Category Archives: Geology

Putting a Hospital in a Tsunami Zone.

Does anyone see the problem? Anyone?

 

So there’s a hospital that lives in the tsunami zone of Gold Beach, Curry County, Oregon. There was a general consensus that the old hospital needed to go; it’s old, run down, ect. The voters of Curry County voted in a bond measure to rebuild the hospital. Well, yeah, that’s a good idea. It’s already in the tsunami zone, and now it can be rebuilt! I think most people assumed that it was terribly obvious that it would be moved somewhere that made more sense.

Someone asked, apparently too little too late [Note: These are not actual quotes said by anyone.] – “Hey guys, where’s the new hospital going to go?” and they said “Oh. Yeah – we’re just going to use the old parking lot!” to which anyone with common sense said “But you’re in a tsunami zone. You knew you were in a tsunami zone before you decided to make a new hospital, why would you put in the same spot? Please don’t do this.” and the hospital people said “No, this is fine.”

Except, you know, it’s not. Did Japan teach us nothing? I really thought that would be a great learning experience, but I guess people really like to take the “It won’t happen to us” stance.

In their (very small) defense, the Oregon Public Broadcasting created a short video explaining why they chose to stay in the same location:

“Local officials say they don’t have many good options.”
So…that means they still had options. In my opinion, as soon as the new hospital is erected and operational, those officials should be held responsible for any tsunami related incidents that cause harm to their staff or patients. They knew the risks, and they built it anyway. This hospital is expected to be completed this year, by the way.

Not only have they now put the  hospital staff and its patients in danger, they have arguably now given any possible survivors very little chance of getting medical help during a tsunami emergency. It’s probably really hard to help people if the hospital got wiped out.

What else is really disappointing is that the hospital website, even knowing they are in a tsunami zone, have no escape route or plan mapped out on their website. How would a visiting family know where to find a patient if they were evacuated?

Apparently, the hospital is going to be one of the first to built “with any consideration of a tsunami impact”. Whatever that means…

All I can say is I wish them the best of luck during a disaster. This is very disappointing news.

 

Cheers…

An Unexpected Turn, and the Frustration with Contacting Professors

Well, the job is going swellily. We get quite a bit time off inbetween jobs, and I’m just ending my second week off. I’m finding it kinda hard to stay entertained, and yet keeping an eye out for a source of income that would help me stay home more often than not. Mostly just something I could do in-between jobs. I still keep hoping I can make a small living off of video games, but try as I might, that remains to be seen.

Anywho, the ol’ boyfriend up and decided that he wants to get out of the military and go to the University of Wyoming. Which is FANTASIC news, in a way. I’m a bit tired of being told where to go – it gets exhausting pretending to like an area that isn’t up your alley.

If we follow through with this, I will be over the moon. UWyo is my top choice for grad school. I love Wyoming, they have a fantastic geophysics department, and one of the professors research is exactly what I’m interested in. The problem is, I can’t get him to respond to my emails. I’ve only sent 3, and they’ve been spaced out enough to not feel like they were bombarding him, but just friendly reminders like “Hey! I know you’re busy, but just in case you meant to get back to me and forgot, I’m still here!” (Not in those exact words, but that’s what I was aiming for.)  We are planning a trip to the University next month, and it’s driving me up the wall that the professor hasn’t gotten back to me. I want to know if he’ll be available any time in June, because I will make sure I’m there the same time he is so he can at least see my face and possibility remember me.

Then there’s the possibility that we move there, and I don’t get into the grad program. Then what? I don’t know if I should talk to other professors in different areas of study and hope I find one that sticks just to attend the university, but I feel like that’s what’s going to happen if I don’t get ahold of the guy I’d rather work with.

The last email I sent was two weeks ago now, explaining that I will be at the University in June, driving all the way from Michigan just to see the department, and I would like to know if he’s going to be around. I also said this is the last email I’m sending before I attempt to call your office. I have no idea if this is the acceptable thing to do or not. I don’t know if I should call the department office first and get the skinny. Maybe the guy is in the hospital? But I feel I could have found that information somewhere on the internet. Trust me, I google-fu’d the hell out of this guy.

