Monthly Archives: November 2012

Illuminate.

lamplighter, historically, was an employee of a town who lit street lights, generally by means of a wick on a long pole. At dawn, they would return to put them out using a small hook on the same pole. Early street lights were generally candles, oil, and similar consumable liquid or solid lighting sources with wicks. Another lamplighter duty was to carry a ladder and renew the candles, oil, or gas mantles. In some communities, lamplighters served in a role akin to a town watchman. Early gaslights required lamplighters, but eventually systems were developed which allowed the lights to operate automatically. Today a lamplighter is an extremely rare job.

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Lamp light Taos NM

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A luminaria or farolito is a small paper lantern (commonly a candle set in some sand inside a paper bag) which is of significance in New Mexico and some neighboring states at christmas time.

In general, farolito is the preferred term in Santa Fe and other parts of northern New Mexico, while the decorations are often referred to as luminarias elsewhere. In Spanish, the word farolito translates as “little lantern”, while luminaria means “festival light”.

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LUMINARIAS

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Traditional  farolitos are made from brown paper bags weighted down with sand and illuminated from within by a lit candle. These are typically arranged in rows to create large and elaborate displays.

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LUMINARIAS ADOBE

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These lights have their roots in the 1800’s. Small bonfires, like the current day bonfires on the corners of Canyon Road in Santa Fe, were used to guide people to Christmas Mass.

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Luminarias SAN FELIPE

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Places to See Grand Displays of Farolitos and Luminarias and Southwest Holiday Lights

Santa Fe’s Canyon Road

Rio de Las Luces (River of Lights at Albuquerque’s Botanic Garden.

Noches de las Luminarias – Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona.

Santa Ana Pueblo, New Mexico Luminaria Festival

Tlaquepaque Luminaria Festival – Sedona, Arizona

Luminaria Festival – Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico – Christmas eve there are luminaries placed throughout the valley which visitors can drive through to see.

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Mesa Verde Luminarias

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During a visit to Santa Fe during the long Thanksgiving weekend in 1984, it seemed as if the whole town was draped in magnificent farlitos / luminarias. The nights were quite magical with all of the soft candle lights. The cold, dry air felt wonderful as I walked around the Palace of the Governors’ area.

That was the weekend I enjoyed my first Santa Fe Thanksgiving dinner that was prepared by the owners of the El Paradero Bed and Breakfast where I stayed that weekend. The textures, herbs and other local ingredients were quite different than what a transplanted East Coaster living-then-in-California expected – pine nuts, green chilies and other delectable, unexpected treats blended into the stuffing.

Another walk around Sante Fe was definitely welcomed after that amazing feast. Everything again seemed so much clearer in the thin, dry evening air.  It was easy to remember the license plate slogan which reminded how enchanting New Mexico is.

Two nights later a group of us found a terrific reggae club where we danced and  listened to some great live music.

It’s time to think about taking another trip there…..

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Lassen.

“When we lose these woods, we lose our soul. Not simply as individuals, but as a people.” – Kevin Walker

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Lassen National Forest

http://www.ecoangler.com/habitat/Mill_Creek_California.html

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The Lassen National Forest lies at the heart of one of the most fascinating areas of California, called the Crossroads. Here the granite of the Sierra Nevada, the lava of the Cascades and the Modoc Plateau, and the sagebrush of the Great Basin meet and blend.

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Diamond Mountains area of Lassen National Forest

http://old.geog.psu.edu/vegdyn/AspenLassen.php

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Lassen National Forest is a national forest of 1,700 square miles in northeastern California. It is named after pioneer Peter Lassen, who mined, ranched and promoted the area to emigrant parties in the 1850s.

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Lassen NF

http://www.fs.usda.gov/main/lassen/about-forest

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In the southern Cascade foothills, approximately twenty miles east of Red Bluff, California, lies the Ishi Wilderness, a unique 41,000 acre, low-elevation wilderness. This is a land incised by wind and water, dotted with basaltic outcroppings, caves, and bizarre pillar lava formations. This is up and down country, a series of east-west running ridges framed by rugged river canyons.

The Ishi is named for a Yahi Yana Indian who was the last survivor of his tribe, who lived in the area for over three thousand years. Shortly after 1850, the white settlers killed all but a handful of the Yahi. Ishi (the Yahi word for man) and a few others escaped and lived quietly for decades in this harsh, wild country.

