Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Geologist "Wish List" (Perhaps a "Geo-Bucket List")

or at least part of it. [Yeah, this kind of stuff is only interesting to fellow geologists. I am trolling for more geology readers.] Maybe someday I can mark off at least a few of these things.

I may have alluded elsewhere to a few of thing things I still would like to see or do, relating to Geology (and other sciences).

As for collecting things, I would like the opportunity at some point to collect:

A decent zircon crystal, a decent topaz crystal, a complete trilobite, and a complete ammonite. A crinoid calyx with at least a portion of the column would be nice, too.

As for the minerals, I seek not gem-quality, but rather specimen quality, to be able to show kids what a topaz crystal (or at least a piece of topaz looks like, likewise with the zircon. I have collected a diamond in Arkansas; aquamarine in New Hampshire; green and pink tourmaline in Maine; golden beryl in Georgia; rhodonite, rhodochrosite, and huebnerite in Colorado; rutile and platinum in Georgia, yada, yada.

As for things I would like to see (and photograph) (taking my family, if they want into some of the back-country areas, in a 4 X 4):

Monument Valley, AZ/UT.  My parents went through there in the summer of 1980 and my Dad passed away in November of 1980.  I scanned some of his slides last year and for some of the Monument Valley photos, as I don't know the exact location and orientation of the photograph view, I do not know which mesas and buttes I am looking at.  Some of them I have been able to ID from the internet, but some are given different names by different photographers. I would like to be able to identify them myself. I would also like to take in the magnificent scenery seen in so many John Ford movies.  [Update: Made two brief visits during June and July, 2015.   A more thorough visit was planned for July, but heavy rains prevented exploring the "back country".]

Grants, New Mexico basalt flows.  As you drive on I-40 between Albuquerque and the Arizona line, in the Grants, NM area, there are basalt flows that seem to have "rolled up" to the edge of the freeway, when in fact, the flows were already there. As these flows are geologically young, in an arid climate, their features are well-preserved. I would just like to stop and get some close-up photos of these flows.  [Update: Made a brief photo-stop during July, 2015.]

The Jemez Mountains, NM.  In the Los Alamos, New Mexico area, there is a young, caldera-type volcano, which I visited on a field trip in 1985, but I misplaced my field notebook, so a few of my slides have left me wondering "what is that?". I would like to collect from some of the volcanic ash deposits along the roadway and get some more examples of pumice.

The Davis Mountains, Texas.  I visited the Davis Mountains several times as a UTEP grad student, but again, some of my slides are not labeled and I cannot identify the particular volcanic unit names nor the exact locations. You have to learn that your memory will not last forever. To a geology student, a neat photograph only has so much value if the subject is not well-defined.

Vinton Canyon, Franklin Mts., Texas.  I visited this locality several times as a grad student and it is a good locality for collecting Pennsylvanian-aged fossils and on the gradual slopes further to the west of the canyon's mouth, there are places to collect Permian-aged fossils. I would like to photograph the localities and re-identify which limestone and shale formations they are (this stuff contributes to the scientific value of fossils). And maybe collect a few more fossils.

The Eagle Mountains, Texas. I spent 10 weeks in the Eagle Mountains (a large caldera-type volcano) during the summer of 1978 and revisited the area in 1979 or 1980 for a weekend. I shot hundreds of good slides while there, but for a few of them, I can't remember exactly where in the mountains I was (of course I want to be there with topo maps. My field area was in a specific part of the mountains, which I remember well, it was when I ventured into other areas that my memory fails me. I would also like a few more close-up shots of some of the volcanic textures. There is also an area where volcanic ash and other eruptive debris was washed into a small lake and solidified as siltstone layers.  I would like to go back and walk the margins of those deposits and collect some more samples.  It is not often that you see sedimentary rocks deposited inside of a volcano.   Ideally, I would like to write a short article about this unusual occurrence.

Yellowstone National Park.  When I was there in 1974, I had an Instamatic camera and an undergrad's understanding of what I was seeing (which was very little).

The Snake River Plateau, Idaho.  Same 1974 trip, same deal.

Yosemite National Park.  Same 1974 trip, same deal.

Clayton-Raton Volcanic Field, NE New Mexico.

Sunset Crater, Flagstaff, AZ area.  Have been through the area several times, just haven't visited.  [Update: Visited area for a few hours in Mid-July, 2015.]

Central Wisconsin. While traveling the area in 1982, I forgot to reel in my completed roll of 35 mm film back before opening the back of the camera (Do'h!), whereby I lost all of my slides of glacial features.  My brewery slides were on other rolls, but I lost all of the geology stuff.

Aden/Afton Basalts, southern New Mexico.  I did my Master's Thesis in these young volcanics and I became sick of the "sameness" of the flows, while I was mapping some unusual craters.  I shot hundreds of slides and dozens of print photos. There are some other features that I saw, but did not photograph in other parts of the area, i.e., other volcanic features that one might have to otherwise see in Hawaii.  As they were not directly related to my field work, I said I would "get them later".

I guess the best thing I can do is pass along to current geology students (and others interested in nature photography/study) is - make good notes and label your photos/specimens. Despite your passion, you won't remember all of these details 10 or 20 years from now.

Hawaii.  Need I say more?

Mason, Texas area.  Topaz.

Calvert Cliffs, Maryland.  Fossils.

Coker Creek, Tennessee.  Gold Panning.

Arches National Park, Moab, UT area.  I have been to Arches NP twice, in 1977 and 1979.  Both times my camera shutter jammed, leaving me with zero slides.

Vicksburg, MS loess.   Just to touch it, just to feel it and its texture.  [Update:  Did this Late-July, 2015.]

To be continued...

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