s the old “saw the lady in half” trick, but actually more graphic than other varieties I’ve seen:

 

Enough of Colon, Michigan.  How about Colón, Panama?  First, a GE perspective on the Panama Canal, Colon and Panama City.  Colon and Panama City are about 35 miles apart:

GE panama

Zooming in on Colon (with the entrance to the Canal at the bottom):

GE colon1

Colon proper (the finger portion of the mitten) is pretty small – about one mile by one mile.  The block of large buildings to the southeast is the Free Trade Zone.

I found a very enlightening NY Times article (Randal C. Archibold, March 23, 2013).  Here are some excerpts from his article:

A Once-Vibrant City Struggles as Panama Races Ahead on a Wave of Prosperity

PANAMA-superJumbo

The Wilcox building, once an architectural landmark in Colón, Panama, is now condemned. Credit Meridith Kohut for The New York Times

COLÓN, Panama — On one end of the Panama Canal, the nation’s capital gleams with new skyscrapers; a subway, the first in Central America, is under construction; and new malls and restaurants fill with patrons. The city fancies itself a mini-Dubai on the Pacific.

Forty miles away on the other end of the canal, in the city of Colón by the Caribbean, rotting buildings collapse, sewage runs in alleyways, water service is jury-rigged, and crime and despair have sent protesters into the streets. Recently, Hollywood filmmakers made Colón, Panama’s second-largest city, a stand-in for Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere.

Panama can also lay claim to some of the starkest disparities of wealth in Latin America, according to the World Bank, and the persistent poverty in Colón, an hour’s drive from the symbols of wealth in Panama City, remains a glaring, festering example inflaming friction here.

Colón, wedged between a busy port and a handsome cruise ship terminal, is a crowded, cacophonous city of 220,000, with street after street of faded colonial facades and concrete-block buildings with peeling paint and weeds growing out of some upper floors.

“There are hardly any jobs here,” said Orlando Ayaza, 29, who works occasionally at the dock. “Not ones with regular salary and benefits that we need here.” He has a two-inch scar on his face that he attributes to a policeman’s baton during unrest here last year.

When asked why he does not move to Panama City, he touched the dark skin on his arm. “They see this, and you say you are from Colón, and they say, no way,” he said. “They think we are all thieves there.”

Colón is predominantly black, whereas Panama City’s population is more of European descent, and many residents and analysts say they believe that racial discrimination has contributed to Colón’s stagnation.

Colón used to shine. In the early 1900s, during the construction of the canal, and after, it blossomed with theaters, clubs, restaurants and finely manicured boulevards. Old-timers recall distinguished visitors like Albert Einstein.

But as Panama City grew and modernized in the post-World War II era, Colón’s luster wore off. The reduction and ultimate closing of American military bases with the canal’s transfer to Panama in 1999 accelerated Colón’s tailspin. Crime and poverty swelled, and middle-class strivers moved to the suburbs, Panama City or abroad.

Colón’s duty-free trade zone, the largest in the Western Hemisphere, has done little to lift the town’s fortunes. Recent development, including a hotel, an upgrade to an airport and a cruise ship dock that allows visitors to shop without entering the city’s squalor, have benefited mostly the businesses in the zone, long a source of friction.

The government has argued that projects like a new highway connecting Panama and Colón, the expansion of the canal, construction of a new hospital in Colón and other public works have reduced unemployment and poverty. This month, the government announced a $9 million project to rehabilitate Colón’s seaside park.

But Edgardo Voitier, the president of  the Broad Front for Colón (a group of residents), dismissed such projects as sources of only temporary employment that would do little for the large number of people with informal jobs.

“If we all go to Panama City, what’s left here?” said Alma Franklin, 25. She has worked at fast food stores and struggles to feed her three children, but has no faith that the government will help her. “This country,” she said, “would prefer to forget Colón.”

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Smanovych of the area where cruise ships can dock.  This is part of the free trade zone (and the only area most tourists see):

 pano smanovych

Not far away is this one by Robert Moreno.  Note the two little kids . . .

 pano robert moreno

Here’s a Wiki shot showing some of the former grandeur:

 800px-Antiguo_Edificio_de_la_Gobernación_de_Colón_Panama

And this Pano shot by Òyó of the central avenue in the city (with the building from the above photo off to the far right):

 pano oyo

 Let me get back to Michigan, where I belong. I’ll close with this Pano shot of an old school by UnagiUnagi:

 pano unagi old school n of my landing

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Odebolt, Wall Lake, Lake View and Carnarvon, Iowa (with bonus Caernarfon, Wales coverage)

Posted by graywacke on April 16, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2173; A Landing A Day blog post number 601.

 Dan:  How about some symmetry?  Three eastern USers followed up by three western OSers, thanks to today’s landing (which puts me back up over 150) in . . . IA; 45/40; 5/10; 5; 150.1

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

You can see that I landed in the watershed of Wheeler Creek, on to the Boyer River (2nd hit):

 landing 3a

Zooming back, you can see that the Boyer makes its way southwest to the Missouri (395th hit); to the MM (852nd hit).

 landing 3b

Here’s my Google Earth trip from somewhere out near the moon:

 

Surprise, surprise.  I landed in a farm field!

Looking back up at my local landing map, you can see that I landed near four little towns, each with a hook. I’ll proceed west to east, so I’ll start with Odebolt.  First this, about the name, from Wiki:

While the etymology of Odebolt’s unusual name is unquestioned — being named after the Odebolt Creek — the etymology of the creek’s name is disputed. It has been ascribed to a story of a French fur trapper and to multiple stories of a bolt falling in the creek.  The trapper’s name was reportedly Odebeau, and his name corrupted.

From the Odebolt History page on RootsWeb.com, here are some excerpts from some 1943 newspaper articles.  Verrry interesting . . . .

100 Italians For Farm Work Here

Adams Brothers Sign 60-Day Contract for Use of War Prisoners

July 1943

The Chronicle has been informed that a war prisoner camp will be established at Fairview Farm near Odebolt operated by Adams Brothers.

The Italian war prisoners will be used in the emergency farm work existing at Fairview Farm consisting of haying and small grain harvesting.

The Prisoners will have their own camp under the direct supervision of the United States Army. They will have their own sleeping quarters and mess. They will not be allowed to roam about at will and will be under close guard by soldiers at all times.

And then this, from a follow-up article:

Italian War Prisoners Busy Here

Settle Down to Work on Fairview Farm and Are Busy Harvesting

July 1943

Although they have been here over a week, the Italian prisoners of war, doing emergency farm work at Fairview Farm are still a favorite topic of conversation.

For the first few days the Italians worked about like they fought – they just weren’t very eager about it. But this week found all difficulties ironed out and the prisoners were taking to the work in a satisfactory manner.

Average Day

The prisoners are up at 6 a.m. and to the field at 7 until noon. They have a hour at noon and back to work until 6 p.m., for a 10-hour work day.

Armed guards are on duty 24 hours and guards accompany every work detail. The guards wear their steel helmets in the field and are armed with rifles.

They like to eat. Their food is prepared by their own cooks and served Army style and under Army mess allotments. Camp commander Lt. Kroeger reported their favorite dish is spaghetti and they like their food highly seasoned with pepper and garlic.

The prisoners have their own canteen from which they can purchase tobacco, candy, pop, etc. They receive and send mail through Red Cross channels.

And then, the wrap-up article:

Italian War Prisoners Go To Missouri

100 War Prisoners Who Worked on Fairview Farm Leave Thursday

The Italian war prisoners, who arrived here July 19 for farm work on Fairview farm, left by special coaches on the regular passenger train Thursday evening.

The prisoners were being sent to Camp Clark, Mo., the camp from which they came.

While at the Fairview farm the 100 prisoners were engaged in harvesting the 1943 crop and in shelling corn.

Through special arrangements with the government, the war prisoners were contracted for by the farm owners to relieve the serious farm help shortage needed to harvest the crops.

40 Per Cent Efficient

In an interview, R.B. Adams stated the prisoners were about 40 per cent efficient as compared to regular farm hands.

Most of the prisoners at Fairview farm had been prisoners about three years at the time of their arrival here, being captured in the early African battles by the British.

There you have it.  A slice of Americana I had no clue about.  I wasn’t aware of any prisoners being kept in this country, let alone that they were conscripted for farm work.

Continuing our west-to-east tour, the next town is Wall Lake.  Well, it turns out that Wall Lake has a well-known favorite son:  Singer Andy Williams.  I remember Andy Williams well from the 1960s.  He had a hit in 1962, “Moon River” (I was 12), and had a variety show on TV that my family would watch pretty much every week. 

Here’s Andy’s Moon River:

 

Here’s Andy as a straight man with Woody Allen, from his TV show in 1965 (pretty funny stuff):

 

Moving just northeast from Wall Lake is the town of Lake View.  If you look back up at my landing map, you’ll see the name of the lake over which the residents of Lake View are presumably gazing is Arrowhead Lake.  Well, this is flat out wrong.  Strangely, if you zoom in a little closer, the name of the lake magically corrects to Black Hawk Lake:

 landing 3c black hawk lake

The town’s website mentions that Black Hawk Lake is irrefutably “the southernmost glacial lake in the United States.”

