Tag: geology

San Pedro Lighthouses

Point Fermin Light

On July 6, the day before we were scheduled to travel to Vegas, we decided it would be a good day to indulge in our interest in lighthouses, so we planned a trip to San Pedro and Point Fermin Lighthouse.

Look quickly because this image, downloaded from the Internet, is as close as we got.  That’s really too bad, because it really is historic.  Built in 1874, its 2100-candelpower light had a Fresnel lens that was brought around Cape Horn on sailing ships.  The first keeper was Mary L. Smith, who lived with her sister.  They gave up the occupation because of loneliness:  the closest neighbors were in Wilmington, CA, 5 or 6 miles to the north.

Unfortunately, Google map directions let us down and instructed us to turn right at the wrong time, which resulted in us arriving at Point Vicente Lighthouse in Rancho Palos Verdes, past what is called Portuguese Bend, instead of finding Point Fermin.  Part of this was bad:  Point Vicente was not open on that day.  Then again, it was hardly what one could call vertical, so climbing it might not have been all that good of an idea anyway.

4 Inches Deeper

The 1976 Viking lander would have likely found water ice on Mars if it had probed just 4 inches deeper.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has revealed frozen water hiding just below the surface of mid-latitude Mars. The spacecraft’s observations were obtained from orbit after meteorites excavated fresh craters on the Red Planet.

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By FishOutofWater

Water ice, never seen before in Mars’ “temperate” zone, was discovered in a shallow crater that was made in 2008. The ice reveals that Mars was warmer and wetter in the relatively recent past.

The finds indicate water-ice occurs beneath Mars’ surface halfway between the north pole and the equator, a lower latitude than expected in the Martian climate.

This ice is a relic of a more humid climate from perhaps just several thousand years ago.

said Shane Byrne of the University of Arizona, Tucson.

Mars has large variations in its tilt that cause its climate to change even more strongly that the changes from glacial to interglacial on earth. However, Mars lost most of its atmosphere to space because Mars lacks the mass (size) to hold on to its upper atmosphere when it interacts with energetic particles in the solar wind. With only 1% of the atmospheric pressure of the earth, the Martian surface is uninhabitable to humans.

Sunday Morning Over Easy (More pics Updated)

I spent the better part of yesterday at a Rock Party at Arrowhead Alpines. You know you’re getting old when your Rock Parties involve actual rocks, and you don’t smoke any of the exotic buds you bring home.

They have an enormous amount of plants and exotics. Worth visiting the link, if you love gardening.

It was marvelous. I am such a flower child in the most literal fashion… and yet, as my friend Kate said the other day when she moved this huge rock my husband brought home for me, (pics follow)

“Jesus, why can’t you bring her flowers like a normal husband?”

He knows I’d rather have the rocks. 🙂

Ahh, thanks Mr. Petty, now back to the pictures and story.

M 7.9 Quake Devastates Eastern Sichuan, China, Updated

At 2:28 pm local time a major M 7.9 earthquake struck China near the city of Chengdu in Sichuan province.   9000 people are feared dead according to Chinese news reports , but USGS  analysis shows that 200,000 people were exposed to violent to extreme shaking that could cause heavy damage in well built structures and very heavy damage in vulnerable structures.

Rescuers are searching  for victims.

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By FishOutofWater

Moreover, close to a million people lived where strong shaking could cause heavy damage in vulnerable structures. This USGS analysis suggests that early news reports many be underestimating the extent of this disaster.

The city of Chengdu, in the Sichuan basin with about 5 million inhabitants, 55 miles east of the rupture, was spared from heavy damage because the earthquake rupture propagated from the southeast to the northwest sparing the cities in the basin. However, towns near the fault rupture well to the northeast of the epicenter were hit hard even though they were as far from the epicenter as Chengdu. In an earthquake like this the distance from the epicenter may be a misleading indicator of potential damage.

NPR reporters were visiting Chengdu when the quake hit

A Horrific Scene at a Middle School in Dujiangyan

We are just leaving the horrific scene at the Juyuan Middle School outside the city of Dujiangyan. Hundreds of parents are still standing in the rain as the army works to find children trapped in the rubble. One parent told us she could hear her son calling. A scene of utter desperation. Back a couple hundred feet was an area where rescuers — peoples armed police — were bringing bodies that had been retrieved. Families were rushing over to see whether the child was theirs. Under tents are families burning incense and candles and paper money next to the shrouded bodies of their loved ones. A terrible, terrible scene.

— Andrea Hsu

For those that may have family or friends in or near Chengdu, from a comment on an NPR blog:


Please check with Consulate General of American in Chengdu.

Phone: (28) 8558-3992

Fax: (28) 8554-6229

Emergency: 1370-800-1422

Email: [email protected]


The ACS Unit provides emergency assistance to American citizens in distress: when an American is destitute, arrested, separated from minor children, or sick. In an emergency, the Consulate Duty Officer can be reached at any time by calling 1370-800-1422.

Dial 01186 before you dial those numbers if you dial from USA.