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Sleeping With a Volcano

Something important was happening on yesterday's ride. Can you spot it?

It looks like planet Earth again, instead of Arizona. How nice it is to have soil on the ground instead of rubble! But New Mexico is about as dry as Arizona, so why is there soil and grass here? It is probably the higher altitude. 

Most people probably wouldn't say this photo is breathtakingly beautiful. But tell that to your butt and hands! The trail felt so smooth and fast and safe. 

I like the challenge of letting the significance of that soil sink into my mind. It takes discipline to stay focused on something meaningful, after the travel blogosphere and the tourist industry have gotten everybody addicted to mindless postcards.

Taking on challenges like this encourage me to think that I'm not just wasting my time as a perpetual tourist.

A couple days ago, when I was still back on that alien planet of Arizona, this rock grabbed my attention. It was close to the campsite.

The rock seems to be bent like sheet metal. There is a story here, but how do you get to it? Occasionally I get motivated to read some geology, but it is hard to find a geology writer. If they write a sentence of 7 words, they somehow manage to get 11 words of technical jargon in.

Just a few feet from camp, a symmetric volcanic cone rose up to a height of about 150 feet -- cute enough to tickle behind its ears. How can you really appreciate it? It is moderately interesting visually, but that is just a start.

What happened to the earth to form that cute little volcano? Reading a bunch of jargon about volcanoes just doesn't seem much like the personal experience of sleeping with a volcano.


Ed said…
"Occasionally I get motivated to read some geology, but it is hard to find a geology writer."

I have not read this book or any of the 5 that it contains but this might be what you are looking for. Maybe get Basin and Range as a 'starter'?

Annals of the Former World is a book on geology witten by John McPhee and published in 1998 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It won the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.

The book presents a geological history of North America, and was researched and written over the course of two decades beginning in 1978. It consists of a compilation of five books, the first four of which were previously published as Basin and Range (1981), In Suspect Terrain (1983), Rising from the Plains (1986), and Assembling California (1993), plus a final book, Crossing the Craton. A narrative table of contents provides an overview of the project, which largely consisted of a series of road journeys by McPhee across the North American continent in the company of noted geologists.
Ed, I downloaded a free preview from Amazon on "Annals of the Former World." That is about the only kind of business Amazon gets from me, these days.
Ed said…
You can read the book free at but there is a renewable one hour limit. You can use that to get an even better preview of what the 5 books within the book are like.

Although when I clicked on the borrow for One Hour it also offered to let me check it out for 14 days. Take a look.
Ed, I haven't used for a while. Do they still use optical character recognition? Has it gotten better?
Ed said… still has a lot of books that were created using OCR and they are not any better. I don't think OCR will ever get any better.

However, they also have a lot of books that are very good ePub and PDF. They only way to know is to open them and see.