Archive for the ‘geology’ Category

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Chimney Bluffs

March 22, 2010

We went to Chimney Bluffs yesterday and took a short hike along the lakeshore with my mom, sister, and brother. It was a fairly overcast day and the mud was crazy, but we still had a good time. I think each of us stepped in mud at least once and we all ended up with wet feet from trying to clean off the mud. The lake is mighty cold!

Brief geology lesson…these cool formations are the result of wind and water (including snow and ice) erosion to drumlins that were formed by glacier activity. That is quite possibly the most brief geology lesson I’ve ever given, lol!

I wonder how long this tree will remain rooted…

The next two pictures show pretty clearly how the action of the wind and water has badly undercut the top of the drumlin.

I read that the average loss of land per year is about 3 feet. All that material winds up on the beach and at this time of year is a muddy mess. As the mud dries it leaves some cool artwork though.

The trees from the hill above often find their way to the beach eventually.

Here is the gang. My rockhounds were looking for cool rocks. I told them to take it easy on the rock collecting! We have a lot of rocks already. Last time the kids and I were there, I think we collected about 50 pounds of rocks…not this time though! Erin found a couple she couldn’t live without, and miraculously, I only collected one! I, of course, had to have one of the kids pick it up for me…

I decided pcitures of cool rocks are much easier on my back, lol!

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Kyle’s 17th Birthday and Niagara Falls

August 29, 2009

Wow! I can’t belive Kyle is 17 already. Where has the time gone?

I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday and he decided on dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Buffalo, followed by a visit to Niagara Falls. We had planned to go to a Teppanyaki restaurant that we had previously visited, but upon reading a couple of recent reviews of the place, decided on a more favorably reviewed restaurant called Wasabi. Despite the spicy name, it was a great little place with delicious food and the presentation of the food was excellent!

I ordered Teriyaki Strip Steak, which was wonderful.

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Jeff ordered the Chirashi. It was gorgeously presented.

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Kyle, Sarah, Erin, and my father-in-law shared this Titanic portion of sushi and sashimi.

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I did not get a picture of the food my mother-in-law ordered, but it was equally awesome in presentation.

After a filling, late lunch, we set out towards the falls. Along the way, we made a quick pit stop and Kyle suggested I get a picture of the sky. It really was a beautiful day for a trip to the falls. The sky was blue, the temperature was warm, but not hot, and the weather (mostly) cooperated.

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Upon arriving in Niagara Falls, we drove around a while looking for cheap parking, but found that all of our old favorite places now either cost, or are reserved. I guess when the casino opened, all the prices shot up…for everything! We found a spot and parked, then walked across the bridge to Goat Island. It was a slow go as I was having a very bad breathing day. Along the way, we saw this building…

I was intrigued by the artwork at the top. I couldn’t quite tell for sure what it was, but with some searching, I did find some information on the building. It is the United Office Building, built in 1929, and it has an Art Deco Mayan Revival motif in several places on the building, including all around the top levels. Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel compelled, at the time, to walk around the building and photograph other Mayan art on it. Something about not being able to breathe and the rain that was beginning to fall. We ducked into a souvenir shop to wait out the rain for a few minutes, then we had clear (from rain) skies the rest of the day.

As we were crossing the bridge, I noticed these silly geese swimming in the water just yards from the crest of the falls! Don’t they have any sense? (you really need to click on the picture to enlarge it in order to see the geese)

Once we got to Goat Island, I noticed this squirrel. The black squirrels that reside near the border, both in the US and Canada, are notorious for being mean, evil little creatures. They will chase you! Yes those fluffy little 1 pound creatures have the ability to make grown adults run away. I don’t know what it is about them, but they just have an air that says “I own the place, I dare you to challenge my right to be here…” I quickly took this guy’s picture, then walked away. I didn’t want him to think I had anything at all against him!

This squirrel seemed much friendlier than the one above. He came right over to us. We suspect he has received some “free handouts” before and has lost his fear of people. Anyway, I thought he made a good subject for a picture or two.

Erin is the only of my children that enjoys having her picture taken, so I take many of her. This one I found amusing. Her hair is like a barometer. Here it is saying humid. Her hair is normally quite straight, but as the humidity rises, the frizz and waviness of her hair also increases.

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The next five shots are the obligatory, “I went to Niagara Falls,” shots. They really look better enlarged…just click on them.

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Having lived within a days drive of the Falls for most of my life, it would be simple for them to have just become another site to visit. I have never, however, ceased to be amazed by the power of them. The following picture screams “power” to me. They really are an awe inspiring site to behold!

