Thursday, July 19, 2012

Recipe for a technologically-enhanced roadtrip

This is my contribution to Accretionary Wedge #48, the geoblogosphere's monthly carnival.  July’s host is Charles Carrigan at Earth-like Planet; the topic is "Geoscience and Technology".  I’m an amateur geologist, so was stymied at first.  Then a light came on when I realized just how much digital technology is involved in my geo-vacations. Here's the usual recipe:

1. Pick destinations from one of the many great geo-tripping resources online.

The first that I discovered was the Virtual Geologic Tour of New Mexico by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources. Pick a region, and you get a map with geo-destinations (example below). Another click will bring up an article about the geology of a site, usually with a map, stratigraphic column and photos.

The Utah Geological Survey has a great website called Geosights.  Click on a geo-destination on the index map (right, click to view) for an interesting and informative writeup (example below).

Geotripping in Nevada is maintained by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.  You can visit exciting places without going far from home. Well ... that really wasn’t what I had in mind.  Click on links and start planning your next adventure!  Ah, yes, that’s more like it.

Left: ideas for Nevada geotrips, click to view. Below: planning a trip to Easy Chair Crater, courtesy NBMG.

I have relied on several geo-blogs for planning as well.  At Looking for Detachment, posts are tagged by highway among other things (right; click to view).

Geotripper’s The Other California: What to See When You've Run Out of Postcard Destinations, is another good source of ideas (below; postcard by Scope Enterprises, Inc.).

2.  Download literature to laptop.  Maybe take some books along too ... just a few.

3.  Assemble digital accoutrements.
That would be a computer, backup drive, cell phone, updated iPod, GPS, battery charger, various cables and a power inverter.  And a camera of course!
I found the inverter (lower right in photo), the final and critical part of this system, just before departure last April.  Figuring out what I needed turned out to be a major hassle, and then the solution was soooo easy, courtesy Walmart.
And it all worked great!

4.  Go to cool geo-destinations, take photos ...
Evening in the Fisher Valley, Utah.
Evening at the San Rafael Swell, Utah.
Early morning light on the high Sierra; from the White Mountains, California.

5.  ... and don't forget to write!
The hardest part about blogging on the road is taking time off from wandering to write.  I hope to do more next time.

Here are posts that I managed to finish on my most recent trip:
Is that mantle on the mantle?
All my Relatives are Miocene Fossils
We too are ephemeral ... just like mountains
Ancient Plants on Ancient Rocks

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