Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Time for an experiment

Thought I'd try embedding my blog into my website as a way to temporarily organize my trips and photos... you know, until I figure out what I'm going to do with all of them.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bridalveil Falls Parking Lot... Your Average Gold Depository.

Click Here to view entire album
This was the spectacular view of Bridalveil Falls yesterday from Tunnel View. After navigating past downed trees and over a foot of new snow, the clouds broke long enough for this shot. I've been to the Valley many, many times, but have never seen a display like this.  I could go on about the geology of this area, but I'd prefer to enjoy the view for what it is... awesome.

Monday, April 5, 2010

There's Great Geology Here, I Swear!

To view entire photo album of this trip, please visit www.mrhollister.com
Don't ever cry over spilled paint.  At least when that paint has been spilled over miles of normally brown, dead grass. The photo above is a view looking east into the Wallace Creek "headwaters" within the Temblor Range on the east side of Carrizo Plain National Monument.  The main attraction here is usually the right-lateral offset of Wallace Creek's stream channel. During the past 3800 years the ephemeral stream bed has been offset nearly 420 feet by the San Andreas fault (photo of the offset below) and has become a "textbook" transform plate boundary site known the world over. 
 But sometimes even world famous geology plays second fiddle to unbelievable biodiversity.Thanks to above-average rainfall in one of the sunniest places in California, the valley has sprung to life with literally millions (or even billions) of flowers. Carpets of goldfield blanket the Temblor Range and the entire valley floor around Soda Lake.  In some spots (like the photo below) phacelia two feet tall intermingle with fiddle necks that are every bit as tall.  The result is a spectacular display that rivals the 2005 bloom in Death Valley that I was able to witness.

Although the drive from Turlock was nearly 210 miles, the distance goes quickly on I-5, making this National Monument a doable day trip if you leave early. We left at 9am and returned the same night at 9pm having had a full day to explore and photograph.  Those who visit this area normally devoid of hominids, save for a few geologists or botanists, will find many treasures on display for a very limited showing.
Leaving the monument I would recommend taking HWY 58 West to Shell Creek Road and then taking that road north to Sheldon and HWY 41.  Along the way you just may spy some more wild flowers growing amongst the Upper Miocene-aged (from what I can discern on old maps) layer of coquina that is the region's namesake. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

WildLink Club Visits Point Reyes National Seashore.

Fourteen Turlock High WildLink club members had an amazing day visiting Point Reyes Nation Seashore. While it seems entirely implausible that students growing up a mere two hour drive from the Pacific Ocean had never in their life seen the ocean or touched sand, it is a reality for many of our club members! To remedy the situation our club members got to experience many “firsts” by visiting Point Reyes National Seashore. It was the first time any of them had stood on an actual fault, the first time many of them had seen the ocean, the first time many of them had seen elk, the first time any of them got to run their toes through the sand, etc, etc.

The day was nearly perfect. Temperatures were in the mid fifties with nearly 30mph winds. But our reward for braving the wind was a crystal-clear day in which we could literally see for miles. We started the day by entering the park from S.F. which required a beautiful drive across the Bay & Golden Gate Bridges. We then stopped for a fun geology jaunt along the San Andreas Fault and its rupture zone from the 1906 earthquake. We then headed out to Pierce Point Ranch on Tomales Point for a birds-eye view of the azure Pacific while on a four mile hike. Along the way we got lucky and spied some large Tule Elk very close to the trail, but no whales out in the sea.

The last stop of the day was at the amazing Kehoe Beach. Not only was there good geology (seeing the Laird Sandstone, the Monterey formation and Salinian granitics) but there were also tons of freshly deposited jelly fish! Not to mention the tide was out and everyone got to get their feet a bit wet and sandy. A great day was had by all and it would have been better if the doggone clock hadn’t lost an hour on Sunday morning!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jon Stewart Reads my Mind

Jon Stewart... I LOVE you and the Daily Show. But only in a very scientific way.

And here's Sanchez's mia culpa in which he states he was a bit frustrated trying to understand a whole bunch of "scientific jargon". Oh boy... no redemption for Ol' Sanchez....

And, oh BTW, did anyone happen to stumble across the following tsunami video on Youtube? Great footage, but a bit risky for not knowing exactly what was coming, even if it was the second crest.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anchorperson Science Stupidity Award ~ Rick Sanchez's Tsunami Coverage: A Nine Meter Drop? What Does That Mean

Photo source: The Daily Show

With the entertainment awards season in full throttle I thought it would be nice to create an award that would recognize science achievement by the cable news media since they get so little love during events that have scientific significance or causation.  However, after watching more than three hours of cable feeds this afternoon trying to see a tsunami (small as it may have been) roll ashore in Hawaii, I realized science achievement by an anchorperson was an unattainable dream. 

