Blogging helps me share things with people. My goal is for you to see something that brings a smile to you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Brandywine Falls - Cuyahoga National Park (2011)

One of my goals in life is to visit the National Parks and when I was growing up this area was not a National Park but I would visit it often and it has a lot of found memories for me.  I'm very appreciative that they have made this area into a National Park. One of the places we liked to visit  was Brandywine Falls.

Awhile back I started this post and only put this down about it and never got back to it until now.. 

Brandywine falls in Ohio - the Cuyahoga National Park.  (From "Geology of  National Parks" 6th ed Harris et al (2004))  
The top of the falls is the Berea Sandstone,  Mississippian age. 

The Berea is part of a delta system and coastal sands, the shales are prodelta marine deposits.

The geology in the area is:
                   Period                       Group                       Formation                    Member
        Pennsylvanian                 Pottsville                 Sharon Conglomerate   

        Mississippian                                                                                        Meadville shale
                                                                                Cuyahoga                    Sharpsville SS
                                                                                                                    Orangeville Sh

                                                                                Berea Sandstone
                                                                                Bedford Shale
 Devonian                                                                 Ohio Shale                Cleveland Shale
                                                                                                                    Chagrin Shale

Now on to my images:
 When you get to the Park you get to see this display to find out how to get to Brandywine. 
 We took the road and finally found the parking spot.  When we got out and started to walk we could hear the falls but was very disappointed with seeing it since the vegetation was so lush and overgrown.  I could just imagine what early settlers in the area must have thought of this place since it wasn't easy to get to.  But there was a path and we decide to follow it.
 There was a bridge and you got to walk over the top of the falls.   That was pretty exciting.  You could really see that resistant Berea Sandstone.  On this day when I saw the level of the water I was disappointed thinking the falls wouldn't be very full since the creek seemed to be down.
 Then as you continue to walk you came upon outcrops like this.  I always remembered seeing these for the first time after I started studying geology and being amazed at all the cross bedding I could see.  For years and years to me they were just cliffs made from rock but now I could tell that at one time this area had been coastal sands. 
 Then as you get closer they have this sign which reads as follows:
 "BRANDYWINE FALLS - The rock layers of 66 foot Brandywine Falls can be read like a book.  Each chapter covers millions of years, as ancient seas left sediments that were compressed by added layers. The rocks here at the base were formed 300-400 million years ago.  
   Brandywine and this 'bridal veil' cascade began about ten thousand years ago after the last ice age.  The falls have now exposed the harder yellowbrown Berea Sandstone which rests atop the softer deeper red Bedford Shale.  Since sandstone is more resistant to erosion, the shale below is frequently undercut.  As these layers wear away the story of the earth continues to be revealed. "  
The layers shown are  top- Berea Sandstone, with under it the Bedford shale and at the base the Cleveland Shale.
 So here's I was looking back at the bridge and seeing the Brandywine creek water flow over the resistant Berea Sandstone and realized more water was going over than it looks like. 
 Then I got another glimpse of the falls.  There was definitely enough water going over it to make the effort to look at it closer.
 And here was looking at the base of the falls.
 And now the whole falls.
And this one was my favorite since I was able to get all of it.
Brandywine Falls, Cuyahoga national Park, Ohio. (8-10-2011)

 I was glad I went and saw this this again.  I had forgotten how pretty it is. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

San Destin, Destin Florida (2012)

Last year I wrote this: 
What an unexpected summer I've had.  Last spring I thought it would be my  pretty typical summer with not much to do, especially once my son would go away to camp.  I was looking forward to that free time to clean out closets and other fun stuff like that.  But then things started to change.
    It started with my youngest son's best friend wanting to take him on vacation with him to Virgina for a couple of weeks. Hey- I was okay with that.  In fact I wanted to hide in his luggage too, but wouldn't you know they now have weight limits on how much you can bring aboard and sad to say I'm over that limit.  He went and had a glorious time.   I thought I would be blogging and getting caught up with things.  But instead I had to get ready for some volunteer work I had planned.  I never did get around to the blogging.  Part of the problem was my computer started to act up and do all sorts of frustrating things when I would try to insert images into the posts. In frustration I would walk away and just work on things that were more meaningful at the time.  
    My son came back and then my husband had to go to a business convention for his company.  He didn't mind going since he would also be completing some of his education requirements to keep his license.  He was able to line up a condo and decided to take us with him.  It was such a hardship having to go to Destin/ San Destin Florida.  
And that is as far as I got.
I wanted to include the pictures of Florida but due to the computer problem I never got to them until now.  I've gotten a new computer and some of the issues have cleared up and I can get things done again.  Trouble is now things are as slow as molasses when it comes to uploading the images I want to use.  But I did like some of the things I got and so will be using them now.

