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Archive for January, 2018

Tecopa, California (Revisited)

Posted by graywacke on January 24, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2386; A Landing A Day blog post number 820.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (35o 39.470’N, 116o 23.356’W) puts me in southeastern California:

Here’s my local landing map:

Not much around, eh?

It turns out that back in March of 2009, I also featured Tecopa (thus the “revisited”).  That post is very different from this post, but go ahead and check it out, if you’ve a mind to . . .

As was true for my March 2009 post, I landed in the Amargosa River watershed (4th hit).  Here’s a broad Google Earth (GE) shot:

The Amargosa heads south, and then loops to the west past my landing, and then heads north (and appropriately enough), dies in Death Valley (7th hit).

Here’s a closeup near my landing:

From Wiki:

Except during flash floods that occur after cloudbursts, most of the course of the Amargosa River is dry on the surface.  The flow is generally underground except for stretches near Beatty and just downstream from Tecopa, California, in the Amargosa Canyon.

GE gives me a Street View look at the (dry) Amargosa, and my landing location:

Here’s what the OD sees:

While I’m on the road (Route 127), here’s a GE Pano shot by Jim Nieland looking north across the Amargosa valley:

I have some photos of the river – with actual water.  Here’s one in the Amargosa Canyon (from chinaranch.com):

And here’s another Amargosa Canyon shot (GE Pano by WiseWater):

Here’s a rare shot of the Amargosa River actually looking like a river, taken a few miles downstream of my landing (GE Pano by Steve Gaskin):

Obviously, a very rainy period led to the above picture.  Speaking of wetter times, how about 200,000 years ago when there was a large lake – Lake Tecopa – that covered about 100 square miles just north of the town of Tecopa. 

It was formed in a tectonic basin – that is, a depression in the earth caused by tectonic forces and the resulting faulting (as is Death Valley).  The lake began to overflow at its southern end, resulting in the cutting of the Amargosa Canyon.  The water then flowed down to Death Valley, feeding another lake, Lake Manly. 

Here’s a map:

For all of you doubters out there, here’s a picture of evidence of Lake Manly shorelines:

Moving right along . . .

There’s a place called “China Ranch” south of Tecopa:

China Ranch is currently a fig farm, and has a website.  From ChinaRanch.com:

Little is known about activities or people here at China Ranch from 1850 until the turn of the century. According to available sources, a Chinese man named either Quon Sing or Ah Foo came to this canyon after many years of work in the Death Valley borax mines. He developed the water, planted fruits and vegetables, and raised meat for the local mining camps. It became known as Chinaman’s Ranch.

Sometime in 1900, a man named Morrison appeared, and, as the story goes, he ran the Chinese farmer off at gun point and claimed the Ranch for his own. Morrison eventually sold out, but the name had stuck.

Since then the canyon has had many owners and worn many different faces, including a fig farm, cattle ranch, hog farm, alfalfa farm, and others.

The date grove was planted from seed in the early 1920’s.  Approximately half of the trees are male and produce only pollen. The females bear in the fall, yielding from 100 to 300 pounds of dates in a season.

This is quite the oasis.  I found a number of GE Panoramio shots, including this, by David Cure-Hrycuik of date palms:

And this, also by David C-H:

And this incredible shot by Listratov:

Here’s a Wiki shot by Michael Baird of some badlands along the edge of China Ranch:

Very close to my landing are three natural features:  the Dumont Dunes, the Ibex Dunes and the Saratoga Springs.  It’s GE Pano time, starting with the Dumont Dunes:

First, this aerial shot by BikeCam:

And this wild shot by Fel35:

And this, by RobVZ:

(Yes, such vehicles are allowed on the dunes.)

