August 16, 2012

At the Continental Divide...

P1070342

... you can all get together.

76 comments:

purplepenquin said...

Wouldn't that mountain look a lot better with an oil rig on top of it?

Original Mike said...

That is so cool. I just want to get in the truck and drive right out there.

Original Mike said...

Always with the hyperbole, Penguin. Always with the hyperbole.

jimbino said...

Love to join you there Ann, but they still don't let Hispanic-, African- or Native-Amerikans in those rich, public, Western lands.

Chip Ahoy said...

You do Nature a great service when you take a few pine cones up higher and help the trees reach the top. If you cannot reach the top yourself, then go as far as you can and throw them as far up as you can, and soon enough, from the tree's point of view, the whole thing will be covered with trees. Like fur. Those tips are bald spots and they're bugging the piss out of the trees.

Calypso Facto said...

Wouldn't that mountain look a lot better with an oil rig on top of it?

You do know that oil comes from underground, right? Maybe you meant an ugly, noisy, raptor-killingwindmill?

CWJ said...

Simply stunning!!!

Both the photo and jimbino.

LarsPorsena said...

Slack-jawed amazement.

Methadras said...

I'd love to live in a place like that. As long as food, cable, entertainment, and the internet could be piped in somehow. :D

Chip Ahoy said...

Actually, when you do climb up there, not even necessarily at tree line but throughout the whole range up there where configurations create mini climate situations like continuous wind channeled up a hill, you will find among the crags small pine trees taking hold, the roots dig into the rock and wend throughout the rock and the tree produces a small tortured tree bent miserably into undignified shapes and offering themselves as sort of handles to rock climbers who cannot help but think, "Jesus Christ, this is a perfect bonsai tree I'm grabbin' " and then another and another. And they're thinking $$$$ thousands at least, money just sitting there. And by 'they' I mean 'me.' And they think about coming back equipped to remove them and of course that would be quite impossible but it does show right there how the whole bonsai idea came about.

Lyle said...

"Wouldn't that mountain look a lot better with an oil rig on top of it?"

Oil shale must be mined not drilled. And it isn't going to get mined out of a national park. Especially one that doesn't have any. The Green River formation is in Western Colorado, southwestern Wyoming, and eastern Utah.

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott said...

All of the beautiful and exciting places of the world are also the hardest in which to maintain a decent standard of living -- either no work to be had, or very expensive housing.

rhhardin said...

The Continental Remainder is in Ohio.

Kit said...

Beautiful!

My other-half is literally on the CDT (Continental Divide Trail), near Yellowstone, right now. Am very jealous of both of you.

Christopher in MA said...

Also the title of an underrated John Belushi movie.

Wally Kalbacken said...

I was at that exact spot in 1963 at the age of 6, getting the lecture from my parents that water falling on one side made it to the gulf of Mexico, the other to the Pacific Ocean. My memory of that scene is as vivid as the photo in the blog. The family photo from 1963, shot on Kodachrome, has increased in density over the decades and is a tad dark.

AprilApple said...

Or maybe some giant white wind turbines.

Chip Ahoy said...

See, America is full of opportunities. If you need money you can go bonsai hunting. There are very good places to start just west of Boulder.

edutcher said...

That's why the west was won.

Country like that.

PS Somebody tell jimbino his personal observation might be a little better if he took off the blinders.

PPS In WY, the Divide is almost flat.

(never forget flying B Treasure Dog on her leash like a kite)

Rusty said...

Logan Pass?






purplepenquin said...
Wouldn't that mountain look a lot better with an oil rig on top of it?


I edited my first snarky response.



No. But a windmill would look perfect.


SteveR said...

I could go east, I could go west, it was hard for me to decide

David R. Graham said...

Chip mentions tree roots in rocks. Daughter and I drove the Rockies last spring, joking all trees should be destroyed to accommodate greenies because their roots frack rock, causing surface and sub-surface commotion, dangerous to nature. Also stop waters, they erode nature, cause earthquakes. And winds, same reason. Thus we amused ourselves for hours while also developing novel-length narratives re things or people moved by.

Green meanies haven't yet required permit to stir outside the front door. Sure they've thought of it, how to do it.

Gorgeous photography. Thank you.

traditionalguy said...