I figure I would wait a week or two after graduation so that he can get the break I no doubt he needs, and possibly be more receptive to talking. I’m probably stressing out too much about this, because grad school wouldn’t even happen until Fall 2017. I also have no idea how far ahead I should be trying schmoozle. I do know that I’ll be actually studying for the GRE this time.

Well….thanks for reading, guys. I know I don’t update that often, but thanks for sticking with me. Any advice would be appreciated.

 

Cheers!

An update worth blogging for.

Well, I can finally say I’ve got my pinky toe in the door. I don’t know if it’s the right door, but it’s a door that wasn’t there before.

I landed an “intern” gig at a geophysical company. This past weekend was my first few days out in the grind. It’s…interesting. There’s not too much actual geology going on (not that I’m complaining), and I actually didn’t learn that there wouldn’t be until I was out there. It’s just acquiring information that gets to sent to someone who interprets it.

 

This particular gig meets most of the things I have been hoping for:

  • I get to travel a fair amount – so far, it’s been in OK places. The neat thing is that I’ll never really be in a city and that’s something I was actually hoping for. No cities for me, please!
  • My gas is paid for, my mileage is paid for, my incidentals are paid for. HELLO PER DIEM! Separate from mileage and gas by the way! This is  a new thing for me. It’s got me pumped. It’s got me addicted to being in the field. $40 a day just for showing up? On top of hourly? Yes, please – may I have another? Which leads me to –
  • Other than my boss and the observer (the guy who makes the program pick up the information) everyone is kinda…lazy. Because the pay is hourly, every tries to take their sweet ass time doing anything. Including driving 10 miles under the speed limit. Counting to five before taking off at a green stop light…annoying things like that. So it’s kinda not the toughest job in the world.
  • MAD MONEY! I got my first little taste of what it’s like in to work in the oil and gas industry. And of course, I’m hooked. Which is good because this leads me to the con list.

Cons:

  • Crazy hours! My schedule is 7am-7pm 7 days a week. Unless it’s rainy or too windy or too noisy…thus, the mad money!
  • I’m the only girl. It’s not that bad, but I do get tired of guys correcting themselves when they accidentally cuss around me. Just don’t be creepy and I’ll be happy. Otherwise, be crass or gross or whatever it is you do. I’m good.
  • Potential to be away from home for a very long time. One guy was telling me how he worked for 8 months straight one time…that’s crazy. I think I’d buy a travel trailer at that point.

 

This is exciting and I just started. The people I mainly work with are fantastic so far, and very accommodating! I’ll keep ya’ll updated with any new developments!

 

Cheers!

Get a Haircut and Get a Real Job

Okay, I know I promised somewhere that this would be a “life after college” blog. Here’s my first real chapter in “life after college”. It’s been a while since my last post because shit basically hit the fan. I sacrificed my B.S. degree to take a paid internship, and now have a B.A. in Geology. I moved from California to Michigan. I am now living in a state that I’ve never been to, let alone the time zone. I have no friends here. I have no connections. No networking opportunities. I have since had a BBQ blow up in my face, got rid of half of my belongings, and I am currently a part-time cashier at a grocery store.I am so desperate for friends, I made a missed connection post on Craigslist with a person who I asked where they got their shirt. No reply yet. sad face

So. I have complied a list of steps of what I have done, and what I expect to do, with some major venting in between. I hope that it works out in my favor, because that means it may help out someone else in the same position. Maybe they can learn from my mistakes. This is what I hope for. Ready for Step 1?

Step 1: Accept that the university you attended isn’t getting you in the place you wanted to be.

Yeah yeah, I know it totally sounds like I’m trying to place blame on anything but myself, but I’m really just looking at the facts here. The university I attended was very heavy on the “Just look for our alumni! They are all across America, you won’t have a problem!” Well, here I am. All the way across America, about 9 states away. Guess what? Nobody has ever heard of my university, and nor do they care about that university because guess what again? Nobody cares unless you have oil related classes, and mine didn’t have a single one. In fact, the university wanted us to sign something saying we would never involve ourselves in environment-destroying jobs.

