Wednesday, 30 June 2004
Map Was The Start Not The Finish
CREDIT: © Cecil J. Schneer/Earth.UNH.edu
WHERE: Harmony, Indiana, USA. WHAT: first US geological map.
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image on source web site.
Any comparison between William Smith and William (birth name James McClure) Maclure, if based only on either's contribution to theoretical geology, will favor Smith over Maclure. On the USGS [US Geological Survey] web site, an out of print 1987 text, Explanatory Text to Accompany the Geologic Map of the United States by Philip B. King & Helen M. Beikman: Geological Survey Professional Paper 901, seems to bear out that claim, and point to reasons why:
Maps Published Before 1860
Efforts to portray on a map the geology of what is now the United States extend back more than two centuries. The first recorded attempt is a 'Mineralogic map, showing the nature of the terrains of Canada and Louisiana' (Carte min&eacure;ralogique où l'on voit la nature des terrains du Canada et de la Louisiane), by the French geologist Jean Étienne Guettard, published in 1752, at a time when a large part of the region was still French territory. Whether he visited North America is not certain, and most of his information was compiled from reports of French officers. A belt of marl and clay is shown extending from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Breton Island, and thence inland toward Quebec. Between it and the coast is a sandy belt, and west of it a schistose and metalliferous belt. Different signs and annotations indicate the places where rocks and minerals were re-ported between the Atlantic Coast and the Rocky Mountains.
Aside from this primitive effort, the first geologic map of the United States is that published by William Maclure in 1809, of which a revised version appeared in 1817 [FIG.1]. Maclure was a Scotsman who came to America as a merchant and after his retirement became interested in the sciences; for 22 years he was president of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences. To assemble his map, he traveled widely through what was then the United States, and especially the part east of the Mississippi River. Both editions of his map were accompanied by an explanatory text, including "remarks on the effect produced on the nature and fertility of the soils by the decomposition of the different classes of rocks."
In accord with the prevailing thinking of his day, Maclure classified the rocks on Wernerian principles, dividing them into Primitive, Transition, Secondary or Floetz (including a unit of Old Red Sandstone), and Alluvial. On the map of 1817, a line is marked along the Appalachians "to the westward of which is found the greatest part of the Salt and Gypsum." In modern terms, his "Primitive Rock" corresponds to the Precambrian and other crystalline rocks of the Adirondack Mountains, New England, and the Piedmont Province; his "Transitional Rock" to the folded Paleozoic of the Appalachians; his "Secondary Rock" to the flat-lying Paleozoic farther west; his "Old Red Sandstone" to the Triassic Newark Group; and his "Alluvial Rock" to the Cretaceous and Tertiary deposits of the Coastal Plain.
No significant geologic maps of the whole United States appeared for many years after Maclure's publication, but important maps of parts of the region were made. The most notable was that by James Hall which accompanied his classic Part 4 of 'Geology of New York' (1843), dealing with the western part of the State and establishing the fundamentals of Paleozoic stratigraphy in a large part of the country. The map includes not only Hall's survey in New York but also his reconnaissance observations farther west and represents in fair detail the Northern States as far south as Virginia and as far west as the Mississippi River on a scale of 1:1,850,000. In addition, geology was also sketched on maps showing the routes of some of the exploring expeditions, such as that of Major S.H. Long's expedition to the Rocky Mountains (James, 1823), and David Dale Owen's to the northern Middle Western States (1843).
It seems that Maclure chose to follow what is now considered to be the 'wrong' classification system, and did not grasp the importance of stratigraphy, from whence came William 'Strata' Smith's nickname. Even though his work may be considered 'flawed', his observations were accurate, let down only by the theoretical model into which he tried to make them fit. His industry, application, and determination were the equal of Smith's, and his influence on later geologists was just as strong.
Maclure was much more than a geologist. Biographical  notes show him to be a true son of the Enlightenment, and to understand his importance to the increasingly key science of geology in the emergent United States, one needs to know a little of Maclure's involvement with Owen and his New Harmony, Indiana, utopian community. In addition to that third biographical link, Clark Kimberling has pages on the New Harmony experiment, its founder Robert Owen, and Robert's son David Dale Owen. Indiana University has a five part History of the Indiana Geological Survey that shows just how widely spread has been Maclure's influence.
In addition to the already linked monotone copy of Maclure's map, there is color [823KB file] version available on the web from Cecil J. Schneer at UNH Earth Sciences [University of New Hampshire], and even an interactive version from the David Rumsey Map Collection [check for the resources required].
Tuesday, 29 June 2004
Too Many Fathers Spoil A Corpus
CREDIT: © U.S. Geological Survey/USGS Museum Property
WHERE: New Harmony, Indiana, USA. WHAT: first geological map of America.
Thumbnail click pops-up source web page.
William Maclure (1763-1840), sometimes called the 'Father of American Geology', is overshadowed by William  Smith (1769-1839), sometimes called the 'Father of British Geology'. Maclure published his geological map of America in 1809, yet Smith's 1815 geological map of Britain receives more acclaim.
We will examine this superficially unfair circumstance tomorrow, but meanwhile we accord Maclure the same representation we gave Smith, a link to a 1920s portrait by Abner Lowe, from the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey web site.
Lowe painted retrospective portraits of eight other famous geologists:  Grove Carl Gilbert (1843-1918);  Abraham Gottob Werner (1750-1817);  J. Louis Agassiz (1807-1873);  James Hall (1811-1898);  James Hutton (1726-1797);  Amos Eaton (1776-1842);  Leopold von Buch (1774-1853); and  James Dwight Dana (1813-1895). Among these Hutton and Werner are sometimes referred to as 'Founder of Geology', and Eaton as another 'Father of American Geology' candidate.
It seems to us that these epithetical accolades are somewhat overworked, because understanding the development of a body of knowledge is more important to serious study than the star status of individual contributors.