So back to the drawing board to create a more meaningful award.  My first incarnation, "Science Douche of the Week", had a good ring to it. But upon further review I was afraid folks like Glen Beck might steal the catchy name of this award and apply it to scientists who continue to "believe" in that confounded global warming stuff.  I couldn't stand the thought of good scientists being labeled as douches or the thought of the word "douche" being uttered on air.  So, back to the proverbial drawing board I went for the third time determined to create a great award.

After many seconds of deep, ponderous thought I had an epiphany...  I specifically needed to include "anchorperson" and "science" in the title of the award so as not to confuse anyone.   Thus I settled on the "Anchorperson Science Stupidity" award knowing it would be classy, specific, and the least likely award name to be ripped-off by news organizations.  With that in mind, please let me introduce the inaugural winner of the "Anchorperson Science Stupidity" award.

The first Anchorperson Science Stupidity award in history now belongs to CNN's Rick Sanchez who was briefly interviewing poor Dr. Kurt Frankel from Georgia Tech.  Thank god for online transcripts so that I can fully relay the exchange that made me want to jump through the TV and strangle the "Sensationalist Sanchez" and also cower in embarrassment all at the same time.

The scene of the award wining conversation: Meteorologist Ms. Jeras was using her fancy touchscreen to illustrate some recent readings of a 9m drop detected by buoys several hundred miles off the Hawaii Coast. An apparently confused Rick Sanchez then asked Jeras what a 9m drop meant?  Deciding she didn't quite know, Jeras deflected the question to poor Dr Frankel.  The intense interview that ensued is why Rick Sanchez wins the A.S.S. award... take a look.


JERAS: OK, so these are the detection which are out there in the Pacific Ocean. And you can see the flashing ones. These are active. These are the ones that we're watching. And there's Hawaii right from there. About 140 miles away from the Hawaiian island, we have a Bouie out there and this is what it is showing here. There you can see the line and notice this big drop down here. We have this big drop. This is about a nine-meter drop.

SANCHEZ: Nine meter drop. What does that mean?

JERAS: Well, it means that the ocean waves are doing something, that we're seeing some changes, it's been going down. And look at that, we've got a big rise. And so we're going to get our expert in here who's way smarter than you and me put together. Dr. Kurt Frankel.

And Dr. Frankel, tell us a little bit, you know, we talk about how the tsunami waves will come in or the water will pull back before we start to see. Is this a sign of that?

DR KURT FRANKEL, GEORGIA INST OF TECH: I think that's a sign of that. I don't think you can translate that nine meters into necessarily any specific wave height that will hit Hawaii, so we need to be careful about that. You know, doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be nine meters of run-up in Hawaii. But it's showing that the tsunami in fact...

SANCHEZ: Nine meters, by the way, nine meters in English is ...

FRANKEL: Oh, about 27 feet. SANCHEZ: Twenty-seven feet. So we're seeing a 27-foot drop in that area right there? Sorry about that.

FRANKEL: That's right, and so this is recorded by a pressure censor on the bottom of the ocean that is attached to a buoy. So that pressure sensor, the pressure of the ocean changes, as the wave comes through, it sends a signal to this buoy, which relays it to satellite and then down to NOAA.

SANCHEZ: Well, hold on a minute, wouldn't it follow that -- follow that if all of a sudden a part of the ocean just dropped 27 feet, the reaction to, you know, the yang is that yin is that it will also go up at some point?

FRANKEL: It will go up. But that does not mean, again, that there is not going to be 27 feet...

SANCHEZ: No, I'm not asking you to do 27 to 27. I'm just saying if there's a drop, will there be an increase?

FRANKEL: There should -- there should be an increase.

SANCHEZ: So there will be some kind of wave activity there. What you're saying is we can't exactly measure...

FRANKEL: You can't extrapolate that to what is going to happen in Hawaii. OK, it's the function of the coastline topography, of how the -- of the slope of the continental -- there's no continental shelf in Hawaii, but the slope of the land coming off the coast. And so, there is a whole other number of factors that play into this.

SANCHEZ: But what we can say is, tell me if I'm wrong, there is a tsunami there and it was just detected that it caused a 27-foot drop.

FRANKEL: Yeah, we recoded the tsunami passing that buoy, yes.

SANCHEZ: That's important. Sorry. Um, well, this is interesting. I mean, I have never seen something develop like this and science being used the way you guys use it to get all of your material

Monday, February 22, 2010

Time to break in the new D700 in Death Valley!

What better way to break my months of silence and uber-study than to announce that I got a sweet new Nikon D700 as an early graduation/tax return gift to myself?  After months of saving and with a looming trip to Death Valley with MJC, I was somehow able to convince my lovely wife that I indeed needed $3000-worth of camera equipment. With that trip now in the rear view mirror and my comps approaching, I thought I'd post the first practice shots from our jaunt through the desert with Geotripper. He does a much more magnificent job of story telling, but I thought several of you may enjoy the following photos.

To see most of the trip stops in Google Earth, click here.