The Tehama deer herd, the largest migratory herd in California, winters in the area. Other wildlife include wild hog, mountain lion, black bear, coyote, bobcat and rabbit.

Rock cliffs provide nesting sites for a variety of raptors including hawks, eagles, falcons, and owls. Other common sightings include wild turkey, quail, mourning doves, canyon wrens, band-tailed pigeons, and myriad songbirds.

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Lassen National Forest, October

http://www.mikefergusonrecreation.com/custompage.asp?pg=trips

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The Caribou Wilderness is a gentle, rolling, forested plateau dotted with glacial lakes. Reminders of volcanic and glacial origin are apparent throughout this remote, unpopulated area. Crater peaks, cinder cones, and numerous large and small depressions have resulted in the formation of the crystalline lakes that are scattered throughout the plateau.

Caribou Peaks, Black Cinder Rock, and Red Cinder are points of interest. The average elevation is 6,900 feet. The highest point, Red Cinder, is 8,370 feet. From here there are majestic views of the lofty mountains that surround this primitive wilderness. Located on the eastern slopes of what was once Mount Tehama, this area is surrounded by the volcanic peaks of Swain Mountain, Bogard Buttes, Prospect Peak, Ash Butte, Red Cinder Cone and Mount Harkness.

The Forest cover is mostly lodgepole pine with a mixture of jeffrey pine, white and red fir, western white pine, and hemlock. In early summer, wildflowers brighten the trail and water lilies cluster in ponds.

The headwaters of the Susan River originate in the Caribou. This water percolates up through the porous volcanic aquifer and is a major year around water source for the east slope of the Cascades. While scouting out a route to bring wagon trains through, early day hunting parties also ventured into the Caribou area to find game for survival. Today, their route is known as the Lassen Trail.

The larger lakes that are deep enough to support fish are home to brook and rainbow trout. Some familiar birds that make their home in the Caribou are the bald eagle, osprey, common merganser, eared grebe, and many types of ducks.

The summer use period is approximately June 15 to October 15, although early spring could open up the lower areas by Memorial Day. Hypothermia can be a problem in spring and fall seasons with cold rains.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/lassen/specialplaces

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Lassen National Forest

http://mayaspctjournal.blogspot.com/2012/07/day-73-lassen-national-forest.html

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Located within the southern portion of the Cascade Mountain Range is 16,335 acres of contrasting topography.   Thousand Lakes Wilderness is midway between the town of Burney and Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Volcanic and glacial formations, rocky ravines, mountain slopes, open meadows, and stands of lodgepole pine and red fir define the Wilderness. It is dominated by 8,677 foot Crater Peak, the highest point on the Lassen National Forest, and is a reminder of the glacial action that eroded Thousand Lakes Volcano and created the many small lakes and ponds scattered throughout. The lowest point in the Wilderness occurs at the base of the volcano at 5,546 feet.

The seven major lakes that lie within the Wilderness valley contain trout. Several species of wildlife make their home in the Wilderness. With a little luck and a good pair of binoculars you might spot some the more permanent residents; black-tailed deer, black bear, pika, pine marten, northern goshawk, spotted owl, pileated woodpecker, and Clark’s nutcracker. Even elk have been known to visit occasionally.

Another critter worth mentioning is the mosquito. At times they are thick and hungry. It would be advisable to carry insect repellent in your pack.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/attmain/lassen/specialplaces

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Horses near Lassen National Forest

http://www.stbernardlodge.com/travel-with-horse.php

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Spend the night at McCarthy Point Lookpout, which was constructed in 1936 by the Conservation Corps. It was used as an observation point for detecting fires from 1937 to the mid 1960s. McCarthy Point is approximately 3,600 feet above sea level and is located in a very remote area of the Lassen National Forest.

http://www.nationalforests.org/explore/forests/ca/lassen

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Lassen NF stream

http://needpictures.com/blog/vacation/day-04-lassen-national-park/

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“A quiet secluded life in the country, with the possibility of being useful to people to whom it is easy to do good, and who are not accustomed to have it done to them; then work which one hopes may be of some use; then rest, nature, books, music, love for one’s neighbor — such is my idea of happiness.” – Leo Tolstoy

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Enigmatic.

