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Playing Geologist - Gigapanning Volcanos in Arizona

note: This is a work in progress. Suggestions welcome, email Rich.Gibson@gmail.com
changelog:
  • Oct 22, 2012 added automatically generated text and links for g4-g34, fixed img links for 64-g6
  • Oct 19, 2012 added Preview page
  • Oct 18, 2012 All gigapans uploaded
  • Oct 18, 2012 text updated through Gigapan G3
  • Oct 15, 2012 I am starting to upload images to Gigapan.org

  • local preview of all gigapans
  • All Gigapans on Gigapan.org

    Each year NASA sends groups of teams to the Desert to test equipment and techniques which may be useful for extraterretrial exploration. In April 2010 I got to go to the San Francisco Volcanic field to take Gigapan photos of potential exploration sites for that summer's DRATS tests.

    I met with Brian Monteleone, a Geologist at Arizona State. We looked at the geologic One of the goals of the tests is to see what can be learned about a location using just the tools available to us for extra planetary exploration. Brian and I played this role, looking at the location (mostly) with fresh eyes.

    The night before Brian and I met in Flagstaf and looked at maps to create a plan of attack. I loaded our plan into two GPS units
    (click for larger view)
    Download a KML file including our plan, and the reality of what we really did.

    The black cone with the flow erupting out of the north side was referred to as VC2 on one of our maps, and the flow is referred to as VF2. This is SP Crater. According to Wikipedia the crater was referred to as Shit Pot Crater in the 1880's, but that name offended the delicate mapmakers sensibilities and so it is SP Crater. To quote the wisdom of crowds "When viewed from certain angles on the ground, the combination of the smooth round shape of the cone, the dark lava spatter on the rim, and the long dark lava flow extruding from the base do indeed resemble a toilet catastrophe."

    I learned that planning a geology field trip is like eveything else. In theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there can be a huge difference. Since we were pretending to be uninformed, naive, observers we spent time questioning the obvious things. For example, it is pretty obvious that VF2 comes from VC2. Except, it isn't really obvious. When learning a new language you learn to appreciate your real friends, the genuine cognates. But you need to be wary of your false friends, the false cognates which looks the same, or similar, but have different meanings. And Geology is filled with false friends, formations which could inspire Yeats, turning in widening gyres, centres falling apart, lava tides loosed to drown innocent base layers...etc :-)

    (Sometimes false friends can be inverted...based on the 'toilet catastrophe' naming inspiration we could, perhaps refer to SP as a Gross volcano, but if we use the German false cognate we get 'SP ist ein gro├čer Vulkan,' and SP is pretty large.)

    In the interests of full disclosure, here is an only lightly edited version of our original plan.

    Initial Plan

    Target Zone 1 - contact between vc2 and vf2

    N35 35.252 W111 38.033 (12S 442573 3938386) alt:0
    VC2 and VF2 could be part of the same unit. Looking at the contact could help determine which came first. But the current mapping implies they are related temporally, so the goal of this gigapan series is to show that temporal relationship.

    Also, we want to look on vc2 for any features which are diagnostic of cones

    Features to look for and attempt to document:
    scoria - Basalt flow sometimes have vessicle, air bubbles, which are caused by gas releases from the rock. Scoria are shot through with these holes - almost like pumice, extremely light. We could attempt to document this feature by seeing fields of rocks with tiny holes - like looking at a bathroom sponge. We would need a very close up view for this.

    Some of these types of volcanos have radial dyke features from the center. We could document these by imaging the whole cone of vc2.

    Gigapans for here:

    • vc2 cone from base.
    • -contact zones
    • -extreme close up of suspected scoria or other rocks
    • -anything different about the cone which we don't see in the flow.
    • -climb to the edge of the cone and image down into the cone, and of the whole site.
    • -lots of age relationships.
    If we look at vc2 it is surrounded by different contacts. To the north slightly west it contacts vf2, and we also have contact with an old flow, vf1, to the East, and there is a contact between vf1 and vf2 so we see the relationship between and old flow and a younger cone and younger flow all together.