OK, now for the Ibex Dunes:

First, this by Chris Cleveland:

From EarthRover:

And also from EarthRover:

My final stop is Saratoga Springs:

First this, by Danny Merkle:

I’ll close with this by Chris Cleveland:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day






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Martinsdale, Lenepp, Two Dot, Sixteen and Ringling, Montana

Posted by graywacke on January 15, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2385; A Landing A Day blog post number 819.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (46o 23.391’N, 110o 14.310’W) puts me in central Montana:

Here’s my local landing map:

And yes!  Every town on the map is titular!

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of that fan-favorite, Stream Perennial; to the Little Elk Creek; to the Musselshell River (16th hit):

Zooming back:

The Musselshell heads east to join up with the Missouri (424th hit); on, of course, to the MM (927th hit).

As always, I checked out Google Earth to see if I could get a look at my landing.  Well, I’m quite a ways away:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

And I got a look at Little Elk Creek:

Here’s the downstream view:

The above shot caught my eye, as looking like impressionist art.  I zoomed in to get rid of the roadway:

I’m going to make a statement, here, early in the post, the likes of which I’ve never made before:  I really enjoyed researching & writing this post!  It’s laid-back, folksy, pertinent, fun and real.  Wow.  What a set-up.  Well, here goes:

I’ll start with Martinsdale, which was the long-time home of a poet, Grace Stone Coates (1881 – 1976).  She moved there with her husband when she was 28 years old, and didn’t begin writing poetry until she moved there.

She was well published, and became known in some literary circles. 

I didn’t investigate her writing to any depth, but one of the first poems I ran across was entitled “Mutterkorn.”

I believe you’ll enjoy the poem more with a little background up front.  “Mutterkorn” is (I think) a German word for either ergot or ergotism.  “Ergot” is a purple plant fungus that grows on harvested grain crops that, if eaten, can cause ergotism with symptoms like convulsions, nausea, diarrhea, and gangrene formation. 

Wiki says this about ergot:

Dark-purple or black grain kernels, known as ergot bodies, can be identifiable in the heads of cereal or grass just before harvest.

The poem also mentions Gehenna. From Wiki:

Gehenna is a small valley in Jerusalem. In the Hebrew Bible, Gehenna was where some of the kings of Judah sacrificed their children by fire. It was deemed to be cursed.  (Note that modern archeology has established child sacrifice.)

In Hebrew, Christian and Islamic scripture, Gehenna is a destination of the wicked.  The King James Version of the Bible usually translates the Greek/Hebrew “Gehenna” with the Anglo-Saxon word Hell.

The poem also mentions “unmatured [corn] kernels”  After a deep search, I found a quote from a 1900 magazine for hoteliers (The Hotel & Motor Hotel Monthly), speaking about serving corn in their restaurants.  This is about “unmatured” kernels, which apparently are corn kernels ripe for eating.  I can only assume that “mature” kernels have hardened.

The unmatured kernels when prepared and cooked in different ways form the excellent vegetable, which is dear to the heart of every true American.  In buying, select the freshly picked and closely-kerneled ears, which have a snowy-white appearance and in the milky state; the latter feature can be easily determined by slightly depressing one of the kernels with a thumbnail.  If a starchy milk oozes out, it is in the peak of condition.

And finally:  an alternate meaning of the word “bland” is “soothing.”

So, you are now prepared to read (and understand) this poem, which is a doozy.  Apparently, Grace fell hook line and sinker for some guy, and the relationship turned a little sour . . .

Anyway, here ‘tis:


You are more bitter upon my lips than ergot
Purple corruption on the nourishing kernel;
Bitterer to me than brackish desert water,
Bitter as tears in dreams that shame Gehenna.

Because you were sweeter upon my tongue than honey,
Blander than milk in unmaturing kernels;
Stronger than swooning breath of the sun-sucked berry,
You are now more bitter in my throat than death.


Don’t worry.  This post goes uphill from here.  Time to move to Lennep.  Like Martinsdale, it was a railroad stop on the old electric segment of the Milwaukee Railroad, but unlike Martinsdale, it is now a total ghost town with no inhabitants.  It still has a Lutheran church that is being meticulously maintained (although note the lake of sidewalks or roads):

Lennep is named after Lennep Germany (in western Germany, just north of Cologne), which has a historic and scenic center.  Here are three GE Panoramio shots by Ralf Es:

OK, so maybe Lennep wasn’t much better than Martinsdale.  How about Two Dot?