Really though, you actually want me to hold off on paying for $50,000 worth of debt because it makes you look more environmentally friendly than other universities? Fuck off.

Also, I’m realizing that the department is more set up for pushing out “basic” geologists and funneling them into grad schools so that those schools can deal with giving us the experience we need to move up in the world. The professors, I eventually noticed, only went out of their way for students who also wanted to go into academia. Forget the ones who actually want to work after school. So at this point, I am going to be forced to go to grad school. Not that I have anything against grad school mind you, this is just what’s going to happen instead of finding even a mildly related job in my field. Unless I volunteer. Which brings me to Step 3.

But first…

Step 2: Take any god damned job you can get your hands on. Even if they are just place holders until you get that career you’re hoping for.

This is the place I’m at now. Say hello to your newest (and cutest!?) part-time cashier at your local grocery store. AWESOME use of my degree, right?

This is my life right now. Part-time cashiering at a very expensive, but large and REALLY SLOW, grocery store. Grasping at any opportunity to do anything productive. Anything but stand there. Anything but play with a rubber band for an hour, waiting for the next customer. Can I at least straighten the candy? Come on, let me leave my post!

Okay I’ll stop whining…here’s my point: This step sucks. This is the arguably the worst step. This part is so un-fulfilling and depressing. The part where everyone around you seems to be doing exactly what they went to school for. Universally…this part really sucks. This is the step that starts to make you feel worthless, your degree worthless, your rock collection doesn’t mean anything to you anymore…it’s gets sad. You get sad. But you just have to remember, don’t stop applying. Don’t be afraid to take a part time job or three just to get by. Don’t be afraid to drop those part time job like flies if anything better pops up (but don’t let them catch on to that…).

I’m going to side step real quickly and elaborate something about step 2.


Step 2 is dangerous. Step 2 is what scares me the most, because I am currently stuck on step 2. I really think Step 2 is where you can really get stuck in an endless cycle of shitty retail jobs for the rest of your life. This honestly applies to anyone, not just geology people of course. I am a good cashier, okay? I’ve done almost nothing but cashier jobs since I was 15. I worked through high school, and I worked after high school, and I worked through community college clear up until I went to university. I have almost 12 years of retail under my belt. Do you know what that gets me? Endless retail jobs. Not geology jobs.

I honestly thought that having any work experience would really help with finding geo work, because I know that there are fresh students with absolutely no work experience under their belt. I thought for sure that would be my leg-up. I thought for sure that showing I was able to work 3 different jobs with no days off for 4 months straight showed that I had drive, and was willing to do just about anything to hold a job….but it’s not enough. Thanks to the gas price crash, geologists with years of geology experience under their belts are taking any job they can get, thus leaving people like me competing with people like them.

I know that what I have now is not enough, and I am no longer competitive.I have come to terms that I have to take a different approach to this.

Cue Step 3


Step 3: Volunteer

Here is the next step I’m taking to try to be competitive. I’m hoping that ANY work experience and good references in the geo job sector will get my a leg up, and help me find that career I’m looking for.

After talking to a few geologists in my new town, it sounds like I’m not even going to land a volunteer gig. My landlord’s oldest son is a geologist, and I finally got to speak to him last week. I told him many of my colleague’s were finding junior geologist jobs with consulting just months after graduation. These people were my good friends, and I know that they didn’t just use connections to find their positions. One hadn’t even graduated yet, and wasn’t the best student in the department, and landing a very awesome gig in the bay area. She said she just watched interview help videos on youtube and nailed the interview. Yeah but…how did you even get an interview? What the fuck am I doing wrong? Anyways…He didn’t believe me. He actually didn’t believe that my colleagues were finding jobs so fast. He thought that I was just saying that to make myself look better….which I don’t know how that works. Running into him is going to be awkward at the least. “Oh yeah, remember me? The desperate lying recent graduate who will say anything to get a job.” Uuuggghhh.