The Tipping Point.

MadisonMan said...

I could stand there and watch the scenery all day long. Especially if there are Cumulus Towers building. Double especially if there isn't lightning.

LarsPorsena said...

Blogger AprilApple said...

Or maybe some giant white wind turbines.

Solar panels on all the bare surfaces of the mountains?

Quasimodo said...

In Glacier NP there is a triple continental divide

Quasimodo said...

I was just in Glacier NP and my state's governor was staying with his family at the same lodge.

Rusty said...

Chip Ahoy said...
See, America is full of opportunities. If you need money you can go bonsai hunting. There are very good places to start just west of Boulder.


I didn't know they were in season.

What do they taste like?

bagoh20 said...

"Continental Divide"

They should move the Congress there with the Dems on one peak and the Repubs on the other with a couple cans and string.

bagoh20 said...

Jimbino, if you want to see segregation, just visit some of the public parks in Los Angeles. Often there isn't a white face in the place, and considering who is paying for them, that just don't seem right. I say call the national guard, and force some diversity on them folks.

Lem said...

This picture is a good illustration of the environmental damage created by mountains..

As you can clearly see in those pictures, at certain elevations the mountain starves the trees of water moisture.. making it impossible for trees to grow.. the desolation creates an elevated, deserted, treeless eyesore... Who wants to see a treeless landscape?

Mountains are an environmental catastrophe... They also kill thousands of people every year... and I'm not even talking about the smokers.

Mountains are evil polluters.

You know how much gas the Meadhouse had to pump to cross over them?

I dont know either.. but thats not the point.
The point is mountains are like republicans.. obstructionist.

Shanna said...

Gorgeous!

It so much nicer to see these pictures than the protester ones. I can't wait to go on vacation.

Justin said...

Kudos to the photographer -- what a great picture!

purplepenquin said...

No. But a windmill would look perfect

You're still thinking inside the box. (boxing ring?)

Hemp would look, well...natural there. And yes, it could fuel the country.

Only problem, of course, is that both the Democratic and Republican parties agree that hemp is more dangerous than cocaine...so that discussion can't even take place.

Shanna said...

Only problem, of course, is that both the Democratic and Republican parties agree that hemp is more dangerous than cocaine

You know you can buy all sorts of hemp products legally, right? I have something called 'hempz' on my desk. It's lotion.

wyo sis said...

Shanna
Love Hempz it smells so good.

JAL said...

Well that's pretty awesome.

Pretty and awesome, too.

JAL said...

jimboy = slow learner.

chickelit said...

traditionalguy said...
The Tipping Point.

Don't be a dawdling col; let's skeedaddle over that saddle point!

Synova said...

Actually there's a lot of "underground" up on top of that mountain.

There's a cave here, Sandia Man Cave, and the kids and I went to see it. Caves are in the ground, right? It was up on the side of a cliff. (Silly Indians... mining ocher instead of looking at butterflies!)

What there isn't up on top of the mountain are the geological structures that trap oil or gas. If the sediment layers (you can see the lines) included those sorts of organic deposits in shale or whatever, it would have all seeped out the exposed sides.

chickelit said...

PP wrote: Hemp would look, well...natural there. And yes, it could fuel the country.

Hemp grown on that mountainside would be a slippery slope situation. Of course it would have to be harvested by machines unless you're a real hairy shirt type guy. Also, I'm not convinced that hemp is a biomass panacea for many climates.

OTOH, I have repeatedly argued that Madison should pioneer the harvesting and drying of lake weed for power generation.

purplepenquin said...

You know you can buy all sorts of hemp products legally, right?

Grown in China, of course.

President Clinton signed into law the death penalty for farmers who grow a large amount of it here in America. Even having a small garden is enough to get your door kicked in and your assets seized.

'tis one of the few things that Obama and Romney both seem to agree on...

David said...

imbino said...
Love to join you there Ann, but they still don't let Hispanic-, African- or Native-Amerikans in those rich, public, Western lands.


You mean Obama hasn't fixed that either?

chickelit said...

Purple Penguin asserts: President Clinton signed into law the death penalty for farmers who grow a large amount of it here in America.