Well, of course I had to check out a map showing the extent of glaciation.  Here ‘tis:

 usaglac

I was immediately surprised that there isn’t a more southern glacial lake in Illinois, Indiana or Ohio – but I didn’t feel like spending the internet time to verify or refute the claim.  

But then – looking at the map reminded me that Sunfish Pond is a glacial lake on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap, and I thought that it could be more southern.  I’ve hiked up to the pond on numerous occasions.  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

Sunfish Pond is a 44-acre glacial lake [emphasis mine], adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area in Warren County, New Jersey [near one of my home towns, Belvidere NJ].  The Appalachian Trail runs alongside the western and northern edges of the lake. The lake was created by the Wisconsin Glacier during the last ice age [emphasis mine].

It’s a lovely lake indeed.  Here’s a Wiki photo of Sunfish Pond (by Famartin):

 sunfish pond

Getting back to the claim that Black Hawk Lake is the southernmost glacial lake in the United States:   The latitude of Sunfish Pond is 41.003N.  The latitude of the center of Black Hawk Lake is 42.299N.  Let the facts speak:  Sunfish Pond is further south!

BUSTED!  The ALAD truth patrol never rests . . .

Time to complete our journey with a visit to Carnarvon.  This is a tiny little town:

 ge carnarvon ia

Here’s what Wiki has to say:

A post office was established at Carnarvon in 1888.  The community was named after Caernarfon, in Wales, the former hometown of an early settler.  [“Carnarvon” is the Anglicized version of the Welsh “Caernarfon.”]

What the heck.  I’ve never been to Wales, so here comes a GE trip from Carnarvon to Caernarfon.  (For those geologically-inclined readers, pause the trip at the 26 second mark (out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean).  Centered on the screen is a curvy, but generally N-S line which is the mid-Atlantic ridge.  See how the ridge is dramatically off-set by a distinct east-west line?  That’s a transform fault, as discussed in my recent San Andreas Fault post).  Anyway, here’s the trip:

 

Let’s take a second look at the center of town:

 ge the castle and old town

You’re looking at Caernafon Castle and the walled olde city of Caernafon.   (Oh all right.  I gratuitously added the “e” to old).  The castle was built around 1250 – 1300 AD.  Here’s a 1610 map from nearly the same vantage point as the above GE shot:

 1610 map of the castle by John Speed

Same streets and everything.  Doesn’t appear to have changed much, eh?

Here’s an interior shot of the castle (GE Panarmio shot by Farz Form):

 pano farz forn the castle

And an exterior shot from across the way (also Pano, by Binleeee):

 pano binleeee the castle

What an amazing place!  I decided to take a GE Street View tour around the castle.  I’m always looking for the Google Cam to catch people in the act of being people.  Here’s a shot of a street vendor just outside the castle:

 ge streetview with street vendor at low tide

And by simply looking the other way from the same spot,  here’s a kid eating an ice cream cone (no doubt obtained from the same street vendor), who has been joined by a bicycling friend:

 ge streetview with castle and boys

The walled-in olde city looks like a wonderful place.  Very narrow streets, quaint buildings.  Here’s a crude video of a Street View trip on one of the streets and then along the castle.  Note the sea gull at the 32 second mark.  (I paused and backed up for a second look).

 

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot of a street scene in the olde city (by Grey-Eagle Ray):

 pano Grey-Eagle Ray street scene

We Americans think 1300 A.D. is really, really old.  But Caernarfon also boasts the ruins of a Roman Fort known as Segontium, circa 75 A.D.!  It was built to defend the realm against hostile tribes and was plundered for stones when Caernarfor Castle was built.   Here’s a picture of some remains from BritainExpress.com:

 Segontium-8533

It’s time to zoom out and take a look at the greater Caernarfor area:

 ge caerfarnon regional view

I’ve highlight the Menai Strait, which separates mainland Wales from the Isle of Anglesey (name highlighted).  I couldn’t resist, so I circled the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, just for the heck of it.

Here’s a little info about the Menai Straight, from Wiki:

The Menai Strait (Welsh: Afon Menai, the “River Menai”) is a narrow stretch of shallow tidal water about 25 km long, which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales.

The present day channel is a result of glacial erosion of the bedrock along a line of weakness associated with the Menai Strait Fault System. During the series of Pleistocene glaciations a succession of ice-sheets moved from northeast to southwest across Anglesey scouring the underlying rock, parallel to the trend of the fault.  The deepest of several parallel scars became the Menai Strait, which was flooded by the sea as world ocean levels rose at the end of the last ice age.

Now I’m going to back up a little (but stay with Caernarfon).  Besides checking out the castle and environs, I also used Street View to take a look at the waterfront.  I saw a road with Street View coverage that seemed to dead-end on a pier, so I checked it out.  Here’s what I saw:

ge streetview with welsh sign

May I draw your attention to the sign in the lower left corner.  It says “Keep access to slipway clear,” but it also says the same thing in Welsh.  It hit me that Welsh must be very different than English (which it is), and that at least some roadsigns are in both English and Welsh (it turns out all roadsigns are in both languages). 

I realized that I knew nothing about Welsh, except that it has crazy spelling, like the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyll.  I mean, really.  “Llanfair” I have no problem with.  But “pwllgwyngyll?” 

Anyway, I found an awesome video by Fretwell Topper (awesome name as well), who provides some insight into the Welsh language.  This is must-see video!!!!

 

Getting back to Iowa, I’ll close with this old barn shot (Panoramio by Nathan Houck), taken about 15 miles north of my landing (I couldn’t find anything of interest any closer):

 pano nathan houck

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Likely, Madeline, Termo and Ravendale, California (but I landed in Nevada)

Posted by graywacke on April 13, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2172; A Landing A Day blog post number 600.

Dan:  Just like the old days.  After Utah, why not another western OSer like . . . NV; 88/78; 6/10; 4; 149.7.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my very local landing map, where you can see that I landed less than a mile from California (of course, a USer):

 landing 2a

Zooming way back, you can see how empty it is, especially considering that the “towns” hardly exist at all:

 landing 2b

By the way, I had a Gerlach NV post back in May 2012.  In that post, I featured the “Burning Man” festival which takes place yearly out in the desert near Gerlach.  If you’d like to check it out, head up to the search box.

Anyway, with a nod to my titular towns, here’s a view showing nearby Route 395 in California along with said towns:

 landing 2c

Speaking of my titular towns, this is the first time in ALAD history that I landed in State A, but exclusively featured towns from State B.  Hey – there’s a first time for everything.

Anyway, here’s my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight:

 

Staying with Google Earth, here’s my watershed analysis (for what it’s worth):

 watershed

Any runoff from my site heads south and collects in the low area, where it soaks in or evaporates.  FYI, this is the 46th time where my spreadsheet watershed analysis says “Internal, unnamed basin.”  I know you’re dying to know, so here’s the breakdown of the 46 internal unnamed basins by state:

NV   14
CA     8
OR     6
NM    6
UT     4
AZ     3
TX     3
WY    1
ID      1

As you could likely guess, this is likely to be a light weight post.  Moving from north to south, it’s likely that I will first feature Likely.  In fact, it’s definite that I will first feature Likely.  First, this, from Wiki:

Likely was initially known as South Fork, named after the South Fork of the Pit River, and was renamed when the US Post Office insisted at that time that towns could only have one-word names.

Residents were unable to agree what to name their town until a local rancher observed that they would most likely never agree upon a name, at which point someone nominated the name, “Likely”, and the name was voted in. The Likely post office opened in 1886.

Likely story. 

Here are a couple of Likely photos from California-Blog.com:

 LIKELY-CA-IMG_8687

 LIKELY-CA-IMG_8691

It looks like the same sign painter got both jobs.

And then, along comes Madeline.  Wiki (nor any other website for that matter) has anything to say of substance about Madeline, but here’s a Pano shot by Bradford Smith:

 pano madeline bradford smth

Continuing south, we next come to Termo, which is just as internet-challenged as Madeline.  But here’s a picture of the general store in Termo that comes from a motorcycle blog, Pashnit.com:

 termo

By the way, the author of the motorcycle blog took a back-country trip not far from my landing.  To check it out, click HERE.  You have to scroll down a ways to get to Termo.

Moving on down to Ravendale, all I have is a Pano shot by David Goulart:

 pano ravendale david goulart

I’ll close with a couple of nearby Pano shots.  First, here’s one (also by Dave Goulart) of Pilgrim Lake (see close-in landing map above), less than a mile from my landing:

 pano david goulart pilgrim lake

And finally, this shot by (who else?) Mr. Goulart of the California countryside near the Nevada state line . . .

 pano david goulart east of ravendale

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Bonanza, Ouray and Fantasy Canyon, Utah

Posted by graywacke on April 10, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2171; A Landing A Day blog post number 599.

