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Archive for November, 2013

Winnsboro and Jigger, Louisiana

Posted by graywacke on November 27, 2013


First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week 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 2065; A Landing A Day blog post number 492.

 Dan –  Well, things are mighty streaky around here.  After five USers to bring my Score to less than 150, I followed up with six OSers (Score up 152.3).  And now, three USers in a row, thanks to this landing in . . . LA; 33/35; 4/10; 150.6.  If you haven’t a clue what I’m talking about, click HERE to find out . . .

 Anyway, here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows that I landed near the major town of Winnsboro (you can tell it’s major by all the roads that lead there), and also close to several smaller towns. 

 landing 2

You can see on the above map that I landed near the Boeuf River.  But a drop of water that lands on my landing must take a somewhat circuitous route to get there.  Here’s a map:

landing3

First, it’s off to Pine Ck; then to the West Turkey Ck; to the Turkey Ck; then finally to the Boeuf (4th hit); then to the Ouachita R (11th hit); to the Black R (11th hit); on to the Red R of the South (54th hit); to the Atchafalaya (61st hit).

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, which shows that I landed in an agricultural area (pastureland?):

GE1

Zooming back a bit, you can see that I landed just east of a heavily wooded area (the land surrounding the Boeuf River, and the Ouachita River as seen on my watershed map:

GE2

I hopped on StreetView and plunked myself down in the middle of the woods.  Here’s what it looks like:

GE3

 Back to the towns on my landing map – not surpirisngly, “Jigger” caught my eye, so I’ll start there.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about the town:

 Jigger is an unincorporated community in Franklin ParishLouisiana.  The community was named after the five-year-old son of the first postmaster, whose name was selected for the community by the Postal Service.

 Several questions pop up:  Why did the Post Service select the peculiar name given to the son of the postmaster?  But more importantly, why oh why would anyone name their son Jigger?  According to Wiki, here are the various meanings of “jigger:”

  1.  A hand-operated rail car
  2. A measure of alcoholic drink ingredients and/or the tool used to measure them
  3. A parasitic insect found in tropical or semi-tropical climates that causes inflammatory skin disease
  4. The aftmost mast of a four-masted sailing ship – “the jigger mast”
  5. A pallet jack
  6. A hidden button on a double-breasted coat.

 A fine name for a child!

 I saw that one Lord Necromancer posted this You Tube video of a cornfield near Jigger.  It’s breathtaking!

 

 Moving on to Winnsboro (pop 4,900).  Being much bigger than Jigger, one would think that I could find something to write about in Winnsboro.  Well, it turns out they have two favorite sons that caught my eye.  First, Fred Carter Jr, a guitar player and singer who was primarily known as a studio musician.  He was a player in the early 1960s rock n roll scene.  Later, he played with The Band for several years in the 80s.  Here’s The Band playing their classic “The Weight.”  Old Fred takes the lead at about minute 4:00.

 

 And then (seemingly improbably), it turns out that on Simon & Garfunkle’s “The Boxer,” the acoustic guitar you hear is a duet with Paul & Fred.  

 

If you want to read Fred’s thoughts about this collaboration with Paul Simon, go to the You Tube page, by clicking HERE

It turns out that Sammy White, a wide receiver for the Vikings (1976 – 1985) is also from Winnsboro.  He was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1976 and was selected to the Pro Bowl team twice (1976 and 1977).  He’s perhaps best known for a catch he made during Super Bowl XI in 1977.  Fran Tarkenton threw to him on a crossing pattern.  I’ll let the video tell the story:

 For all of you NFL fans out there, you’re fully aware that Jack Tatum would have been called for a personal foul, helmet-to-helmet contact not being allowed these days.  What with all of the concussions (and subsequent brain damage) that has been so well publicized, I hope that Sammy’s doing OK . . .

 I’ll close with lovely sunrise shot over the Boeuf River near my landing.  It’s a Panoramio shot by Little Dog 724, entitled “Hurricane Sandy Sunrise.”  It turns out Little Dog took this picture the day that Katrina slammed into Louisiana:

 hurricane katrina sunrise boeuf by little dog 724

  That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Carlisle, Indiana

Posted by graywacke on November 19, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week 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 2064; A Landing A Day blog post number 490.