Monday, 28 June 2004
Father Of British Geology's Map
CREDIT: © University of New Hampshire/UNH: William 'Strata' Smith on the Web
WHERE: United Kingdom. WHAT: first ever countrywide geological map.
Thumbnail click pops-up map sections index page, linking to large images.
Yesterday we looked at portraits of nineteenth century earth scientists in London, England. Today we look at the life and work of one of them, William Smith. The thumbnail shows what has become known as his Great Map, fifteen separately printed sheets joined together to make a 6x9 feet whole, covering all of England, Wales, and Scotland as far north as the Firth of Tay.
We have selected some resources for further information: the UNH [University of New Hampshire] web site William 'Strata' Smith on the Web offers facsimiles of Smith's three major works; UCMP [University of California, Berkeley, Museum of Paleontology] offers The Geologic Time Scale in Historical Perspective (including a short bio of Smith) as part of a much larger resource; the Ethical Atheist and Strange Science web sites offer succinct pages for those who prefer summary material; in Smith's homeland the BGS [British Geological Survey] offers a mini web, a PDF magazine article, and sells facsimiles of Smith's map in their PDF format catalog; the GS [The Geological Society] in London offers tours of an original map.
Those who want a fuller treatment will be interested to read The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester. Popular history always runs the risk of lacking academic rigor, though Winchester seems to have managed to write a successful book without ruffling too many feathers. We think it is useful to try and get a balanced view, so we include links to two book reviews: Dr. Ben Waggoner [PDF format] is a biogeographer and paleoecologist with UCA [University of Central Arkansas]; Beverly Eschberger is a chemist in her professional life, but a paleoartisan and writer on paleontology by inclination. We found both these reviews helpful to give perspective to our own enjoyment of Winchester reading his work as an audio book.
Sunday, 27 June 2004
Century That Earth Began To Move
CREDIT: © Roger Vaughan/Roger Vaughan Picture Library
WHERE: London, England. WHAT: portraits of 19th century geologists.
Thumbnail  clicks pop-up larger images on source web site.
Regular visitors may have noticed our occasional shallow forays into geophysics. Many of the pictures on this web site are landscape photographs of one sort or another, and we think that any appreciation of landforms is deepened by some understanding of the science that explains why these places have come to be the way they now exist.
Although this is a web site for looking at photographs rather than a geophysics course, we thought the overhead projector format beloved of academics, with forty easily read cells at WGA [Chemistry Dept., State University of West Georgia] was a good introduction. Donald L. Blanchard has a crash course in the ABCs of Plate Tectonics to get us all up to speed quickly . There are only four lessons (should that not make it the ABCDs?), and check out the author's caveat about the controversial nature of some of his hypotheses. There are links to the currently accepted explanations, but even some of these were considered radical when we were in high school.
Anyone who has not logged off, or gone to sleep, might reasonably be expected to be the sort of person whose intellectual curiosity is inflamed by this kind of wildly exciting stuff. In the past we have mentioned the Henry Mountains in Utah, and Knockan Crag in Assynt, Scotland, in the context of earth science and landscape appreciation. Many of the developments in earth science are associated with particular individuals who have made an imaginative mental leap to advance our understanding.
We were delighted to discover the Roger Vaughan picture library entitled Geologists of the Geological Society of London (19th Century). This collection contains twenty three portraits of society members from that century. For our thumbnail strip we chose five men:  Dr. William Thomas Blanford;  Dr. Hugh Falconer;  William Smith;  Prof. John Phillips; and  Dr. William Henry Fitton. Our selections were those who were photographed rather than artistically represented; other than that we just picked portraits we liked. There is one exception to the photo versus drawing rule: the man in the middle picture is William Smith (1769-1839), in an engraving from a painting by M. Foureau. More about Smith tomorrow, but you may enjoy a brief introduction, with another portrait painted by Abner Lowe in the 1920s.
Saturday, 26 June 2004
Learning To Survive In Paradise
CREDIT: © Erik Gauger/NotesFromTheRoad.com
WHERE: isthmus of Caribbean Panama. WHAT: survival of the Kuna people.
MAP: Panama. Thumbnail click pops-up source web site.
We find it difficult to look at today's feature picture without mentally adding a soundtrack of Harry Belafonte singing Island in the Sun, a song written by Harry and Irving 'Lord Burgess' Burgie (composer of the National Anthem of Barbados) for the same name 1957 film.
The picture comes from the Isthmus section of Erik Gauger's web site Notes from the Road, of which Vol.37 is the first of a two  part account of the region and its indigenous people, entitled The Kuna Indians: Settlement of Caribbean Panama. We continue to think Erik's travel site is one of the most stylish, and literary, travellers tales sites on the web. We are subscribed to Erik's mailing list, so we always receive the text of the latest issue, then repair to the web site to enjoy the illustrated version.
Friday, 25 June 2004
William Daniell's Orkney Voyage
CREDIT: © The Orcadian/Orcadian.co.uk
WHERE: Orkney, Scotland. WHAT: William Daniell's 1818 voyage to Orkney.
MAP: Orkney. Thumbnail  clicks pop-up larger images on source site.
We recently featured the Italian Chapel on the Orkney island of Lamb Holm. Today we step even further back in time, courtesy of the Orkney local newspaper, The Orcadian. From their premises in Hells Half Acre they achieve a household penetration of 100% on Orkney, according to figures from the Newspaper Society. Many a newspaper editor would give his eye teeth to get even a qualified half of that figure.
There is also an Orcadian.co.uk web site, which offers historical features from whence we chose William Daniell's Voyage to Orkney in August 1818. Visit that link for the full story, on a page where you may also download a screen saver (PC platform only - why would anyone make such a decision?) with the twelve aquatints that resulted from Daniell's visit. Also available from a separate downloads page is the Orcadian 150th anniversary screen saver (also PC platform only).