Dan:  Oh all right.  I guess three eastern USers in a row is enough.  Back to the west and back to an OSer . . . UT; 80/60; 6/10; 3; 149.3.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

Here’s my watershed analysis:

 landing 3a

As you can see, I landed in the Bitter Creek watershed, on to the White River (4th hit); to the Green River (31st hit).  Zooming back a little, you see that the Green makes its way to the Colorado (169th hit):

 landing 3b

I found a great Google Earth (GE) Panoramio shot of Bitter Creek, but I’m saving it for the end.  In the meantime, here’s a Panoramio shot of the White River just downstream from where Bitter Creek joins in, by LSessions:

 pano lsessions

LSessions!  His (her) photos have appeared in three earlier Utah posts, plus one Illinois post.

I’m past due for my GE spaceflight:

 

 About Bonanza.  Wiki says quite simply:

Bonanza was established in 1888. The basis for establishing the community was a discovery of Gilsonite, a natural asphalt substance.

So, what is Gilsonite?  First a picture, from gilsonit.com

 parGilsonite

And from Wiki:

Gilsonite, also known as uintahite or asphaltum, is a rock mainly found in the Uintah Basin of Utah and Colorado (in the general vicinity of where I landed).  It is a naturally occurring solid hydrocarbon bitumen. Although it occurs also in other locations, its large-scale production occurs only in the Uintah Basin (i.e., in the greater Bonanza area).

Gilsonite is mined in underground shafts and resembles shiny black obsidian. Discovered in the 1860s, it was first marketed as a lacquer and an electrical insulator.  About 25 years later, it was used as a waterproofing compound by Samuel H. Gilson.

By 1888 Gilson had started a company to mine the substance, but soon discovered the vein was located on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation. Under great political pressure Congress removed some 7,000 acres from the reservation in May 1888 to allow the mining to proceed “legally.”  [Quotations are mine.]

Gilsonite mining became the first large commercial enterprise in the Uintah Basin, causing most of its early population growth.

This unique mineral is used in more than 160 products, primarily in dark-colored printing inks and paints, oil well drilling muds and cements, asphalt modifiers, foundry sand additives, and a wide variety of chemical products.

Mining Gilsonite during World War II was by hand, using a six pound pick and then shoveling the ore into 200 pound sacks, which were sewn by hand. In 1949 at the Parriette Gilsonite mine near Myton, Utah, Reed Smoot McConkie set the world record for ore mined by hand.

Using his pick and shovel, he mined 175 bags of ore in an 8 hour day, 950 bags in a six day week, 1925 bags in a month and 15,000 bags in one year.

Gilsonite  was used by Ford Motor Company as a principal component of the black lacquer used on most of the Ford Model T cars.  Gilsonite is one of the key ingredients in Minwax wood stain.

I love it that good ol’ Reed Smoot McConkie got the recognition he so deserved.  From FamilySearch.org, there’s a page about the family of Reed Smoot McConkie (1906 – 1986), which includes this photo of the man himself:

 thumb200

Wow – he was 43 years old when he set the record!  Here’s a picture of the mine where the record was set (GE Panoramio shot posted by TheShot), located about 40 miles northwest of my landing:

 pano TheShot 1947 mine

The caption of the above photo includes the exact words used by Wiki about the number of hand-sewn sacks that were mined by Mr. McConkie.

And here are the remains of the mine (also Panoramio by TheShot), with the same caption:

 26396906

Before leaving Bonanza, here’s a GE Pano shot (also by LSessions) of an actual operating Gilsonite mining operation in Bonanza:

 pano lsessions2

Here’s another, of operations past (by JohnUtah):

pano JohnUtah

 What about Ouray? Well, Wiki had nothing to say, but I found  this lovely Pano shot by Eliot Garvin of the Ouray National Wildlife Reserve:

pano eliot garvin2

And I found this Pano shot by SplashMan of the White River (to the right) discharging into the Green River near Ouray:

pano splash man

Roadside America, in a post about Ouray mentioned that there’s a place called Fantasy Canyon nearby that is “Worth A detour.”

Here’s an excerpt of what the Utah Geological Survey has to say about the canyon:

Fantasy Canyon is crowded with intricate and peculiar stone figures that are a unique expression of rock weathering and erosion. Covering only a few acres, this miniature canyon can be viewed up-close on a short 0.6-mile loop trail.

To give you a flavor of the place, here’s a Pano shot by Spencer Baugh:

pano spencer baugh

Back to Utah Geologic Survey write-up:

Geologic Information

During the Eocene Epoch, 55 to 34 million years ago, the Fantasy Canyon area was at the fringe of a vast subtropical lake – Lake Uinta – that at peak level stretched from the Wasatch Plateau to western Colorado. The lake was in a drying phase and retreating westward by the end of the Eocene.

Rivers en route to the dwindling lake deposited sand, silt, and clay shed from nearby mountains. Once buried, these sediments eventually solidified into sandstone, siltstone and claystone. Collectively these rocks are a part of the Uinta Formation that spans extensive areas of the Uinta Basin and nearby Colorado.

Differences in the rate of weathering and erosion between the sandstone, siltstone and claystone shaped Fantasy Canyon. The siltstone and claystone have been eroded away by water and wind, leaving the slightly more durable sandstone to be carved into bizarre, melted wax-like forms.

[I would conclude that there was extensive inter-fingering of the sandstone & claystone (imagine small channels of fast-moving water where sand was deposited, with silt & clay deposited on the edges of the channel and in nooks and crannies where the water movement was slower), so that when the siltstone and claystone was eroded away, the sandstone remained in intricate shapes, which were further carved by wind & water erosion.]

Although the sandstone is more resistant to erosion relative to adjacent rocks, it is in fact extremely fragile. The sandstone is fine grained, porous, soft, poorly cemented, brittle, and crumbly. When touched, grains of sand dislodge from the rock surface.

This delicacy was underscored in September 2006 when “Teapot,” the centerpiece of Fantasy Canyon and the site’s most recognized and photographed stone figure, toppled from its base and shattered at the bottom of the canyon floor. The cause of Teapot’s fall remains a mystery.

Here’s a Pano shot of the Teapot by Jeff Sullivan:

 fantasy-

The Federal Government’s Bureau of Land Management actually put out a press release about the demise of Teapot.  Here are some excerts:

World Renowned Fantasy Canyon Loses Beloved Formation

Vernal, Utah—September 28, 2006—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) questions, “Was it the hand of man or the forces of nature that caused the Teapot formation to come tumbling down from where it had stood for more than 50 million years?”

[Wrong.  The rock formations themselves are way younger.  Obviously the BLM author isn’t a geologist.]

It was on Thursday, September 14, 2006, that the BLM Vernal field office warned a group of Fantasy Canyon-bound tourists that a cold front was expected to move toward the area which could cause slippery roads.

As forecasted, the cold front hit with a fury Friday night bringing high winds, hail and localized heavy rains throughout the Basin. When the Vernal Field Office opened its office on Tuesday morning the answering machine had a message reporting the Teapot feature, one of Fantasy Canyon’s most photographed formations, was on the bottom of the canyon floor.

The BLM sent out one of its geologists and one of its recreation planners to see if the reports were true. When the BLM personnel arrived at the site, they validated the reports. The ancient and delicate feature had been destroyed.

When the geologist started looking closer at the Teapot feature on the canyon floor, trying to determine the cause of its fate, the geologist noticed the soil crust around the base and around the backside of where the feature once stood was heavily disturbed by human footprints. With so many footprints around one has to wonder if someone accidentally or possibly intentionally caused the Teapot to fall. The geologist also noticed that rocks, not common to the formation layers or features, were placed onto stem formations near where the Teapot once stood.

For now, the Teapot’s demise is a mystery, whether it was caused by Mother Nature or was human caused. The actual cause of this tragic event is under investigation.

I could find nothing of any follow-up BLM investigation . . .Time for some Pano shots of Fantasy Canyon. First, this one by (who else?) LSessions:

 pano lsessions3

And then, this great shot by Thomas Galenbeck:

 pano Thomas Galenbeck

And this artsy shot, also by Mr. Galenbeck:

 pano Thomas Galenbeck2

Good things come in threes:

 pano Thomas Galenbeck3

Here’s one more by http://www.bluesl.de:

 pano www.bloesl.de

I came across a video posted in BackCountryPost.com by TJ Sheridan.  The video is a “Birds Eye Video” entitled “Gardens of Bone.” 

TJ has a write-up with the video (including some great pictures, like this one of wild horses they saw on their way to the canyon):

 WildMustangs

He also had this to say about his video:

When I got home and reviewed the footage, I realized this film needed a special soundtrack, something haunting with vocals describing memories of past creatures revealed in gardens of bone. So I spent the better part of a week writing and recording an original soundtrack for this film.