 Dan –  After six OSers in a row, here’s my second USer, thanks to this landing in . . . IN; 21/24; 4/10; 151.2.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing map shows (what a surprise!) a plethora of small towns:

 landing 2

By the way, the river to the west is the Wabash, which is the boundary between Indiana and Illinois.  Of course, I’m in the Wabash watershed, but here are the details:  I landed in the Marsh Ck watershed; on to Maria Ck; on to the Wabash R (22nd hit); on to the Ohio R (127th hit); on to the MM (811th hit).

 Here’s my GE shot, showing a rather motley agricultural setting:

 GE1

See the major road just east?  That’s Route 41, and of course, it has StreetView coverage.  Here’s the street level shot looking out towards my landing:

 GE2

I wasn’t close enough for GE to acknowledge my landing location, but I put in its approximate location . . .

 So, let’s see here.  Looking back up at my local landing map, you can see:

 Carlisle*

Oaktown

Bruceville*

Freelandville*

Bicknell

Sandborn*

Ragsdale

Edwardsport

Plainville, and

Westphalia

 You’re probably curious about the asterisks.  Well, those are the towns where I found a little something to write about.  Not much, but a little something.  The rest?  Nada . . .

 So, you may think it’s peculiar that Carlisle is my titular town.  Well, I had a choice:  either title the post Carlisle, Bruceville, Freelandville, Ragsdale and Sandborn, Indiana, or just stick with the closest, Carlisle.  You know my decision.

 I really don’t have much to say about Carlisle (pop 692).  It’s the home to the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility.  It’s a huge facility built in 1992 at a cost of $123 million.

 Here’s a GE shot showing my landing, Carlisle, and the prison (the large facility north of town):

 GE3

Here’s a close-up of the prison.  If you measure like you do a TV set (i.e., diagonally), it’s a half-mile prison.

 GE4

From Route 41:

 streetview prison 

MSNBC had a TV series called “Lock-Up” that featured the prison.  I just did a little net surfing, and stumbled on a gut wrenching video about an inmate and a tragic situation.  If you’re at all curious, just do a little Googling . . .

 Continuing down the list of towns, next comes Bruceville (pop 478).  Bruceville was founded in 1829 and named after William Bruce; Abraham Lincoln visited there in 1844 and made a speech in support of Henry Clay.  Henry Clay??

 Henry was a Whig party candidate for president in 1844; Abraham Lincoln (also a Whig) was an ardent supporter.  The election of 1844 was close, but James Polk (Democrat) edged out Henry Clay (170 to 105 in the Electoral College and 1,339,494 to 1,300,004 popular vote).

Even typing the words “Electoral College” makes me unhappy.  I’m not a big fan.  (Note:  ALAD is assiduously non-political.  That’s as far as I’ll go . . .)

 But the big story in Bruceville is the obelisk and the peach.  I don’t know why it’s there, but here’s a GE Panoramio photo by RandomTraveler:

 big peach in bruceville pano by the randomtraveler

Moving right along to Freelandville (unincorporated; zip code 47535 pop 566).  Freelandville was founded in 1866 and named after Dr. John Freeland.  So what is there to say about Freelandville?  From Wiki:

Freelandville has a well-known street called ‘Happy Street’. When Freelandville was originally surveyed by John Ritterskamp, he named the street Henry Street after a member of his family as he did many of the streets.

Eventually the residents started referring to it as ‘Happy Street’ due to the friendly people and children living there. It is unknown as to when the nickname started, but it’s believed to have been called ‘Happy Street’ since at least the 1930s.

The residents of Henry street decided to petition to have the name legally changed to ‘Happy Street’, which it was. Happy Street runs for only one block.

In the early 1980s, the Freelandville Improvement Club decided to put street signs up in town, as they had not had them before then. Oddly enough, there is no current street sign for Happy Street, as anytime one was put up, it was stolen.

Here’s a StreetAtlas map showing Happy Street:

 Happy Street

Moving on to Sandborn (pop 418).  I can find nothing on its history, but Wiki does point out that it has two favorite sons:  the baseball-playing brothers Grover and Lou Lowdermilk.