Wiki lets us know that the name of the town came from a local rancher’s brand, which was, unsurprisingly, simply two dots.

I managed to stumble on a blog post written by Dr. Gregory Frazier in MotorcycleUSA.com, entitled “Two Dot Adventure.” 

Here are some excerpts:

“You going to crash that motorcycle,” the bartender said as he poured a third double-shot of whiskey into the cowboy’s glass.

“Nah, this stuff just loosens me up, lets me ride better than when I’m sober,” was the retort from the already well-oiled cowboy leaning on the bar.

“That’s what you said last time you busted yourself up on that motorcycle. You could get killed one of these times.”

The cowboy emptied the glass in one toss-back, coughed once or twice, set the glass on the bar and growled his reply towards the bartender, “Yeah, well you know I’m from Two Dot and don’t give a damn, so give me another.”

[Remember the above quote.]

The next double he drank a bit slower, sipping it while looking in the mirror behind the bar. About halfway through his drink he turned to me and asked, “That your BMW [motorcycle] outside?”

I said it was, not sure if my reply was going to prompt a compliment or challenge. Instead I got neither.

“Where are you headed?” he asked.

I told him I was looking for a quiet camping spot for the night further north, somewhere along the Musselshell River.

He pondered this for a few seconds, and then said, “I’ve got a Honda 900 out front. If you want we can ride up there together. I know a couple of places you might like, real quiet like and right on the river.”

I thought, “Why not, he’s a local and should know the best places.”

. . . . .

It was while eating the big, two-handed burger and wiping grease from my chin with a shirt sleeve that the cowboy came into the bar, sat down three stools away and quickly knocked back the two double-shots of whiskey. Sipping my cola and dipping fries in the pool of ketchup on my plate, I knew well enough not to bother a man in Montana who was obviously a serious drinker, so kept my eyes averted and voice to myself.

The cowboy never introduced himself by name, just asked if I wanted to join him, an offer I accepted.

Before leaving the bar my new guide bought two six-packs of beer which he stored in the six-pack designed storage spaces of the Vetter Windjammer fairing on his Honda.

While we filled our gas tanks before leaving town he reduced the 12-pack supply to 11, frowning when I declined to help him “lighten the load.” He said, “Hell, guess I’ll have to drink them all myself before we hit the gravel road or they’ll explode from being shaken up.” As we drove out of Big Timber across the Yellowstone River I saw him toss another empty can over the bridge railing. . .

Here’s a picture of a similarly-decked out “Vetter Windjammer Honda:”

To read all of Dr. Frazier’s post, click HERE.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the Two Dot bar:

Remember that I said to remember the quote:  “I’m from Two Dot and I don’t give a damn?”

Well, Hank Williams Jr. has something to say about that (be sure to follow along with the words below):


“Twodot Montana”

I bet you been wondering why you ain’t heard from me
And what kind of trouble I’ve gotten into
Well just kiss all the babies and feed all the horses
And oh hell I might as well tell it to you

I’m in Deerlock Montana in the territory prison
They’ve got me for something that I didn’t do
I’ve been framed for killin’ a dude down in Dillon
But babe don’t you worry cause I always come through

I’ve climbed up the Rockies and swam down the Snake
I spent winters trappin’ in the mosery breaks
This ain’t the first time I’ve been in a jam
I’m from Twodot Montana and I don’t give a damn

These walls are so old that it’s easy to go
Right through the tunnel and out in the yard
There’s just one more fence of the barbed wire and then
I’ll be a free man but there’s one more old guard

I see his gun and there’s no way to run
But I’ve got to try cause I can’t live locked up
I feel the fire from that colt .45 and this
High country cowboy just run out of luck

I’ve climbed up the Rockies and swam down the Snake
I spent winters trappin’ in the mosery* breaks
This ain’t the first time I’ve been in a jam
I’m from Twodot Montana and I don’t give a damn.

