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Monday, September 29, 2014

From Snadstone to Sandstone: The Promise of Literary Sensitivity

      Sandstone, often misprinted as snadstone (even occasionally today, in a spell checker world) in-spires in its magical, swirling layers:

         autumn colors, shadow, light, eroded surfaces, 


 and miniature landscapes:

          Thanks for the sand and sandstone topic idea, jan. A good introduction to sandstone, mostly reddish, yellowish or brownish in color, is here. Emily Eggleston describes the strength of the atomic scaffolding of silica in excellent Wisconsin frac sand. [Lego, could you kindly post a photo of one of the frac sand mines some time?]

     Sandstone, the poster rock for autumn, is a great stone for weaving in this comment from Dr. Susan Van Dyne, a professor at Smith College, on one of my essays typed on onion skin paper in a course called "The American Dream:"

         My mom sent a box of stuff last week with a gray, non-descript folder containing my ancient essays lining the bottom (I almost missed it and happened on it today while getting the box ready to be reused and filled with fruit for my daughter).

          The last line of her critique reads "You have promise of literary sensitivity in all of your essays." Red! Red! Red!

        (shell of 8 on CT River 9-29)

          Her words, after buckets of red ink all over a semester of short papers, meant much more to me than all the A grades in high school. Finally, true sandstone! Beautiful, cross-bedded, fine- to coarse-grained sandstone (not snadstone). 


     As the former Editor-in-Chief of The Mountain Geologist, a technical journal of the Rocky Mountain Association of Geologists (RMAG),

I encountered an astounding number of snadstones. One of my associate editors was John Hickenlooper, who is now Colorado's governor. We (and all of RMAG) had many chuckles over snadstones, prompting a whole bit (not a drill bit) in the organization's monthly newsletter written by a fictional, crotchety, old prospector in search of the elusive snadstone.

     As to the last word today, I will leave it to Dr. Van Dyne's critique to pave the trail for my summary:

      "Always better to end essay with your own words rather than a quote -- as critic and organizer of discussion you deserve last word."

     I am publishing a bit early today so tomorrow's annual trek to Hell's Hole (weather permitting--it's been a wild hail and snow afternoon) will be open to the whole day for a sedimental (well, actually, it's mostly granite and lots of metamorphic rocks) journey.

      See you after my trip to Hell and Back!

      Sandstone. Sandstone. Sandstone.



September 30, 2014 Hell's Hole Trail and environs, CO

     Things are orangier than they have ever been in Colorado this autumn. Might our very wet year in CO account for more oranges than yellows this fall?

     "When you're going through Hell's Hole, keep going," to paraphrase Winston Churchill.

     Splendid day, if a bit windy and chilly:


      And the solution to just about everything is swimming outside in October:


Saturday, September 20, 2014

PEOTS, PLUTO, and PLUOTS: What a Gezellig Trip Around the Sun!

     October 1st of last year was the official launch of Partial Ellipsis of the Sun or PEOTS

     I published the first post with terrible formatting, just one hand-drawn image, and a few mission paragraphs. Jan's was the only comment (thanks, jan!).

     The PEOTS logo was introduced ("Looks like a sun with three eyes" was RoRo's comment):

      Over 23,000 page views and nearly a year later, I am quite pleased with the growth and interest in PEOTS, astounded with your loyalty (especially jan, lego, Paul, Joanne, and David) and humour, and generally am much happier with the combination of formatting and images.

         The most popular post, about petrographic thin sections, was viewed over 800 times:

Petrographic Thin Sections, Deadlines, and Nature's Stained Glass

     It was written right after my trip to Kaua'i, Hawai'i. This blog has chronicled that trip, my unexpected trip to the playa that holds the Burning Man Festival in Nevada, 

as well as local trips to beloved Kunming Park in Denver with even more beloved Maizie:

    Thank you for traveling with me on these journeys, adding awe, humour, and encouragement. The gezellig nature of your company has warmed my heart, cooled my jets, humbled me, prodded me, and most importantly, made me laugh and learn every single day.

        I welcome this quizzical look and am happy to see both birding and Nevada Basin and Range extensional geology have resurfaced here at PEOTS more than once.

      We may not have Neil de Grasse Tyson and PLUTO:

Neil de Grasse Tyson says Pluto is "happier" not being a planet

                                                      .  .  .

but we do have plenty of PLUOTS:



as well as lots of untranslatable gezelligheit.