All is not lost for those more discriminating in their choice of computer platform. The downloads page additionally offers five of Daniell's aquatints, available as 1024x768 pixels or 800x600 pixels JPEG graphics files suitable for desktop wallpaper. Users of Apple's OSX may of course add the images to the inbuilt screen saver module: it is regrettable that all twelve images are not available in this way.
Using the map link, in the header for this item, you may click to virtually visit all five places portrayed by Daniell, but in the UndiscoveredScotland.co.uk features you will see them in modern day photographs with explanatory texts..
Thursday, 24 June 2004
Al Gives Her All For Awareness
CREDITS: images © Patrick Lichfield/LichfieldStudios.com
web site © Scoliosis Association (UK)/SAUK.co.uk
WHERE: England, UK. WHAT: Scoliosis Association (UK) awareness exhibition.
Thumbnail click pops-up source gallery. Numbered links load individual entries.
Generally we do not feature pin-up pictures, though in the past Christine Keeler and the Bellocq ladies have appeared here. We also made an exception for Al Menzies; not because she is the webmaster for SAUK [Scoliosis Association (UK)]; nor because Patrick Lichfield [more formally known as The Earl of Lichfield DL FBIPP FRPS, but we are using his preferred professional name in this context] took the photograph; we just thought it was a great picture! This image, along with fifteen other pin-ups by Patrick may be purchased for a trifling sum as a postcard set from SAUK, entitled 'Getting it Straight', designed to raise scoliosis awareness.
If you visit the web site you will understand the title of the awareness exhibition. The subjects are a mixture of SAUK members plus an eclectic selection of the famous and infamous (very large images up to 1319x1375 pixels that we are unable to control, so our apologies for the resizable windows):  Al Menzies, SAUK trustee, technical author;  Barbara Windsor, actress;  Christopher Weatherley, scoliosis surgeon;  David Rintoul, SAUK patron, actor;  Ewan McGregor, actor;  Graham Gooch, cricketer;  Hannah Richards, SAUK member;  Jane Asher, actress, writer, businesswoman;  Linford Christie, athlete;  Michael Winner, film producer/director;  Peter Roberts, SAUK member, Pilates instructor;  Ronnie Corbett, comedian;  Sarah Cox, Radio One DJ;  Sarah Wallace, SAUK member, fashion & design student;  Siobhan Grey, SAUK member, mother of Aidan, who is in the picture with her; and  Vanessa & Lorena Pessu, SAUK members, students.
Wednesday, 23 June 2004
Infinite Variety Of Brit Weather
CREDIT: © Charles Winpenny/CornwallCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Cornwall, England. WHAT: changeable weather conditions.
MAP: English shires. Thumbnail  clicks pop-up larger images.
Ian Scott-Parker writes: Occasionally people ask me, as an expatriate Brit, if I miss my homeland. Here are four pictures from Charles Winpenny's CornwallCAM.co.uk web site. The two on the left were taken on Midsummer's Day, 21 June 2004, and the two on the right were taken the following day, 22 June. My sister rang on Sunday to say how beautiful it was outside: a soft rain was falling after four dry weeks following her return from a visit to Utah. There are people in southern Utah who have been known to cast decorum aside while enjoying pantiless dancing under such conditions when rarely experienced here, or even faking it under the lawn sprinklers.
Enduring cloudless blue skies, sunshine almost every day, and summer temperatures of 100°F is not for the faint hearted, but I suppose somebody has to do it. I had to go on the roof yesterday to adjust the cooler, and burned the heel of both hands on the hot felt. Today I took the state driving test, and had to sit out on the lot waiting for the examiner. She jumped in the car where I sat sweating, heard my accent, and then welcomed me to hell! I noticed she was 'garment wearing', an LDS (Mormon) tradition of white knees-to-neck-to-elbows undergarments; back home they use hair shirts.
Tuesday, 22 June 2004
Catch The Delights Of The Shires
CREDIT: © Ian Davey/SuffolkCAM.co.uk
WHERE: Suffolk, England. WHAT: various sites of interest around the county.
MAP: English shires. Thumbnail      clicks pop-up source galleries.
We have been neglectful of Ian Davey's SuffolkCAM.co.uk of late. To make amends we are featuring five images that link to their own separate photo galleries for Ian's visits to (L to R with links to maps): Easton Farm Park Laundry (the current SuffolkCAM feature - if content has changed when you visit, check the archives for the entry on 31 May 2004) near Wickham Market; the Corpus Christi Guildhall in Lavenham; Grand Union Canal locks at Watford (this is the only location not in the county of Suffolk, but in Northamptonshire - shire is an old word for county); the Four Horseshoes pub in Thornham Magna; and St. Mary in Earl Soham.
Monday, 21 June 2004
The Longest Day Dawns In Parowan
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Parowan, Utah. WHAT: probable ancient celestial observatory & calendar.
MAP: Parowan. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Parowan, Utah, has witnessed the migrations of several cultures. Presently the dominant culture is formed by Euroamerican members of the LDS (Mormon) church. This is slowly changing as Gentiles (the LDS name for non LDS people) dilute the numbers down from almost 100% church membership after the previous 'Native American' culture of the Paiute people was displaced. In some parts of the state church membership is said to be as low as 50% of the population, while Utah County south of Salt Lake City claims the highest percentage, still said to be at traditional levels of almost exclusively LDS members. None of these statistical statements is claimed to be sourced or accurate, but rather the generally retold perceptions from anecdotal conversations. When we visited Parowan we ate at a Mexican restaurant, staffed by Hispanic people, and occupied by customers who might have been from anywhere; and some of us were.
