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travels in geology

Travels in Geology: Lassen Volcanic National Park: A volcanic wonderland

For breathtaking volcanic scenery, few places have the variety found in Lassen Volcanic National Park in the Cascade Range of Northern California. The park boasts five varieties of volcanoes: plug domes, cinder cones, lava cones, shield volcanoes and a stratovolcano called Brokeoff volcano (or Tehama volcano). Bubbling hot springs, boiling mud pots and fumaroles in six geothermal fields in the southern part of the park complete the picture.

24 Jun 2011

Travels in Geology: Stonehammer Geopark: A billion years of stories

Stonehammer Geopark lies along the rugged Bay of Fundy on Canada’s southeast coast. Centered on Canada’s oldest incorporated city, Saint John, New Brunswick, it is the first North American member of the Global Geoparks Network, 77 parks established over the past decade with the assistance of UNESCO. Geoparks strive to connect people with the landscape, highlighting the intersection of society and geology.

06 Jun 2011

Travels in Geology: Trekking the Inca Trail

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hikes in the world. It’s so popular that in recent years, the Peruvian government has had to limit trail traffic by plastering the trek with a lot of red tape. You have to apply months ahead for a permit, hire a certified guide and show your passport at four different checkpoints along the way. Despite the hassle, each day hundreds of people sign up. And for good reason: The Inca knew how to lay out a scenic route.

30 Mar 2011

Travels in Geology: Precipitous peaks and dunes in Colorado

Majestic snow-capped “fourteeners,” alpine meadows carpeted in wildflowers, pristine mountain lakes. These are the images most people associate with Colorado. One of the best places to experience this rugged wilderness is Rocky Mountain National Park in the northern part of the state.

04 Feb 2011

Travels in Geology: Patagonia: The ends of the earth

Patagonia, a region encompassing much of the southern halves of Argentina and Chile, may seem more mythical than real. As the author found, the glacial landscape is full of grandiose mountains, crystal blue lakes, wildflowers, fossils and stunning glaciers. The adventure is well worth the trip.
03 May 2010

Venturing into Argentina

We chose to spend most of our time on the Chilean side of Patagonia, although you could just as easily decide to spend your entire trip on the Argentine side. But if you follow an itinerary similar to ours (see main story), it’s still worth a jaunt into Argentina. The town of El Calafate, an inexpensive five-hour bus ride from Puerto Natales, Chile, is a great place to sample wines from the Mendoza region and try the local delicacy, crucified lamb. The sheep is affixed to a steel cross and roasted slowly over a campfire. The resulting image is graphic, but the meat is tender and savory. El Calafate is also the gateway to Glaciers National Park. This park is home to many wondrous sights, but prime among them is the Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina’s top tourist attraction. 
 
03 May 2010

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

There are many ways to get to Patagonia. I would have preferred to get there by following Charles Darwin’s route, aboard a replica of H.M.S. Beagle (especially considering that last year was the 200th anniversary of his birth). Sadly, the modern school calendar dictated that I move more quickly: Two weeks was all I had to work with.
 
03 May 2010

Travels in Geology: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro: From parasitic cones to equatorial glaciers

Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro is the world’s tallest mountain that climbers can reach without technical means. The author decided to try it for herself, and brought back a lifetime of memories and dozens of photos of parasitic cones, equatorial glaciers, lava outcrops, volcanic vents and scenery to die for.

02 Apr 2010

Celebrity climb

One billion people are without access to clean water today. When glacial deposits like the one atop Kilimanjaro melt away, that number will increase, some researchers say. To raise awareness about what some people are calling the global clean water crisis, a team of celebrities climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in January in the “Summit On The Summit.” 
 
02 Apr 2010

Travel specs

Booking a climb up Kilimanjaro can be a little daunting. I recommend first figuring out your climbing details and then figuring out how you will get to the mountain. Climbs are offered year round, but weather-wise, it is best to go in January and February or September and October. There are six main climbing routes up the mountain, and they all offer unique sites and spectacular views. Besides differing in scenery, these routes vary in physical difficulty, length (between five and 10 days), accommodations and prices. Prices range from $1,200 to $5,000 per person, with costs covering food, accommodations, park fees, transportation and rescue service, should it be necessary. Moreover, all of the agencies have their own supply of gear in case you are missing anything. For a list of respected, well-known tour operators, check out the “Climb with a Partner Company” page on the Kilimanjaro Porters Assistance Project Web site (www.kiliporters.org/index.php). 
 
02 Apr 2010

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