 Here’s what Wiki has to say about the older brother Grover (great picture, eh?):

800px-Grover_Lowdermilk_2163491442_825be551d3_o

Grover Cleveland “Slim” Lowdermilk (January 15, 1885 – March 31, 1968) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1909 to 1920, he played for the St. Louis CardinalsChicago CubsSt. Louis BrownsDetroit TigersCleveland Indians, and Chicago White Sox. In a nine-season career, Lowdermilk posted a 23–39 record with 296 strikeouts and a 3.58 earned run average in 590-1/3 innings pitched. He batted and threw right-handed. Lowdermilk was born in Sandborn, Indiana, and died in Odin, Illinois, at the age of 83. 

Side note:  He died on my wife Jody’s 18th birthday . . .

 Anyway, a fairly unremarkable career, but his decent ERA was probably the reason he was able to stay in the Majors as long as he did.

 Now, the little brother Lou:

Lou_Lowdermilk

 Louis Bailey Lowdermilk (February 23, 1887 – December 27, 1975), was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played in 1911 and 1912 with the St. Louis Cardinals. Lowdermilk had a 4–5 record with a 3.38 ERA, in 20 career games, in his two-year career. He was born in Sandborn, Indiana, and died in Centralia, Illinois, at the age of 88.

The brothers played together for St. Louis in 1911, so let’s look at their stats for that year . . .

 Lou:  Won 3, Lost 4;  ERA 3.46;   65 innings pitched.

Grover:  Won 0, Lost 1;   ERA 7.29;  33 innings pitched.

 I bet Grover hated that year.  His upstart little brother did better than him!  And look at their pictures!  Cherubic goofball Lou and brooding Grover . . .

 My guess is that Lou had an injury-shortened career, but Grover managed to hang in there.

 Interesting side note:  The brothers must have been close; Wiki lists Centralia IL and Odin IL as the towns where each died.  The towns (only 10 miles apart) are in Central Illinois, about 125 miles west of  Sandborn . . .

 I’ll close with this Panoramio shot by Ed Brumley.  It shows the Wabash River about 10 miles SW of my landing:

 edbrumley the river

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Alpaugh, California

Posted by graywacke on November 12, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week 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 2062; A Landing A Day blog post number 488.

Dan –  We are all aware of the 5/5 USer string that brought me below 150 (aren’t we, class).  We are also aware that the 5/5 USer string was immediately followed by a 6/6 OSer string that mired me once again in the 150s.  But hey!  I’m back to the USer side of the ledger, thanks to today’s landing in . . . CA; 97/110; 4/10; 151.8.

 So, you’re curious about the above paragraph, but don’t have a clue?  Click HERE to live and learn.  IF you’re not at all curious (except to wonder why in the heck do I bother with such detritus?) . . . read on.

 My regional landing map, which looks like I landed in the Central Valley (we’ll see):

 landing1

My local landing map:

 landing2

As you can see, I landed near a plethora of small towns.  Pixley, although the closest, gets zero coverage in this post (no hook!), as does Terra Bella.

 Earlimart and Ducor have interesting names (and name origins):  Earlimart was derived from “early to market,” based on a very local claim that crops grown here got to market before crops grown elsewhere.  Ducor comes from “Dutch Corners,” the name given to the intersection of four German property owners (the “Dutch” being akin to the Dutch in Pennsylvania Dutch, an Americanism for “German.”)

 But let me move on to Alpaugh . . .

 From Wiki:

 Alpaugh (pop 1,026) is named for John Alpaugh, one of the officers of the Home Extension Colony which reclaimed (or land speculated on) the land the town is built on.

Two things:  1)  The Wiki author ended the sentence with a preposition (heaven forbid!), and 2).  It looks like a no-hook sort of town.  But fortunately, I read on:

Alpaugh’s location (once also called Hog Island, Root Island, and Atwell’s Island) was once either on an island or a narrow peninsula near the south end of the huge and rich Tulare Lake.

Now that caught my attention!  I might quibble about the use of the word “rich,” but “huge” lake?  Wassup?  More from Wiki:

The lake at different times supported a very large Indian population, a commercial fishery, herds of tule elk, countless game birds, and much more. The island was a regular port of call for the lake’s commercial ferry service. The last time the lake was brim full and overflowed into the San Joaquin River to the sea was 1878. Water diversions of its source waters have since caused the lake to shrink into the tiny remnant of today.

Oh my!  Regular readers of this blog know that I am delighted to wax geologic about lakes.  Of course, I care much less about lakes created by dams; but natural lakes – that’s something else – and Tulare lake was natural (and un-naturally doomed to extinction thanks to man’s interference.)