BUT!

I did not let him get me down. I got dressed up today. I dressed up my resume. I did some major google-fu and found a couple of geology companies. I walked into the one that was my first choice and tried to talk to the geologist there about volunteering and just tagging along. I only talked to the receptionist, and she went up to the geologist’s office and was there for some time. She comes down and says he was about to leave for the day, but here is his card. Email him. He is great at responding quickly. Cool. Now I have his name. Commence Facebook search.

Step 3.1: Networking…kinda.

This is like a subsection of Step 3….because this is experimental on my part. Here’s how this is going to go in my head. I checked his facebook to make sure he drinks. Of course he drinks. He’s a geologist. But I’m in the Midwest and needed to double check and make sure he wasn’t one of the religious fanatics around here. USE FACEBOOK TO YOUR ADVANTAGE PEOPLE! Anyways, I shoot him an email. I tell him I don’t know how to say I want to volunteer without making it sound like I am desperate. I really just want to tag a long and see what kind of work  this sector entails, as it is really different from the area that I am coming from.

After shooting off professional yada’yada’yada, I leave another paragraph: “On a less professional note, I am very new to the area and have no friends or colleagues. It would be really nice if we could get together over a beer and talk geology, if nothing else.”  I bet he sees right through that bullshit. I don’t want it to be bullshit, though. I REALLY DO want to have a beer with him if nothing else.

Honestly, I”m not at my “desperate for a job” point yet. I am, however “desperate for friends” point. I would be just as ecstatic over making a new geology friend over a geology job. Kinda.

Okay. I will leave it at this, because this is as far as I’ve gotten. No reply from geo guy. No landed geo interviews. No new geo connections.

Stay lovely, my WordPress strangers. Cheers.

The flowing landscapes of geologic time may be likened to a kinetoscope panorama. The scenes transform from age to age, as from act to act; seas and plains and mountains follow and replace each other through time, as the traveler sees them replace each other in space…Science demonstrates that mountains are transient forms, but the eye of man through all his lifetime sees no change, and his reason is appalled at the thought of duration so vast that the millenniums of written history have not recorded the shifting of even one of the fleeting views whose blendings make the moving picture.

-Joseph Barrell

Nerd Alert

I just bought a stereo microscope with a digital camera….

…so that I can look for forams from the comfort of my home.

No more long, cold, lonely nights alone. No more hunching over in chairs, or going cross-eyed or migraine’s from constant kinks in my neck.

You have no idea how excited I am.
Bonus: I can now take pictures for making 3D models of my forams!

NERD ALERT NERD ALERT

Cheers!

Iceland: My New Obsession

OH YES. This not so tiny island in the polar regions of the North…This land of fire and ice…and…there I go with accidental GoT references, again.

I would be lying if I said this was any kind of “new” obsession for me. It’s new to me in that it’s a new geological obsession. Have you checked out Iceland on Google Maps, yet? Just zoom in a little and click on the pictures. You don’t have to be a geologist to appreciate how amazing this place is.

I’m sure you’ve heard about it to some extent – It’s been in the news a few times recently with Bárðarbunga still erupting. Not gonna lie, the update page is bookmarked in my browser. Believe it or not, I’m not all that interested in becoming a volcanologist. I was at one point, but there is so much to learn in geology it’s hard to stick to your original goal once you start learning about all the different areas of study.

On my Google Earth, I’ve been placemarking every volcano that has erupted since the 1970’s. I’m definitely starting to entertain the idea of trying to find something to study here. I have an idea, but I don’t necessarily want to talk about it in detail because I have no idea if study-area/idea-jacking is a thing. I recently learned about something called the Graduate Research Fellowship Program. And by recently, I mean two days ago. The deadline for application is November 4th. It requires a lot for finding out about this last minute. I need 3 2-page letters of recommendation…This is going to be the hardest part, next to taking a week or so to decide what I would want to propose to study. Not hard because I don’t think I can get them, but because I’m a shitty person for asking 3 professors to write up a 2 page recommendation letters last minute. My understanding is that you give your professors a few months’ time to work on it, not a couple of weeks.

