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travels in geology

Travels in Geology: Easter Island's enduring enigmas

Easter Island, a lonely island in the southeastern Pacific Ocean, is steeped in mystique — and not just for its famous, perplexing statues and controversial story of societal collapse. How the island formed has also baffled geologists for decades.

27 Mar 2017

Getting there and getting around Easter Island

Easter Island has just one gateway, tiny Mataveri International Airport (IPC), to which only one airline, the Chilean carrier LATAM, offers regular service. This includes one flight weekly from Tahiti, as well as daily service from Santiago, a five-hour flight. Airfares are high, ranging from about $400 to $1,500 round trip. The island’s unusually long runway once served as an emergency U.S. space shuttle landing site; today, it allows LATAM to land large Boeing 787s there, a rarity among small islands.

27 Mar 2017

Travels in Geology: Exploring Maine's magnificent Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin marks a fitting end to the Appalachian Trail: It’s a nontechnical, but grueling, climb, not to be underestimated or attempted without preparation, that affords spectacular views of igneous and glacial geologic features.

 

08 Mar 2017

Getting there and getting around Mount Katahdin

Mount Katahdin in Baxter State Park is about 120 kilometers northwest of Bangor, Maine, and its international airport. Once in Maine, you will need a car to get around. You can rent one at the airport or drive in from another large regional city like Boston. Plan to visit in the summer months before Oct. 15, when the campgrounds close. Bear in mind, they can be closed earlier due to weather.

08 Mar 2017

Travels in Geology: The Dead Sea Rift: Salty soaks and ancient earthquakes in a storied land

The Dead Sea and the surrounding area boast impressive geology — from ancient earthquake records to pillars of salt — that bears witness to civilization-shaping stories.

09 Feb 2017

Getting there and getting around the Dead Sea rift

Most flights into Israel from the U.S. and Europe go through Ben Gurion International Airport (TLV), located 19 kilometers south of Tel Aviv. The most flexible and convenient option for getting to and from the airport and for exploring the region is to rent a vehicle; the airport and downtown Tel Aviv offer many rental options. Cars drive on the right, and road signs are marked in Hebrew and English. From the airport, the Dead Sea is about a three-hour drive (170 kilometers).

09 Feb 2017

Travels in Geology: Scotland's stunning Shetland

Off the northern coast of Scotland lies a cluster of islands featuring worldclass coastal landforms, otherworldly volcanic rocks, ophiolites and important metaconglomerates, plus friendly people and a great many sheep.

23 Dec 2016

Getting there and getting around Shetland

Getting to the Shetland Islands requires taking a ferry from mainland Scotland. Ferries are very comfortable and well-run, with a smooth overnight passage from Aberdeen to Lerwick. We took that route up to Shetland, and a different route — to the Orkney Islands — on the way back. The schedule running from Lerwick to the town of Kirkwall (in Orkney) is less ideal, arriving in the middle of the night, but the local hotels are used to their guests dropping in at midnight.

23 Dec 2016

Travels in Geology: Exploring an icon of Patagonia: Chile's Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine may be off the beaten path near the bottom of South America, but the peaks in the heart of Patagonia are magnets for tourists and rock climbers from around the world.

 
30 Nov 2016

Getting there and getting around Patagonia

Southern Chile has two main gateways, the homey town of Puerto Natales, a 1.5-hour drive from the national park, and Punta Arenas, a small city about 4 hours’ drive to the south. Of the two, Punta Arenas (PUQ) has the larger airport, which hosts regular year-round flights from Santiago on LATAM and Sky Airline, an efficient regional carrier, plus occasional flights from Puerto Montt in Chile’s beautiful Lake District. Flights to Puerto Natales (PNT) only operate during the summer season. There are no direct flights from the U.S. to this region.

30 Nov 2016

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