“Rocks are records of events that took place at the time they formed. They are books. They have a different vocabulary, a different alphabet, but you learn how to read them.” – John McPhee

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Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area

http://www.treehugger.com/natural-sciences/10-gorgeous-waterfront-campgrounds-in-the-us.html

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Located in Northeastern Utah and Wyoming, it encompasses 1,384,132 acres of National Forest – 1,287,909 in Utah and 96,223 in Wyoming – with elevations ranging from 6,000 to over 13,500 feet.

http://www.wyomingtourism.org/thingstodo/detail/Flaming-Gorge-National-Recreation-Area/3040

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area was established by Congress October 1, 1968. The area contains 207,363 acres of land and water, almost equally divided between Utah and Wyoming.

http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/ashley/specialplaces/?cid=stelprdb5212203

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Pronghorns of Antelope Flats, Flaming Gorge

http://www.onthewingphotography.com/wings/category/locations/utah/flaming-gorge-national-recreation-area/

In 1869, Major John Wesley Powell, on expedition down the Green River, looked in awe at this magnificent country and named it Flaming Gorge. Today the brilliant red cliffs are scenic attractions for thousands of visitors annually. Managed by the Ashley National Forest Service including the section of the Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam, this rugged wildland stretches from Wyoming high deserts, where herds of antelope play along the lakeshore, to the forested slopes of Utah’s Uinta Mountains.

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Flaming Gorge is famous for its trophy lake trout. Good number of 30+ pound fish are caught each year. The Utah record went 51 lb 8 oz, and there may yet be a bigger one swimming in the reservoir. Fishing is also very good for rainbows, brown trout, kokanee salmon and smallmouth bass.

http://www.utah.com/nationalsites/flaming_gorge.htm

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Flaming Gorge

http://www.sharetheexperience.org/entry/8290937-Flaming-Gorge-National-Recreat?offset=3&sort=upload%20DESC&channel=20427

Stratigraphy of Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area:

http://3dparks.wr.usgs.gov/coloradoplateau/flaminggorge_strat.htm

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Petroglyphs have been found, giving evidence that American Indians lived in, or passed through, the area hundreds of years before the first Europeans arrived. To these natives, the Green River was known as the Seeds-ka-dee-a, the Crow Indian word meaning prairie hen.

Petroglyphs and artifacts suggest that Fremont Indians hunted game near Flaming Gorge for many centuries. Later, the Comanche, Shoshoni, and Ute tribes, whose members spread throughout the mountains of present-day Colorado and Utah, visited the Flaming Gorge country.

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South of Green River, UT in Labyrinth Canyon

http://healutah.org/nuclearutah/energy/greenriverreactors

Labyrinth Canyon is located on the Green River below the town of Green River, Utah. It is one of the best flat-water river sections in the West. Steep red canyon walls, smooth water, wildlife, and solitude are some of the features that you can expect while paddling in this area. There are tremendous hiking opportunities in the side canyons that line the river, with chances to explore stone arches, ancient rock art, and ruins. This section is suitable for paddlers of all abilities.

http://www.summitpost.org/labyrinth-canyon-green-river-utah/298066

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Canyonlands is a place of relative geologic order. Layers of sedimentary deposits systematically record chapters in the park’s past. With some exceptions, these layers have not been altered, tilted or folded significantly in the millions of years since they were laid down by ancient seas rivers or winds.

Upheaval Dome is quite a different story. In an area approximately three miles (5km) across, rock layers are dramatically deformed. In the center, the rocks are pushed up into a circular structure called a dome, or an anticline. Surrounding this dome is a downwarp in the rock layers called a syncline. What caused these folds at Upheaval Dome?

http://www.nps.gov/cany/naturescience/upheavaldome.htm

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Aerial Upheaval Dome

http://www.airphotona.com/image.asp?imageid=82

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When geologists first suggested that Upheaval Dome was the result of a salt dome, they believed the land form resulted from erosion of the rock layers above the dome itself.

When meteorites collide with the earth, they leave impact craters like the well-known one in Arizona. Some geologists estimate that roughly 60 million years ago, a meteorite with a diameter of approximately one-third of a mile hit at what is now the Upheaval Dome. The impact created a large explosion, sending dust and debris high into the atmosphere. The impact initially created an unstable crater that partially collapsed. As the area around Upheaval Dome reached an equilibrium, the rocks underground heaved upward to fill the void left by the impact. Erosion since the impact has washed away any meteorite debris, and now provides a glimpse into the interior of the impact crater, exposing rock layers once buried thousands of feet underground.

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Upheaval Dome

http://live-feed.blogspot.com/2007/07/pic-alternating-rock-layers-in-utah.html

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The rim of Upheaval Dome is 3 miles across and over 1000 feet above the core floor. The central peak in the core is 3000 feet in diameter and rises 750 feet from the floor.

