Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 5 of Internship: Erupting Into High Gear!

This week I had a meeting with my mentor Nancee, as well as Mark and Shawn, other Free Choice Learning guru’s. I showed them all the stuff I had collected and we talked about the next steps. I feel I have a much more clear view of what’s going on with this exhibit and I’m ready to start the next phase. That is to talk with visitors to do some informal research on what things are going to work well for the exhibit. This will help me with my planning. It’s kind of crazy to think that I only have 5 weeks.
I was present when the now locally famous Murre disturbances happened at Yaquina Head last Monday. You can read about it at this post.
This weekend when I was off, my kids and I went to central Oregon and discovered volcanoes! (Hence the “erupting” in this blog title.) I didn't even realize prior to arriving in the area that Newberry National Volcanic Monument just south of Bend, Oregon, even existed!  We got to drive to the top of a cinder cone and walk all around the rim of it, take a hike amidst a huge lava flow, and walk through a lava tube cave. We also went to the John Day fossil beds at Sheep Rock and the Painted Hills, and the High Desert Museum. Super cool! I thought going to central Oregon would be a short and slightly boring trip but I realized after arriving that there was so much to do I could have easily stayed for a week.
Lava Butte Cinder Cone and lava field (Newberry National Volcanic Monument)

Lava Butte cinder cone volcano and the red road we took to the top

The inside crater of the volcano

The slopes were rather steep

The cinder cone is made up of all these "cinders" - colorful lava rocks (basalt)

View of one side of the lava flow from the top of the cinder cone.  The winding trail we walked in the flow is also visible

View of the cascades from the top of the cinder cone - this is an entirely volcanic range

What an awesome place!  I was at the height of geeking out.  I love volcanism.  On our drive back we took a scenic route and saw a lot more lava flows, collected lava rocks now that we were outside of the national monument, and got to visit this way cool observatory (Dee Wright Observatory in Willamette National Forest) where my camera batteries died which was naturally quite upsetting!  But here's what I did get.

Dee Wright Observatory, Willamette National Forest - blends in nicely with the lava field

Steps up to observatory.  Just add a bit of mortar to this big natural pile of lava rocks and voila!

 The setup of this observatory was really awesome.  The inside had these windows that give the perfect view to each volcano/ feature.  All the windows were labeled with what was in the view.  If I'd had more battery power I would have photographed each of them.
View of sister through observatory windows
On the top of the observatory were great views as well as this really cool compass with the volcanoes and such labeled as to their location.
Cool compass on top of the observatory points to all the geologic features in the area

View of the sisters from the top of the observatory
The volcanic stuff was a huge highlight of this Oregon experience for me.  (I'm excited to also go to Crater Lake in a couple weeks.)  It also helped me remember again how much I love volcanism and would love to study it more.  That's what is so cool about geology!  It's not just rocks.  It's all this other cool stuff too- volcanoes, mountains, canyons, earthquakes, oceanography, fossils, dinosaurs!  Who wouldn't like all of that?

Thanks for reading.  Please comment!  I really appreciate feedback! :)

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