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Rosetta Stones

Rosetta Stones


Adventures in the good science of rock-breaking.
Rosetta Stones Home

Scenes from the Subduction Life

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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I’m about to have something for you that’s hot, explosive, and very very shiny. Unfortunately, ye olde daye jobe and other circumstances mean I won’t have it until next week. In the meantime, why not revisit Fidalgo Island with me?

Mount Baker from Fidalgo Island

We spent Sunday traipsing all over terranes. The high clouds didn’t prevent evidence of our subduction zone from standing out clear: from the Cascades to Mount Baker to the Olympics, all mountains were present and accounted for.

View of Deception Pass bridge from the beach.

View of Deception Pass bridge from the beach.

We hiked down to a wee little beach near Deception Pass, and got a bonza view of the bridge. This is the narrow channel that makes Whidbey Island an island. I love this part of the San Juans – you can drive two of the islands, which is much faster and easier than ferries. Still. The rest of the San Juans shall have to be thoroughly inspected soon.

Deception Pass, Mount Baker, and the Cascades.

Deception Pass, Mount Baker, and the Cascades.

So this is a rather spiffy image: we can see a good chunk of Deception Pass, Mount Baker, and the Cascades all in one go. This is another area we intend to thoroughly inspect. There are fantastic hiking trails, complete with vistas, sea breezes, and plenty of shade – perfect for summer.

A wee island with the Olympics as its backdrop.

A wee island with the Olympics as its backdrop.

My companion, B, had never been to Rosario Head. I took him on the obligatory trek across terranes, from Decatur to Lopez and back to Decatur again. It took us a lot longer than you’d expect – not because there are so many terrane changes (they’re cheek-by-jowl, totally easy to ramble across), but because Rosario Beach has fantastic skipping stones, and we skipped bunches. Then we ambled up to the head itself, where you can see out across the Sound to the Olympics. They’re there, all shadowy along the horizon.

The next head over.

The next head over.

So that’s the bulge on the other side of Rosario Beach – if you look on the map, it’s not really a head so much as a belly. I’ve sepia-toned the photo to enhance the rocks – see if you can figure out which structure has got me intrigued. Here’s a maclargehuge version to help you out.

Rosario Head

Rosario Head

And there’s our own beautiful Lopez terrane, Rosario Head, as seen from the trail to Bowman Bay. She looks a bit like a big, gentle whale nosing happily along. Also, she’s an anticline. I love that.

All right, off to work on esplodey things for ye. You know you love your explosive geology, don’t you just? But you also love magnificent views, and I will be bringing you plenty of those this summer!

Dana Hunter About the Author: Dana Hunter is a science blogger, SF writer, and geology addict whose home away from SciAm is En Tequila Es Verdad. Follow her on Twitter: @dhunterauthor. Follow on Twitter @dhunterauthor.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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