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View Diary: DKos Tour Series: Grand Canyon National Park (Part 2) (57 comments)

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  •  Upstate New York. (2+ / 0-)
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    RiveroftheWest, elfling

    It was really nothing, just a quirk of topology and all in top soil. The interesting thing to me at this day is the way that the unchlorinated grass held the surface together, while the channel from the chlorinated water created a little chasm I called my canyon. I know you can understand that, that deeply rooted vegetation can create a sort of solid layer resistant to erosion. Thats how my little "canyon" came to be. The chlorinated areas died and exposed the loose soil, while the surrounding soil was solid full of rooted grasses. Not a perfect comparison to hard limestone at the top of the GC, but not insignificant or irrelevant to the way erosion works!

    The soil around here is mostly if not entirely glacial till deposited as the glaciers retreated. There isn't much specific info I can tell you about the soil, only that the bedrock is really ancient thanks to glaciation taking away a large portion of our geologic history.

    What I call my "canyon" was about a half a foot deep, maybe at best a foot, but it did end up being a steeply walled channel in the soil. I get now that the top layer of thickly rooted grass essentially kept the entire thing from collapsing, but that is a rather recent understanding.. as in this very diary introducing me to the idea that a stable surface layer can help preserve lower layers.

    •  Impressive. . . (2+ / 0-)
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      RiveroftheWest, elfling

      you went all out on this experiment. I didn't realize it was so entailed. And your geologic description and background helps to explain the process in an academic way. That terrain and topography where you live is indeed a fascinating sculpting process. By contrast, there was no glacial activity this far south (near today's Grand Canyon region), albeit the benefit would come millions of years later when the glacial meltdown ripped through the canyon's interior for thousands of years, and it is estimated the average c.f.s. was something around 450,000. Can you imagine such high volume of water! Anyway, that's likely when the greatest deepening of its chasm occurred, and in a relatively short time. And, yes, the caprock is essential in preserving everything below. The Grand Canyon is only still reserved because the Kaibab Limestone preserves both rims. The fourth layer down, the Supai Group, is a mixture of shale and sandstone, and is much weaker than the others on top, so when that group goes, so does everything on top. That's how we do things in our neck of the woods, geologically speaking. I think you will agree geology is a much more fascinating subject than most people grasp. Indeed, it's the basis of this entire planet. One of these days I'll be posting a two-part series on tectonic plates. Let's see if our illustrious community will be tolerant with my introduction to same. Thanks for posting your very interesting experiment and comment, RadicalParrot.

      Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

      by richholtzin on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 06:28:02 AM PDT

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      •  I hope you do that. (2+ / 0-)
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        elfling, RiveroftheWest

        Plate tectonics is fascinating too. Don't remember what channel it was on but there was a really in depth exploration of the Marianas Trench I saw not too long ago.. it helped update my knowledge about oceanic plates. I never knew there was such a thing as a "mud volcano" before! and the old idea I was taught (of plates being static things moving across the mantle, or being pushed around I guess) was corrected... its more like a conveyor belt, with new rock forming at one end, and the weight of the crust pulling older, cooler, denser/less buoyant rock down into the mantle at the other.

        I think I might do a post about upstate geology. The way the glaciers formed this area is pretty interesting stuff, and some of the formations left behind are pretty cool. I'll have to put some research into it though because I've forgotten many of the details.

        •  just today. . . (1+ / 0-)
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          RiveroftheWest

          I got out a rough draft on the subject and will see if I can whittle it down a bit and maybe fit into a one or two-part series. Fascinating subject, though it can get quite involved, information wise. Anyway, I'll have a 'think' on it, RadicalParrot, and see what my besieged mind (feels that way, some of the time) can manage to do with such scientific subject matter. And I would LOVE it if you could do a write-up on your upstate geology region. I also have a large tome on the Emperor Penguins and Antarctica's bout with ice shelf meltdown, so I'm big time intrigued with glaciers and such. Let me know if I can help in any way, because that book I wrote taught me everything about those wonderful and animated wingless birds (the Emperor Penguins) and the global warming phenomena that should rightful be called "global swinging." Thanks for posting your most interesting comments, by the way. I enjoy the dialogue. Hope the DKos community feels the same way.

          Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

          by richholtzin on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 03:21:10 PM PDT

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          •  Who care about them? (1+ / 0-)
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            RiveroftheWest

            I'm happy enough to be able to go back and forth with someone who finds geology as cool as I do :)

            I think I would like to follow in your footsteps, in how you explored the Southwest for us, I would like to explore the Northeast. It is maybe not as visually stunning as your backyard, but who is it that said this? It is the journey, not the destination.

            •  let me tell you something about hiking. . . (1+ / 0-)
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              RiveroftheWest

              in your part of the country: it's tough, damn hiking and we find, on the field institute, some of best hikers come from your neck of the woods. Why? Those mountains may not be the big-busted ladies we have out here in the West, but they're damn hard on the feet, rocks and trail debris, and often slippery due to the rains. Even skiers in the Northeast tend to make better skiers than Western sorts, because folks are used to blue ice conditions; out here it's not that at all. Anyway, I climbed the White Mountains and a few other ranges and let me tell those mountains kicked my butt. Period. And I found the scenery exceptional and different than the wide open canyon-desert-mesa country, but beauty is beauty and I love hiking/backpacking and being with Mom Nature.

              Treat the world (yourself, and others) as part of a living organism. Everyone and everything will benefit.

              by richholtzin on Mon Apr 08, 2013 at 04:40:12 PM PDT

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