Published: March 13th 2012March 13th 2012
Ripping fire from last night, just from twigs around the bin
Day 4! To tie the bow on last night, we made a fire right when we got back. Forecast called for higher winds and cooler temperatures than the previous night, so Sid graciously purchased a mobile home where almost everyone would sleep. I decided to diverge from the masses and sleep in the van. It was warm and comfortable, and an overall great choice! The wood is so incredibly dry out here, we were able to start a fire without a match both last night and again this morning. The plan was to cook over the open flame. Sid and the TA’s purchased a bunch of meat (steaks, chicken, sausage) and veggies to just grill up and chow. It turned out the house had a huge propane grill, so with the exception of the chicken, potatoes and a few peppers, we cooked everything on that. It is worth noting, however, that the open flame, chargrilled food was considerably better. After chow, we all had a few drinks and ended up by the fire again. It was definitely a great way to cap the night, favorite one so far!
After we packed up at Olancha RV and Mobile Park, it was
Eastern Sierra from the view of a horse!
time for some more geology! Our first stop was at the Volcanic Tablelands. This area between the White Mountains and Sierra Nevada is famous because of its rhyolitic base which is inherently resistant to erosion and the arid climate not allowing for deposition, it provides a pristine outcropping to view active faulting. The faulting is a result of the basin being stretched out (extensional environment) until faulting occurs. TUMBLEWEED! That brief interruption was the result of seeing a real, dead tumbleweed! Anyway, the faulting. It occurs at a 100m:1m ratio, meaning for every hundred meters of fault there is one meter of maximum displacement. The displacement (or distance the ground is offset at the fault) appears in the shape of an eye; at its maximum in the center and tapering out along the edges. (Photo) The tablelands have a plethora of examples of faulting from gigantic to tiny. One of the bigger ones ended up biting me in the rear when I thought we could find a shortcut back to the Suburban by climbing over a footwall. Well, one footwall lead to a scarp, which lead to another footwall, another scarp and another footwall. I was sufficiently exhausted from the
Wispy clouds formed by swirling winds. View from across the basin. Meg for scale.
climbing by the time I reached the top. On a kind of happy biology note, I was able to observe several blue-bellied lizards, a jackrabbit, and ground squirrels. It was the first time I’ve seen any sustained evidence of fauna.
Our next goals were to go see petroglyphs, or native rock paintings dating back 8,800 years. However, we ran into some complications with roads being closed by barbed wire, bad directions, u-turns, etc… We unfortunately were not able to see them. Along the same lines, our last stop was supposed to be at the Owens Valley Gorge. Some difficulty arose trying to find these as well, so we abandoned the quest for the evening and decided to push it off until tomorrow morning. It was time for us to head to the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory, or SNARL, to set up camp for the next 3 nights. More to follow tomorrow on OVG, but for not, it’s time to enjoy another Sabres victory, a good day in geology, and of course, an ice cold beer.
There are more photos below