News from the Field: Day 11--The High Sierra

Another great day today!  We converted a 'lemon'--the cancellation of our planned visit to Yosemite Park, due to the closure of the only access road to the park--into 'lemonade':  a great field trip into another part of the High Sierra. We started the day with a brief visit to the McGee Creek valley, where the Hilton Creek Fault cuts a young glacial moraine. We examined evidence for recent glacial activity in the region, and indicators of present-day tectonic activity on the Sierra Nevada front.  We then took the long drive north past Mono Lake to Conway Summit, for a nice overview of the Mono Basin.  Continuing north, we drove along the Sierra foothills to the 8300 foot Monitor Pass, and descended down to the Walker Creek for a glorious lunch by a mountain stream.  We continued west, stopping briefly at the remote mountain town of Markleeville and on to the Carson Pass, at nearly 9000 feet. We stopped for an extraordinary hike into the granitic terrain typical of the high Sierra, granite domes with spectacular views of the Sierra peaks. We took the long drive back to SNARL, with another great meal awaited us--followed by an evening session reviewing results from yesterday's stream experiment and working on another #!@#% journal-writing assignment.

    May 20th
An early start for the field day--8:30 AM at the base of the McGee Creek moraine.
Adam and Preeti sitting on some granite boulders near the Hilton Creek Fault. 
Conway summit affords a great panorama of Mono Lake, with Black Point volcano in the foreground.
The boys study the natural history placards.
And in their excitement, Tabitha and Alicia squash Preeti...
The group poses at the Conway Summit
A remote fault-controlled valley near Monitor Pass
A perfect spot for a picnic lunch along the Walker Creek
John,  Preeti, and Tabitha enjoy the midday sun. 
Nicole uses all of her senses to describe the characteristics of the Sierra granite!
An alpine lake near Carson Pass, Red Lake.
No respect!  The students attack the faculty--and even a defenseless photographer! 
The summit party atop 'Vista Point', 500 feet above Carson Pass.
Michael discusses glacial geomorphology with the Sierra peaks in the background.
Lauren, Esther, and Preeti take notes on Sierra geology...
The gang poses in front of the Sierra Peaks.
As Brandy demonstrates, the mountains really aren't so big!
Preeti and Daniel show their delight at the discovery of some textbook examples of glacial striations.
Adam, Brandy, and Lauren relax on a granite boulder.  Get a load of the size of that xenolith!!!
And Adam poses by a juniper tree nestled in the granite cliffs 
"What's not to like!?"
The great explorers survey the terrain of the High Sierra...
The team leaders--in 'hog heaven', surrounded by rock and ice--with Elephantback Mountain in the background. 
Esther and Daniel work on their rock collection amidst an unusual exposure of Tertiary volcanic rocks.
Jack and Dan work their way back down the mountain--through a big snowfield.
View Daniel's rap description of the geology of Mono Basin [4.8 MB] [ Click here