Kyle wanted to see the Falls all lit up at night, so we ventured out onto the observation deck as the sun began setting. I have no monopod or tripod, but I still wanted to try my hand at a few night photos. I took several which range from awesome to awful. The following two fall in the awesome category. I was very pleased with how they turned out, especially considering I had nothing but my arms to stabilize the camera.

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This is my artistic, don’t look through the lens, just point, fire, and hope for the best shot. I like the way the sun is just a little dot in the picture.

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I think this guy might have had the best seat in the house!

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Kyle reported that he had a very good time. It was ridiculously late by the time we got home, but everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.

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Glacial Geology

March 25, 2008

I am getting very impatient for spring to finally materialize. Being somewhat warm (above freezing) today, I decided a walk in the local cemetery was warranted. This particular cemetery was established in 1838 and has continuously been used since that time. The whole area around the cemetery was formed from by glaciers, but most of the moraines, kettles, kames, etc. are no longer identifiable because of the impact man has made on the area. The area was quarried extensively in the late 19th century, but the glacial formations in the cemetery itself are largely unaltered. It is a fascinating place to visit. The land all around is mostly flat, but the relief inside the cemetery is amazing.

Here is a kettle formed by glacial movement. It has been terraced to allow for benches so people can sit around it and the stones in the middle are what remains of a fountain.

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To give you an idea of the relief here is another picture of the same kettle pond, from one of the highest points in the cemetery.

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Looking in the opposite direction from the last picture, here is a view of the top of the building in which the library is housed at a local university. The campus is built right on the edge of the river, so it is not up on a hill. I just happened to be quite high up on a hill when I took this picture.

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Here are the stairs I climbed to get these great pictures. Sometime I will go back and just take pictures of stairs in this cemetery. Because of the unusual landscape, there are stairs in really odd places.

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So among the eskers, kettles, kames, and oh, yeah, the whole area is a terminal moraine I did take the time to look at some really neat grave markers.

This marker is different from others I have seen. I think it is really neat.

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This monument is fairly simple, but one of my favorites.

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As I was descending this incline, I stepped onto what I thought was snow, but turned out to be ice. The hill is terraced for the graves, and I was going from one level down to the next at the time. It must have looked hysterical as my feet went straight out in front of me and I landed on my left kidney. I am simply thankful I didn’t land on my head, shoulder, or especially my camera! I picked myself up and took two more shots…

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The roots of this tree actually cover the back of this marker. It is in a really odd location. I was standing on the road about 6 feet away from the marker as I took this picture.

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After my fall and two final pictures, I decided I should take my weary body home, so I trudged hobbled back to the car. I pulled a couple muscles in my leg and can’t walk very well. I did have the sense to walk to the car on the road however, which was completely free of ice and snow and ice pretending to be snow.

These are a couple of other pictures I took while at the cemetery. The day was nice but very overcast and I thought the sun looked rather odd, so I snapped a picture of it.

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This other photo is of a retaining wall that is badly damaged. I assume the rocks underneath were an original wall and the damaged part over top was added later to reinforce the original. At any rate, I think it is an interesting photo.

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More on the Butterflies…

March 4, 2008

I was so tired yesterday that I could not think straight. As I read about ways to put a slide show into my blog, I inadvertently chose the ONE option that does not embed the show…go figure! I have since fixed that, and the show below will take place right here in my blog.

As we walked through the conservatory, there were many wonderful blue butterflies flying around, but I could not find any on something stationary that would allow me a good picture. I had yet to figure out how to turn on the feature allowing me to snap multiple pictures one right after the other, so I literally chased several of these elusive butterflies through the place all to little avail! There are two pictures in the slide show of the elusive Blue Morpho. I took 27 photos total in an effort to get one awesome picture of them, but I seem to have failed, for the pictures I have posted are the best I was able to capture, but only mediocre at that.

I posted the names of the butterflies that I could identify from other places. If there are any Lepidoptera experts out there and I have mistakenly identified any of these butterflies, please feel free to correct me!

[splashcast EUDM2393EC]

After checking out the butterflies, I had to check out the Niagara Gorge and the Falls.

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Can you imagine getting in a cable car and traversing the Niagara Gorge? Yes, it is below the falls…but still!

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See the cables running across the gorge? They are for the people crazy enough to get into that cable car!

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If you enlarge the picture below and look very closely at the center of the picture below, you can see the power generation plant that the kids and I went to last summer.