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Green River & Upheaval Dome

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Green_River_%26_Upheaval_Dome,_UT.jpg

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Both origin hypotheses account for the overall structure of Upheaval Dome, assuming approximately a mile of overlying rock has been eroded. The main differences between the two hypotheses are the amount of time and the pressures needed to produce the structure.

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Upheaval Dome area

http://www.pmags.com/four-days-on-the-colorado-plateau-canyonland-arches-and-colorado-national-monument

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In 2007, German scientists Elmar Buchner and Thomas Kenkmann reported finding quartz crystals that were “shocked” by the high pressure of a meteorite impact. Many geologist now consider the mystery of Upheaval Dome’s origin to be solved.

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34 miles around Upheaval Dome

http://runsuerun.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

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Stucturally, it’s a dome, but topographically, it’s a crater. Simply stated, the entire structure appears as an eroded, 5.5 km (3.4 mi.) diameter crater surrounded by concentric rings composed largely of siltstone and sandstone. The central portion of the dome is a topographic depression eroded 350 m below the surrounding escarpment, which is ringed by a syncline and breached by a canyon cut through its west wall. The innermost portion of the crater has a central uplift or peak with a complex sequence of folded and faulted strata with an imbrication of thrust slices piled against the central peak and splayed towards the southeast.

Stratigraphically, Permian age White Rim and Cedar Mesa Sandstones of the Cutler Group lie at the center, the oldest exposed rocks of the dome. Upheaval’s rocks are progressively younger from its center to the rim. Like the layers of an onion, outwardly lie Triassic strata of the Moenkopi and Chinle Formations, Jurassic age Wingate Sandstone, Kayenta Formation and Navajo Sandstone. The outer rocks of Upheaval Dome dip outward, anticlinally, in all directions from the central peak. Non-resistant formations such as the Kayenta and the Chinle are eroded into strike valleys that encircle the center. Resistant sandstones stand tall as circular ridges, outermost of which is the Navajo. Upheaval Dome is located within the boundaries of the Paradox basin, and is therein underlain by the salt-bearing Pennsylvanian Paradox Formation.

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muddy stream that drains Upheaval Dome

http://www.lostjeeps.com/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?t=46915

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The Enigma of Upheaval Dome: Diapiric Salt or Ground Zero?

http://written-in-stone-seen-through-my-lens.blogspot.com/2011/05/enigma-of-upheaval-dome-diapiric-salt.html

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Upheaval Dome Geology

http://geology.utah.gov/surveynotes/geosights/upheaval_dome.htm

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More recently, researchers (Daly and Kattenhorn, 2010) have theorized a combined impact-salt diapiric event. They believe that the deformation styles at Upheaval Dome actually represent a meteorite impact that decreased the pressure of the overlying rocks and subsequently triggered the vertical flowage of salt. Salt flow may have bulged the Paradox Formation later in a ring surrounding the center of the impact without significant salt diapirism. Little is actually known about the effect of a meteorite impact into layers of salt, since this is the only known scenario of such an event.

http://written-in-stone-seen-through-my-lens.blogspot.com/2011/05/enigma-of-upheaval-dome-diapiric-salt.html

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Inside Upheaval Dome

http://www.lpl.arizona.edu/grad/fieldtrips/2004f-canyonlands/

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One of my favorite geologists is Wayne Ranney. His blog rocks:

http://earthly-musings.blogspot.com/

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Shasta.

Shasta looms majestically in the pure ether,
capped with a cloud,
against whose bosses the early sungold is beating…

– John Muir, 1877

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Lake Shasta, Mount Shasta, and The Trinity Alps

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Shasta Lake, also called Lake Shasta, is an artificial lake created by the construction of Shasta Dam across the Sacramento River in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest of Shasta County, California.

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Lake Shasta Boat Ramp

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Shasta Lake is a two-story impoundment and provides habitat for both warmwater and coldwater fishes. Habitat for coldwater fish species within the lake is considered good; however, habitat for warmwater fish species is limited by the lack of cover, steep-sided banks, and water level fluctuations.

Fish species within the lake are varied and abundant. Species known to inhabit the lake include: rainbow trout, brown trout, chinook salmon, largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, bluegill, carp, Sacramento sucker, Sacramento squawfish, riffle sculpin, black fish, hardhead minnow, white sturgeon, channel squawfish, threadfin shad, white catfish, brown bullhead, golden shiner and green sunfish.