Thank you for being here. 



        Summer Clouds Meet Autumn Clouds 9/22/14:

Radiologist "Selfie": Embedded True North Arrow?

I have wondered this (Here's hoping this week's PEOTS HEADLINE DID NOT FEEL LIKE YELLING!):

      And finally, even though there is no north arrow (!) on this map of Paris, I am quite fond of this thrift store find ($7.88 Euros). It is a 2002 reproduction, printed in Italy, and beautifully framed. Any idea of the vintage of the original map?

Tour de 300 Metres (not referred to as Tour d'Eiffel)

Detail: well, look at that engraved detail at St. Ambroise. . .

And the entire map. . .


Smith College West Mountain Day picnic, 9/29/14:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

True North and Week 51: Using Maps as Spatial "To Do Lists"

     It's Week 51 (not Area 51) of Partial Ellipsis of the Sun. WOW! What a year! Thanks for your support, your puns, your funny stories, your intellect, and yes, thanks, too, for sharing your heartbreaks.

     For the past two weeks, I have been exploring creating a daily map of my day, as I tend to think spatially anyway and to do lists are so tedious. 

      And I always start with a NORTH ARROW:

     True North. Not True South. Not True West. Not True East. True North is always the way I align myself to the day. There are many ways to represent that north arrow. . .

        Whichever north arrow one uses, the path leading up to the tip of the arrow is generally straight, unlike the path we usually follow in a day. The kindergartners and I each have our own MAP BOOKS, replete with a TRUE NORTH arrow on each internal page:

             After just one session with the map books the kids drew those north arrows first, like map-making pros, and then drew the playground with the dinosaur nest with 13 dinosaur "eggs" and mom and dad dinosaurs on or near the nest.

            [They also made "business cards" to hand out to friends:]

           Here's an example of a TRUE NORTH map for last Sunday:

       The kids already know that the north arrow may not be pointing up but may point to the left or right or even down but knowing true north is a critical part of the map. 

         One more piece of art from the festival on the playa. . .That's True North, too, especially on the journey I traveled with my son in the extensional Basin and Range topography of Nevada.

     Where is your True North? Have you tried making a map of your day instead of a to do list?



     My son teaching the kindies ;-) :


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Karst and Kunming: Limestone "Forest" Tree-o in Denver, Colorado


        This tree-o of limestone "trees" at City of Kunming Park in the Rosedale area of Denver, Colorado, piqued my curiosity about their origin in the limestone "forests" in Yunnan, China:

     The three limestone pieces from the humid climes of China are eroding very quickly in arid Colorado:

     The Stone Forest (Shilin) forms part of the South China karst region that extends over a surface of 500,000 square kilometers in Yunnan, Guizhou, and Guangxi Provinces:

       Kunming represents one of the world’s most well-preserved examples of humid, tropical to subtropical karst landscapes. There are pinnacles, columns, mushroom- and tree- shaped features formed by limestone dissolution. The 270 million year old limestone "trees" have been likened to giant stalagmites even though they did not form in caves:

      Here is a good introduction to KARST TOPOGRAPHY.  

        According to Chinese legend, the stone forest is the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl from the Yi people, an ethnic group from China, Viet Nam, and Thailand. After falling in love, she was forbidden to marry her chosen suitor and instead turned into a stone in the forest.


              If a stone tree falls in the stone forest. . .? (You must have seen that coming).

Rock on,
(Word Woman)

. . .And a few plum wonderful images of fruit from the 89 trees I helped plant on my friends' orchard in April, 2008. They were mostly just sticks with a few roots when we planted them. I recall the tamping down the earth around them quite vividly. . .

   The 89 live trees (not stone trees), although they do bear stone fruit!

     These are Flavor King pluots. We also planted Flavor Grenade pluots. . .Yes, they are that good and juicy.

      Just pulled the pin on one of these Flavor Grenades. Perfectly yin yangy.

The Aleph (see comment below from the morning of 9/14/14)


     Lego, I believe Noosie's feline spirit is up here on Grays Peak in Colorado with Paul, the cat (not to be confused with Paul, the human), and Maizie:

Maizie at Kunming Park ("still" photos):

And the video:

Happy Almost Autumn! Enjoy.  .  .