Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Smile If you Like Earth Science Week: Cheshire Cat!

"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin,' thought Alice; 'but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in my life!'" -Lewis Caroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Above is the first panorama I've ever tried to create, using Hugin. It's by no means a work of art, but I think it does a good job of showing an old quarry I've referred to as "The Cheshire Cat Outcrop" for, well, over 25 years now. You can click to embiggen, or open in a new tab with a right click. Alders have come up between the road and this wall, creating a nice, cool shady spot. On the positive side, the alders are now tall enough, and clear enough underneath, that you can see this spot from the road if you're looking for it- it went through a period of a decade or so where getting in to see the wall was a real pain. The FlashEarth location is here (approximately).

There is a fine puzzle that I always presented to Middle School-aged students at this spot, which as far as I can remember, they eventually got every time- with chains of leading questions and reminders of recent stops. It required understanding the implications of what they'd seen in the general area so far (this was normally the last stop of the Quartzville trip), the processes acting in the past and present in the area, and an ability to project this 2-dimensional wall into a 3rd dimension. You have two clues so far- the photo and another I won't draw your attention to directly- but the puzzle is this: ""What will we see when we cross the road?"

There are more clues in the Quartzville Road Log (last mileage at 34.5, and this outcrop 0.1 mi back toward Quartzville Creek), and I'll be posting more clues in coming days. A full answer should include a sequence of events- though not ages, necessarily- as well as identifying the feature on the other side of the road. Good Luck!

Followup, Oct. 18: Clue 3
Followup, Oct 19 AM: Clue 4
Followup, Oct 19 PM: Clues 5 and 6 
Followup, Oct 20 noonish: Clue 7 and a Question 
Followup, Oct 20 PM: A Sketch of the Quarry Area
Followup, Oct 21: About Clue 2...
Followup, Oct 21: We Can Haz A Winner!
Followup, Oct 21: The Whole Story


Ron Schott said...

I'm gonna guess that the cinder cone that this lava flow emanated from is what's across the road, and the quarry was mining it for aggregate/road metal.

Lockwood said...

So far, so good. That's my assumption too- though without dating both, I can't say for sure. But it's consistent with everything I know and have seen in the area. And in fact, the next clue, which I'm aiming to get up before I leave, hopefully shortly, is to distinguish these two basalt components from the older altered rock in the area. But the question is, "What will we see when we cross the road from the quarry (other than Canal Creek)?" I'm betting you're close enough to figuring out the answer that if you look at some geographic names in the vicinity, you'll get it, along with the sequence of events.