    And another old cone to the west.

    Hopefully we can see these contacts readily. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 2 - Dimple like features on vc1

    N35 36.119 W111 36.593 (12S 444757 3939975) alt:0

    This is an older cone unit. We are curious about the 'dimple' like structures.

    Proposed Gigapans:

    • from near the road due North, then walk toward this Target and capture the dimples and any other interesting features.
    Brian thinks the dimples may be erosional slumping zones. We will image them and find out. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 3 - Possible Fluvial Zone

    N35 36.482 W111 36.114 (12S 445485 3940642) alt:0

    We should be able to see this from the road, possibly walk into it, or from the road.

    Goal:

    • Capture an image from which we can determine if this is a fluvial zone.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 4 - What are these big black things?

    N35 34.356 W111 37.175 (12S 443859 3936722) alt:0

    Are they big bombs?

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 5

    N35 34.194 W111 36.536 (12S 444822 3936417) alt:0

    Lots of contact relationships here -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 6

    N35 34.059 W111 36.477 (12S 444909 3936166) alt:0

    More contact relationships. -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 7 - Rim of Colton (I think)

    N35 34.393 W111 36.803 (12S 444421 3936787) alt:0

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Target Zone 1 - SP Crater

    Target Zone 1 was filled with interesting locations. We spent a substantial part of both days exploring and imaging in this area. Here is an overview showing where we shot GigaPans.

    And a closer view. For scale, it is about 0.25 km from the road, to the base of the cone.


    Straight out we were able to capture a GigaPan on the edge of the contact between cone and flow. Note surface pattern of cracking on the rocks. Also there is Scoria, a highly vesicular volcanic rock (vesicular means there are many cavities, or vesicules). This is from the Northern flank of SP Crater, near to where an apparent alluvial layer flaking off of the cone contacts a major flow.
    (click to view 1.3 gigapixel version on Gigapan.org)
    After capturing that image we worked our way about 65 meters up the cone. Standing on the base of the northern part of the SP crater, facing northward looking at the basaltic flow off of the crater.
    (click to view 1.27 gigapixel version on Gigapan.org)

    The goal of this image is to show the continuity between the flow and the crater. And the wind is so hard that I had to hold the tripod with one hand, and while I was recording notes my netbook was literally blown out of my lap and thrown six feet. The wind is from the west, left in the image.

    This flow is continuous with this cone. You can see no break between the rock types in the flow and in this cone. This was not obvious from the map.

    The gigapan also shows the full extent of the flow. All of the dark brown outcroppings throughout the photo appear to be one continuous unit, that can be traced in the photos.

    The wind lifted the gigapan a few inches off one leg 2/3rds of the way through the photo. (there is a slight artifact on the top of the image, probably from this.

    The mounded areas, the outcroppings which stick up in the flat areas are for now of unknown origin. We don't know where they belong. For example, to the right the outcropping just left of the road.

    What we need to do in terms of a working field geologist 'what do I need to figure out" we know we have an extensive prominent flow unit we can trace. But we have smaller out croppings which is something else which is probably volcanic. We need to see if we can determine the age relationships between the outcroppings and this prominent flow.

    Two things to show:

    1. that this flow is continuous with this cone. You can see no break between the rock types in the flow and in this cone. This was not obvious from the map. (I thought it was not the case).

    2. A good aerial of the extent of the flow unit. you may be able to trace the boundary of the flow unit as well as we know based on what is uncovered.

    This is 10 meters down slope from G2. Showing details of the talus slope on SP.
    (click to view 0.69 gigapixel version on Gigapan.org)

    Showing various sized rocks and variability in vessicularty of rocks. Basically some rocks have a lot of holes, like scoria, and others don't. Also showing one piece that looks like an outer part of the flow , and some pieces showing evidence of welding, with scoria landing on partially cooled flow and bonding to that flow. Twenty five meters due North, into the flow area, we captured this image.

