Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sample Happy in Utah

I've got a little catch-up to do. We finished up in Utah; after about 10 days of getting up at 5:00 and staying out for about 10 hours each day, digging lots of pits and collecting a ton of samples (almost 70 from Utah alone! My rubbermaid bin is nearly full), we headed to Denver for the next leg.

It was a little sad leaving our little valley in Utah; we were used to the sights. The two guys always leaning against the back of their pickup chatting on our way back to camp, the crazy bearded guy riding down the canyon road everyday, and friendly people everywhere.

The drive from central Utah to Denver is, of course, a geologist's heaven. Interstate 70 is pretty amazing, and this is the first time I've done that drive with another geologist in the car and the "roadside geology of Utah" book. The San Rafael Swell (shades of my sed/strat class in college), the Morrison formation and tons of dinosaur localities and then Glenwood Canyon and views of the Great Unconformity heading into Denver. Tracy had never been on I-70 through Colorado before and had her face pressed to the window, oohing and aahing the whole time.

We're now living the high life in Denver, and sampling the Denver basin, which is east of I-25, between Denver and Colorado Springs. We're staying at the Governor's Mansion in Denver (aka, Ben Hamilton's house), and coordinating the sampling effort with folks from the Denver Natural History Museum and some of my previous collaborators from other projects, so it is fun to be in the field with a group again. We've also been able to sleep in a little, and it isn't so hot, so we finish the day feeling tired, but not quite so trashed as in Utah.

Tracy and I had fun digging a big trench in THE paleosol in the Denver Basin yesterday, and more of the same today. Tomorrow we'll take a day off, and then Tuesday sample the big core they dug a year or so ago in the basin and maybe check out the Museum. Likely we'll head back to the west for one last week before Tracy heads home and I head to the Midwest. Hope all is well with all of you!

early morning on the outcrop
Apparently Ephraim is a scandinvaian hotspot. Every store is an Anderson's, Olsen's, Jensen's or Larson's.
How did they know we needed a backhoe? The forest service left this for us in our campsite in UT one day.
Rare photographic evidence that I'm actually on this trip. Beautiful Navajo cross-bedded sandstone in the bottom right of the picture.
The San Raphael Swell, looking east.
Nutella and Brownies give small women the strength to dig deep pits.

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