   This was taken a couple of days later when we decided we wanted to see Destin.
Going there this was what it looked like on the bay side.  To me there were too many boats and I was glad I wasn't having to go boating through all those boats.
 This was pretty typical as to what Destin looked like on the ocean side.
 And here's where all the boats go in to dock. and was pretty typical of Destin.
Destin Florida
Most of the time we spent in San Destin -
Here's my images of that place.
The place we stayed at. 

The view from our place.
 The view of the backside of the complex.

 Everyday we would check the flags that were flying to know what the ocean was doing.  And you needed to check hourly because it was constantly changing.
Here's some of the flags we saw.

When the kids couldn't go into the ocean they ended up spending their time by the pool, as far as away as they could get yet still be in my eyesight.

After the first day they got way too much sun and we ended up doing other things instead.
San Destin is definitely a tourist town and there were all sorts of fun things which they did while they were here.
 Like go-car racing
 And swinging together
 I got some video in between these shots but now I can't access it. You can just imagine the sounds they were making - all I know is that they sure did have fun.

Then they did some more go car racing on different tracks.
They weren't the only ones having fun doing other things.  I was being inspired myself.  When you see things like this you just can't help but to admire it and what to keep it with you for a long long time.
Or how about this:
Or this:
Just look at those colors in that water.
Because I was seeing stuff like that I knew how to paint it when I took a 'sip of wine and paint course' and here's my painting as I was working on it.
But the main reason I wanted to come to Florida was to see the beaches and the surrounding landscape.. 
So here's some of what I was hoping to see.
Back bay area's
 Pretty sunsets.

The beach area with everyone staking there spot.  The one thing I was so amazed to see was how white and finely grain the sand was.
And more of the beaches- This was looking to the east.
And this was looking to the west.

I decided I wanted to get  a photo from the top floor and this is what it looked like looking east.
 I found out that the area next to the the place where we were staying was a state park- Grayton Beach State Park.  I'm very appreciative Florida is trying to preserve some of this natural beauty and not let it all get developed.
Grayton Beach state park, Florida
And the one thing I really wanted to see was the beach dunes.
I was a little disappointed with them since man had messed with them so much and vegetation was growing on them.
 The front side of the dunes.
A dune at San Destin Beach Florida
 The backside of the dunes

 Here's some more pictures  that belongs to this trip, that were taken on the way there and back.
This was going into Mobile Alabama on I-10 headed to the tunnel that goes under the bay..
 This was the Mississippi River as seen from I-20.  I couldn't get over how low it was. 

It's hard to believe this was a year ago - my how time flies.  I've been meaning to do this post for quite awhile.  I guess what was motivating me was we had a chance to go back here again this year but something else came up and I'm going to do that instead.  I hope it won't take me a year to get this next outing done.     
Postscript: here's the geologic map of Florida
  Florida's rocks
as you can see its pretty flat and most of the stuff is pretty recent in age.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Mississippi Petrified Forest, Flora MS

Of all the things I saw while I was in the Jackson Mississippi area the Mississippi petrified Forest in Flora MS was by far my favorite.   (here's the link  MS Petrified Forest    ). 
It had a nature trail and a museum and all sorts of interesting geological features to be seen.  I would have been happy with just looking at the petrified wood but then there were other things that got my attention too.

When you first pull up this is what you see.
Just take a closer look at this piece of petrified wood.  Isn't it amazing.  To me there was no doubt at one time this was a log that is now a piece of rock.  And when I see it I'm so curious as to finding out as much about it as I can.

