Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dust Storm at The Needle Rocks, Pyramid Lake

It was a very windy day as I drove south along what's variably called the Surprise Valley Road or the Sand Pass Road (and to the north, is often called the Smoke Creek Road) into the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe's Reservation.
Various signs at the north entrance to the reservation.
I could see the dust -- and the faded outline of the Lake Range beyond the curve. The signs are located at the north end of Reservation Route 2, according to this map. I wasn't really thinking about the names of the ranges or the numbers of the road while driving, I was really focused mostly on the wind and dust!
Soon, The Needle Rocks came into view.
A modified view, as if I were still into shooting B&W film.
Now we can see the bright turquoise color of Pyramid Lake. And still the dust.
I'd highly recommend not going out the The Needles in such a storm (and besides, it is closed these days) -- a few of the higher shorelines of the lake (of Lake Lahontan) are composed of tiny snail shells (Pyrgulopsis nevadensis, photos here, here, and here) -- and you really don't want those sharp tiny things caught in your eye!
The wind was really whipping up the dust.
Looking back from farther south.
I had a pretty good view of part of the Terraced Hills beyond the dust, and could see part of Wizards Beach and Wizards Cove, but most of the individual rocks at The Needles were well obscured (USGS TNM 2.0 Viewer map). The wind looked to be blowing in from the west or northwest.
A closeup from the same place, with a good view of rock 3935 out in the lake, and an obscured view of the tip of The Needles and tufa mound 4107.
And finally, I looked back across Thunderbolt Bay from near a green area marked Pyramid (USGS TNM 2.0 Viewer map, USGS GNIS locale "Pyramid").

Photos from a road trip taken on March 31, 2015.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Geo-beers: Volcanic Double IPA

Don't Panic! Have A Volcanic!!
(beer coaster created by unknown artist; photo by LFD)
Volcanic Double IPA is a quintessential geo-beer, being all about volcanic eruptions and such. Possibly — given the location of Lassen Ale Works in Lassen County, CA (here are all their beers) — the volcano depicted might be a fiery representation of Lassen Peak, which erupted fairly spectacularly in May, 1915.

The beer is quite hoppy and has a relatively high ABV (8.5%). Because of the latter, if you go directly to the source at the brewery, you'll get a relatively short glass of it, which is one reason I don't order it there (also, I do prefer the less hoppy, less alcoholic Eagle Lake IPA) — so if you want a full pint, go elsewhere or buy a growler to go or a six-pack in some local store. The Volcanic is currently (last time I checked a couple weeks ago) on tap at this establishment.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Back on a Sometimes Muddy Road

Well, I'm back at the place I was working at about two years ago (see these three posts for more info), spending more time on a back paved road and on dirt roads than I was most recently while on the road to work (I'm still driving on the interstate some, but a lot less than during the last two years). I find that I prefer the back roads and the dirt: I feel a bit like I'm going out in the field every day, although I'm really not.

It means that the road is sometimes wet, muddy, snowy, icy, or sometimes it has been recently sprayed by a water truck or recently magged. I decided to take a few pics of what that looks like on my jeep (in this case, the road had been sprayed by a water truck to keep the dust down). I wasn't actually on the road to work when taking the pictures, but instead had pulled over on a convenient side road while traveling elsewhere after a couple/few days at work. Consequently the tags include two locations; the post location (below) links to the photos.
The front of said jeep, the Eugene Mountains in the background.
The right side, with part of the East Range in the background.
The rear tire looks low, but isn't.
The rear and left sides. That's a high part of the East Range with the snow.
And the door handle area of the left, driver's side door.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Things You Find in the Field: Old Sedan

I found this old sedan a few years back while out doing a tiny bit of off-roading south of Railroad Pass (one of at least five Railroad Passes in Nevada) along S.R. 722, formerly known as S.R. 2, formerly commissioned as U.S. Highway 50 from about 1926 through 1966.

Railroad Pass, Lander County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Esmeralda County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, White Pine County +/-Eureka County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Clark County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)
Railroad Pass, Washoe County (USGS TNM 2.0 link)

I did some work in the area way back in the 70s, mostly while stream sediment sampling for the NURE program, and have driven by on the old highway several times when taking the scenic route to or from Austin. Somehow, I never spotted this old vehicle during the many times of driving by; perhaps I was concentrating on missing the potholes that used to be so prevalent along Route 2 (722) back when the signs seemed to indicate that the state was trying to let the road go back to dirt.
My attempt at artistry.
In the photo above, and the one below, I focused concentrated on getting the background in focus. The southeasterly direction of the shot has us looking down Elkhorn Road, across Elkhorn Pass and essentially down Elkhorn Canyon — located on the east side of this low divide in the Shoshone Mountains — at the snow-covered Toiyabe Range Peak in the elevated Toiyabe Range of central Nevada. The USGS GNIS lists Elkhorn Pass at 6883 ft (2098 m) and Toiyabe Range Peak at 10925 ft (3330 m).
A more level shot, with part of the foreground almost in focus.
And now we have in foreground in focus!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Circle 'Round the Sun in Water Canyon

Yesterday, when out hiking in nearby Water Canyon (before the Super Bowl), MOH and I slowly (at least for me) made our way up a variably steep, grassy to rocky hillside until we came to a large rib of quartzite. While standing there admiring the many geological and other features of the rib (including quartz veins, fractures and joints, bright greenish yellow lichen patches, and packrat middens), I noticed that a nice circle (22° halo) had formed around the sun. I moved into position behind the towering quartzite rib and shot a picture or two. The best one (which is enhanced to match the way it looked on the camera, which is the way it looked IRL except for the high contrast or excessive darkness of the foreground, where my eyes could see better than the camera) is shown above. You can also see just a bit of the bright greenish yellow lichen on the quartzite, barely shining through the camera-darkened foreground.
The lichen, also with a more common dark gray to black or dark brown variety and a pale green variety, can be seen better in this photo showing the same quartzite outcrop, although here I've moved over a little to the right to center the photo on a tall, narrow cleft formed along a couple parallel fractures or joints, possibly a small fault zone.
I immediately walked into the fracture so I could turn around and take this picture looking back to the north. The white bands in the center of the brownish quartzite, slanting shallowly to moderately to the right, are several of a complicated quartz vein set that are no doubt saying something about the stress regime during the time of their formation.