It’s one of my best films, and hopefully a few BackCountryPost nature lovers will appreciate the effort put into it.

This is a great video (absolutely worth the 3.5 minute investment!):

 

Click HERE for his post.

As promised, I’ll close with this great Bitter Creek Pano shot by Runt35.  My landing is up on of the tributary valleys on the right:

 pano runt35

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Everglades, Florida

Posted by graywacke on April 8, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2170; A Landing A Day blog post number 598.

Dan:  The Landing God (LG) never ceases to amaze.  Two landings ago (after 55 straight western/midwestern landings), I landed in NC (and a USer to boot).  Great.  And then to top it off, I next landed in PA (another USer).  Great again.

And then, for this landing, the LG thought he’d play with me a little.  First, I just missed TX, but landed in Mexico.  Try again.  With a very similar set of lat/longs, I once again just missed TX, but landed in Mexico (my 205th and 206th landing in Mexico).  Next up –  way the heck east of the Bahamas.  And then, I just missed NC, but landed once again in the Atlantic Ocean (my 508th and 509th landing in the Atlantic Ocean).  And then, I just missed FL, but landed in the Gulf of Mexico (for the 191st time). 

And yes, with a similar set of lat/longs, I landed in my third straight USer, my third straight eastern state . . . FL; 31/47; 6/10; 2; 148.9.  Truly amazing.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the middle of nowhere (out in the middle of the Everglades, actually):

 landing 2a

Zooming back a little, you can see why I didn’t bother to come up with a titular town (no offense to Ochopee):

 landing 2b

Here’s my Google spaceflight in:

 

Zooming back a little, here’s the lay of the land nearby:

 GE 1

I was shocked to see an airport!  And not some podunk little thing, but a two-mile runway!  More about that later . . .

My watershed analysis doesn’t get any simpler:  Everglades (6th hit).  Period, end of story.  Seems a little peculiar, but it turns out that the Everglades for the most part discharge directly to the Gulf of Mexico along the southwest Florida coast, with numerous bays and short rivers to the southwest that serve as discharge points to the Gulf:

landing 3

Since I couldn’t pick one of those short rivers, I decide to pick none.

I must confess that for the previous 5 Everglades watershed landings, I claimed that the Everglades discharged to the Miami River.  OK, so maybe some of it does, but historically (and to a certain degree currently), the water discharges directly to the Gulf.  I like my watershed analysis to be true to the natural system, not subject to man-made changes.  Not to despair – landing spreadsheet has been corrected!

Anyway, let’s learn a little about the Everglades, shall we?  Here are some excerpts from a State of Florida Department of Environmental Protection write-up:

America’s Everglades once covered almost 11,000 square miles of south Florida. Just a century ago, water flowed down the Kissimmee River into Lake Okeechobee, then south through the Everglades marsh to the flats of Florida Bay – the ultimate destination of the pure “sheet flow.”

Dubbed the River of Grass for the sawgrass that flourished throughout the marsh, the Everglades is a mosaic of freshwater ponds, prairies and forested uplands that supports a rich plant and wildlife community. The “river” spans as much as 60 miles in width, yet is only six inches deep in some places.

Known throughout the world for its abundant bird life, the Everglades is home to several species of large wading birds such as the roseate spoonbill, the wood stork, the great blue heron and a variety of egrets.

The mix of salt and freshwater makes it the only place on Earth where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side.

In 1905, former Florida Governor Napoleon Bonaparte Broward began a concerted effort to drain the Everglades to make the land suitable for agriculture and development. Large tracts of swamp were transformed into productive farmland, and cities such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale began sprouting up along the coast.

As the population grew, so did the need to provide flood control to the new residents of South Florida. In 1948, the U.S. Congress authorized the Central and South Florida Project. Today, the project’s extensive network of man-made canals, levees and water control structures channel 1.7 billion gallons of water daily from the Everglades out into the ocean.

As a result, the Everglades today is half the size it was a century ago.  Other problems, such as encroaching salt water and agricultural and urban pollution, have further degraded the Everglades.

However, the Everglades is still considered a national treasure just as extraordinary as the Grand Canyon, the Great Lakes or the Redwood Forests, and the State of Florida is undertaking the largest environmental ecosystem restoration in the world.

And then Wiki adds a little more info on the hydrology:

Prior to urban and agricultural development in Florida, the Everglades began at the southern edge of Lake Okeechobee and flowed for approximately 100 miles, emptying into the Gulf of Mexico. The limestone shelf which serves as the platform for the Everglades is slightly sloped to the southwest. The vertical gradient from Lake Okeechobee to Florida Bay is about 2 inches per mile, creating an almost 60-mile wide expanse of “river” that travels about half a mile a day.

This slow movement of a broad, shallow river is known as sheet flow, and gives the Everglades its nickname, River of Grass. Water leaving Lake Okeechobee may require months or years to reach its final destination, Florida Bay.

The water travels so slowly that water is typically stored from one wet season to the next in the porous limestone substrate. This ebb and flow of water has shaped the land and every ecosystem in South Florida throughout the Everglades’ estimated 5,000 years of existence.

As you might suspect there is oodles and oodles (are oodles and oodles of information?) of on-line information about the Everglades.  For the Wiki article alone, I had to hit my “pg dn” key 27 times to reach the bottom of the article.  But what I’ve said already is plenty for me!

Moving right along to the mysterious airport.  It’s called the Dade-Collier Training Airport.  Say what?  A training airport with a 2-mile runway?  Well, here’s what Wiki has to say:

Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport (TNT) is a public airport located 36 miles west of the central business district of Miami, near the Dade / Collier county line.  The airport is on the Tamiami Trail  (Route 41).

This isolated airport was originally planned to be the largest airport in the world. Begun in 1968, the Everglades Jetport was to be an eight-runway airport for supersonic aircraft. Because of environmental concerns, construction was halted after the completion of just one runway. The facility remains in use today as an aviation training facility.

Here’s an article From the Palm Beach Sun-Sentinel that adds much more local color:

Grand Vision Of Jetport Unrealized

July 6, 1997

By KEN KAYE Staff Writer

In the middle of the swamp, in an area teeming with alligators, wild hogs, coral snakes and frogs, is a two-mile strip of concrete.

Three decades ago, it almost became the world’s largest and most ambitious airport: South Florida’s super jetport.

Covering 39 square miles, it would have been expansive enough to lay New York’s JFK, Chicago’s O’Hare, Los Angeles and San Francisco airports side by side.

It would have had 10 terminal buildings and eight runways, each long enough to comfortably handle supersonic transports, even space shuttles.

But the grandiose plan died in the Everglades muck. After only a segment of the first runway was constructed in the late 1960s, the jetport was shot down for environmental reasons.

Today, Dade-Collier Training and Transition Airport, its proper title, is slow, quiet and lonely.

“It’s dead, except for frogs croaking,” said airport manager Chris McArthur.

Squatting mostly in Collier County, with only its eastern edge in Dade County, the airport is hidden about halfway between Miami and Naples.

Other than fishing guides, airboaters and hunters, the airstrip is little-known to the public. The closest McDonald’s restaurant is almost 40 miles away.

The only building on the field is a double-wide trailer housing six full-time workers, who spend much of their time mowing grass with a farm tractor.

The airport workers sometimes have to shoo away alligators waddling across the runway or buzzards congregating on the approach paths.

“At night, you see a lot of snakes,” says Juan B. Palomino of Davie, who drives 96 miles each way to work. “But you don’t want to go out and look, if you’re smart.”

“You hear bobcats out there screaming. They sound just like a man,” says Carol Lord, who has homes in both Miami and Everglades City. “Then there was the time a gator bit the truck.”

“The pilots know we don’t have equipment here,” he said. “If they even get a flat tire, they’re stuck here for hours.”

At one time, Dade-Collier had a control tower. But the tower was torn down last year because it was rarely used and in disrepair. As airlines rely more on simulators for training, they visit the remote airport less and less.

It’s finally time for some GE Panoramio shots. I’m going to stay as close as possible to my landing.  I’ll start with this shot from the north-south canal just west of my landing (by Eduardo H):

 pano eduardo h

Here’s a shot by J Lutz (a little more than a mile NW), showing some limestone bedrock that looks absolutely landscaped:

 pano J Luz

From about the same location, this essential shot by Swamp Buggy Guy:

 pano swamp buggy guy

I’ll finish with three shots from near the airport.  First this, by Peter J. Nolan:

 pano peter j nolan

And this, by Club 442:

 pano club 442

And I’ll close with this wonderful sunrise shot by Wayne Willison:

 pano wayne willison

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Nanticoke, Pennsylvania

Posted by graywacke on April 4, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2169; A Landing A Day blog post number 597.

Dan –  Oh my.  I just hit a three run homerun!  1) My second eastern landing in a row, 2) my Score is now back below 150 where it belongs and 3) I’ve ended the streak of 34 landings at 4/10 or less.  Why?  Because of this USer . . . PA; 28/32; 5/10; 1; 149.5.  Note the “1” – that’s the beginning of keeping track of the number of times in a row that I’m 5/10 or greater. 