 From Wiki, more about Lake Tulare:

Tulare Lake.   After Lake Cahuilla disappeared in the 17th century, Tulare Lake was the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River and the second largest freshwater lake entirely in the United States, based upon surface area. The lake dried up after its tributary rivers were diverted for agricultural irrigation and municipal water uses.

I have more to say about Tulare Lake (and Lake Cahuilla), but before I do, let me cover my usual ALAD territory.  First, here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot (which sure enough looks like the Central Valley):

 GE1

You can see that I landed right in the middle of a half mile by half mile section of presumably Central Valley farmland.  Zooming back a little we have no surprise here.  No doubt about the Central Valley – which is, after all, America’s most  agriculturally prolific hunk of realestate:

 GE2

To put the Central Valley into topographic context, here’s an oblique shot, looking west:

 GE3

It turned out that my watershed determination was a bit of an adventure; and it ties right in with Tulare Lake. 

 Whenever I land in the Central Valley, watershed determination is always a challenge.  The water here is so managed, and the land is so flat, that figuring out an actual watershed is sometimes almost impossible.  I took a look at the streams-only StreetAtlas map, and it looked like it would be landing in the Tule River watershed, or the Kern R watershed:

 landing3

Note the north-south drainageway (I wouldn’t call it a stream), just east of my landing.  It seems to connect the Tule River and the Kern River.  In the natural world (where man hasn’t stepped in to mess with drainage), this never happens:  no, there is never a stream that connects two entirely different rivers!

 So, I figured I’d use the GE elevation tool.  If the land sloped north, I’d be in the Tule River watershed (which would be my first landing in that watershed); if the land sloped south, I’d be in the Kern River watershed (which would be my fifth hit).  But funny thing.  The land near my landing slopes to the west.  Consistently to the west.  But eventually I noted a low spot.  The elevations increased in all directions.  Hmmmm. Like maybe an old lake bed; like maybe the old Tulare Lake bed. 

 We need a map!!  Here’s a map showing the approximate location of the former Lake Tulare:

 GE4 Tulare Lake

The low spot I was talking about was right about where it says “40 miles.”

 Note where the island is?  That’s Alpaugh!

 So what watershed did I land in?  I had to go with San Joaquin, since (as was stated above) that when the original Lake Tulare overflowed, the water headed north into the San Joaquin (8th hit); on to the Sacramento (28th hit); on, of course to the SF Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge . . .

 I’ve spoken many times about the fact that lakes form only when something interrupts the natural watershed formation.  In this case, it’s tectonic subsidence that’s the culprit.  Movement along all of California’s fault systems evidently resulted in a local lowering of the land surface, resulting in the shallow Lake Tulare.

 I found quite the video about Lake Tulare (from ABC30, Fresno), that I highly recommend (although it’s depressing).  Click HERE.

 Just a quick word (or two or several hundred) about Lake Cahuilla mentioned above (where it’s mentioned that Lake Cahuilla (which disappeared in the 17th century), was even bigger than Lake Tulare.  I’m going to start by describing the Salton Sea, a large internally-drained lake in far southern California. 

 The Salton Sea is in a below-sea-level basin.  It was created by a flood in 1905, whereby the Colorado River was inadvertently diverted to the Salton Sea (instead of going to the Gulf of California).  The diversion happened due to canals that were dug to move irrigation water from the Colorado into the Salton Sea basin.  Of course, these canals were created to divert controlled flows only, not the entire river.  Well, the flood of 1905 overwhelmed everything, and the river actually changed course.  For about two years, the entire flow of the Colorado emptied into the basin and formed the Salton Sea.

 So how about Lake Cahuilla?  Well, the same sort of thing happened naturally many times in the fairly recent geologic past.  Most recently, five or six hundred years ago, the Colorado naturally diverted into the Saslton basin until the basin overflowed to the Gulf of California.  The resulting lake (Lake Cahuilla) was much larger, as seen on this map:

 landing4

 Check out the stats on Lake Cahuilla:

 Max Length:  110 mi

Max Width:  31 mi

Max Depth:  300 ft

Shoreline length:  250 mi

 That is one BAL.  (I’ll wait for some comments on what BAL means . . .)

