Sunday, May 15, 2011

Extraordinarily busy at work...

I hope to resume blogging in late summer or early fall.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Comments from a friend

A friend of mine sent an email - he can't comment from his work computer due to firewalls and doesn't really have a computer at home. So here are his comments:

Regarding the Terrero spring (I can’t “comment” from here):

According to [a local], a fire once occurred in an upstream side canyon (trib to the Mora), and it colored the water. The Mora is maybe 1/2-mile upstream on the east side of the Pecos. The spring is on the west side.

So, the source water appears to be the main stem within 1/2 mile upstream of the spring.

(Call it a fortuitous tracer study.)

[Note: the Mora here is a trib to the Pecos, not the Mora on the east side of the Sangres that is a trib to the Canadian]

[Another local] took that culvert photo. I think it was north of SF.

The Red Dot Trail runs below White Rock. Down there, I saw a plumed serpent petroglyph near remnant irrigation ditches (lots of springs). (The “Aztec” Triple Alliance apparently arose only in 1300s.)

Saturday Site Visits, White Rock Area, NM

My apologies for the late post. Busy, sick, picking up mini-coco from ABQ airport, all those good things kept me from writing. I'm still slightly feverish, but hopefully on the mend.

I got the opportunity to drive over to the Los Alamos area on Saturday, to visit the Don Quixote Distillery with a friend. I really like their ports, and the rose wine (roses used in the making, not a pink wine), though somewhat herbal/medicinal, is good when you prefer something a little different. I'm definitely thinking of these for local gifts. The setting in White Rock is quite nice, very close to White Rock Canyon.

Afterward, we went for a little walk at the Tsankawi outlier to Bandelier National Monument. The photo below is looking east towards Santa Fe (and the beautiful fall colors in the aspen band) from Tsankawi. The reddish-buff cliffs in the foreground I believe are the Quaternary Tshirege member of the Bandelier Tuff. San Idelfonso and other Tewa pueblos claim ancestral ties to Tsankawi. I found disparate estimates of occupation on various websites, ranging from a vague 1400s to 1400-1550.

On the way back, an image of the Pliocene Cerros del Rio basalt overlying Puye fanglomerates. We had just crossed the Rio Grande, upstream of White Rock canyon. The canyon formed by the Rio Grande cutting through the Cerros del Rio basalt (yes, I'm a little late to the basalt columns meme). The canyon has been dammed on at least three occasions in the last 3 Ma both by Cerros del Rio basalts and the Tshirege member ofthe Bandelier Tuff, forming lakes that backed up into the Espanola area.

At Tsankawi, a lupine still blooms.

References: various articles, road logs in : Geology of the Jemez Region II, New Mexico Geological Society Fifty-eighth Annual Field Conference, 2007


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Culverts 2: Piping?!!!

A friend sent me this photo. It's somewhere in New Mexico. He's not sure where. He suggested calling it "piping" which is the term used to described water flowing around instead of through a culvert.
Umm...clearly piping is what is occurring here. I like the leftover headwall.

That is all.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Saturday Site Visits, Spring at Terrero (Holy Ghost Canyon)

The spring you see in the picture at the left, flows out of the hillside near the west bank of the Pecos River at Terrero, NM. The flow rate varies during the year from less than one cubic foot per second up to around five cfs. The spring is in a limestone formation, whose name I am not sure. The geologic map for the Rosilla Peak quad is in draft form and hard to read. It doesn't include much detail in the mapping on this hillside, either.

There are also caves just around the hillside (fenced) that have cultural significance to the Jemez Pueblo; when the Pecos Pueblo was so decimated by disease there were few people left, the remainder joined the Jemez. The Jemez were trying to purchase and remove access to this tract (owned by the state, now) some time ago; I'm not sure if they are still working on it.

When the flow increases, occasionally there is some local hullaballoo about cars driving through the spring flow across the road and increasing turbidity and the sediment load in the Pecos, into which the spring flows, albeit through a very nice wetland complex in between the road and the river (just outside the field of view to the right of the photograph to the left). The increased turbidity in the Pecos is not a good thing, and it does piss off the fishermen and women who have likely traveled a ways to get to what is known as a very good trout fishery.

Occasionally, someone will bring up an earthquake somewhere that occurred just about the same time the flow increased. Local knowledge puts it that the flow increase is sourced much more locally (upstream a ways). The rationale is that the flow has, in the past, included fire debris from a canyon about 1/2 mile to a mile upstream that did not occur any further upstream on the Pecos. Presumably, the flow pathways through the limestone include a source in or near that canyon. (Did that make any sense? I'm still a little under the weather.) Nobody knows for sure, as no hydrologic studies have been done on the spring of which I am aware.

It's a lovely spot, and well worth a visit. Just drive up the canyon almost to Terrero, turn left up Holy Ghost canyon, turn right and cross the creek toward the campground, and you'll cross the spring flow in a very short distance.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Accretionary Wedge #27 - Important Geological Experiences

I have no pictures for this one, just the vivid, graphic impressions of a 9-year-old living in Seoul, Korea in 1972. I was already in a foreign land, where the pine trees didn't grow like the pines at home. When I first arrived, at age 7, I went through quite a bit of culture shock, from the smells, the sights, the sounds of Seoul when sewage ran down the streams and there was still no subway. My hair got touched everywhere I went (I was blond as a little girl) and always, crowds of people would gather around me to see the little foreign girl.

After a time I (mostly) got over that, but visits to art museums and palaces with lots of Chinese art always left me with the sarcasm that only a 9-year-old could have: "Mountains don't grow like that!" That thought crossed my mind every time I would see a Chinese scroll or print with these funny tall mountains that didn't have an inverted "v" shape.

That is, until Nixon went to China in February of 1972. Some of the officers who were attaches on the trip were somehow allowed to go to Guilin. And they brought back pictures. And us kids in the 4th, 5th, and 6th grades at Seoul American Elementary School (at the post on Yongsan, for those in the know) were among the first to see them.

It blew my mind that day, that mountains did "grow" that way, that the art I had seen was not all wrong. I looked at those slides with wonder and awe. And they inspired a love of landforms and earth processes I've never lost.

Wikepedia link to Guilin image:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Saturday Site Visits, Tecolote Creek Falls

A few weeks ago, after offering advice to a sand and gravel mining company, I got to do a quick side trip to these falls on Tecolote Creek, near Apache Springs, San Miguel County.

We turned off Hwy 84 onto CR B27, for a not unpleasant drive south (this road, even though dirt, provides access for a number of folks living out this way). Took about 10 minutes or so to get to the fall. Views of tires used as small erosional feature bank stabilization and bypassed culverts provided for much humor on the drive.

We were hoping there was still a little flow over the falls, but, as you can see, they were dry.

There were still a few small pools, or tenajas. I've also seen usage of aguaje applied, but don't have a very good translation of that term.

The creek, in this area, loosely follows the axis of the Tecolote Creek anticline (plunges to southeast). In the upstream reaches, the overlying San Andres has eroded away, largely exposing the underlying Permian Glorieta Sandstone. As one follows the axis of the anticline to the southeast, more of the younger formations are exposed. The falls occur pretty much where Tecolote Creek starts eroding through the Permian San Andres limestone, to spectacular effect.
A view looking upstream.

A view of the top from below. I'm looking forward to seeing this when it flows, maybe next spring runoff (if La Nina gives, and we get snow).

Google Earth image.

Portion of the Apache Springs USGS 1:24,000 geologic quad map. Falls are in the southwest center, where the dirt road crosses the creek in the Psa.

Thanks to an unnamed compatriot at arms for showing me this great location.