*I Googled “mosery” and only found references to this song.  Oh, well.

And now for Sixteen.  From Wiki, about the name:

The town took its name from Sixteen Mile Creek, which runs through the narrow valley containing the village.

But there’s a truly amazing story from Sixteen.  From LostAndFoundMontana.com:

In 2000, Sixteen had a handful of part-time residents and only two year-round residents, Bill McDonald and his mom Helen.  A few years later Bill’s mom passed, leaving Bill to tend to Sixteen. Many who knew Bill said he was born 100 years late. He carried a .44-caliber pistol in the back of his pants and bowie knife on his hip.

In 2009, the town’s population grew to three, when part-time Sixteen residents Michael and Ingrid Eckberg moved there full time. Michael Eckberg had fallen in love with Montana in 1961 when he traveled there on the railroad with his dad, a dining car chef on the Northern Pacific.   In 1993, they bought a place in Sixteen. Once Eckberg retired, they moved their full time in 2009 – the draw too great.

Here’s a video from the same website, featuring Michael Eckberg:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/84234534″>Sixteen, Mont.</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user6898324″>Montana Journalism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


Now, back to some website verbiage.  Here comes the amazing (and tragic) part of the story:

But in 2010, a tragic incident befell the town. Only the town residents know what happened that morning. It left Bill McDonald fatally shot and Michael Eckberg in the hospital with multiple stab wounds. Meagher County Attorney Kimberly Deschene said it was a case of self-defense. No charges were filed.

They were neighbors. They were friends. They were Sixteen. The Eckbergs and McDonalds often shared dinner together. When Bill left he’d always say, “thanks for the groceries.”

It’s the kind of tragedy played out on stage, but this was real. Now the town’s existence lies in the hands of the Eckberg family, the only year-round residents. When asked about the incident Michael Eckberg gazes toward the sky and wonders why did it have to happen? Yet, his love and passion for the town of Sixteen remains strong.

And here’s another video from the website:

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/46828886″>Sixteen</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user6898324″>Montana Journalism</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Moving along to Ringling.  From Wiki:

Ringling was originally called Leader, but was renamed for John Ringling of the Ringling Brothers Circus family.  John Ringling was a financier of the railroad through Ringling, as well as its president. He also owned a summer home & spa in the area.

Here’s a Wiki shot of town:

But more importantly, Jimmy Buffett wrote a song about Ringling!  I love the album cover.   As always, the words follow:


“Ringling, Ringling”

Ringling, Ringling
Slippin’ away
Only forty people, livin’ there today
Streets are dusty and the bank has been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town

Church windows broken
That place ain’t been used in years
Jail don’t have a sheriff or a cell
And electric trains they run by maybe once or twice a month
Easin’ it on down to Musselshell

Ringling, Ringling
Slippin’ away
Only forty people livin’ there today
`Cause the streets are dusty and the bank had been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town

And across from the bar there’s a pile of beer cans
Been there twenty-seven years
Imagine all the heart aches and tears
In twenty-seven years of beer

So we hopped back in the rental car
and we hit the cruise control
Pretty soon the town was out of sight
Though we left behind a fat barmaid, a cowboy and a dog
Racin’ for a Ringling Friday night

Ringling, Ringling
You’re just slippin’ away
I wonder how many people will be there a year from today
`Cause the streets are dusty and the bank has been torn down
It’s a dyin’ little town
It’s a dyin’ little town

I’ll close with a couple of GE pano shots, taken near my landing.  First this, by David Cure-Hrycluk:

And this, by Dann Cianca:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day





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Hopkinsville and Cerulean, Kentucky

Posted by graywacke on January 10, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2384; A Landing A Day blog post number 818.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (37o 9.258’N, 87o 29.930’W) puts me in west Kentucky:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of (and right next to) Craborchard Ck; on to Drakes Creek:

Zooming back, we can see that Drakes Ck makes its way to Pond River (2nd hit); on to the Green River (10th hit); on to the Ohio River (149th hit):

Although not shown, we’re in the mother-of-all watersheds (926th hit).