The heritage of the presently dominant culture is seen on the Parowan.org museums page. Our own picture shows the Old Rock Church, taken from the rear to better show the construction from whence its name derives. A fuller version of the heritage story is told in six  parts by Nancy Dalton on the Parowan.com web site. The Utah History To Go web site has a piece by Will Bagley that discusses the LDS (Mormon) 'Iron Mission' that founded the town. Blaine S. Nay adds more historical detail, and has a picture of the front elevation of the church.
Today's date, 21 June is Summer Solstice in the northern hemisphere, takes us back to those earlier people who lived around Paragoon, which was their name for this place. West of the town there is a geological feature known as a 'wind gap'. These are created when a stream that cuts down through a rising mountain blocks, in this case the Red Mountains, eventually becomes a victim of the uplift, leaving a dry cutting through the mountains. Often wind erosion takes over where the water left off, leaving intricately carved rock formations and erosional surfaces.
Our picture shows not the main gap at Parowan, but rather the inter mountain bowl, looking east. Across this low ridge the rising sun streams towards the main gap, and the setting sun shines through the main gap to fade on some of the ridge points. The ancients observed the apparent movement of the sun over the course of the year, and one compelling interpretation of the petroglyphs in the gap is that this place was a vast celestial observatory and calendar.
We have chosen three resources to tell the archaeological story of Parowan: Nowell 'Nal' Morris, a former NASA physicist who teaches archaeo-astronomy and archaeology at Utah Valley State College, has a page on the Parowan.org web site that introduces almost a decade of his research into the Parowan glyphs.
The Hamilton's ScienceViews.com web site is a rich resource, and includes two  pages on the Parowan caves, and four  pages containing forty eight pictures of the glyphs, taken by Calvin J. Hamilton, Randy M. Hamilton, and Rosanna Hamilton. There is also a page on the associated Rush Lake Legend.
Dale R. Bascom has two  pages of pictures taken at the time of a study session, when guide Stan Johnson explained the calendric functions of the glyphs.
Sadly, we read on the ScienceViews.com site that current warnings not to touch glyphs, backed by legal action against transgressors, seem not to have been in place as recently as 1963, when these precious artifacts were being blown apart with dynamite! The estimated destruction of about half the glyphs, extant when the first modern settlers arrived, speaks volumes about the foundations of our own culture.
Sunday, 20 June 2004
Life As Metaphor For Long Walks
CREDIT: © Dave Newton/Daves-Lakeland-Mountains.co.uk
WHERE: Cumbria Way, England. WHAT: long distance footpath through Lakeland.
MAP: Ulverston-Ambleside. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
If this was Cumbria Way v. Dave Newton, then the score would be 3-2 to the home team. The worst that might be said is that Dave set off for a five day walk, and wisely limited himself to just two  days when he found he was not on form. However, we like to accentuate the positive here: like those two runners in Greek mythology, we like to think that Dave was narrowly beaten into second place, whereas the Cumbrian Way trailed in last but one from the end! This was less than a defeat, more of a tactical withdrawal! He who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day! If at first you don't succeed, give up! Discretion is the better part of valor! Arriving is not important: it is the journey that counts! Check out the pictures for yourself, and we think that you will agree that it would be hard to make the case that this was any sort of a defeat. Never the less we look forward to the report when Dave goes back to vanquish the foe.
Saturday, 19 June 2004
WWII Survivors Still Going Strong
CREDIT: © Polar Inertia/PolarInertia.com
WHERE: nationwide USA. WHAT: surviving Quonset Huts.
MAP: Rhode Island. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up source pages.
In the last part of our trilogy [now linked from the sidebar FEATURES NAVIGATION pulldown menu] for the Wriggly Tin Festival, we look at Quonset Huts. The history is suitably minimal for a project with a lead-in time of two months, even though around 170,000 units were manufactured during WWII. We thought it unlikely that the original might still be standing, but we found some that must be very early examples: the American Memory web site has a HABS [Historic American Buildings Survey] section that catalogs the structures at Quonset Point Naval Air Station, RI, where the prototype Quonset Hut was designed and built in March 1941, almost nine months before the Pearl Harbor attack that precipitated direct US involvement in the war.
We searched the catalog, and found four [3a][3b] pages that included pictures of Quonset Huts. We are not qualified to make any claims or assertions, but we do think they make an interesting collection. Perhaps 'Serial #001' appears somewhere!
At the end of WWII (1939-45) surplus huts were sold off for civilian use, at around $1,000 each. They were adapted to many uses, and many have survived and are in use down to the present day. The PolarInertia.com web site has a number of projects that may interest those with an awareness of the visual appearance of their world. One of the projects records surviving Quonset Huts in eighteen pictures, and we chose our own favorite  five for today's thumbnail strip.
Some people have become attached to these utilitarian buildings. They may not have won BDC [Business Design Centre] awards, or be Bauhaus creations, but their form certainly does follow function. They have insinuated themselves into the familiar visual environment, and people are reluctant to allow them to be needlessly torn down. We found numerous examples of preservation efforts, and chose  four that we thought most fully explored the issues and presented the subjects.
Friday, 18 June 2004
The Michelangelos Of Nissen Huts
CREDIT: © UndiscoveredScotland.co.uk/UndiscoveredScotland.co.uk
© Brian Cameron/BC Home Photo Page
WHERE: Lamb Holm, Orkney, Scotland. WHAT: chapel built by Italian POWs.
MAP: Orkney. Thumbnail click pops-up source page.
For day two of the Wriggly Tin Festival we visit the islands of Orkney off the northern mainland of Scotland, and in particular Lamb Holm. In 1940 Italian prisoners of war were sent to the islands to build Churchill Barriers, designed to prevent an attack similar to the sinking of the Royal Oak the year before, when a German submarine penetrated the defences of Scapa Flow where the British fleet was anchored. One of those POWs was Domenico Chiocchetti (1910-1999).