And it just wasn't seeing the petrified wood that made me like it so much.  I was trying to get a picture of one of the features the guide was talking about and got a pretty decent one.
 I was reading about how the red sands in the wall is the "Forest Hill Formation" and it dates back to 36-38 million years ago - The Oligocene Epoch. But on the top of the cliff the tan layer is a "Loess" deposit formed during the Ice age.  The petrified logs are found in the Forest Hill Formation.   And as I was being still reading this something caught my eye -  I realized I was being watched by a fox.  I tried to take a picture but it ran off before I could get my camera focused on it.   Instead I ended up with this image instead. 
I thought this was an interesting area to look at and I really wasn't expecting the fox to come back again only this time it brought a friend along too.  I tried to get a picture of them too but my camera wouldn't cooperate and so I quickly went to my cell phone.  I know these aren't the best in focus photo's but it still was exciting to get any at all- seeing as how these foxes were totally wild and really wasn't expecting me to disturb their habitat. They were also quite far away and I'm surprised I noticed them at all.
 It looked like they talked it over and one was sent to check me out. 
 My cell phone made a clicking sound when I took the photo and that was all that was needed to send it on its merry way.  Its sad that its departing shot was the best one I got.
But I've gotten ahead of  myself.      
When you get to the place you notice there is a nice building that you have to go into.  It's a combination gift shop, restrooms and museum (only you don't get to see the museum until you've paid the nominal fee for the trail).  They give you a guide and say its about 6 city blocks long,  in other words its not very long less than a mile to do.  They have a trail that covers area and they ask that you keep on the trails because the whole area is a conservation area and they are trying to keep things as they were back when the first settlers came there.
    As I read the guide and a little pamphlet I had picked up in the gift shop I found out that for years people were coming to this area and helping themselves to the petrified wood.  It's one of the very few places east of the Mississippi where you can collect it.  It makes great jewelry and other decorative art pieces since it is so hard yet has some interesting features in it too.  The Schabilion's came to the area and realized what was going on and decided to do something about it.  They went ahead and purchased the land and turned it into this registered national natural landmark thus stopping people from simply coming and taking the petrified wood away from its natural surroundings.     They laid out a easy to walk trail trying to keep things as natural as possible by only clearing out the underbrush.  They opened ti to the public on April 1, 1963.  Because they got so many visitors there they eventually put in a campground and added the store/museum too.

Here's the what the trail looks like
And as you walk the trail they have a guide to go with it with these well placed markers so you can see what you are looking at.
In the guide, you found out that this log was unusual because the center of it was decayed and only the outershell was replaced by minerals.  It was petrified during the Oligocene Epoch about 36-38 million years ago. The formation is called the Forest Hill formation and is known by its red sands and silt.   And finally the way they were able to date it to then was because of the soils that originally buried it. 

They start out by showing a cross section of a Sequoia tree since its a conifer and a lot of the petrified wood that is present here were Sequoia like conifers too.
 Here's an end of a log that is across from the 1st marker.  You can see the resemblance to the sequoia that was across from it.
 As you read the guide it explains that most of the trees where trees that grew to the north but that the climate was warmer during that time.  These trees were knocked down (my guess due to storms, - hurricanes and tornadoes) and ended up as driftwood in an ancient river. (this area was also very close to the ocean if not ocean front property during the Oligocene.)  There probably was a log jam for there to be so many and this area must have been a lowland that allowed rapid burial of the logs. More and more sediments were deposited on top of it deeply burying the logs.  They remained buried for a long time and as they were buried the wood was replaced by minerals with the predominate one being silica.  The guide also points out no one knows how long it takes a piece of wood to become petrified.  With time the soils that where over it eventually got eroded away thus exposing them to the surface again in this location.
    There seems to be different species here - fir, maple, sequoia, birch and spurge, and that is why they feel this was the result of a log jam.  That and the way some of the logs have a weathered appearance. 
    There is a big petrified log that is called the "Frog" that shows this weathering. 
'The Frog' at the MS Petrified Forest
 Here's some other pieces that I thought were interesting to see too.
The image above and the one below are both of the same tree but taken at different angles.  This one was interesting because it looks like it was buried standing up but what had happened was it was raised by a living tree growing and moving it with its roots but then the tree died but this one was left. 
Here it is a little bit closer and looking right at it.