Moving right along, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

My watershed analysis is pretty simple, given my proximity to the Susquehanna.  I landed in the Hunlock Creek watershed, which snakes it’s way through a gap in the mountains (more about that later) and discharges in the Susquehanna (11th hit):

 landing 3a

Here’s a look at the overall Susquehanna watershed (from Wiki):

 Susquehanna_River_watershed landing 3b

Here’s my fan-favorite Google Earth (GE) trip in from outer space:

 

How about that!  The GE map shows all of my landing locations since January 2013, and this was my first one in PA!  In fact, my last Pennsy landing was #1967, back in October 2011!  Also – look how isolated this landing is?  It’s between 125 & 200 miles to get to neighboring landings! 

You may have noticed the ridge right next to my landing.  Here’s an oblique GE shot looking up the Susquehanna River Valley with said ridge marching proudly along the river.  You can see my landing off to the left of the ridge:

 GE 1 oblique up the river with landing

You can see the gap in the ridge in front of and to the right of my landing, where Hunlock Creek cuts through the mountain.  Here’s another oblique shot showing the gap (my landing hidden behind the ridge to the right of the gap):

 GE 2 oblique hunlock gap

Unfortunately, the only GE Street View coverage is the road along the river.  Unfortunately2, you can’t really see the mountain gap at all from the road.  Unfortunately3, you can’t really see Hunlock Creek from the road either. 

Using GE’s Ground-Level View, I went upstream to a road on the other side of the river to get this shot (which turned out pretty cool):

 GE 2a

I must digress here a little.  Not only am I geologist who would care about a gap in a mountain ridge, but I’m a geologist because of a gap in a mountain ridge.  The gap I’m speaking of is probably the most famous gap in the east – the Delaware Water Gap, where the Delaware River makes its way through a prominent sandstone ridge.  As at least some percentage of my readers know, the Gap is half in Pennsylvania, half in NJ and I-80 goes through it.  Here’s a picture looking north (GE Pano shot by Chris Sanfino), with Pennsy on the left and Jersey on the right:

 pano chris sanfino

Total aside:  Chris Sanfino again!  He has made appearances in these posts:  Mackay ID, NJ Pine Barrens, Twin Falls ID, and Colchester CT.  That boy gets around . . .

Moving right along – my mother’s family homestead was in Belvidere, a river town about 12 miles south of the Gap (not far from where Chris Sanfino’s picture was taken).  I visited relatives there often as a kid, and actually ended up graduating from Belvidere HS.  I always loved the drama of the Gap, and, even as a kid, was curious about how the river could cut such an abrupt gap in that that massive ridge.  

I went Lafayette College (only about 25 miles south of the Gap) and of course, figured that I’d finally learn how it was formed. Yes and no.  Way back then and still to this day, water gap formation is controversial, but dominated by two major theories.  The one I like the best is the peneplain theory.  Take a deep breath, read slowly, and stay with me: 

  1. Sediments are laid down in ancient seas & rivers (ending up as shale, sandstone and limestone rock strata)
  2. Continental collisions cause the strata to scrunch up in a series of huge wrinkles
  3. The same collisions also cause the strata to be uplifted to well above sea level.
  4. Eons of erosion bring the whole kit and caboodle down to close to sea level, and flatten the landscape out. This is called a peneplain.  The tops of the wrinkles get cut off.  If you looked down on the landscape and could see the different rocks, you’d see strips of limestone, strips of shale, strips of sandstone.
  5. Streams and rivers are making their way across this low-lying plain.
  6. The entire landscape was lifted up to well above sea level by mysterious (at least to me) tectonic forces.
  7. As uplift was occurring, the streams & rivers could cut straight down, even cutting down through the really tough sandstones.
  8. Away from streams and rivers, the sandstones were most resistant to erosion, causing ridges. The limestones were the least resistant, causing valleys.  The shales are intermediate
  9. Where the stream or river cut across sandstone: Voila!  A water gap cut in the middle of a long ridge.

Follow that?  I did my best to keep it concise and clear without too much detail.  By the by, the ridges and valleys that were formed as described above are the Valley and Ridge geologic province. 

The second theory (which has to do with “stream capture”) isn’t intuitive to me, so I won’t even bother trying to explain it. 

Anyway – there are dozens of similar water gaps not only in PA (which includes the one next to my landing), but up and down the Ridge-and-Valley Province of the Appalachian Mountains (all the way down to the Carolinas).  Maybe, just maybe, the Hunlock Creek (like the Delaware River) was one of those ancient streams flowing on the peneplain, making its way across a sandstone unit.  

I found a great website, “Durango Bill’s Ancestral Rivers of the World” that includes an article by Bill Butler discussing east coast water gaps and their formation.  Here’s a cool shot from his post of some Susquehanna water gaps further downstream near Harrisburg:

USEastSusquehanna

Click HERE for the entire post (highly recommended, because he’s a peneplain guy!).

So, I landed next to Nanticoke, which is next to Wilkes Barre which is next to Scranton.  This area is the heart of the famous Pennsylvania anthracite coal region.  I won’t do too much geology (don’t worry).  But as you all remember from your Earth Science class, there are basically two types of coal:  bituminous (or soft) coal and anthracite (or hard) coal. 

All of the Pennsylvania coal (both bituminous & anthracite) started out the same way, as a bed of buried vegetative swamp detritus (aka “peat”).  Here’s a figure showing a typical swamp peat deposit (from “Coal in Pennsylvania”):

 Coal in Pennsylvania 1

Here’s a map from the same source showing the different coal beds:

 Coal in Pennsylvania 4

As you can see, I landed just outside of the southern end of the “Northern Anthracite Field.”  Compare the map above with this geologic map of Pennsylvania:

PA_geology_survey_whole_state

 Sorry about the poor quality, but note how the the light blue beds mirror the anthracite and bituminous fields?  These are the  Pennsylvanian-aged rocks in the state (laid down about 300 million years ago).  And yes, the Geologic Period known as the Pennsylvanian was named after the coal beds in Pennsylvania!

Anyway, the bituminous coal fields are in the part of Pennsylvania where the strata were never deformed, and are pretty much flat-lying.  This is part of the “Allegheny Plateau.”  

In the middle-to-eastern part of the site, the strata were folded (as I mentioned in my water gap discussion earlier), forming the Valley-and-Ridge province.  The anthracite coal fields are a small part of this folded belt. 

So why aren’t there more extensive anthracite coal fields (and more Pennsylvanian-aged beds) in the central part of the state, you might ask yourself (although you probably didn’t).  Well, it turns out that most of the coal beds of the Valley and Ridge (folded) province were eroded away during the tens of millions of years that the region has been subject to erosion, and much older rocks are exposed.  

Here’s a figure showing some typical bituminous coal beds in the Allegheny Plateau (from Coal in Pennsylvania):

 Coal in Pennsylvania 2

Here’s a figure from the same source showing folded (and faulted) anthracite coal beds:

 Coal in Pennsylvania 3

So why are the folded coal beds hard anthracite coal?  Because they were subject to more intense pressure & temperature during the whole folding process, and these higher temperatures and pressures squeezed and baked (metamorphosed) the coal beds, changing what would have been bituminous coal into anthracite coal.  

Anthracite is better quality coal, with fewer impurities; most importantly, it produces more energy per ton when burned than bituminous.  It helped fuel the industrial revolution along the east coast in the late 1800s.  Believe it or not, over 95 percent of the Western Hemisphere’s supply of anthracite coal comes from northeastern Pennsylvania. 

Before I leave geology, here’s a big-picture view of some of the geology that I’ve been talking about (which clearly extends well beyond Pennsylvania); from Radford.edu:

 valley and ridge

Here’s a blurb about the demise of the anthracite industry, from ExplorePAHistory.com: 

The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the region particularly hard, and the primary market for anthracite, the urban northeast, turned to cheaper fuel alternatives such as oil and natural gas. Anthracite tonnage by 1938 was 46 million, less than half the tonnage of twenty years before. With fewer and fewer jobs in the anthracite industry, sons no longer followed their fathers into the mines, businesses closed and communities began to empty.

This trend was also fueled by the limited availability of anthracite coal, also considering that the folded coal beds can extend too deep for economically-viable production.

By the later decades of the twentieth century, the once booming coal region had become economically depressed, slowly coming to terms with the most recent chapter in the anthracite story: the painful deindustrialization process that many Pennsylvania towns and cities continue to experience.

Phew.  How about poor ol’ Nanticoke?  Well, I couldn’t find much of interest, except its coal mining past.  However . . . drum roll please . . . I did stumble on Nanticoke’s own . . . CONCRETE CITY! 