Along with other members of his unit, Domenico converted a double Nissen hut into a remarkable place of worship. Outside what was to become the chapel, Domenico first completed a sculpture of 'St. George and the Dragon' made from cement and barbed wire: set garvies to catch mackerel. Domenico did the painting, including a 'Madonna and Child' based  upon the 19th century work 'Quasi Oliva Speciosa in Campis' [Madonna of the Olives] by Nicolo Barabina or Barabino (1832-1891), and remained behind at the end of the war to finish the font; Primavera and Micheloni did the electrical installation; Palumbo did the wrought ironwork screens using scrap metal; and Bruttapasta did the cement work.
Bruno Volpi seems to have best articulated the group's mission, "Only by thinking of something nobler and more elevated could we find inner peace and hope." Chiocchetti returned in 1960 to spend three weeks restoring his painting, assisted by Orcadian Stanley Hall, who had been a guard on the prison ship bringing the Italians to Orkney. The two became friends, a fitting tribute to the mission's success.
All these men, Chiocchetti, Primavera, Micheloni, Bruttapasta, Palumbo, and Volpi, are to Nissen Huts what Michelangelo Buoarroti (1475-1564) is to the Sistine Chapel.
The BBC Heritage web site has a four  part article that gives a detailed history of the Italian Chapel. Unfortunately the illustrative images are parsimoniously sized, and as in many BBC online offerings this depreciates an otherwise excellent piece of work. The SCRAN archive has thirty one images, though an annually paid subscription is required to view them full size. You may read the Italian Chapel story on the UndiscoveredScotland.co.uk web site with much better illustrations, and see an excellent picture  set on Brian Cameron's web site.
Brian has other interesting galleries: you may visit the gallery page where the Italian Chapel pictures are featured, along with two wheeled motorized transport, Scotland's Western Isles, Clouds & Sunsets, and the Firbush Field Centre; the time lapse images page has several meteorological examples, and a daffodil [large 1.7Mb download]; the contents of the panoramas page are eponymous; Brian is an assistant director of Sci-Fun, the Scottish Science Technology Roadshow, whose old site activities we enjoyed, especially the bubble-girl in the surface tension demonstration!
Nissen Huts, which form the basis of the Italian Chapel, were temporary modular buildings designed for military use. The predominant feature of the design was its use of corrugated iron, or 'wriggly tin' as it is sometimes called, to clad the skeleton of the building. An article from the Institution of Civil Engineering Surveyors magazine Civil Engineering Surveyor dated May 1999 gives a history: the article has been reprinted on the Wymondham College Remembered web site: beware the associated spoof.
Many UK baby boomers will remember school classrooms within Nissen Huts that were long past their advertised sell by date, though properly maintained they had much longer lives than might have been expected when they were erected. Anthony Nissen has a page with construction details.
The American equivalent of the Nissen Hut is the Quonset Hut, a name derived from the Quonset Naval Air Station on Rhode Island, where the prototype was built in 1941. Names like Occupessatuxet, Chepiwanoxet, and Quonochontaug from the local Native American Narragansetts language occur in Rhode island, so Quonset ['a point'] is not as bad as it might have been. From a design perspective the Quonset Hut has proved more durable than the Nissen Hut, and more modern designs based on the original are still available. We will examine some examples of the genre tomorrow.
Thursday, 17 June 2004
Honoring Under Loved Wriggly Tin
CREDITS: image © Philippa Lewis & Gillian Darley/EdificePhoto.com;
web site © Sue Clifford & Angela King/Corrugated-Iron-Club.info
WHERE: Kilburn, London, and worldwide. WHAT: corrugated iron architecture.
Thumbnail click pops-up source page.
Over the next three days we will be celebrating the contribution that corrugated iron sheeting has made to the appearance of our post Industrial Revolution world. The Corrugated-Iron-Club.info web site suggests, "The material has not had a homogenising influence mainly because it lends itself to small scale, self-build enterprises which reflect a precise functional response to need."
Contributors [pages]  may be sufficient in number and content to convince you that there are independently minded people who appreciate this material.
For more on the Kilburn building, a former church now used by a youth group, check out gallery  from François Crompton-Roberts, with a link to other corrugated iron religious building sites, or Tin Tabernacles as they are affectionately known.
Wednesday, 16 June 2004
The History Of Dissent In Assynt
CREDIT: © Rob Butler*, Clare Gordon*, Maarten Krabbendam+, Luke Bateson+
Earth.Leeds.ac.uk *Earth Sciences, University of Leeds; +British Geological Society
WHERE: Assynt, Scotland. WHAT: birthplace of plate tectonics.
MAP: Knockan. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up source pages.
Just eleven miles north of the harbor town of Ullapool, on Scotland's wild northwest coast, lies a hill named Knockan Crag. In May of this year, Anne and Andrew Leaney from Leaney.org visited the area to hike among the hills, and you may enjoy a virtual  visit, along with  Suilven,  Sandwood Bay,  Kylesku and Lochinver, which were all on the itinerary. Just looking at hiking pictures tells you that something quirky has been going on around here, geologically speaking that is.
The Highlands Controversy was an academic debate in nineteenth century geology, which centered around the structure of Scotland's Northwest Highlands. John Horne and Ben Peach provided the explanation that is accepted today. The work they did had far reaching implications for the way we understand geological plate movement and mountain building. We honor them with this picture, which shows them not far from Knockan, resplendent in 1912 gentlemen's walking kit.
Enquiring minds will enjoy a thorough exploration of Rob Butler's Assynt Geology web site. Lorraine Wakefield's piece on the TravelScotland.co.uk web site makes a good introduction, and Scottish Natural Heritage's Knockan-Crag.co.uk is a wholly dedicated web site. The ScottishGeology.com web site has research resources.
