Thursday, July 2, 2009

Colorado Springs - Mesa Verde pretty much just a westward trek through the Rockies in southern Colorado. Now, before you hardcore Rockies enthusiasts come at me for that last statement, mind you: we were just passing through at this point on our way to Mesa Verde National Park. If it were up to me, I would have checked out the Tepee Buttes, Spanish peaks, anything and everything between Colorado City and Durango - but it wasn't up to me.

BUT - we stopped by Great Sand Dunes National Park.

I enjoyed Sand Dunes. We actually skipped a stop further in towards Silverton, Colorado, a town built within an ancient caldera to go there. Now, we ended up skipping a few spots on this trip, and I don't know who's to blame for this, so I'll let it go. But please, never tell a group of geologist that they're going to a caldera - and not do it.

On to Sand Dunes. Sadly, we did not spend an ample amount of time here either, but what we did see was what gets geomorphologists like myself to sleep at night.

The first photo on the top of the page, is being described in the lecture of the century by Dr. Albanese here (heavy, dark minerals [magnetite] are being deposited in the shallow stream, due to their higher density, they form bars). I figured that this was about as good as a geology lecture photo gets, so here it is:

What are, I believe, some SUCO field trip goers:
Some serious cumulnimbi forming north of the Dunes:
Wishing to grow up to be just like the Navajo Sandstone:

And later that day...

We also drove over the continental divide, did some nalgene experiments (to no avail) and had a beautiful overlook of the San Juan National Forest later on. At this point, though, we had driven into more storms associated with the thunderheads in picture #4, so photography increased in difficulty.

The Continental Divide (someone put a sign in front of it...):

A good looking jay at the San Juan N.F. might even say, Stellar:

And one amazing view of the SJNF:

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