Tough commute

Geotripper got a new camera for his birthday, and has been taking pictures of mountains. I haven't posted enough pictures since I got my camera in December, so here's a view of my daily commute:


Here, let me label it for people who don't make a habit of seeing geology in landscapes (picture below fold):


The dreaded Mancos Shale, which is found on all the lower slopes in the background, was deposited near the western shore of the great interior seaway of North America, about 90 million years ago. My colleagues who are into fossils tell me that there are some massive clam shells in it, if you look in the right places. When sea level fell, the sea receded to the east, and my area became covered with a series of sandy islands or deltas like today's Gulf of Mexico coast. The cliffs of the Mesa Verde Group (named for the place with the Ancestral Puebloan ruins) are the remnant of the old shoreline.

The La Plata Mountains in the background are a local culprit for the disappearance of the ocean here. They're cored by igneous rocks, a shallow magma body that dates (probably) to around the time when the dinasaurs went extinct, and the sedimentary rocks have been bent into a dome above them. They've also got ore deposits in them, historically mined, and currently the source of conflict between neighboring landowners.

The pinyon and sagebrush are the native vegetation at 6800 feet. There aren't many places in town where you find them, now. They're growing on a terrace of glacial outwash, remnant of the ice that ended in town during the last glacial maximum. The terrace is covered by reddish loess - wind-blown silt deposited beyond the end of the glaciers as they receded. It sticks to shoes during this season.

The blowing snow was the reason I regretted not wearing a hat on the day I took this picture. Brr.

Even with cold ears, though, it's not bad as far as commutes go.

More like this

Gee Kim, won't the Borg allow you to publish full text RSS feeds. Clicking through to see the below the fold stuff sucks.

Pretty commute though!

Hello Kim,

I have been fascinated with geology since I was very young.
My degree is in Mech Eng but I did manage to get two semesters of geo back in the day, but obviously my knowledge is limited.
Much of my hands on geology has been in the oil fields here in Pennsylvania and there is a porous ancient sea shore 900 feet below where I am sitting that was once full of good 'ol Pennsylvania Crude.

Having said that, I had a friend direct me to an article from a supposed geologist over at Answers in Genesis.
From what I remember from my limited training, I could not believe my eyes when I read Rock Layers Folded, Not Fractured, Food Evidence Number Six.

I was wondering if you would be so kind as to refute some of the most egregious "faults" with this article. I fully understand if you don't feel it is worth your time.

In the meantime, thank you for rekindling my interest in Geology and I hope to be checking out the links to other Geoblogs you have provided.

Dale S.

Ron - I'd always wanted to be able to cut my blogger posts into a teaser and an extended post, but I was never able to get it to work on blogger. I like having a teaser that's shorter than a single screen - I think it looks better on the main page. And even though I've got a high-speed connection now, image-heavy posts take forever to load via Google Reader - I usually click through to other people's posts to look at the pictures anyway.

So no, the Borg hasn't made me do anything - its software made it possible to do something I had always wanted to be able to do.

Beautiful photo. I was born and raised in Dgo. and remember those ridgelines well. Even though I left in '72, they do not look like they have changed. No doubt in the valley between everything has changed.

P.S., We share a name, but not gender.

What a picturesque commute! I'm jealous!!

LOL @ blowing snow! I've never considered blowing snow to be part of the geology of the landscape, so that was funny to read.