I have excellent Google Earth (GE) Street View coverage of my landing:

And here’s what the Orange Dude sees:

Even closer is Street View coverage of the Craborchard Creek:

And here ‘tis:

So.  As seems typical for many recent posts, I spent an inordinate amount of Google time looking at the VP* of towns in the general vicinity of my landing.  I managed to find a little to write about for my two titular towns.  I think I’ll start with Hopkinsville.

*veritable plethora

It turns out that Edgar Cayce (1877 – 1945) was born just south of Hopkinsville, and spent formative years in Hopkinsville.  I suspect that for most of my readers, the name Edgar Cayce is familiar, and it is likely that some of you actually know at least something about him. 

I’m somewhat familiar with him, primarily because my wife Jody’s mother (aka my mother in law) was quite taken with Cayce and his teachings (especially about reincarnation).  Jody is probably somewhat less taken with Cayce, but still knows more about him than I do. 

So who is this Edgar Cayce guy?  From Wiki:

Edgar Cayce was an American Christian mystic who answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while in an apparent trance. A biographer gave him the nickname, “The Sleeping Prophet”. A nonprofit organization, the Association for Research and Enlightenment, was founded to facilitate the study of Cayce’s work.

Some consider him the true founder and a principal source of the most characteristic beliefs of the New Age movement.

Cayce lived in Hopkinsville KY, Selma AL and Virginia Beach VA.  The headquarters for the Association for Research and Enlightenment is in Virginia Beach, and includes a health center & spa, a library, a bookstore/gift shop and conference center.

From EdgarCayce.org:

Cayce’s psychic abilities began to appear early in his childhood. As an adult, Cayce would put himself into a state of meditation, connecting with the universal consciousness and from this state, came his “readings”. From holistic health and the treatment of illness to dream interpretation and reincarnation, Cayce’s readings and insights offer practical help and advice to individuals from all walks of life, even today.

Here’s a screen shot of a segment of their webpage:

Back to Wiki:

Cayce’s clients included a number of famous people such as Woodrow Wilson, Thomas Edison, Irving Berlin, and George Gershwin.

Gina Cerminara published books such as Many Mansions and The World Within [in our library]. Brian Weiss published a bestseller regarding clinical recollection of past lives, Many Lives, Many Masters. Thomas Sugrue wrote the “definitive” biography, There is a River [also in our library].  These books provide broad support for spiritualism and reincarnation.

As one would suspect, Cayce was subject to a wide range of skepticism and outright criticism. There’s no doubt that he gave prophecies that didn’t come true and performed healings that were unsuccessful.  But he must have had some successes . . .

There’s no doubt that he’s a fascinating character, worthy of further research and reading – if you’ve a mind to . . .

Time to move to Cerulean.  There’s not much, but here goes.  From Wiki:

The greatest extent of the Solar eclipse of August 21, 2017 was at Orchardale Farms, located near Cerulean.

I’m not sure of the accuracy of the above statement; the longest duration of totality was in the vicinity of 2 minutes and 41 seconds, and was generally located in Western Kentucky / Southern Illinois.  Here’s a graphic from GreatAmericanEclipse.com:

Back to Wiki:

The local 19th-century health resort Cerulean Springs earned a reputation throughout the Upper South. According to legend, the spring’s color changed to cerulean by the New Madrid earthquake of 1811.

So, cerulean is a color?  News to me (although I doubt the earthquake story).  Anyway, “cerulean” was the Miriam Webster “Word of the Day” back on 11/1/2011:



I’ll close with this GE Panoramio shot of the Apex Natural Bridge (by Woodland Trekker), located about 10 miles southeast of my landing:

That’ll do it . . .




