You are browsing the archive for benchmarks Archives - Magma Cum Laude.
14 September 2015
I’ve been neglecting this series, but I didn’t stop “collecting” benchmarks when I moved to California. In fact, working at the USGS makes it really easy to find markers, because there are at least three on campus.
22 July 2014
Washington DC is an interesting city. When the original plans were being made in the 1780s and 1790s, they called for a 100-square-mile area to be allocated for the city, and George Washington (who was President at the time) wanted to include the City of Alexandria in Virginia. But the Residence Act, passed in 1791, specified that all the federal buildings had to be on the Maryland side of the river (mostly because someone realized that the law allowed the President to choose the location and some members of Congress didn’t want him taking advantage of that and including his own property to the south of Alexandria). So we ended up with a diamond-shaped District 10 miles on a side, overlapping both Virginia and Maryland, with the actual city in Maryland.
3 February 2014
Evelyn was good enough to remind me that I should get back to showing off other people’s submissions for my benchmark series, and the recent talk of Alaska being warmer in past days than the East Coast reinforced the gentle poking. A few years back, Evelyn and her husband Jackie spent several months working in Nome, Alaska for a marine mining gold exploration company. She’s got a great series of wonderfully kitschy photos from her trip, but she was kind enough to save a few of an Army Corps of Engineers survey mark they found on one of their local hikes.
13 January 2014
On the first day of the new year, I got completely stir-crazy and drove off for a hike. I wanted to see some bedrock, but because I live on the Virginia side of the Potomac River but not far enough west to be in the Piedmont province, we don’t have rocks to look at. (We have some lovely river terraces and a whole lot of cobbles of things that came from the parts of the Piedmont and Blue Ridge where they have rock exposure, but that just doesn’t count.) So I braved Northern Virginia traffic and a chunk of the Beltway to go visit Great Falls – specifically, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park on the Maryland side.
5 June 2013
Buffalo is actually a lovely place to be in the summer even though it’s feeling very summerlike right now. But I wouldn’t pass up another chance to revisit the Big Island, because it’s a fantastic place to be at any time of the year. One of my favorite parts of the island, aside from the malasada shops, is Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. (Bet you couldn’t see that one coming!) I’ve been lucky enough to go there three times – once with William & Mary’s regional geology course, once with UH Hilo’s volcanology field course, and once with my parents for vacation. I loved showing my parents the park, since I’d been there with the William & Mary crowd the year before, and because I was finally getting a chance to show them what a volcano is really like.
14 May 2013
Time to get caught up on the benchmark queue! I’m a few submissions behind, but this summer should be a good opportunity to get caught up on them. This submission comes from Marty, who has taken some great photos of the Los Angeles Harbor Light (or the Angels Gate Light) and San Pedro Breakwater in the Los Angeles Harbor.
30 March 2013
I spent yesterday in downtown Washington DC, hoping to see a few cherry blossoms (it’s a big thing here), but unfortunately it’s been a bit too cold for them lately, and the peak bloom won’t be for another few days. There are a few trees out, just not in the popular areas around the Tidal Basin. What I did find were a couple of benchmarks!
27 January 2013
The next benchmark in my collection is another from Fish Lake in Utah. This is one of my favorite places to do field work, despite the fact that quite a bit of it is vertical and I was cursed with a malfunctioning set of knees. Occasionally I do make it to the top of things, and as we know, geologists like to put benchmarks in high places. Mount Terrill, on the northern part of the Fish Lake Plateau, is one of them. It’s an interesting mountain – long and lean instead of round and bulky – and it’s one of the best places on the Plateau to get a look at the Osiris Tuff, which is the volcanic unit I studied as an undergrad.
17 December 2012
This week’s benchmark is an interesting one that I happened across during AGU’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco. The Fisherman’s Wharf area along the Bay is one of my favorite spots, and I usually take a little time to go walking down there. This time around, I was taking in the little beach near the Maritime Museum when I saw this benchmark.
24 November 2012
This week’s benchmark is a unique one – not your usual NGS fare! It comes to you courtesy of Howard Allen, who says:
This is a quarry marker that the Royal Tyrrell Museum cements in place at their dinosaur fossil excavations around the Province of Alberta. This particular one marks a quarry at the Devil’s Coulee dinosaur egg site in southern Alberta, near the town of Warner. The quarry marker allows the locality to be precisely marked by GPS (and/or conventional survey equipment), so it can be found again in the future.