  • Detail of Lava flow on SP Crater (G4)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    There are some curved surfaces in this flow. This was moving slowly, and cooling at the same time, so the cracks are forming because it is cooling and it wants to move, so tension is created and cracks form. This looks like a large amount was moving in mass - it doesn't look like a talus pile. It appears similar across a long range There are variable sizes in the bolders, but it is very blocky. So this isn't the slow ropey thin fast moving lava, it is jagged, and heavy.
  • Looking north east from SP crater (G5)


    (View 1 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    The next question is : where can we find evidence of other flows, and make the genetic link to their souurce cones, and then find a place where one flow covers another.
  • Road cut through flow, North Side SP Crater (G6)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    Detail of road cut through the flow. This looks like an older flow, this image is intended to allow people to explore this flow in detail, and then to see a larger context in gigapans G7 and G8.
  • Overview of the North face of the SP Crater and lava flows (G7)


    (View 1 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    This is an overview image of the North face of the SP crater with surrounding lava flows and the west side of the vc1 crater. The road cut from G6 is near the middle of this image. We suspect the road cut in G6 represents a different unit which the SP crater lava flow covers in places. location: (35.59030, -111.63604) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • View of SP Crater and road cut (G8)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    Includes the road cut shown inG6, and the overlying layer of SP crater flow. Shows contact of the layers. Used together, G6, G7, and G8 allow a detailed exploration of this contact zone. View the snapshots for a link between these three Gigapans. location: (35.59083, -111.63327)
  • 360 view including SP from the East (G9)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.58239, -111.62391) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • South side of SP(G10)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    I had this labeled as the North Side of SP Crater in my notes, but clearly this is the south side. Whoops. I think that points to some of the issues inherent in doing field work. I took notes on my netbook on every shot, and I made a waypoint. Using those data sources, plus sanity checking in Google Earth, provides some hope that the information is really correct. And yet, errors slip through :-/ Last shot of the day. My notes say 'We're losing light, I'm not that optimistic about it.' But I'm happy with the light, with the sense of quiet mass as the day passes and the volcanos remain. After this we packed up the car and raised back to Flagstaff. This was taken at 5:30 pm, looking at the sunset calculator, twilight wat at 5:42 and sunset was 6:51, and there was no moon until late. http://www.sunrisesunset.com/mobile/day.asp?latitude=35.551855&latitude_n_s=N&longitude=111.6258&longitude_e_w=W&timezone=-7&dayOfMonth=5&month=4&year=2010 (It looks like I took G34 at 6:47pm the next day...really racing the light :-) The top of SP Crater is 2 miles from the camera location. location: (35.55186, -111.62589) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • Entry to study site (G11)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.61782, -111.55491) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • Orientation view of entry to D-RATS 2010 test site (G12)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.61631, -111.57055) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • East side of SP crater and surrounding lava flows (G13)


    (View 1 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.59895, -111.61623) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • 360 view centered on SP and Lava Flow (G14)


    (View 2 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.59570, -111.62730) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • (G15)


    (View 1 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.59571, -111.62727) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G17)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.58971, -111.63508) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G20)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    Taken Apr 6, 2010 14:30 location: (35.59139, -111.64659) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G27)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.54752, -111.63591) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G28)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.54751, -111.63591) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G29)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.54754, -111.63590) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G30)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.54740, -111.63449) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats
  • April 2010 Recon: (G34)


    (View 0 gigapixel image on GigaPan.org)
    location: (35.54829, -111.63214) There is more description, links to more of these images, and maps, at http://scaleindependent.com/projects/drats

    Interjection of reality

    Target Zones 4-7 were all near what we had thought was Colton Crater. Well, we were wrong on that one!! We were about 4 km off. (click for larger view)