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Houseboat on Lake Shasta

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The basses and trout are the species most frequently caught by anglers. Even though there is some natural reproduction, the coldwater fish populations within the lake are largely maintained through Annual stocking by the California Department of Fish and Game. The warmwater fish populations are self-perpetuating.

http://www.shastalake.com/fishing/

Fishing Regulations:  http://www.anglernet.com/web/lakes/shasta/shstfish.htm

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Lake Shasta morning

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Lake Shasta consists of four major arms: the Sacramento River, Pit River, Squaw Creek and McCloud River. The lake has 370 miles of shoreline and spans more than 30,000 acres. Anglers can fish its maximum depths that reach up to 500 feet.

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Grace Lake Shasta County

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Mount Shasta is one of the twenty or so large volcanic peaks that dominate the High Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest. These isolated peaks and the hundreds of smaller vents that are scattered between them lie about 200 kilometers east of the coast and trend southward from Mount Garibaldi in British Columbia to Mount Lassen in northern California

Mount Shasta stands near the southern end of the Cascades, about 65 kilometers south of the Oregon border. It is a prominent landmark not only because its summit stands at an elevation of 4,317 meters (14,162 feet), but also because its volume of nearly 500 cubic kilometers makes it the largest of the Cascade stratovolcanoes.

Mount Shasta is a compound stratovolcano that has been built by repeated eruptions during the past 200,000 years. Although the mountain itself is relatively young, it has been built atop older basalts and andesites whose ages indicate that volcanism has been taking place at the site of the present cone for at least the past 600,000 years.

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Mt. Shasta from Castle Lake

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Mount Shasta and its immediate surroundings are the products of several geological processes operating in concert. Volcanism has played a major role in shaping this landscape, and the variety of volcanic features found in the southern Cascades reflects the diversity of lavas and eruptive styles common to this region. Episodes of volcanism have alternated with intervals of erosion during which glaciers, streams, and mass movements such as rockfalls, debris flows, and debris avalanches have modified the original volcanic landforms.

Mount Shasta’s most recent eruption occurred about 200 years ago  and low-levels of geothermal and seismic activity still occur on and around the mountain today.

http://www.siskiyous.edu/shasta/geo/pro.htm

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Mount Shasta from Interstate 5

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The High Cascades is the younger of two volcanic mountain ranges that have risen parallel to the Pacific Northwest coast during the past 35 to 40 million years. The lofty stratovolcanoes that dominate the range are less than 2 million years old, but they stand atop a massive platform of basalts that has been built by eruptions from scores of vents during the past 12 million years. This entire suite of High Cascade rocks, in turn, overlies the eroded remnants of an older volcanic chain called the Western Cascades that was active between about 35 and 17 million years ago (McBirney and White, 1982). In order to understand why lavas have risen to build these volcanic mountains over tens of millions of years we need to review a bit about the concepts of plate tectonics and, in particular, the process of subduction.

http://www.siskiyous.edu/shasta/geo/set.htm

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Mt. Shasta and Lenticular clouds

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You will often hear the expression, “Mount Shasta makes its own weather.” How can a mountain make its own weather? The main answer is that Mount Shasta’s presence causes air to be uplifted.

All precipitation comes from clouds. Clouds are formed through the process known as condensation, which is typically caused by cooling. Cooling, in turn, is often caused by the uplifting of air. There are four major processes by which air is uplifted: convective lifting, frontal lifting, convergent lifting, and orographic lifting. Convective summertime thunderstorms produce massive thunderheads on Mount Eddy and Mount Shasta. Wintertime extratropical cyclones produce most of the precipitation formed by frontal lifting in our region. It is the process of orographic lifting that results in Mount Shasta “producing its own weather.”

The term orographic comes from the Greek word oros, meaning mountain. Orographic lifting is caused when moving air (wind) encounters a mountain and is forced upwards in the process. The layer of air replaced at the surface causes the air above it to be lifted and cooled. If there is enough moisture in the air, the cooling will cause it to condense and form clouds. If further condensation occurs then orographic precipitation can be produced.

Mount Shasta is known for its beautiful clouds. The lenticular clouds, often called “flying saucers,” are probably the most well-known type of cloud in the region. However, there are many types of clouds that can be seen around Mount Shasta.

http://www.siskiyous.edu/shasta/env/clouds/

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Filed under California, Nature