I’ll start with this GE shot of an abandoned-looking bunch of buildings laid out in a big square:

 GE 3 concrete city

Here’s what ExplorePAHistory.com has to say (absolutely worth the read): 

“Company housing” was not uncommon in Pennsylvania in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but the term usually referred to crowded, substandard wooden houses, hastily built by wealthy industrialist owners for their low-paid workers. The Pennsylvania Railroad was notorious for its inferior company housing, and many new immigrants and American-born laborers came home from grueling twelve-hour shifts to poorly built dormitories and houses little better than shacks.

In the early 1910s the DL&W (Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad) decided to build model worker housing near Nanticoke. Determined to combine the latest technologies with the best notions of progressive social thinking, railroad authorities decided the houses would be built of concrete.

Extolled by its designers as the “Garden City of the Anthracite Region,” Concrete City was built in 1911 to house only a select few of DL&W’s Truesdale Mine employees. Prospective tenants had to speak English as their first language, and also had to be employed in positions of “high value,” such as foreman, shopman, or technician.

The grandly named Concrete City was in actuality a square of twenty double houses. Only forty of the Truesdale mine’s 1,700 employees would receive a spot in the wondrous new community, which featured sidewalks, electric street lights, a concrete swimming pool, playgrounds, a baseball field, and tennis courts.

To build this cutting edge residential complex, an innovative system of portable hinged steel molds filled by concrete poured from rail cars, allowed the company to build an entire two-family house in a single day.

Each house (half of a double) rented for $8 per month, and had seven rooms: living room, dining room, and kitchen downstairs, with four bedrooms above. A coal stove between the living and dining rooms provided heat, as did a coal cook stove in the kitchen. Concrete outhouses, complete with coal bins, were located in the rear of each house.

The Concrete City homes, however, never lived up to the hopes of their builders. The interior walls dripped with condensation – one former resident recalled that her father’s shirts froze in an upstairs closet during the wintertime, and her mother had to iron them every morning just so he could put them on.

By 1920, paint and plaster were peeling from the walls. By 1924, a mere eleven years after its construction, Concrete City was abandoned. Demolition was halted after it was discovered that the emplosion of 100 sticks of dynamite in one of the buildings had little impact.

Recently, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has undertaken a mission to save the buildings, recognizing their important role in one of the failed technological experiments in Pennsylvania railroad and coal mining history.

From the same website, here’s a shot of the recently constructed buildings:

 1-2-634-25-ExplorePAHistory-a0c0e7-a_349

And this homey shot:

 1-2-632-25-ExplorePAHistory-a0c0e5-a_349

So what’s it like now?  Cheri Sundra, who describes herself as a “Guerilla Historian” took a bunch of pictures and wrote an interesting piece on her blog.  Here’s one of her pictures:

  concrete-city-341

Click HERE to check out her blog post.

 She also produced a well done Vimeo video (highly recommended).

 

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/42462270″>Ghost Town: Post-Apocalyptic Chic &quot;Concrete City&quot; (abandoned 1924)</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user11783218″>Cheri Sundra</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

 

After all of this, I’ll close with a GE Panoramio shot by Brad Nowell, looking downstream (you can just see the Hunlock Creek gap if you look closely).  That’s West Nanticoke in the foreground:

 pano brad nowell

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Fort Bragg, North Carolina (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on April 1, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2168; A Landing A Day blog post number 596.

Dan –  Good news:  I landed in a USer.  GREAT NEWS:  I LANDED IN AN EASTERN STATE!!!  That’s right, after 55 straight landings in the Midwest or west; after racking up incredible 55,000 to one odds that I could go so long without landing in the East.  It finally happened . . . NC; 36/38; 4/10; 34; 150.0.

One more hurdle.  See the “34” above?  That’s 34 straight landings where I haven’t hit 5/10 (number of USers for the last 10 landings).  Since I have about a 50/50 shot for USers and OSers, one would think that I wouldn’t go 34 straight landings without hitting 5/10 even once, wouldn’t one?  FYI, a USer next landing gets me to 5/10.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local map shows my proximity to Fort Bragg, but doesn’t tell the whole story (obviously, the whole story comes later):

 landing 2

My last landing, I landed in the watershed of the Big Muddy Creek.  I’m toning things down for this landing, as I landed in the watershed of plain ol’ Muddy Creek; on to the Little River (first hit ever!); to the Cape Fear River (11th hit):

 landing 3a

And of course, on to the AO (362nd hit):

 landing 3b

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) trip in from outer space:

 

 

Staying with GE (and just for the record), here’s the full U.S. shot, with my yellow line between eastern landings and the rest of the country:

 GE 1

Today’s landing is the eastern-most NC landing.  It still looks a little lonely along the east coast, eh?

If your short-term memory is still intact, you may recall that I said something about the fact that my local landing map “doesn’t tell the whole story.”  And here’s the rest of the story, starting with a map of the “Fort Bragg Reservation:”

 fortbraggmap

See that arm of property that heads up towards Spout Springs?  I immediately suspected that I had landed on Reservation property:

 GE 2 ft bragg

By the way, don’t take my yellow line terribly seriously (as if Fort Bragg brass will download this map); I pretty much winged it, but still have no doubt that I landed on Government property.

So, Fort Bragg it is, although this is my third Fort Bragg post.  OK, OK, so the first one was Fort Bragg, California, but the second was Fort Bragg NC.  And just like this time, I actually landed on government property.  Because I’m lazy, I’m going to copy & paste part of my old post:

So, since I landed in Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg it is.  [Ouch, I said almost the exact same thing this time.]  From Wiki:

 Fort Bragg is a major United States Army installation just outside of Fayetteville. The fort is named for Confederate General Braxton Bragg. It covers over 251 square miles in four counties. It is home to multiple divisions of the US military including US Army Airborne and Special Operations. 

Do you remember that I landed near Fort Bragg CA back on December 30, 2009?  In that post, I featured Braxton Bragg who managed to get two Forts named after him despite a somewhat checkered military career. 

Anyway, here’s a GE shot of the heart of this Fort Bragg:

old 1

Here’s a shot of some of the housing on the base:

old 2

And this, of the Airborne troops doing their thing (at the Fort):

old 3

Pope AFB is nestled right up with Fort Bragg and supports the Army Airborne mission.  It was named after one Harley Pope, a WWI pilot who was killed when he crashed into the nearby Cape Fear River.  This memorial to Harley is at the base:

old 4

I spent at least 20 minutes on the net trying to find out the story behind the memorial.  Mainly, I was curious to know if the broken propeller was actually from Harley’s plane, or if it is a replica, or if it is more generically a symbol of a downed plane.  Anybody out there know?

 Back to today’s post:  This time around, I figured that I’d add a couple of You Tube videos that show what goes on at the base.  First this one of the 82nd Airborne doing their thing:

 

And here’s some action at the Ft. Bragg obstacle course:

  

I’ll close with the same picture I did last time around:  a shot of a Coca Cola truck that services the base.  These guys know their market . .

  old 5

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Whitetail, Dooley and Comertown, Montana

Posted by graywacke on March 27, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2167; A Landing A Day blog post number 595.

 Dan –  Today’s landing marks the 55th  straight western / midwestern landing (and it’s in the mother of OSers at that). . . MT; 124/104; 3/10; 33; 150.5.

And the beat goes on.  55 landings in a row that haven’t touched the east!  Just like my last bunch of posts, I’ll do the statistics:  Each landing, I have a 0.82 chance of a western / midwestern landing.  Raise that number to the 54th power (and then take the inverse) and I get one chance in 54,984 that I would not land in the east for 55 straight landings!!!  Wow.  55 straight equals one in 55,000 . . . 

For all of you random doubters out there (to be clear, I mean that you doubt the randomness of my landings, not that you’re a doubter who randomly doubts):  Before I landed in Montana, I “landed” in the Atlantic Ocean and then in eastern Ontario (north of NY State).  See?  An eastern landing is definitely possible. 

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And here’s my local landing map that shows (as you no doubt suspected from the title of this post), a plethora of small towns:

 landing 2

As shown on the map below, I landed in the watershed of Big Muddy Creek (7th hit); on to the Missouri R (394th hit); on to the MM (851st hit); on to the G of M (1155th hit).

 landing 3

A word about the Big Muddy.  It is officially termed a “creek,” but I, the sole ALAD decider, have deemed it a river.  I mean, really!  It’s almost 200 miles long, it has a huge watershed that stretches well up into Saskatchewan.  And historically, it has been known as the Big Muddy River as well as Martha’s River (according to Lewis & Clark).

Also, this factoid:  the Big Muddy is one of three Canadian watersheds (joining the Milk and the Poplar) that drain to the Gulf of Mexico.

And of course that fan favorite, my Google Earth (GE) trip to Montana from outer space:

 

Staying with GE, here’s a map (just east of Redstone) showing where a road with Street View coverage crosses the Big Muddy:

 ge sv map for big muddy

And here’s the Street View shot, looking upstream:

 ge sv big muddy e of redstone

Look back up at the GE aerial.  See the large meander NW of the orange dude?  See how it looks to be cut off?  Here’s a closer view:

ge with ox-bow cut off

Sure ‘nuf.  The stream cut through the base of the meander, causing an “ox-bow lake.”  It then looks like a farmer built roadways across the old meander to gain access to his fields . . .