So how come when I google that phrase, changing "it" to "hemp" it returns a wiki entry on the legal history of cannibis in America which omits that fact? link

chickelit said...

I think someone is just upset about a pot bust by a white cop in a National Park somewhere.

It's the only thing that makes sense of it all.

Lem said...

Chicago marks location of first Barack-Michelle kiss with plaque...

...at BASKIN-ROBBINS saved by Mitt's BAIN CAPITAL!


Sweet.

Michael Haz said...

Althouse and Meade - The photos you've shared with us are stunning! Thank you.

Time in Montana and Idaho has been added to my list for next summer.

If your schedule permits a couple of days in Sandpoint, Idaho, take the opportunity. Well worth it.

Hagar said...

Synova,
That white streak along the top of the Sandias is limestone, laid down when this area was under water (and yes, that was salt water, the ocean).

ndspinelli said...

Continental Divide, funny flick starring John Belushi in a constrained role. Like Robin Williams, he was best when constrained.

Hagar said...

The mountains in Meadhouse's photo look to be all sedimentary rocks laid down in horizontal layers, and the white streaks here too is probably limestone.

cold pizza said...

I told my daughter they ought to be called "birdmills" because they don't really mill the wind, but do grind up lots and lots of tasty bird. -PC

Synova said...

Hagar, yes. It's limestone along the top of the Sandias. There's sandstone on top of that same limestone strata where I live. There's granite directly below the limestone and a billion year unconformity between them.

There's coal mining (or was) not 20 miles north of here.

So could there be "oil" on top of a mountain? Sure there could be.

As I understand it, though, it wouldn't *stay* there. Oil gets trapped when the sedimentary layers, (which are always laid down horizontally) rift or buckle to make areas that collect oil and natural gas. (Look at the glacier picture below and it shows awesome curves and folds in the rock layers.) There has to be porous rock beneath non-porous rock so that the oil and gas can move, but not escape.

Fracking, as I understand it (barely) involves making insufficiently porous rock more porous by fracturing it which allows the gas and oil to move. It still has to be under a non-porous layer or fold, I think.

So up there on the mountain top, even if it's got the right sorts of rocks and they formed in the right environment and during the best pre-historic time... the porous rock layers are exposed. Movable things like oil or natural gas... move.

It would be like expecting to find an aquifer up there.

Freeman Hunt said...

A writer friend of ours was at a party at the house of someone who was, at that time, a star. When the partying died down a bit, this star took the leftover partgoers on a tour of his/her large home pot farm.

"Don't you think this is dangerous for you?"
"Why?"

Fool.

The Crack Emcee said...

A Message To Glynda The Good Witch & Mormongoloid

"Don't you think this is dangerous for you?"
"Why?"


Fools,...

Revenant said...

Wouldn't that mountain look a lot better with an oil rig on top of it?

You don't put oil rigs on top of mountains. Oil isn't found there.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

That white streak along the top of the Sandias is limestone, laid down when this area was under water (and yes, that was salt water, the ocean).

Try to imagine the incredible time span and the geological, climatological changes that occurred to bring us to where ocean sediments are now thousands of feet above sea level. The changes, the groaning of the continental plates.

Think of the daisy chain of animals, plants, bacteria that have come and gone in the eons that it has taken to bring the bottom of the ocean to the heights of the mountains.

NOW....think about those morons in the green peace, eco nazis who worry about the possible life ending, world shattering loss of a freaking butterfly, snail darter or crayfish. They want to preserve the environment in amber. NOTHING should ever change. No species evah!! should be damaged, compromised or go extinct. They want the world to stop to prevent the change that is inevitable.

Think of the millions and billions of species and variations of species that HAVE gone extinct since those layers of deceased invertebrate sea creatures, died and deposited their carcases at the bottom of an extinct ocean to create those limestone layers thousands of miles above the extinct ocean.

Think about how each species, including ourselves, is a survivor built on the backs of previous generations of successful animals or plants. Each one adapting to changing conditions to become stronger and better.

It makes it very difficult to take the whining,flagilating and hair pulling angst about some butterfly today, or a spotted owl seriously.

Life changes. Species die. The strong survive.

Get the fuck over it.

ed said...

@ Chip Ahoy

I thought the whole purpose of bonsai was to make the ugliest miniature tree possible.

yashu said...

