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travels in geology

Travels in Geology: Winter sun and tectonic tales in Tucson

Late last March, seeking warm sun and a verdant landscape after a cold, snowy Colorado winter, our family headed south during the spring school break to the lowest-elevation place we could easily drive to in a day or two: Tucson. Hosting Saguaro National Park, the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and the largest concentration of astronomical observatories in the country, Tucson has the grand vistas, great hikes and learning opportunities we wanted.
 

16 Sep 2014

Searching the stars

Thanks to its dry climate and soaring peaks, the Tucson region offers some of the best night-sky viewing in the world.

16 Sep 2014

Getting there and getting around in Tucson

Both Phoenix and Tucson are good arrival points for exploring southeastern Arizona, but it’s best to base yourself in Tucson to visit the attractions described here. You will need a car to get around the area; if you choose to fly in, you can rent a vehicle at either city’s airport. Tucson is located about 180 kilometers south of Phoenix on Interstate 10.

16 Sep 2014

Travels in Geology: Aussie Outback Adventure

Australia hosts a remarkable record of early-Earth events: from mineral grains only slightly younger than the planet itself, to a glacial event so severe that geologists call it “Snowball Earth,” to an unparalleled record of life’s early evolution. All are found deep in the vast, arid interior wilderness known as the Outback.

20 Aug 2014

Travels in Geology: Croatia: Land of limestone

The nearly ubiquitous limestone bedrock of Croatia, where karst topography was first described, produces a majestic and unforgettable landscape. Visitors can cirumnavigate the fortified walls of Dubrovnik, one of Europe's best-preserved medieval cities, lounge on a white cobble beach by the azure  Adriatic Sea, or hike past the aquamarine pools and countless waterfalls of Plitvice Lakes, the country's largest national park. 

20 Jun 2014

Croatia: Getting there and getting around

Megathrust earthquake hazards drive much of the research into the 1,000-kilometer-long Cascadia Subduction Zone, which lurks off the coast of California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. New studies are helping elucidate what is happening off the Pacific Northwest coast.
 

20 Jun 2014

Travels in Geology: Trekking the high terrain of Tajikistan

Tajikistan is not exactly a hotbed of tourism, but for adventurous geo-travelers, especially those with an interest in dynamic landscapes, Tajikistan offers amazing mountain and glacier climbing, endless backpacking possibilities, and the experience of feeling like you have traveled back in time.

13 Jun 2014

Travels in geology: From beaches to bush: Tramping in New Zealand

With its stunningly beautiful landscapes, adrenaline-boosting attractions, renowned wines and craft beers, and easy logistics, New Zealand is one of the world’s foremost tourist destinations. It is especially well known for superb hiking, locally referred to as “tramping” or “bushwalking.” From short strolls through lush temperate rainforest to challenging alpine tracks, New Zealand offers a lifetime’s worth of outstanding walks.

Follow the author and her family on some of New Zealand's Great Walks: multiday backcountry hikes that highlight the awe-inspiring terrain found on this ancient scrap of Gondwanaland.

09 May 2014

Travels in geology: Walking toward Whitney: A journey through the Sierra High Country along the John Muir Trail

The hike to Mount Whitney traverses uninterrupted wilderness through three national parks — Sequoia, Kings Canyon and Yosemite — as well as national wilderness areas such as the Ansel Adams Wilderness and 13 different river drainages over which the ecosystems and geology continually shift. The trail brings you views of the imposing Ritter Range, the columnar-jointed basalt of Devils Postpile, red cinder cones and Yosemite’s iconic exfoliated domes. It’s not for the faint of heart (or the weak-kneed), but if you can make time for it, it’s a trip you’ll never forget.

05 Mar 2014

Be aware and prepare

Hiking the full 340-kilometer length of the John Muir Trail (JMT) isn’t a beginner backpacking trip. Make sure you enjoy slowly plodding up switchbacks carrying a heavy pack for days before you start out on this weeks-long trek. That said, I met a surprising number of people for whom the JMT was their first wilderness foray, and as far as I know, they all survived.

26 Feb 2014

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