Exploring the Earth and Sky of the West

Back to the Northwest: the Land of Homework and Geology

Yes, I am still alive. Although I imagine that someone who wasn’t would have marginally more time to attend to a photo blog than I have over the past few months.  Between a full class schedule, 15 or more hours of work a week, writing a thesis, and occasionally taking time to interact with other human beings in a social setting leaves sadly little time for photo editing and blogging.  But now that the annual bundle of happiness that is the four days off from school offered by Columbus Day weekend is here, I find myself with free time (gasp!) and no shortage of photos to sift through from the past several months.

My most recent excursion was the 4-day whirlwind of turtle tops, rock hammers, marshmallow volcanoes, humorous jokes, campfires, burritos, and all-around general merriment that is our bi-annual Regional Geology field trip.  This year we made a circuit through central Oregon to look at the ancient Cascade volcanoes and some of the best preserved fossil beds in the world. Rather then bore you with my umpteen pictures of rock outcrops with my lens cap or pencil in them for scale, I’ll share the ones that show why trips like these are the biggest perk of being a geology student:

Smith Rock State Park, Oregon: a rock climbers paradise and caldera of an ancient supervolcano.

Preserved ancient soils in the Painted Hills, John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

Mescall Overlook, John Day Valley, OR

Dogs in Oregon apparently like chasing flying moustaches...who knew?!

Thick lava flows beneath the US 97 Bridge over the Crooked River, near Bend, OR

My big fossil find of the weekend: ammonites native to Asia plastered onto North America via plate tectonics!

Community Hall in Izee, OR

P.S.  For those of you stumped by the marshmallow volcano reference, watch this to see what to see a geology department tradition and learn what happens when you stuff several bags of marshmallows inside an empty beer can.  Yes, this is how geologists entertain themselves.


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