CREDIT: © Andrew Leaney/Leaney.org
Tuesday, 15 June 2004
Plateaus Foot Rim For High Life
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Sedona, Arizona, USA. WHAT: high spirits and spiritual highs.
MAP: Sedona. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up larger images.
Our journey's end was Sedona, Arizona, a town that may officially be the wrong side of the Mogollon Rim to qualify as being part of the Colorado Plateaus, but that is like saying the frame is not part of the picture. We delivered our Australian house guest to her hotel, then we all went downtown, which is uptown hereabouts!
Sedona has been described as the 'Woo-woo Capital of the USA', and the ubiquitous presence of pink jeeps driven by gorgeous blonde Scythian tour guides does nothing to detract from that epithet. The only male member of the party was forbidden from approaching close enough to ascertain if aitches were being dropped.
We made our way to the Vista Cantina, from where all four of today's pictures were taken. We ate the best Chipolte Southwest Grilled Chicken Wrap we have ever been served (electing to have a fruit salad in place of the seasoned fries), while gazing out to the eroded sandstone cliffs that are the signature geological feature of this place.
The best picture we were able to find showing Sedona's location [also available sized for large or studio monitors] is courtesy of Steve and Connie Segner from the hacienda hotel El Portal Sedona - check out the individually styled rooms, especially when available on the half price offer! We have no connection with this hotel, but we support any organization with enough savvy to provide five  photo galleries, and even a movie selection page!
Monday, 14 June 2004
Plunging Down The Mogollon Rim
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Flagstaff-Sedona, Arizona, USA. WHAT: SW rim of the Colorado Plateaus.
MAPS: Colorado Plateaus [whole]; West Fork Oak Creek Canyon topo.
Plateaus quarters:  Colorado,  New Mexico,  Arizona,  Utah.
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
This is our last day on the Colorado Plateaus, that area roughly centered on the Four Corners, and quartered into the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The last plateau south of the town of Flagstaff and the San Francisco Mountains is the Mogollon Rim, named for Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon, who was the Governor of the Province of New Mexico 1712-1715. The road south from Flagstaff plunges down Oak Creek Canyon to the town of Sedona. Our picture shows three serpentine switchbacks of the road that drops from the rim down onto the canyon floor among spectacular, heavily wooded, river canyon scenery.
In the upper canyon, the West Fork of Oak Creek is a classic southwest canyon  hike, especially beautiful in the Fall. Zane Grey, the author of western novels, placed the action of his 1924 novel 'The Call of the Canyon' in this inspirational setting.
Sunday, 13 June 2004
Two Miners Fight Over The Canyon
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Arizona, USA. WHAT: Grand Canyon & Colorado River.
MAP: Grand Canyon. Thumbnail click  or link  pop-up larger images.
The Grand Canyon is so huge that at some of the viewpoints one may forget that down there in the bottom runs the Colorado River. Today's featured pictures were both taken from Mather Point [PDF format oblique map], named in honor of a millionaire borax miner who became the founding director of the National Parks Service, Stephen Tyng Mather (1867-1930). Look carefully in the center of the first frame where there is just a peek of the river.
The canyon is about 277 miles (446 kms) long, 4-18 miles (6-29 kms) wide, and attains a depth of more than a mile (1,600m).
In Ch.2 [PDF format], 'Becoming a National Park', of the online monograph 'Polishing the Jewel: An Administrative History of Grand Canyon National Park' by Michael F. Anderson, you may read how Mather's vision of public ownership endured in the face of private exploitation. The most dogged resistance came from another miner, Ralph H. Cameron, whose vision was completely at odds with Mather's.
Saturday, 12 June 2004
He Tried To Own The Grand Canyon
CREDIT: © Henry Karpinski/Shioshya
WHERE: Arizona, USA. WHAT: life & legacy of Ralph Henry Cameron.
Thumbnail click pops-up source page (scroll down to picture).
Two characters emerged from our article about Cameron, Arizona: there is quite a contrast between the lives of Seth Benjamin Tanner (1828-1918) and Ralph Henry Cameron (1863-1953). Both were involved with mining operations in the Grand Canyon, but while Seth lived a modest and humble life, Ralph entered public life where he achieved some notoriety. Both had trails in the Grand Canyon named after them: Tanner Trail retains that name, but Cameron Trail was renamed Bright Angel Trail after Ralph's fall from grace.
Quite why later generations have singled out Ralph for vituperative condemnation is unclear. He used the law as a means to establish land ownership, rather than a means to confirm ownership. In a nation created by such a method it seems unduly sensitive to cavil about a particular individual taking such a route. Ralph also used political office as a way to defend his own interests, but as the Trevor Howard character in 'Ryan's Daughter' says when accused of taking advantage of his cloth, "That's what it's for!". The legislators seemed to have learned little from crossing swords with Ralph; at least until 1999, when Bruce Babbitt (at that time the US Secretary of the Interior in Bill Clinton's administration, and former governor of Arizona from 1978 to 1987) gave the following evidence before the House Committee on Resources:
• Beginning around 1890, a man named Ralph Cameron staked numerous mining claims on what was then public domain land along the south rim of the Grand Canyon and on the trails leading from the rim to the Colorado River. Rather than looking for minerals, Cameron used his claims to mine the pockets of tourists instead, by controlling access and charging fees for use of the Bright Angel Trail. This was the most popular hiking trail for access to the Canyon, then as now. Numerous legal challenges were eventually filed to these claims, but it took nearly 20 years to remove Cameron's claims so the public could enjoy this world-class area of federal lands free from such extortion.The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Rep. James Hansen, R-Utah, chairman of the national parks, forests and lands subcommittee voiced an objection, saying Babbitt's actions were "…a good example of how (the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976) is not working to prevent executive abuse of withdrawal powers." We were unable to discover Rep. Hansen's views on abuse of the mining law to establish ownership (Babbitt had called Cameron "a crook of the first order"), but evidence of his support for the mining and logging industries was abundant.