 Since I talked about the Salton Sea, here’s a cool picture from Evanescent Light (by Ian Parker) showing Venus & a sunset over the Salton Sea:

 Venus over Salton Sea evanescent light

Click HERE to see other Evanescent pictures and be sure to check out his other photo locations!  (Note that Ian is cool with using his pictures as screen savers, etc.  Just no commercial use, please).

 I’ll close with a couple of local Panoramio shots.  First, this by David Husted, of a road just north of my landing:

 david husted, looking east on a road north of my landing

And finally, this picture entitled “Tulare Lake Drain” by Arbornet.  It’s just outside of Alpaugh at what used to be the edge of Tulare Lake. 

 arbornet lake tulare water management

I mean, really!  When it rains, water does run downhill, and it has to go somewhere . . .

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Morton, Minnesota

Posted by graywacke on November 7, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week 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 2062; A Landing A Day blog post number 488.

Dan –  What the heck is going on here?  Well, I’ll tell you:  six, count ‘em, six OSers in a row with this landing in . . . MN; 73/57; 4/10; 152.3. 

Here’s my usual disclaimer:  “If you don’t have a clue what the above sentence is about, click HERE.”

As always, I’ll start with my regional landing map:

landing 1

My local map shows my proximity to Franklin, Morton and Redwood Falls:

landing 2

You’ve obviously noted that Morton won the “Name This Blog Post Contest” (details to follow).  But first, as is obvious from the above map, I landed in the watershed of the Minnesota River (my 14th hit); on to the MM (Mighty Mississippi), my 810th landing in that magnificent watershed.

My Google Earth (GE) shot shows that I landed right along a road next to what appears to be a prosperous farm:

GE1

Zooming back a little, you can see more of the farm, and its relationship to the Minnesota River:

GE2

Zooming back even more, and you can see that north and south of the river, unobstructed farmlands stretch for miles:

GE3

I wonder if “my” farm (with its floodplain soils) is more productive then the farms further away from the river.  Probably  . . .

So, enough preliminaries.  I’m sure you’re all anxious to hear about Morton, and how Morton ended up grabbing the post title.  Well, let’s zoom in a little on Morton (pop ~400 hardy souls) to see what we can see:

GE Morton

Not much.  But I’d like to zoom in closer on that piece of disturbed land southeast of town (in the lower right corner of the above photo):

GE quarry

Hmmm.  Tough to say what we’re looking at . . . maybe sort of looks like a quarry, eh?  Bingo!  And, pray tell, what kind of rock is quarried there?  Answer:  the Morton Gneiss. 

Side note:  I’m sure that my highly-educated readership is already pronouncing “gneiss” correctly.  But just in case . . . it’s “nice.”

It’s important to realize that “Morton Gneiss” isn’t just a name that the locals use.  It’s one of those accepted geologic names that has general usage in geologic literature.  What’s more, the Morton Gneiss is a well-known building stone that has been used across the country!

And what is gneiss?  It is a highly-metamorphosed rock, which means that it’s a rock that has undergone high pressures and temperatures that caused it to melt & re-crystallize.  The rock is typically buried pretty damn deep when this pressure / temperature treatment occurs, so it cools very slowly.  When melted rock cools very slowly, fairly large crystal grains can form (i.e., easily visible with the naked eye).  Because the rock had some structure to begin with (and/or because it’s getting squeezed so hard), the crystals are in striped patterns (as opposed to a granite, which generally shows a uniform crystal pattern).

So a picture is worth a thousand words.  Here’s a picture of the Morton Gneiss:

baltimore police headquarters, md geo survey website

Believe it or not, this is a picture of a wall of the Baltimore Police Headquarters building!  That’s right – the stone in this picture came from the Morton quarry!  (Photo from a “A Geologic Walking Tour of Downtown Baltimore” by the Maryland Geologic Survey.  Click HERE to take the tour.  You’ll see the above photo on Tour Stop #10.)

Here’s a close-up of the same wall, so you can see the size of the individual crystals:

baltimore police headquarters, md geo survey website (close-up)

Just for comparison’s sake, here’s a granite countertop, showing no stripes or patterns:

kitchen_remodel_brown_closeup

Just so you know:  granite is formed when magma wells up into the crust and cools very slowly (as opposed to the gneiss that was already a rock which then was melted & pressurized).  Now you should have enough information so you can correct your friends that incorrectly call a gneiss “granite.”

