Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend in the Columbia River Gorge

So Sam had a series of softball games in Hood River on Saturday. I was excited about this because this was an opportunity for me to get into the Columbia River Gorge. Despite being in Oregon for almost 2-years, I had only been in the Gorge once on a return trip from Ape Cave on the southside of Mt. St. Helens. And on that trip it was dark and I was the only driver so I did not get to see much geology.

On this trip, either because she was more awake or because she knew I would be looking at rocks, Stephanie drove down to Hood River, so I got to gawk. I tried taking pictures from the car, but most did not turn out, but I did get one that showed the "cake layers" of the individual flows. This picture was taken at about mile marker 79 and shows the Washington side of the Columbia River. Unfortunately when I got the shot there were no cars (or better yet trains) on the other side for scale.

On the way home, I got this shot from the Columbia River Gorge Discovery Center Museum in the Dalles (exit 82). It does not have the same nice layers as the previous image, but it does show the layers dipping towards the river (SE) and it has a BNFS train for scale.

Oh  yeah, the softball game....  Won one, lost two (both by 1 run), Sam went 1 for 6 with her one hit being a nice line drive into center field. She made it to third when they missed the throw and tag at second, but in the end was left on base.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Rock Show

So on Sunday we (dad, Os and I) went to a rock show in Hermiston. It had all kinds of rocks like sapphires, pearls, geodes, thunder rocks, tiger eyes, fiber optic, loadstones ect. I got opal, a geode and a bracelet made of loadstone and glass beads now at school it sticks to my desk. Well I had fun and encourage you to go to next year in May.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Accretionary Wedge

This month's Accretionary Wedge is being hosted by Highly Allochthonus. For my first ever submission to this Geo-blogging carnival I am adding an image I took in Makoshika State Park, Montana. I had the fortune to teach at a small community college near there for four years, and treasured the time that I got to spend exploring the park and prospecting for fossils. I use this image in class when I sedimentary rocks and stratigraphy, I also talk about the paleo-environment that would have resulted in the sandstone/claystone/coal beds seen in the picture, and because this image shows the K/T boundary between the Hell Creek Formation and the Fort Union Member of the Tullock Formation, I use it again when I talk about the K/T boundary.

An annotaded version is shown below

Although the iridium layer has been identified in the Hell Creek/Fort Union boundary, it has not yet been looked for at Maksoshika State Park. Also, the K/T boundary and the irridium layer have been identified as the lowest contiguous coal bed "Z-coal" the fossil record show the transition between Cretaceous and Tertiatry aged fossil to be a couple of meters below the boundary coal. Interestingly the distribution of Cretaceous fossils in this area was used by J.Keith Riby citation needed as evidenc of gradual extinction, while Sheehan et al. 2000 found evidence of abrupt extinction.