Scott Miller, an Honors Program Attorney with the Solicitor's Office has written an article entitled 'Challenging the Antiquities Act' about Cameron v. United States. Horace M. Albright & Marian Albright Schenck in an online National Park [NP] publication entitled 'Creating the National Park Service: The Missing Years' offer a contemporary account [PDF format] of the NP's dealings with Cameron. The web site PoliticalGraveyard.com has a summary of Ralph's political career.
Friday, 11 June 2004
A Man They Called Hosteen Shush
CREDIT: © George S. Tanner/John Tanner Family Association
WHERE: Arizona & New Mexico. WHAT: life & descendants of Seth Benjamin Tanner.
Thumbnail clicks  pop-up source pages with larger images.
The emphasis placed upon genealogy and family history by members of the LDS (Mormon) church for religious reasons, sometimes gives an insight into the past for those with a secular interest. Seth Benjamin Tanner (1828-1918), mentioned in yesterday's item on Cameron, Arizona, is an example.
Many of Seth's descendants are traders, sometimes calling themselves Shush Yaz [Young Bears] after Seth's Navajo name Hosteen Shush [Mr. Bear]. The family is now spread out across the northern parts of the states of Arizona and New Mexico. Don Tanner says it was Seth's physical strength that earned him the name, but Joe Tanner gives a more spiritual twist to the story. Fourth generation Ellis Tanner is proud to be known as Aye'hee'Yazzie [Little In-Law], for in the Navajo way the 'Little In-Law' is the one who helps out. JB Tanner tells a story about his own name that will have members of the Lock family grinning as they remember patriarch Bob's story about joining the US Navy along with a character allegedly known as Ronly Bonly Jones!
There are histories of the Tanner family available on the web, and we give three  links to detailed accounts that include references to Seth's life.
Thursday, 10 June 2004
Little Colorado River Crossings
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Cameron, Arizona, USA. WHAT: crossing the Little Colorado River.
MAP: Cameron. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up larger images.
As the LDS (Mormon) church, under its president Brigham Young, worked to enlarge occupation of what is now the southwest of the USA, scouts were despatched to find new areas that might be settled. Reports were made that the Little Colorado River Basin was suitable, and members of the church were 'called' as missionaries. One man in the first full party to make the journey gave his name to the crossing of the Little Colorado River, and to many other locations in the region.
The ford at Tanners Crossing has been superseded by a suspension bridge just downstream, opened in 1911. A trading post beside the bridge, founded by brothers Hubert & C.D. Richardson, was named Cameron, in honor of the last territorial delegate to Congress from the last territory to join the union, Ralph Henry Cameron, who was a completely different sort of person from Seth Benjamin Tanner.
The suspension bridge was unable to carry heavy vehicles, so an 'excessive weight' bridge of traditional construction was sited nearby. The latest bridge, sited between the two older versions, has two lanes capable of carrying heavy vehicles. The redundant suspension bridge is now used to carry a gas pipeline. All three bridges may be seen in an aerial picture from TerraServer web site: today's thumbnail strip has pictures from ground level.
The bed of the Little Colorado is frequently dry, as it was when the pictures were taken. The trees growing in the riparian strip are not a native species, but an exotic incomer named salt cedar or tamarisk trees (genus Tamarix, not to be confused with the tropical evergreen Tamarindus indica or tamarind tree). A Mediterranean native, the plant was introduced to the southwest by railroad companies. Familiarly known as 'tammies', they were used to stabilize embankments, and for flood control, but have since become an invasive pest along many rivers, including the Little Colorado. Autumnal color changes make the trees much less obvious in the desert.
Wednesday, 09 June 2004
Wet Enough To Grow Joshua Trees
CREDIT: © Peter Turner/MaccCAM.co.uk
WHERE: California, USA. WHAT: Joshua tree. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Our own journey will continue to the southernmost edge of the Colorado Plateaus, but we wanted to visit Peter Turner's MaccCAM.co.uk to catch up with his travels in the western USA. Featured is the tamest picture we could find in the first two installments for Peter's Death  Valley trip: we did not want to spoil your enjoyment of trains, planes, saloons, poppies, wind turbines, mechanical shovels, and much more! Visit Peter for his usual insightful coverage of these subjects.
Previous  installments covered Peter's stay in Los Angeles, with further installments in preparation. Tomorrow we return to the Painted Desert of northern Arizona, to see another exotic species of tree that grows beside a dried up river.
Tuesday, 08 June 2004
Nightly Ritual On The Canyon Rim
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona, USA. WHAT: sunset.
MAP: Grand Canyon. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up larger images.
Every sundown, during the tourist season at the Grand Canyon, there is a ritual on the canyon rim. As the sun sinks, visitors take up station on the viewpoints. What they have assembled to see is the sunset light glowing on the canyon walls, and the higher points within the inner canyon. The crowd is subdued, though obviously appreciative. We hope the pictures leave you in no doubt that worldwide travel, to visit the most frequented tourist destination on the planet, is well worth the effort.
Monday, 06 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Echo Notch On The Kaibito Plateau
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Page-Flagstaff road, Arizona, USA. WHAT: extreme road engineering.
MAP: Kaibito Plateau [PDF format]. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
The physical geography of the Colorado Plateaus presents an enormous challenge to travellers. The mighty Colorado River has been a barrier from the time of the first Euroamerican exploration of the Plateaus in 1776, by a party of ten led by two Spanish Franciscan priests, Francisco Atanasio Dominguez & Silvestre Velez Escalante. In 1929 the Navajo Bridge was opened, and in 1959 the Glen Canyon Bridge was completed, to allow building of the new town of Page, and the Glen Canyon Dam. The rivers, and their entrenched canyons, are not the only obstructions that have to be overcome in the plateaus region: transitions between plateau levels are often delineated by lines of high cliffs.
