Thursday, April 22, 2010

Icelandic Volcano Spawning Tremendous Photos

The Eyjafjallajokull volcano (pronounced EY-ya-fyat-lah-YOH-kuht) in Iceland is being photographed in ways that inspire great enthusiasm for natural earth processes. Although many people have been inconvenienced by this eruption, the views of the eruption are spectacular. I include a few here. These photos were posted on the Boston Globe web site and I share them with you in case you missed that link.

Satellite view of the enire island of Iceland with the Eyjafjallajokull volcano sprwading its plume to the south in the lower portion of the view.

A steam blast rises from the crater of the volcano. Steam appears white in these blasts.

The upward movement of the ash cloud creates electrical charges that are expressed as lightning bolts within it. These night time photos allow the bolts to be clearly seen.

More lightning

Looks like the bolts are striking throughout the plume interior

Spectacular photo showing the proximity to some dwellings in Iceland

Close-up view on the upwind side of the blast. Note the dense ash cloud rising from the crater.
A wall of airborne ash approaching a rural Icelandic road

Aerial view of the plume cloud drifting towards Europe

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lecture at Montezuma Castle on the Verde Formation

I recently gave a lecture and did a book signing for over 100 people in front of an ancestral ruin in the Verde Valley called Montezuma Castle. The spectacular location of this cliff-side village draws many people to the banks of Beaver Creek, which was flowing with increased runoff from snow melt on the Mogollon Rim. The lecture covered the origins of the Verde Formation, a deposit composed mostly of white limestone that accumulated in a fluctuating lake that was being fed by numerous springs ans streams. An old idea was that this lake formed exclusively from blockage by a lava dam near the Hackberry volcano. But a more likely scenario is that the basin was formed in a tectonic sag, resulting from movement on the Verde Fault beginning about 10 Ma. The lavas may have had a small influence at specific intervals of time in blocking the Verde River but as we know from studies in the Grand Canyon, lava dams are usually short-lived phenomena. A special thanks to ranger Anne Worthington for setting this lecture up and to Jon Fistler of Western Parks and Monuments Association for arranging the book signing. Enjoy the pictures from this special day.

Also, these pictures were taken by my friends John Parsons and Bryce Babcock and are used here with their permission.

The venue for the lecture is in the NPS amphitheater with Beaver Creek running through the sycamore tress behind it....

....and Montezuma Castle in front. What a spectacular location to give a lecture.

The ruin is not actually a castle, nor was the Aztec ruler Montezuma (Moctezuma) associated with it. Rather, early pioneers gave it its colorful moniker before they understood its relation to the Sinagua ancestral group who built it in the early 1300's and abandoned it by 1425 AD.

Here I am making a point that the Verde Formation, into which Montezuma Castle was built, is a deposit formed in a tectonic sag as the modern Verde Valley was created.

My wife Helen greeting attendees after the lecture. Both Helen and Anne Worthington made supporting comments about the important role non-profit institutions like Western Parks and Monuments play in the enjoyment of these parks.

Wayne with attendee Ed Womack, who is also Helen's uncle and resides in nearby Clarkdale.

Signing a new copy of "Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau" for an attendee named Paul.

Signing a copy of the new 3rd edition of "Sedona Through Time"

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Book Signings and Lectures

On March 31, I sat with fellow Grand Canyon authors Stewart Aitchison, Stephen Hirst and Scott Thybony for a book signing at the Northern Arizona Bookstore. The pictures are shown below.

I will also have a book signing on Friday, April 2 at Mountain Sports in downtown Flagstaff's First Friday Art Walk. Click here for more information.

And on Sunday, April 4 I will give a lecture at 2 PM at the Brannigar-Chase Discovery Center on the campus of the Museum of Northern Arizona. The lecture is entitled, "What's New in Sedona's Geology".

Pictures from my book signing on March 31

Stephen Hirst, Stewart Aitchison, Scott Thybony and Wayne Ranney at the NAU Bookstore on March 31, 2010