Like it or not, here’s some more info about the Morton Gneiss:  It was formed about 3.6 billion years ago, making it one of the oldest rocks on the planet!  Remember, good ol’ Earth is about 4.6 billion years old, so it was only around a billion years old when the Morton Gneiss was born. 

I stumbled on a blog by David Williams, “Stories in Stone.”  David writes that his “favorite liquor store in the country” is in Morton MN, because the store is fronted with Morton Gneiss.  Here’s a picture of the store:

david williams morton liquor

He has written a whole piece on the Morton Gneiss, which I highly recommend.  Click HERE to check it out.

Speaking of the old rocks.  I’ll take a little detour and discuss a really, really old stone (crystal, actually):  Geologists have recently discovered some zircon crystals that were found embedded within sandstone rocks in Australia.  The zircon crystals themselves are age dated to be 4.4 billion years old!  I’d love to own a rock with 4.4 billion-year-old crystals!

From the American Museum of Natural History comes this information (some excerpts from the entire piece):

What are the oldest rocks on Earth, and how did they form? The material that holds the greatest insight into these fundamental questions, because it can contain a record of some of the earliest history of the Earth, is a mineral named zircon.

Originally formed by crystallization from a magma or in metamorphic rocks, zircons are so durable and resistant to chemical attack that they rarely go away.

Zircon contains the radioactive element uranium, which Dr. David Mueller (from the University of Florida) calls “the clock within the zircon” because it converts to the element lead at a specific rate over a long span of time.   (The half-life of uranium 238 isotope is 4.5 billion years.)  This makes zircons “the most reliable natural chronometer that we have when we want to look at the earliest part of Earth history.”

How precise are the dates? “Depending on the history of the rock, we can date things nowadays to something on the order of a few hundredths of a percent of its age,” answers Mueller. “That translates, for example, to plus or minus a million years out of three billion.”

I just did the math, and they can age-date zircons to an accuracy of 99.97 percent!

Click HERE to check out the whole piece about zircon.  And just for the heck of it, here’s what a a picture of a big zircon crystal attached to a rock (from Wiki):

Zircon-216657

Getting back to my landing location, here’s a GE shot showing the location of seven very local Panoramio photos (the bigger icon has two photos attached to it):

GE4 - 5 pano shots

All but one of the pictures is by M. N. Ragnar.  I’ll start with the one picture not by Mr. (or Ms.) Ragnar, this not so thrilling picture of a distant moose by R. E. Disciple (it’s the picture most northeast of my landing):

redisciple moose

Three of the Ragnar pictures are in a cluster due east of my landing.  Two are  of a “1918 steel pony truss bridge” over the Minnesota River, and one is of the road heading north away from the bridge:

mnragnar 1918 bridge

mnragnar 1918 bridge (2)

mnragnar heading N from bridge

Two more of his (OK, I’m being sexist) photos are of steel-sided farm buildings (from the larger Panoramio icon location):

mnragnar old steel sided barn

mnragnar old steel sided corn crib

I’ll close with this one entitled “when nature calls” (conveniently located right near the farm buildings):

mnragnar when nature calls

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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Elsinore, Utah

Posted by graywacke on November 4, 2013

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now more-or-less a twice a week 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 2061; A Landing A Day blog post number 479.

 Dan –  The misery continues as I’ve landed in five OSers in a row since I broke 150, with this OSer landing in . . . UT; 73/57; 5/10; 151.9.  It’s unbelievable that I followed up the 5/5 USer string (that I needed to break 150) with a 5/5 OSer string . . .

 If you haven’t a clue what the previous paragraph is about, click HERE for an explanatory post.

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing1

My local landing map shows that I landed out in the boonies, quite a ways from the nearest towns:

 landing2

Here’s a streams-only map that shows I landed in the watershed of Birch Creek; on to the Three Creeks Creek; to Pole Ck; to Clear Ck and finally to the Sevier River (10th hit).

 landing3

 The Sevier drains internally, and ends up (if it’s flowing at all) in Sevier Lake.  Here’s what Wiki has to say about the Sevier:

 The Sevier River, extending 383 miles, is the longest river entirely in the state and drains an extended chain of mountain farming valleys to the intermittent Sevier Lake.  The Upper Sevier is used extensively for irrigation, and consequently Sevier Lake is now essentially dry.