© 2018 A Landing A Day




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Mormon Lake, Canyon Diablo and Meteor Crater, Arizona

Posted by graywacke on January 3, 2018

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-four-or-five days blog), I use an app that provides 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 or towns 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) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2383; A Landing A Day blog post number 817.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (34o 48.726’N, 111o 19.104’W) puts me in central Arizona:

Here’s my local landing map:

A StreetAtlas streams-only map shows nothing about my watershed, so I jumped over to Google Earth (GE) to track the drainage from my landing:

As you can see, I landed in the watershed of the Canyon Diablo, on to the Little Colorado R (22nd hit).   Although not shown, we all know that the Little Colorado discharges to the Big Colorado (181st hit) just north of here in the Grand Canyon.

I won’t even bother with attempting to use GE Street View to get a look at my landing spot. But near to my landing are two entirely different landscapes.  First this, just south of Mormon Lake:

This is a scenic region filled with Ponderosa Pines:

And then, a few miles to the east:

A much more arid, flat landscape:

But, I could get a Street View look at Canyon Diablo (which is an arroyo, or often-dry drainageway), where it ducks under I-40:

Here’s what the Orange Dude sees. 

By the way, I had no clue that the arroyo was named Canyon Diablo until I checked out this Street View shot . . . which motivated me to Google Canyon Diablo . . . where I learned that there’s a nearby Canyon Diablo ghost town (which is shown on my local landing map).

Here’s a GE shot showing the town, the crater, and the Orange Dude’s location on I-40 when he looked at the Canyon Diablo:

From Wiki:

Canyon Diablo is a ghost town on the edge of the arroyo Canyon Diablo. The community was settled in 1880 and died out in the early 20th century.

[Interesting aside:]

The town, which is about 12 miles northwest of Meteor Crater, was the closest community to the crater when portions of the meteorite were removed. Consequently, the meteorite that struck the crater is officially called the “Canyon Diablo Meteorite.”


The ramshackle community originated in 1880, due to construction delays caused by the fact that the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad ordered a bridge that was not long enough to span Canyon Diablo.  This unfortunate fact was only discovered when the bridge arrived on site from the manufacturer.

Consequently, for six months the transcontinental railroad ended at the lip of Canyon Diablo while another bridge was manufactured and shipped to the work site.

Although the railroad ended at the edge of the canyon, work on the railroad route still progressed.  A community sprung up at the edge of the Canyon, which quickly included numerous saloons, brothels, dance halls, and gambling houses, all of which remained open 24 hours a day.

No lawmen were employed by the community initially, so it quickly became a very dangerous place. Its population was mostly railroad workers, along with passing outlaws, gamblers, and prostitutes.

The town was designed with two lines of buildings facing one another across the main street. This center street, however, was not named Main Street, but “Hell Street”. Lining Hell Street were fourteen saloons, ten gambling houses, four brothels and two dance halls.

Within a short time the town had 2,000 residents. Within its first year, the town received its first marshal. He was sworn in at 3:00 pm, and was being buried at 8:00 pm that same night. Five more town marshals would follow, the longest lasting one month, and all were killed in the line of duty. A “Boot Hill” cemetery sprouted up at the end of town, which in less than a decade had 35 graves, all of whom had been killed by way of violent death.

When the railroad bridge was completed, the town quickly died.

Here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Archelaus of ruins of some of the railroad workers barracks along the Canyon:

And a Wiki shot of the original bridge:

And a GE Pano shot (by PhotographersNature) of today’s bridge:

I hate to say this, but the Canyon Diablo is way smaller just a few miles upstream, where it is crossed by I-40.  Couldn’t they have re-routed the rail line?  Oh, well . . .

In total contrast (I suspect) to the town of Canyon Diablo is the town of Mormon Lake.  Although it’s not a Mormon town per se, the area around the lake was settled in 1873 by numerous Mormon families who operated dairy farms.  Do you think that young men from the community in the late 1890s were warned not to venture the 20 miles northeast to Canyon Diablo? 

