News from the Field: Day 13--Geothermal Plant and Bodie

Today the group explored two aspects of exploitation of resources in the Eastern Sierra: a morning tour of the Casa Diablo geothermal power plant, followed by an afternoon at Bodie, a preserved mining town from the late 19th century. Our tour guide was Rod, a prospector, and 7-year veteran ranger at Bodie State Park, who shared his knowledge of the natural history of the Bodie Hills, the story of gold mining in the Sierra Nevada, and the unusual society that inhabited this mining village. We returned to SNARL for our last evening--cleanup, cards, and starlight strolls. Off for our last day in the Sierra tomorrow--a hike up Lundy Canyon and a closing barbeque.

    May 22nd
We start the day with a tour of the Casa Diablo geothermal power plant, which uses superheated steam from the Long Valley magma body to generate 45 Megawatts of electricity. 
Jim Shallcross, an operator for the plant, explains the geothermal technology. And check out that cool license plate!
The group looks on as Jim explains the background on geothermal development at Casa Diablo. A fumarole (steam vent) is visible in the background. 
On a beautiful morning, Jim leads the group through the geothermal area.
The most active fumarole at Casa Diablo
A zone of hydrothermal alteration caused by the emission of steam and hydrothermal fluids along a fault zone
The group gets a close-up look at the heat exchangers
The group checks out the state-of-the-art computer control system.  Don't touch any buttons!
Before we leave the site, the group can't resist posing in front of another hazard sign!
On to Bodie, a remarkably well preserved mining town from the late 19th-early 20th century
A relaxing lunch at the picnic area. 
John leads the group on the trek up to Bodie from our picnic area. 
Our host is Rod, a long-time ranger at the Bodie State Park
Rod helps reconstruct life in a mining village--beneath a ore transport trestle.
A tour of the 'Stamp Mill', where ore-bearing rocks are crushed and gold is separated from the rock matrix
Rod shows the stamp mortar--where all the rocks got crushed
Outside the stamp mill, Jack and Daniel rest by a piece of high-grade gold ore, and the 'widow-maker' pneumatic drill.
Inside the stamp mill, Rod shows off the machine room.
The machine room, with 19th century tools left in place.
The Bodie gas station... 
The coffee dispenser from the dry goods store--perfectly preserved from 70 years ago. And can you see the light bulb--burning continuously since 1940!
A 360 degree panorama around downtown Bodie.  The school is visible in the middle foreground.
Before we leave the stamp mill, John and Michael share a light moment with Rod.
Brandy relaxes in front of the Bodie museum.
John chats with Adam and Jack by an old Bodie wagon.  Do you think we could trade this for our old Chevy Venture minivan?