One other point before continuing.  Back in March 2009, I landed just a few miles east of this landing.  I decided to feature Plentywood for that post.  Of course, my Plentywood post makes for a fascinating read.  Just type Plentywood into the search box to check it out.

Moving right along.  This time, I decided on a light-weight-hit-and-miss kind of post that flukily features Whitetail, Dooley & Comertown.  I’ll start with Whitetail.  From Wiki:

Whitetail is a small, unincorporated village. The area was first used as a camp along a cattle-driving route in the 1880s. The town grew with the arrival of the Soo Line Railroad in 1914. The line was planned for extension all the way to Glacier National Park, but work was stopped during World War I and the line never went any farther than Whitetail. At its peak the town had more than 500 residents, declining to 248 in 1940 and 125 in 1970.  [And now? Practically nobody!]

The small Whitetail checkpoint along Montana’s border with Canada, which served about three travelers every day, was set to receive $15 million for upgrades under President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan. On April 1, 2011, Canada closed its border to northbound traffic through Whitetail. The US followed suit and closed the southbound crossing on January 25, 2013.

Come on!  Really?  I’m not going to bother fact-checking the $15 million claim.  It’s hard to imagine how one could spend $15 million on a checkpoint that services three cars/day.  But stranger things have happened with federal expenditures . . . 

So it turns out that every one of the towns on my landing map has pretty much the same story.  Each one was a minor settlement for local farmers before the railroads came through.  Then, the Great Northern built the more southern line and Soo Line put in the more northern one.  Towns popped up every 10 – 20 miles along the rail lines, fueled by optimism about the economic potential of the region (typical of the entire High Plains region). 

After quick growth, it turned out that family farms couldn’t be easily supported by marginal soils, especially considering the incredibly harsh winters and short growing seasons.  Throw in the Great Depression, and the entire region never had a chance . . .

For some reason, the “town” of Dooley has a strong internet presence.  It has a relatively long Wiki entry, with information like this:

Ted Nelson was a popular man in town and owned many of the businesses. He bought the Herman Bretzke building and started the first restaurant in Dooley. Mrs. Nelson managed the restaurant. The Racket Variety Store was owned by Ted. Ted also then bought and started a meat market, and had Christ Grythnes as the meat cutter. His meat market was one of the two in town. The other was caught in all three of Dooley’s fires.

And this:

Dooley suffered many different kinds of disasters. In May 1916, the west side of Main Street caught on fire, wrecking many of the businesses. Four years later the east side suffered a fire destroying many of the local businesses. Also a year before, in 1919 a smaller fire took place and wrecked a garage and two smaller businesses.

In 1934 a tornado came through town, wiping out the Stadig Livery Barn.  The town also suffered infestations of armyworms, grasshoppers and Mormon crickets, which harmed local agriculture.  Some of the winters that the town faced were very severe and kept the train from passing through. The trains feared that they would freeze up or run out of fuel.

Before continuing:  Mormon crickets?  From Wiki:

The Mormon cricket is a large insect that can grow to almost 3 inches in length. It lives throughout western North America in rangelands dominated by sagebrush.

Despite its name, the Mormon cricket is actually a katydid, not a cricket [and is not typically Mormon.  Most are agnostics]. It takes its name from Mormon settlers in Utah, who encountered them while pushing westward, and for the prominent role they play in the miracle of the gulls.

OK, OK.  The miracle of the gulls?  From Wiki:

After Brigham Young led the first band of Latter-day Saints into what is now Salt Lake City, Utah, the pioneers had the good fortune of a relatively mild winter. Although late frosts in April and May (of 1848) destroyed some of the crops, the pioneers seemed to be well on their way to self-sufficiency. Unfortunately, swarms of insects appeared in late May.

According to traditional accounts, legions of gulls appeared in June. It is said that these birds, native to the Great Salt Lake, ate mass quantities of crickets, drank some water, regurgitated, and continued eating more crickets over a two-week period. The pioneers saw the gulls’ arrival as a miracle, and the story was recounted from the pulpit by church leaders. The traditional story is that the seagulls annihilated the insects, ensuring the survival of some 4,000 Mormon pioneers who had traveled to Utah. For this reason, Seagull Monument was erected and the California gull is the state bird of Utah.

Just for the record, the above account doesn’t necessarily stand up to a critical analysis.  Check out the Wiki entry for “miracle of the gulls” if you’d like more info.

OK, OK.  The Seagull Monument?  Here ‘tis (Wiki photo by BigBen2):

SeagullMonument

And a close-up of the birds (Wiki photo by Ben McKune):

 800px-Seagull_monument

Leaving the Mormons behind, here’s a can’t-miss NatGeo video about swarms of Mormon Crickets:

 

Back to Dooley.  Here’s a 1916 overview shot of the town, from Railroads-of-Montana.com:

Dooley-Birdseye-View-1916-T

See the large white building on the left side of the photo?  Here’s what the area looked like after one of the major fires mentioned in the Dooley write-up (from the same website).  The building doesn’t look so white:

 Dooley-Fire

Moving on to Comertown.  Like Dooley, Comertown is now an official ghost town.  But unlike Dooley, Comertown actually has a tombstone (photo by Curtis Pattee, from his website “abandoned west”):

 comertown

Comerstown also has an abandoned train car (photo by Mr. Pattee):

 train-car

There are more great Northeast Montana shots on his site.  Click HERE to check them out.

I then found a funky Comertown video (by Allen Storaasli) in three parts:  Part 1 documents a horse race from the “Dooley sign,” finishing in Comertown.  Part 2 follows a pick-up driving through the area that was Comertown.  Part 3 is a short video tour of an abandoned store building.  Not the most thrilling 3½ minutes you’ve ever spent, but far from the worst 3½ minutes you’ve ever spent:

 

Time for some GE Panoramio shots close to my landing.  I’ll start with this, by Hank Snowbirdpix, from about 3 miles SW of my landing (Hank’s caption below):

 pano hank Snowbirdpix 3 mi SW

Elevators at Daleview.
This was a former grain shipping point on what are now abandoned tracks of the Soo Line.

Here’s a shot from just north of the border, by Bryan Smith:

 pano bryan smith just across the border

There are some badlands about 10 miles SE of my landing.  Here are two badlands shots by J. B. Chandler:

 pano jb chandler badlands 2

pano jb chandler badlands 3

And this (also by Mr. Chandler) of an abandoned building:

pano jb chandler badlands

I’ll close with this shot of the only historic building in Dooley (by Scott Knox):

  pano scott knox dooley church

That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Carrizo Plain (and the San Andreas Fault), California

Posted by graywacke on March 23, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”  I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location.  To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

 Landing number 2166; A Landing A Day blog post number 594.

 Dan:  Today’s landing marks the 54th  straight western / midwestern landing (but at least it’s a USer). . . CA; 101/116; 4/10; 32; 150.2.

Here we go again.   54 landings in a row that haven’t touched the east!  Just like my last bunch of posts, I’ll do the statistics:  Each landing, I have a 0.82 chance of a western / midwestern landing.  Raise that number to the 54th  power (and then take the inverse) and I get one chance in 45,087 that I would not land in the east for 54 straight landings!!!  

Some of my readers have no doubt concluded that my “random” latitude/longitude landings aren’t so random.  My Excel landing program is incredibly simple, and totally hinges on Excel’s random number generator.  I have tested it and retested it, and I can only conclude that it’s in the Landing God’s hands . . .

Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2

I’ll zoom back a little to give you a more regional sense of where I landed:

landing 2b

Here’s my watershed analysis:

 landing 3

I landed in the Cuyama River watershed (first time ever!).  The Cuyama flows into the Santa Maria, and guess what?  This was my first time ever landing there as well!  As you can see, the Santa Maria flows into the Pacific Ocean (419th hit).

There’s a little extra along with this Google Earth (GE) space trip to California (make sure your volume control is on):

 

As sometimes happens, it took me a while to realize what my hook for this post would be.  As per usual (after perusing my StreetAtlas landing maps which gave me no clue about the San Andreas), I was looking at GE Panoramio photos in the vicinity of my landing.  When you put your cursor over a photo icon, the photo’s title pops up, like this:

 GE 1 Carrizo Plain

So, I Googled Carrizo Plain National Monument, and quickly realized that the San Andreas Fault runs right through it (and is incredibly obvious).  Here’s a Wiki photo by John Wiley showing the fault in the Carrizo Plain:

 Aerial-SanAndreas-CarrizoPlain wiki John Riley

Here’s a GE shot showing how close the fault is from my landing (and by the way, this graphic and the next took some painstaking work to get them very close to accurate):

GE 1 San Andreas Fault

Stepping back, here’s a broader view showing the fault and my landing, but looking further north to the Carrizo Plain:

GE 2 San Andreas Fault

I’ll be featuring the fault soon enough, but first a little information about the National Monument.  From Wiki:

The Carrizo Plain is a large enclosed grassland plain, approximately 50 miles long and up to 15 miles across.  It is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It includes Painted Rock, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The San Andreas Fault lies below the plain.