The town has always been a tourist / resort community, centered around Mormon Lake Lodge (built in 1924).  This about the Lake, from Wiki:

Mormon Lake is a shallow intermittent lake located in northern Arizona. With an average depth of only 10 ft, the surface area of the lake fluctuates seasonally. When full, the lake has a surface area of about 12 square miles, making it the largest natural lake in Arizona.

Here’s a GE Street View shot of the lake in October 2011, when there wasn’t much of a lake.  Note that the San Francisco peaks are about 30 miles away:

So, the elephant in the room is Meteor Crater.  Here’s a GE Pano aerial shot of the crater by Sergio Araujo:

From Wiki:

The crater is about 3,900 ft in diameter (three-quarters of a mile), some 560 ft deep, and is surrounded by a rim that rises 150 ft above the surrounding plains.

The crater was created about 50,000 years ago.  At that time, the area was an open grassland dotted with woodlands inhabited by woolly mammoths and giant ground sloths.

It is believed that about half of the meteor’s bulk was vaporized during its descent through the atmosphere, leaving few remains in the crater.

The object that excavated the crater was a nickel-iron meteorite about 150 feet across.

The crater came to the attention of scientists following its discovery by American settlers [Mormons?] in the 19th century. Dubbed the Canyon Diablo crater – from Canyon Diablo, Arizona, the closest community to the crater in the late 19th century (but now a ghost town).

It had initially been ascribed to the actions of a volcano – not an unreasonable assumption, as the San Francisco volcanic field lies only about 40 miles to the northwest.

In 1891, two theories were presented for the crater:  Albert Foote said that it was caused by a meteorite and Grove Karl Gilbert said it was volcanic.

In 1903, mining engineer and businessman Daniel Barringer supported the meteorite theory, and further bought mineral rights below the crater, supposing that an iron meteorite was buried there.

Barringer’s arguments were met with skepticism, as there was a reluctance at the time to consider the role of meteorites in terrestrial geology. He persisted and sought to bolster his theory by locating the remains of the meteorite.

At the time of discovery, the surrounding plains were covered with about 30 tons of large oxidized iron meteorite fragments. This led Barringer to believe that the bulk of the impactor could still be found under the crater floor.

Impact physics was poorly understood at the time and Barringer was unaware that a large portion of the meteorite vaporized on impact. He spent 27 years trying to locate a large deposit of meteoric iron, and drilled to a depth of 1,375 ft but no significant deposit was ever found.

It was not until 1960 that research by Gene Shoemaker confirmed Barringer’s hypothesis. The key discovery was the presence in the crater of the minerals coesite and stishovite, rare forms of silica found only where quartz-bearing rocks have been severely shocked by an instantaneous overpressure.

It cannot be created by volcanic action; the only known mechanisms of creating it is naturally through an impact event, or artificially through a nuclear explosion.  Shoemaker was uniquely aware of this as he had been researching the shocked mineral formations that were formed after the nuclear detonation testing in the Nevada desert (particularly the Sedan crater).

[See photos of the Sedan crater, below.]

Therefore, when similar minerals were seen at the Barringer Crater, he was certain that a similar kind of sudden shock compression was responsible for the crater, which effectively ruled out the then more mainstream view that the crater was the result of a comparatively less sudden volcanic eruption.

Shoemaker’s deduction is considered the first definitive proof of an extraterrestrial impact on the Earth’s surface. Since then, numerous impact craters have been identified around the world, though Meteor Crater remains one of the most visually impressive owing to its size, young age and lack of vegetative cover.

I featured the Sedan Crater in my July 4, 2017 Indian Springs and Mercury NV post.  From that post:

Here’s a Wiki shot of the Storax Sedan blast:

And the crater:

I’ll close with a couple of Mormon Lake GE Pano shots.  First this, by Brian More:

And this, by AZWestyMan:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2017 A Landing A Day



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