In my search for topics, I came across what is quite possibly the most badass formainifera study I’ve ever seen. The title is “Foraminiferal Decimation and Repopulation in an Active Volcano Caldera, Deception Island, Anatarctica”. Done by Kenneth L Finger, and Jere H. Lipps. I’m fairly certain it was their PhD project. Okay, I don’t know if one would actually consider the study badass, but the title is awesome.

Look, I just want you all to know that I will make it to Iceland one day. I have it in writing here, and hopefully I’ll be able to post about it on here as a future update.

But since my time is limited, I’d just like to take a tiny bit of it to bitch about my workload this semester, but hey, at least some good things came out of it. This semester is way WAY worse than I expected to be. I just want to be a lazy college senior! That’s all I want! But no, I’m a crazy person and decided to take 4 upper division classes, two science and two that require essays for days. My Friday’s, Saturday’s, and Sunday’s are dedicated to getting any homework done that’s due during the week, so that I can deal with whatever gets thrown at me between classes during the week. But i can’t actually have fun, because all my classes start at 8 in the morning, so that I have time to do errands and even more homework after classes are out.

Since school started, I have written 4 essays, 3 proposals, collected samples for my thesis in the bay via  research  vessel, presented a poster that I created over a year ago, about to write a 5 page proposal as well as my 5th essay, prepare for my 2nd calc II midterm, and just recently received an internship, that starts very very soon.  Which by the way, means I will now be working on top of all this mayhem. I realize this doesn’t sound like a lot, but the amount of time consumed by all of this is astounding. Yes, even writing based on bullshit takes time.

So..on that note…

Hello, gradschool? Yes, this is Tashina. Pls respond.

Cheers.

P.s.
Unfortunate last name combinations on research topics. See: fingerlipps
Also, I realize the featured photo is not in Iceland. That’s from when I went to Yellowstone.

Wham Bam, Thank You Foram!

Let me tell you about the nightmare of a thesis I chose. Okay, the subject itself is pretty awesome…but narrowing it down  is what is driving me up the wall. If I leave it as-is, it’s considered Master’s level work. As much as I would like to say I did that amount of work as an undergrad, it’s just not going to happen.

This idea came about on accident, actually, which is what is making me keep at it. I was taking Sedimentology and SEM(Scanning Electron Microscope) simultaneously. Both require a project. I was originally going to keep them separate, but then one of my good friends was in the lab doing a project for a grad-course called Paleoecology. We chat a lot, so I sat down and he taught me how to look for these creatures called foraminiferans, because that’s what he was doing and I felt bad for disturbing him. Forams (for short) are these little tiny amoeba-like sea creatures that have tests (shells). They are typically about the size of a small grain of sand, for your visualization reference.
The cool part is that the sand we were looking for, by definition, was NOT supposed to even have forams. So when my friend and I discovered some, we were a little excited to say the least. BAM I had my SEM project AND my sed project!! For my sed/SEM project, I ended up doing a paleoenvironmental facies analysis – facies being what kind of environment they were living in at the time of deposition. I was able to get the basics down, and went above and beyond for my project work.
Okay, that’s step 1.
Step 2 was the try to figure out why they were there. This is where I keep getting tripped up. There are so many guesses as to what was going on, and your guess it just as good as mine. No really. I have no idea either.
Here are some possibilities – Well, they were found with a bunch of other fossils, as the samples were taking from a shelly lens. One possibility is that the shells were protecting the foram tests from taking a beating. Another possibility is just that the tests were so small they weren’t subject to the same amount of force as the other shells (which were beat to hell, by the way) – but that doesn’t explain what they were doing in the sand to begin with.
Based on the paleoecology report that the grad class did, it was a heavily storm-influenced area. Could have just gotten washed in? But washed into where exactly? The sand is typical of a beach, but all of the other fossils are things that would  not get “washed up” like barnacles(without sticking to something else) and worm tubes, so it would have had to been underwater.  Thinking about the barnacles though, I guess they would have been stuck to some driftwood that got washed up, but doesn’t explain the giant pile of sand and other shells.
I’m also pretty sure that there is a “gradient” of sand-size particles starting from the largest of the area starting at the beach and getting smaller and smaller the farther off shore you go, but I can’t seem to find that specific of information stated in a book anywhere. Also a problem.
This  is a 3D model of the shelly lens in question. Oh yes. I made that. Take note future employers! I know how to use AGIsoft!
But anyways, trying to figure out why they are there (like the actual God-given reason they are there) is for sure a masters-level type of research project that I just don’t have time for, UNLESS I dedicate a semester to it, which I don’t really want to do. Will if I have to, but now that I know what it’s like to have weekends off again, I feel like I can do it next semester. We’ll see.
Anywhoser,  I may be able to just apply a theory and go with it and then concentrate on identifying and naming the forams I found. WHICH it is very possible that I found a new foram species, and I might be able to get away with going through the process of proposing it as one and getting it added to the database as my main thesis aspect.
It’s a hard decision to make when my thesis adviser has a double PhD in Paleontology and English. That means I have zero wiggle room to bullshit, which I’m glad for, I just don’t know if I can supply the amount of information he expects from me.
I mean hell, my prospectus alone is going to have to be 10 pages long.
FYI, the featured image for this blog is one of the forams in question (well, the inside half of it). We refer to this one as “the Hamburger” because we can’t find jack-shit on this bugger. But check out the recrystalization going on in that one! Awyiss.
Cheers

