Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" makes its debut at GSA in Houston!

My new book, "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" made its formal debut at the Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America. This professional conference was held for five days in Houston, Texas. The book is co-authored by one of my former professors, Dr. Ron Blakey. It was such a pleasure to work with Ron and help him get his maps published in book form! The book so far has been very well received. You can order a signed copy at the Grand Canyon Association bookstore. Note however that most of the copies are still on a boat from Hong Kong - we had 500 copies air freighted out for this conference.

I took in many of the professional talks. Some of the interesting topic sessions I attended included: "Return to the Moon: A New Era of Lunar Exploration." One of the talks in this session was given by Harrison "Jack" Schmitt, the 12th man to walk on the moon. Many of the talks in this session tried to explain why we should return to the moon and why the south polar region is a good place to start (there are a few crater rims here that have eternal sunlight to fuel solar powered devices). I saw some great talks about mega-landslides, including some in the Grand Canyon that contain 30 billion cubic meters of material. There were educatrional talks about "Why Study Geology" by Eldridge Moores; "Abandonment of Unaweep Canyon, Colorado in the Last One Million Years" by Karl Karlstrom; and "The History and Influence of Religion on Geology", a topic I am quite interested in. A few young earth creationists were in attendance and the room they alloted to the session was filled to overflowing (I had to lay on the floor in the front of the room to get admitted!).

Helen and I then drove from Houston back to Arizona. We so enjoyed the ride across the Edwards Plateau where limestone road cuts revealed many interesting features. We drove through the town of Pecos and saw the recreated courtroom of Judge Roy Bean. The town has definitely seen better days.

In the yard just outside this recreated Justice of the Peace, there was a gravesite that had the most unusual and uniquely Texas epitaph: Robert Clay Allison - He Never Killed A Man That Did Not Need Killing." I just cracked up laughing for a long time reading this one. Texas is definitely different!

We eventually entered New Mexico ans saw a fantastic natural event - the evening exit of hundreds of thousands of bats from the natural entrance to Carlsbad Caverns. This is a photo of the cavern before the bats exited - they do not allow photos while they are in flight. This was so memorable. We ate Mexican food for every meal from San Antonio to Flagstaff! Heaven indeed.