Continental Divide, funny flick starring John Belushi in a constrained role.

And Blair Brown! They're both great.

Irene said...

Breathtaking.

Batman AZ said...

We drove the Continental Divide between Grand Lake, Co and Estes Park, Co. Very anxiety provoking!

chickelit said...

DBQ wrote: Try to imagine the incredible time span and the geological, climatological changes that occurred to bring us to where ocean sediments are now thousands of feet above sea level. The changes, the groaning of the continental plates.

She sees seashells saw seas swell from sea floors.

David R. Graham said...

"That white streak along the top of the Sandias is limestone, laid down when this area was under water (and yes, that was salt water, the ocean)."

My favorite Summa Theologica is:

"The summit of Everest is marine limestone." John McPhee, *Basin and Range*.

David R. Graham said...

"Fracking, as I understand it (barely) involves making insufficiently porous rock more porous by fracturing it which allows the gas and oil to move. It still has to be under a non-porous layer or fold, I think."

Yes. And the fracking fluid is so non-toxic that it can be poured on crop fields and crops be grown thereon without deleterious effect on anyone in the food chain. Yet EPA says it has to be "contained." So it is, adding cost at the pump and meter.

The US oil and gas industry, not Silicon Valley, is the driver of US technological prowess.

Synova said...

I suppose that the summit of a mountain could be volcanic and I'll admit I always thought that it was weird and amazing that a sea bed would be on top of a mountain, but it's actually more weird an amazing if the top of the mountain is granite. Sediment and sea-floor are at least formed on the surface. Granite is only formed deep *deep* below the surface.

So it's probably weirder and more amazing that there is granite right under the limestone up on top of the mountain.

The Continental Divide mountains in the picture seem pretty clearly sedimentary, top to bottom, or at least top to tree-line.

The Himalayan mountains are, I believe, also sea floor at the top, or at least continental margin and accretionary wedge material, so wet and salty for sure.

David R. Graham said...

"The Himalayan mountains are, I believe, also sea floor at the top, or at least continental margin and accretionary wedge material, so wet and salty for sure."

http://geology.about.com/library/bl/peaks/bleverest.htm

You also must be on Pacific Daylight Time, or near it. The rest appear to have trundled off to their trundle beds. :-)

Synova said...

I ordered "Basin and Range". It was pretty cheap, actually, from Amazon. Looked interesting.

School starts Monday so I'll probably get more boring than ever, but I don't actually have a rock class, only a solar system class this semester. It can't hurt to do a little bit of reading on my own.

I want to get some sort of geology related internship/job/work next summer, darn it, even if it seems like it's taking forever to get to any "real" classes.

Synova said...

Ah... lol. I didn't realize that Everest is in the Himalayas.

Dur!

I don't know where else I thought it could be.

Synova said...

And yes, even in Mountain Time it's pretty darn late.

I'm off to bed.

Joe Schmoe said...

You people are hellaciously prolific commenters. How do you keep up? I can barely keep up with one or two posts a day.

Joe Schmoe said...

This is why I keep a low profile and comment anonymously. I'm not a professor, just a course instructor by night. My experience with faculty is just so spot-on with these study findings, it's scary. If you read the article, one prog prof says it's because they want objective profs writing objective papers, not biased ones. Oh, the rich gooey irony is too sweet for me to take this morning.

Hagar said...

"Basin and Range" is one of a series of books that have been combined into one volume: "Annals of the Former World."

Hagar said...

"Annals of the Former World" is an account of a journey across the US on I-80, talking to geologists along the way.
"Basin and Range" is the first installment starting in NY.

And the top of the Matterhorn is a piece of Africa.

but I am a robot said...

@ Joe Schmoe

Great article. It's funny to me how this kind of thing can happen while these same universities swear by ethnic diversity, claiming that it brings a great variety of viewpoints to the classroom.

As I understand it, SCOTUS has upheld affirmative action in college admissions solely (or at least predominantly) on these grounds.

But hire faculty members with varying viewpoints? Somehow it's anathema to those who value diversity the most.

Joe Schmoe said...

@but I am a robot

Great avatar!

Peter Stevens said...

Wow! A great photo.