Here’s my Google Earth (GE) shot, showing no roads and a semi-arid landscape:

GE1

Zooming back and looking west, here’s another GE shot:

GE2

I checked out each of the four nearest towns, looking for my hook.  I couldn’t find anything of particular interest about Sevier, Joseph or Monroe.  They were all founded by Mormons.  No hook there.  Funny thing about Joseph . . . the town was named after one Joseph Young.  Given Joseph Smith & Brigham Young, I can’t imagine a more Mormon name.  No hook there.

 But Elsinore.  Well, OK, it was also founded by Mormons, but there could be some interest in the name “Elsinore.”  Here’s what Wiki has to say:

The area was settled by Danish converts to Mormonism, and named after Kronborg Castle, known as Elsinore in Hamlet.

Sounds like a hook or two, eh?

Here’s what Wiki has to say about the castle:

Kronborg is a castle in the town of HelsingørDenmark.  Immortalized as Elsinore in Shakespeare’s  play Hamlet,  Kronborg is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and is a World Heritage Site (per UNESCO).

Here’s Wiki’s picture of the castle:

 800px-Helsingoer_Kronborg_Castle wiki

And an aerial view (from Marinas.com):

 kronborg2

OK, it’s time for a true confession.  I have a pathetically skimpy (nearly non-existent) knowledge of Shakespeare. 

 Here’s a synopsis of Hamlet from Wiki:

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark is a tragedy by William Shakespeare. Set in the Kingdom of Denmark [mostly at the Kronborg Castle, referred to as Elsinore in the play], the play dramatizes the revenge Prince Hamlet exacts on his uncle Claudius for murdering King Hamlet, Claudius’s brother and Prince Hamlet’s father.  Claudius then takes the throne and takes Gertrude (King Hamlet’s wife and Hamlet’s mother) as his wife.  The play vividly portrays both true and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—and explores themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption.

 My Denmarkian geography is almost as deficient as my Shakespearian play fullness.  It turns out that that the city of Helsingor (“Elsinore” in English, where the Kronborg Castle is) is a mere 2.5 miles from Sweden!  If you’re sailing from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea, you might as well dock in Elsinore for lunch.

 Here’s a big-picture map (Google).  You can see that part of Denmark juts north from Germany, but part of it (that includes Copenhagen and Elsinore) is on an island:

 denmark 1

Here’s a more local view showing that the island that contains Copenhagen also contains Helsingor (Elsinore):

 denmark 2

I’ll finish up this segment with this GE shot looking past the Castle over to Sweden:

 GE3

Near Monroe, I stumbled on Mystic Hot Springs.  It’s a funky resort/campground/music venue centered, of course, on soaking in hot springs.  Here are a couple of pictures lifted from the Mystic Hot Springs website:

 mystic 2

mystic 1

Check out the website HERE.

 I came across a Yelp review of the place (by J.M. from Boulder CO) which is definitely worth the read.  Here ‘tis:

Quite possibly the strangest place on the planet…  If you are looking for a commercialized, sanitized, corporatized, overpriced hot spring experience, do not come here.  If you are looking for a unique hippy dippy soakathonic adventure with the kindest of staff, head here at once.

Mystic Mike (the owner who stumbled upon and bought this place 17 years ago while following the Grateful Dead across the country) defies all common sense logic with his hot springs business plan, yet it seems to work.  As far as the “junk and scraps” lying around the facility, Mike doesen’t view these items as “trash,” instead valuable materials he will reuse on a future project such as the geothermal heated greenhouse made with reclaimed wood and tent parts used in the Viet Nam war.  Maybe we can all learn a lesson from his “reuse” mentality.  Additionally, he has befriended many amazing world class bands over the years that routinely stop here while on tour to soak and play music for you in the most intimate of settings.

For those reviewers who say this place “could be great if…,” I say Mystic is already a great place.  You either “get it” or you don’t.

 I’ll close with a couple of GE Panoramio shots.  Here’s a shot along I-70 just south of my landing by 2fingers:

 2fingers looking west I-70 just south

And this, by CRichardD of Clear Creek narrows, about 5 miles southeast of my landing:

 crichardd east entrance to clear creek narrows

 That’ll do it.

 KS

 Greg

 

 

© 2013 A Landing A Day

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