Lakes Get Tsunami’s Too, Damn It!

Today, I got to work at the local county fair in the tsunami room. Yes, we have a tsunami room. It’s way cooler than it sounds, I promise.

I pretty much just got to stand around and say  “Hello!”. I only said it to people who seemed nice and/or to establish some weird “I’m a designated person for talking to about this particular room and the things inside of it”. We have on display a ponga boat that got washed up on one of the near-by shores. It traveled all the way from Japan. It’s been here two months and it’s owner has yet to speak up. Unfortunately there is a large possibility that it might not ever be claimed, since it is assumed to be tsunami debris from the 2011 Japan Tsunami. It’s a nice talking piece and I clicker-counted ~800 people coming to see it on my 5 hour shift alone!

So there’s this “kiddy corner” that we have set up with a hand cranked tilty-machine that demonstrates how much faster water moves when there is more of it vs. less of it. It also demonstrated that adults turn into little kids when there is a hand crank involved.

The information I explained to the users was that the green (deeper) water moved much faster compared to the blue (shallower) water. You could see that the wave created from the tilt machine reached the other end of the container at different times. I explained that the green waves would represent the bigger faster waves in the open ocean, and that they would reach speeds of up to 500-600 MPH, about the speed of a jetliner. When the wave gets to the shallower water, it slows down to around 25 MPH.

Quite a few adults had this weird association with the colors – that the green water meant ocean water and the blue water meant lake water. So the device could be pretty confusing if you didn’t read the little paper that told you all about the simulation, which happened to this one high school kid and his buddy. There was one kid who was cranking the wheel, stuck in a water-watching-trance. His buddy was on the other side, had read the information, and was quizzing his friend about what was happening. The crank-kid had mostly figured it out, but that damned color association took over. His conclusion from the little lesson was “Oh, so that’s why there’s no tsunami’s in lakes!”

Which I can follow his reasoning…The blue water was shallow water. Blue means lakes. Lakes are shallow. Shallow means no tsunamis!!!

So I decided I’m just going to use this kid as an example and tell you that tsunami’s in lake DO exist!! Lake Tahoe is a great example. There is a ton of research on it’s paleo-tsunami.

There is also this thing called a seiche (pronounced SAYSH), typically defined as an oscillation of a body of water in an enclosed or semi-enclosed basin that varies in period, depending on the physical dimensions of the basin, from a few minutes to several hours, and in height from several centimeters to a few meters. It is caused chiefly by local changes in atmospheric pressure, aided by winds, tidal currents, and occasionally earthquakes. 

