Sunday, July 13, 2008

Week 1: The Warm-up

(overlooking Hwy 168, astride an ancient reef)

We hit the infamous Poleta Fold belt on June 18th and did our best to conquer daunting regions known as Confusion Canyon, Van Gogh's Ear and the Meat Grinder, just to name a few. We were not alone; UC Santa Barbara and UCLA were out at the same time, which was fun but it certainly created some new and interesting challenges. Try finding a quiet place to visit the little Geologist's room while the hills crawl with students and there are no trees.....

The 1st week was a chance for all of us to get our field goggles back on by measuring and describing the old Cambrian-aged Poleta Formation,
(up they go!)

then mapping it's outcrop pattern in "Little Poleta."
(Corina and Scott find the fold hinge. It's like finding a pot of gold...)
(diligent mappers get back to the outcrop)

Little did they realize how fondly they would look back on Hell Hole once they got to Big Poleta. But, they rose to the challenge, mapped and moved, and earned their first day off.
(victim of hell hole or just another gratuitous dead-animal-in-the-desert shot?)

A chunk of us spent an ambitious day off climbing Laurel Mountain, on the edge of Convict Lake. We were seduced by the description of the climb as a geologist's dream and we weren't disappointed. Laurel Mountain is the top of an incredible exposure of metamorphic rock, similar in age and original lithology (ie, shallow marine shelf rocks) to the ones in the Poleta Fold belt, but MUCH more metamorphosed (check here for more dramatic photos of the face than I have).
(eensy-beensy geologist in blue shirt for scale, near the bottom of the photo)
(still a lot of rock to go)

It took us about 3 hours longer than we expected, and the near-run down the mountain through vegetation covered hillsides to get back to the van left us pooped with shredded shins. I definitely moved a little slower in the field the next day.

(happy at the top)
(pooped at the bottom)
Stayed tuned for week 2....

No comments: