Monday, January 17, 2011

What a Geologist Sees - Part 27 [Original Post Date 2/27/09]

100 Things a Geologist Should See or Do

For the source of this list, see this link at Geotripper.

To see the entire list, visit the link. Printing the entire list is too long, so I will list the things I have done or seen and the things that I consider in the realm of possibility of doing sometime in the future.

Been there/done that:

3. See an active geyser... such as those in Yellowstone
6. Explore a limestone cave. Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, Luray Caverns, VA, Raccoon Mt., TN; Cumberland Caverns, TN; Mammoth Cave, KY
7. Tour an open pit mine,... a copper mine in Santa Rita, NM and a uranium mine in Sierra Peña Blanca, Chihuahua.
8. Explore a subsurface mine - a coal mine in Mexico.
13. An exfoliation dome, such as those in the Sierra Nevada - or Stone Mt., GA.
16. A gingko tree, which is the lone survivor of an ancient group of softwoods that covered much of the Northern Hemisphere in the Mesozoic. - Got one in my side yard.
17. Living and fossilized stromatolites (Glacier National Park is a great place to see fossil stromatolites - or the Franklin Mts., El Paso area while Shark Bay in Australia is the place to see living ones) - done 1/2 of that
19. A caldera - Valles Caldera, Los Alamos, NM, several calderas in West Texas
26. A large sinkhole - Silver Springs, FL
33. Petrified trees Bisti Badlands, San Juan County, NM (see this post)
34. Lava tubes Aden Crater, NM
35. The Grand Canyon. All the way down. And back. 1/2 of this, I have been on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon 4 times.
36. Meteor Crater, Arizona, also known as the Barringer Crater, to see an impact crater on a scale that is comprehensible - 1978
58. The Carolina Bays, along the Georgia coastal plains
62. Yosemite Valley - 1974
63. Landscape Arch (or Delicate Arch) in Utah - camera crapped out on both visits 1977 & 1979
80. The Black Canyon of the Gunnison in Colorado - 1977, 1979
84. Find a trilobite (or a dinosaur bone or any other fossil) - found plenty of fossils, including dino bones, but haven't found a complete trilobite, yet.
85. Find gold, however small the flake - numerous times in GA and CA
88. Experience a sandstorm - First spring in El Paso, 1977 and other times
90. Witness a total solar eclipse
95. View a great naked-eye comet, an opportunity which occurs only a few times per century
96. See a lunar eclipse

So, it looks like I have only done 21 of these things (or been 21 of these places). That is not to say I haven't seen a countless number of interesting things, but they might not be interesting enough to put on a Top-100 list.

Might go there/do that someday:

1. See an erupting volcano - I would like to visit either Iceland or Hawaii
2. See a glacier
4. Visit the Cretaceous/Tertiary (KT) Boundary. Possible locations include the San Juan Basin, NM.
5. Observe (from a safe distance) a river whose discharge is above bankful stage (I have watched a rather intense flash flood near Hillsboro, New Mexico, I don't know if that would qualify or not)
11. A slot canyon. Many of these amazing canyons are less than 3 feet wide and over 100 feet deep. They reside on the Colorado Plateau. Among the best are Antelope Canyon, Brimstone Canyon, Spooky Gulch and the Round Valley Draw.
14. A layered igneous intrusion, such as the Stillwater complex in Montana or the Skaergaard Complex in Eastern Greenland.
15. Coastlines along the leading and trailing edge of a tectonic plate (check out The Dynamic Earth - The Story of Plate Tectonics - an excellent website).
18. A field of glacial erratics
20. A sand dune more than 200 feet high
22. A recently formed fault scarp
23. A megabreccia
24. An actively accreting river delta
25. A natural bridge
27. A glacial outwash plain
28. A sea stack
29. A house-sized glacial erratic
30. An underground lake or river
31. The continental divide
32. Fluorescent and phosphorescent minerals
39. The Waterpocket Fold, Utah, to see well exposed folds on a massive scale.
40. The Banded Iron Formation, Michigan, to better appreciate the air you breathe.
44. Devil's Tower, northeastern Wyoming, to see a classic example of columnar jointing
46. Telescope Peak, in Death Valley National Park. From this spectacular summit you can look down onto the floor of Death Valley - 11,330 feet below.
50. The Goosenecks of the San Juan River, Utah, an impressive series of entrenched meanders.
51. Shiprock, New Mexico, to see a large volcanic neck
54. Mount St. Helens, Washington, to see the results of recent explosive volcanism.
59. The Mima Mounds near Olympia, Washington
61. The moving rocks of Racetrack Playa in Death Valley
64. The Burgess Shale in British Columbia
65. The Channeled Scablands of central Washington
66. Bryce Canyon
67. Grand Prismatic Spring at Yellowstone
68. Monument Valley
69. The San Andreas fault
75. A catastrophic mass wasting event
76. The giant crossbeds visible at Zion National Park
77. The black sand beaches in Hawaii (or the green sand-olivine beaches)
78. Barton Springs in Texas (will try to do that next time I am in Austin)
79. Hells Canyon in Idaho
82. Feel an earthquake with a magnitude greater than 5.0.
83. Find dinosaur footprints in situ
86. Find a meteorite fragment
87. Experience a volcanic ashfall
91. Witness a tornado firsthand. (Important rules of this game). (We were in our basement at 1 AM when we got hit by a tornado in 1998, it is probably not the same thing as watching one cross the plains of Oklahoma or Kansas)
92. Witness a meteor storm, a term used to describe a particularly intense (1000+ per minute) meteor shower
93. View Saturn and its moons through a respectable telescope.
94. See the Aurora borealis, otherwise known as the northern lights - (I was in Wisconsin in the summer of 1982, but I was enjoying the local beer and I forgot to look for the Northern Lights at night).
97. View a distant galaxy through a large telescope
98. Experience a hurricane
99. See noctilucent clouds
100. See the green flash

I would add a couple more things:

101. Go to the Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas and stay there until you find a diamond. I found one my first trip there in 1973.
102. Stand on the platform of an operating oil drilling rig. I have sort of done this, we visited a couple of drill rigs in SE New Mexico on a Geology field trip in 1982, both were operating rigs, but they had suspended drilling for safety reasons while we were there (or else some maintenance was going on).

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