Basically, it’s this really neat thing that happens when something causes standing waves in a closed body of water, and it can have similar effects as a tsunami, or can even even be caused by one! Here’s a really boring video of a tank of water with waves in it to show you what standing water looks like in it’s basic form.

(There is a really cool video at the bottom showing what this looks like in a pool during a 6.8 magnitude earthquake) Also, a seiche doesn’t just happen from natural hazards like earthquakes, either. It’s actually a natural thing that is happening in lakes all the time. Usually caused by meteorological effects, but isn’t all that noticeable because the wavelengths are so long!

***By the way, these lake tsunami’s can be caused by volcanoes as well. One of the largest known lake-tsunami wave was recorded at ~850ft in Spirit Lake from Mt. St. Helens. Wikipedia Article

So as you can imagine, this is not a natural hazard that we want our thousands of people and houses who live next to lakes to have to experience.

But hey…Now you have a fancy new word to tell your friends about when you go swimming in the pool.

If you’d like some more information on this kind of occurrence, here is a short article from Earth Magazine about the Great Lake’s seiche history.

No  audio, but here is a short computer simulation of a paleo-tsunami in Lake Tahoe.

Here’s a small seiche from Lake Superior (make sure you mute it or turn down your sound, the video is mostly wind)

And here’s what a pool looks like during a 6.8 earthquake.

Cheers

Satan Made the Franciscan Complex

Have you ever heard “…and then Satan said, “Let’s put the alphabet in math and call it algebra!” “? Well there’s a geological formation that Satan decided would be just as funny to make…

Growing up in Northern California, I wasn’t landlocked in the strictest sense. Over the span of about 5 4th-of-July’s, I got to drive over to the coast with my family and go camping. I’ve been positively obsessed with the area ever since. I was intrigued by giant redwoods, the greenness of it all, the AMAZING coast line with it’s jagged and torn edges with strips of golden sand that eastern-coast people would never call a beach. I never stopped thinking about it. I knew I needed to live here at some point in life. 

Thankfully, I found a university in the area that has a great geology program – one of the few that focuses more on field work than information from textbooks. So our field trips were always involved with beaches and rock cliffs, and caves you can only get to when the tide is out, and hiking through the redwood forest to get where you need to go.

1617122_10202324689192130_1612935126_o
…Where your pictures always turn out scenic and beautiful. Because that’s all it is, here.1612142_10202260231020716_2054087993_o

BUT

There is one not-so-tiny geological formation that I’ve come to hate. I think it’s more of a dissociation, because of what this thing does to you as a student. It tears you down. Destroys your confidence. It makes you second guess everything you’ve ever learned about geology. A liberal arts degree starts sounding really nice. It makes you want to retake Geology 101 because for some reason, you’re not 100% sure what a metamorphic rock is supposed to look like anymore. Why is this shale so slatey? And why is this slate so shaley? Are those joints or faults? Are those cleavage planes or joints? WHY DOESN’T THE T.A. KNOW EITHER?! What do you mean I should know how to map this?

Welcome to the Franciscan Complex! Where one outcrop shows nearly every stage of the rock cycle, and makes your brain feel just as faulted and folded as what you see. Boudinages, colorful melanges, sea caves formed by faults. If you just stop and look at it, it’s one of the most beautiful rock formations there is. You just have to get up close to really take it in the beauty of it. But that wonderment and beauty is replaced with anger and frustration once you start trying to figure it out. 

In laymen’s terms, the Franciscan Complex is this, well..complicated…mix of sedimentary, metamorphic, and volcanic rocks that managed to get really, REALLY chewed up by being stuck between the oceanic Farallon Plate and the North American Plate, but didn’t quite get all the way metamorphosed or all the way chewed up into little grains. It’s looks like a toddler munched on some brown playdough, ate some rather large pieces of green playdough, threw it all up, and then started to play with it.

And that toddler was Satan.

Cheers