 I liked this one because you could really see how the inside was hollowed out and then the outer wood was petrified.  No telling how many critters have made this their home.  
 This one was started to be hollowed out too but didn't go as deep.  What's really interesting about this is you can see it in its natural position and the soil around it weathering away. 
Petrified log with the soil weathering away from it.
 This one is interesting because the outer layer at first looks like bark but then when you look closely at it you realize it isn't. 
 Here's another view of it.  The guide says the outside is the result of rain and wind action working on it.  It points out that in winter water gets into the cracks and with freezing and thawing it causes pieces to break off. 

 This was another one that I thought would make a great home.  One of the things that you notice is how green it is.  That's from the moss and lichens growing on the rock.
The last one is called Caveman Bench - and what makes it so interesting is you can see the log still imbedded in the Forest Hill Formation.
Caveman's Bench - Forest Hill Formation:  MS Petrifed Forest, Flora MS
Here's  some more of the Forest Hill Formation.

Even though I came for the petrified wood I was also fascinated by the loess deposits that could be seen here too.   This is what they called it.
I don't think I would have called it the Badlands but it was still very interesting to see.
Loess are defined as the following (AGI Dictionary of Geologic terms -1976) 'A homogeneous, nonstratified, unindurated deposit consisting predominately of silt, fine sand and/or clay; a rude vertical parting is common at many places.'
Loess are believed to be the result of glaciation where the glaciers have ground up the rocks into a very find powder that then is picked up by the wind and blown away only later to be deposited in a general area together.

This area was a natural high and there was something unique about it (I think the high slowed the winds down just enough so it would settle out) that allowed the loess to be deposited in this area.

I found looking at them was just as interesting as the petrified wood.   It was nice to actually be at a place where I could really look at them.  For years I've driven by them on I-20 and tried to get shots but they never really turned out.  Here I finally got some good ones.
The one thing about the loess it is a good source of clay and is good for making bricks and such in the area. Once you see it you can understand why.

It doesn't take much for it to be eroded away and dug into.
Loess deposits - Mississippi Petrified Forest
 Same area taken at different angles.  The way the sun was playing on it made it look redder when the sun was behind it.

 Here is a closer view of it and you can see how it's a tan color.

A ridge of it outcropping.

 I just thought this was a pretty picture and should be included too. It was so typical of how it looked. Lots of vegetation with an outcrop popping out here and there.    The top is the loess and the bottom Forest Hill Formation.
The trail at Mississippi Petrified Forest, Flora MS
Here's another picture taken that I just liked the looks of it.
Loblolly Pine (Pinus Taeda) @ MS Petrified forest

At the end of the trail is this museum.
I wasn't expecting much since this was more a natural wonder place.  I was so delighted when you had to go through it to get back to the store and the front entrance.   I was very pleasantly surprised.  Then the more I looked at it the more I got impressed with it. I mean really impressed with it. By the time I was done I was like wow!! this is extraordinary!! !   Who ever put this exhibit together truly loved obtaining them and got exquisite samples - some of the best I've ever seen.  The rocks and minerals there were of outstanding quality and was comparable to any major museum exhibit I've seen.  I am assuming its the Schabilion's who obtained them. It's worth the trip just to see that exhibit.
Here's a couple of overview photos' of what they have but you really must go there and see them up close for yourself.
Part of the Museum at the Mississippi Petrified Forest
Here's another wall.  
 There's even more to see than this and you really must see it for yourself.

 Then when you are done you are back in the store with all these lovely rocks for sale.  If you are a true rockhound like I am - its next to impossible not to find one that you've fallen in love with and just have to take home with you- so bring a little extra cash when you visit.

Ref: Mississippi Petrifed Forest - Nature Trail Guide
     In this reference it sites research that has been done on the petrified wood by F. H. Knowlton (1888); E.W. Shaw (1918); L. H. Rapp (1945); George H. Dukes (1959); Virginia Page (1967); Will Blackwell, David Brandenberg and George H. Dukes (1980).

Mississippi Petrified Forest - A Place of Fascination - by Shirl Schabilion