The road from Page, where the Colorado River crosses the Utah border southwards into Arizona, must step down from the Kaibito Plateau, through the Echo Cliffs to the level of the Painted Desert above the Colorado River and Little Colorado River. These are Navajo Nation and Hopi Nation ancestral lands [large 1.5Mb web page].
Today's picture, taken from the road east of Marble Canyon and the Navajo Bridge, shows the notch used by the highway engineers to navigate that route. The notch has been deepened by blasting, and is now about twice its original size. From there the road then descends steeply to the right, across the face of the cliffs. The color of the rocks changes from milk chocolate brown under the noon sun, to a deeper color in the late afternoon. This caused early Euroamerican explorers to name the escarpment on the opposite bank of the Colorado River the Vermilion Cliffs. Unable to find the correct name, we have called this place the Echo Notch on the Kaibito Plateau.
Sunday, 06 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Out You Go You Lucky People!
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: St. George, Utah, USA. WHAT: outdoor activity tour rendezvous.
Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Some lucky people were assembled where the St. George Shuttle bus docks from the Las Vegas airport connection. We chatted with the tour courier, a pleasant fellow who was an excellent ambassador for his company, and we think his charges will be enjoying a wonderful experience by bicycle, canoe and foot, in the awesome scenery of southwest Utah. We are reminded of jazz musician Eubie Blake, who worked into his nineties saying, "If I had known I was going to live this long I would have looked after myself."
Saturday, 05 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Tread Carefully Through History
CREDIT: © Carmel Glover/Melisanda
WHERE: Mountain Meadows, Utah, USA. WHAT: historical massacre site.
MAP: Central, UT. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Mountain Meadows, in the second half of the 19th century, was a stop on the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. Today it is a peaceful place of wild flowers, and tall grasses swaying in the breeze that gives welcome relief from the midsummer heat near Central, UT, on U-19 between St. George and Beryl Junction north of Enterprise, UT. Those whose sense of place extends to being affected by historical knowledge, may well feel something in the air.
For several days in September 1857 the place was the site of a bloody massacre: many of the the facts are disputed or unclear, although it is now generally accepted that men, women, and children from a wagon train, known variously as the Francher/Baker/Perkins train from Arkansas, were slaughtered by local people including LDS (Mormon) settlers and Native Americans. The role of the various parties is arguable, although almost twenty years after the events in 1877, John Doyle Lee (1812-1877) was executed by firing squad at Mountain Meadows for his part in the events. Controversy [ still exists, within and without the LDS church.
Friday, 04 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Tell Me If You Detect Movement
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Hurricane Valley, UTAH, USA. WHAT: time scales overview from the overlook.
MAP: Hurricane. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
There is much of activity in today's photograph: most of it is happening on geological time scales, so you are not missing much of the action because it's a still image. This is south west Utah, so even the human activity in the picture is not frenetic. Bottom right you may see part of the town of LaVerkin, UT, and on the opposite bank of the Virgin River across the Hurricane Arch Bridge (with its upgrade nearing completion), you may see the town of Hurricane, UT.
The picture was taken from the overlook on the Hurricane Fault, which demarcates the change from the Colorado Plateaus geological province to the Great Basin province. Also to be seen is a dyke intrusion, a cinder cone, and a lava flow field, all from geologically recent volcanic activity. Somewhere down there a repairman is fixing our truck: let us hope he works at a faster rate than tectonic movement!
Thursday, 03 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Petrified Sand Dunes Life Cycle
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion Canyon, Utah, USA. WHAT: Kayenta & Navajo sandstones.
MAP: Zion. Thumbnail click/links  [A][B][C] pop-up larger images.
Approaching the western side of Zion Canyon across the mesas, it is hard to imagine that these massive heights were once 3,000 feet deep sand dunes. After submersion below a mineralized sea that cemented the sand grains together, the petrified dunes were uplifted thousands of feet then eroded by the actions of wind and water. The same process is beginning all over again, to the east of the park at Coral Pink Sand Dunes National Park.
In the short time since last we passed this way, different [A][B][C] plants with different blooms have replaced the ones we saw on our last trip.
Wednesday, 02 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: The Virgin Watches Human History
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah, USA. WHAT: rock formations.
MAP: Zion. Thumbnail click pops-up larger image.
Our picture shows the Towers of the Virgin, which can be seen behind the Human History Museum in Zion National Park. The human history of the canyon is summarized on the ZionNational-park.com web site, which also has a good photo gallery by Tanya Milligan. These cliffs include the West Temple, which is the highest point on the west rim of the canyon. There are those who are able to discern an image of a shrouded Virgin Mary on one of the towers.
Tuesday, 01 June 2004
Pix Of The Day: Loneliest Place For Busiest Day
CREDIT: © Ian Scott-Parker/CAMwrangler.com
WHERE: Zion National Park, Utah, USA. WHAT: waterfall picnic.
MAP: Guide forbade locators. Thumbnail clicks  pop-up larger images.
Yesterday was Memorial Day in the USA. It was also the day when it is thought record numbers of visitors came to Zion National Park. We had the benefit of a guide who knows the park intimately, so conducted us to a corner where we saw no one between leaving the paved road and joining it on our return. We had our picnic in one of the park's micro environments, at the base of a waterfall where we were serenaded by birdsong and frog calls, with monarch butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom in the dappled sunlight filtering through the branches overhead. They are all in the pictures if you look closely. Heaven must be somewhat similar, we decided.
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Jules Laforgue (1860-1887)
"Ah! que la vie est quotidienne."
Oh, what a day-to-day business life is.
'Complainte sur certains ennuis' (1885)