First off, this is an incredibly beautiful place that I’ve never heard of, and don’t believe is much of a tourist attraction.  You won’t be surprised to see some very cool photos later in this post.  So what about Painted Rock?  From Wiki:

Painted Rock is a smooth horseshoe-shaped marine sandstone rock formation with pictograph rock art about 250 feet across and 45 feet tall, located near Soda Lake within the Carrizo Plain National Monument.  [John Wiley photo of the rock]:

RockCove-CarrizoPlain John Wiley Wiki

The interior of the rock alcove is adorned with many pictographs created by the Chumash, Salinan and Yokuts peoples over many thousands of years. In recent times there have been many marks left by early White settlers such as one reading “Geo. Lewis 1908″, founder of Atascadero, California. Unfortunately there has also been major defacing of this site; in the 1920s the large pictogram was irreparably damaged by a shotgun blast.

The guy with the shotgun should suffer the same eternal anguish as the thoughtful intellectuals who dynamited the Buddha statues in Afghanistan . . .

Here’s a vertical shot of the rock (also by John Wiley):

 800px-Aerial-OverPaintedRock

As an example of the pictographs, here’s the symbol for the sun (Wiki photo by Nicely):

 Pictographs_at_Painted_Rock4

Before moving on to the fault, I’d like to mention my strange run on the word “carrizo.”   In my December 2014 Springfield, Colorado post (landing 2138), I landed in the Carrizo Creek watershed.  Then, just two landings later (my Dalhart, Texas post), I landed in a different Carrizo Creek watershed.  In that post, I noted that “carrizo” is the Spanish word for “reed.”  

Then, ten posts later (January 2015), I landed near Carrizozo, New Mexico.  From that post, here’s what Wiki had to say about the origin of the name:

The name of the town is derived from the Spanish vernacular for reed grass (Carrizo), which grew significantly in the area and provided excellent feed for ranch cattle. The additional ‘zo’ at the end of the town name was added to indicate abundance of Carrizo grass.  The town is now often referred to as ‘Zozo.

And now, not all that many posts later, I’m featuring the Carrizo Plain.  And by the way, I did a search for the word Carrizo on my blog, and these four references are all there is.  Imagine that.  I went over 5 years and over 500 posts with no mention of Carrizo, and then boom!  Like I often say, the Landing God works in mysterious ways . . .

As a geologist, I’ve always been fascinated by the San Andreas Fault.  It’s a 450-mile long slash through western California (map by Geology.com; note that the Carrizo Plain is highlighted):

 san-andreas-fault-map

You can see by the black arrows that the fault moves laterally (a “transform” fault in plate tectonics speak).  The average movement along the fault is a whopping (and I’m serious!) 2.5 inches/year.  OK, it’s corny, but I have to do it.  How long will it be until San Jose is a suburb of Los Angeles?  Well, it’s about 320 miles between the two cities.  320 miles is 1,690,000 feet, which is 20,275,000 inches.  Divide that by 2.5, and get about 8 million years.  A blink of an eye (geologically speaking).

Getting back to the idea of a transform fault, here’s a Wiki picture (by Los688) showing typical transform faults (the red lines):

 640px-Transform_fault-1.svg

The above figure is the classic example of a transform fault, which connects displaced portions of tectonic spreading centers (where new crust is created, like the Mid-Atlantic Ridge spreading center).  Transform faults are common and can be found all over the world (mostly, like those associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, under water). 

Google Earth (bless her heart) actually shows sea-floor topography.  Here’s a GE shot with a long transform fault across the Mid-Atlantic Ridge highlighted:

temp1

 And here’s an annotated close-up of the transform fault, showing 200 miles of movement:

temp2

But the San Andreas is the mother of all transform faults.  And it rips across land!  What’s going on?

Big picture:  Prior to about 30 million years ago, a typical subduction zone was active along the entire California coast.  You all know what a subduction zone is, right?  It’s where oceanic crust (being driven by a spreading center) plunges below continental crust.  I featured subduction zone geology in my Mt. Shasta post (type Shasta in the search box to check it out).  Subduction is still going on off the northern California, Oregon and Washington coasts (causing all of the Cascade volcanoes).  Here’s a graphic I used for that post (by legacy.net):

 shasta-volcanic-legacy-net-cross-section

It turns out that subduction stopped and was replaced by transform movement around 25 – 30 million years ago (more about this later).  It also turns out that I’ve spoken before of the now-defunct ancient subduction zone, in my fairly recent (January 2015) Carrizozo Malpais & Sierra Blanca NM post.  From that post, here’s a picture of the Sierra Blanca Mountain (from the NM Museum of Natural History & Science):

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And also from that post, here’s what I lifted from the town of Ruidoso website about the above mountain (this sets the stage very nicely):

The White Mountain (Sierra Blanca) Wilderness Area is situated on the erosional remnants of an ancient volcano that probably once resembled Mount Ranier in Washington state.

This ancient volcano is approximately 25 to 40 million years old. During this time period, an oceanic tectonic plate was subducting under California creating a volcanic mountain chain that extended from Colorado, through New Mexico and west Texas, and into northern Mexico. This ancient volcanic mountain chain was very similar in composition and geologic setting to the current Cascade Mountain range in the Pacific northwest. Only further inland.

About 25 million years ago, the plate boundary changed. The plates began sliding past one another rather than one going under the other. The famous San Andreas Fault was born. This birth was the death of the subduction mechanism that created the volcanic chain in New Mexico. As a result, volcanism ceased around 25 million years ago and erosion has been the dominant geological force ever since.

The volcano has seen the upper half of its cone beveled by erosion over the last 25 million years. The lower half of the volcano is what is now present and exposed in the canyons of the Sierra Blanca Wilderness.

So, once again, beginning about 25-30 million years ago, subduction ceased along most of the California coast, replaced by lateral movement along the plate boundary.  My big question is why? 

I spent an inordinate amount of internet time trying to get a gut-level answer to this question.  No luck.  The best I can do is a US Geological Survey website that purports to answer that exact question.  Here’s the graphic from the article (note that the Farallon plate subducted, but the Pacific Plate didn’t):

 figure1_07

This shows that as soon as the Pacific Plate bumped into the North American Plate, the Farallon Plate was bifurcated, and became the Cocos Plate (to the south) and the Juan de Fuca Plate to the north.  The Pacific Plate never subducted (unlike the Farallon Plate), and a transform fault formed, such that the Pacific Plate began slipping to the north, rather than subducting.

Trouble is (even though the title of the article is “Evolution of the San Andreas Fault”), the author never clearly explains exactly why it is that the Pacific Plate didn’t subduct.  Oh, well.

So it’s time for some fun San Andreas Fault pictures.  Here’s one from Geology.com, with the caption beneath:

 san-andreas-fault-picture

Photo of the San Andreas Fault near Gorman California, showing gray rocks of the Pacific Plate along side the tan rocks of the North American Plate. Photograph copyright by David Lynch.

What an amazing location.  I believe that only in California can you see the boundary between two tectonic plates so clearly.  And yes, if I went there, I’d have someone take a picture of me standing astride the fault.

Here’s a silly shot from San Andreas.org (it’s not about the people, it’s about the sign):

 temp

And here’s a close-up of the fault in the Carrizo Plain (Pano by Dusty Trail):

 pano fault close-up by dusty trail

Wow.  

I stumbled on a blog (Geotripper) with a cool series of photos (through a 12-year period) where the fault crosses a road.  Here’s one of the shots:

 DSC00023 Offset highway San Andreas

 Click HERE to check it out.

Just for the heck of it, you might want to check out this “Culture of Life News” website, entitled “We Visit Doomed Homes on the San Andreas Fault.”  It’s not written by a scientist, but it is certainly interesting.  Here’s one of the photos:

 san-andreas-runs-down-middle-of-street1

Click HERE for the whole piece.

So, it’s time to post some GE Panoramio shots.  I’ll start with this shot by Douglas Page of the road just east of my landing.  My landing would be just off the photo to the left:

 pano DouglasPage near landing

Here’s a shot about a mile northeast of my landing (also by Mr. Page), showing a rainbow over the San Andreas Fault:

 pano DouglasPage, rainbow over the fault

It’s time to move a little further northeast, to the Carrizo Plain.  Here’s an amazing landscape captured by peace-on-earth.org:

 pano peace-on-earth.org

Check out this valley overview by Jeffrey A. Hart:

 pano jeffrey A. Hart

And this other-worldly shot by NatureNerd:

 pano NatureNerd

I’ll close with this, by Bakersfield Cactus:

 pano Bakersfield Cactus

Worth a trip, eh?

That’ll do it.

 KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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