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Check out the thickness of that snow and ice pack! As you will see in the pictures below, the amount of ice is incredible. Jeff and the girls read about the Honeymoon Bridge. It was a steel arch bridge whose abutments were right at the river’s edge. In 1938, during a wind storm on Lake Erie, tons of ice was washed over the falls and jammed up near the bridge. The pressure from the ice was so great, that it pushed the bridge off it’s abutment on the American side, effectively causing it to pull from the abutment on the Canadian side. The entire span fell in one piece onto the ice. All that is left of the bridge today is the abutment on the American side, which now boasts a tall tower with an observation deck overlooking the American Falls. If you look at the picture of the Rainbow Bridge below, you will notice the arch abutment is set back a ways from the edge of the river.

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After freezing our fingers, toes, and noses off at the river’s edge, we headed into Buffalo to grab a bite to eat. On the way, we saw a spectacular sunset, which of course looked so much better in person! I still like the photos I took of it.

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One of our favorite places for food in Buffalo is Montana’s. I would have taken a picture of my dinner, except my family thought I was nuts when I suggested that I should get my camera from the trunk and take some photos. Eventually they will learn, but for now, I have to be patient with them.

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This is a painting on the side of the restaurant. I thought it was just way too cool to not photograph. It was quite dark out when this photo was taken, so I was quite pleased with how it came out.

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I am again exhausted beyond belief, so I am going to retire to my bed and get some shut eye! Hopefully there are not any terribly obvious typos, cuz I am simply too tired to proofread tonight!

Oh, one more…I think the reflection of the tower in the side of the Sheridan is soooo cool! I noticed it as we were getting in the car to leave the Canadian side. I hoped the picture would come out, and in fact it is much better than I had hoped for!

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Many Adventures

June 9, 2007

Today we had to go to Buffalo to take Sarah to the Doctor to have a cyst on her finger looked at. Her appointment was for mid afternoon so we had some time to kill in the morning. We decided that the Zoo was the place to go. We got there to find 13 school buses that were either in the process of dropping off their students or parked after having dropped them off. We had parked in Delaware Park and walked around the zoo in an effort to avoid the parking fee. As we passed the Buffalo, I had to take his picture.

This guy, or gal, decided the heat was just too much. Yes this character is standing in the “watering hole.”

As we neared the entrance, the sound was deafening. There must have been about 200 to 250 youngsters (under the age of 10) standing in line with their accompanying adults. We decided the line was too long (even though we’re members and could take the “short” line), and the noise too much. Niagara Falls was second on our list so off we went.

When Ferdinand, my Magellan gps system, nearly sent us over the border to Canada, I made a quick exit and traveled along Rt. 104. I had planned to go to the Falls, like we always do, but signs for Devil’s Hole and the Whirpool Park caught my attention, so we stopped at the Whirlpool Park. We started on a trail that runs along the top of the Niagara Gorge.

The girls are headed down to the path.

This is the spectacular view that we enjoyed.

…looking into the gorge…

…and the swirling, rapidly moving waters of the mighty Niagara River.

The girls stopped to take a rest on this cool rock that they said I must take a picture of.

These pretty little flowers were everywhere. Unfortunately this picture does not do their color justice. They added a wonderful punch of color to the hazy day and the green of all the vegetation.

I think the person who owns this abode must be crazy. If you look closely in the middle of the picture, you can see a house sitting very near the escarpment on the Canadian side of the gorge. I would NOT want to live there!

As we walked along, we found this “hidden” stairwell. As we began our descent, we got really excited. The stairs must have been there forever and were obviously made of stone found in the gorge. I think we must have traveled down about 1/2 a mile into the gorge, putting us about 15 feet above the level of the river. The noise of the rushing water was incredible, and the temperature must have dropped about 5 degrees or so as we went into the gorge.

I must add here, that I learned two very important lessons today.
1) Always bring sneakers…you never know when you may need them. Crocs are not good trail shoes.
2) Always bring extra batteries for the camera. This was the last picture I was sure I would get, because the batteries were too low to truly run the camera. I had to keep turning it off and on to get any more pictures.

I had taken a really cool picture of a stone picnic table hidden in a flat spot surrounded by trees. There were 3 or 4 of these tables in different spots along the way. I want to return some day soon and take a picnic lunch.

This was the very last picture I was able to eek out while on our walk. This large rock is sitting in the river and just looks so cool. We were only about 10 or 15 feet above it. Kyle wondered if it was a petrified tree, as it was about the right color.
This was an amazing adventure that I am sure we will repeat sometime in the near future.
Oh, I did learn one other thing today…I am VERY out of shape. When I was so tired I didn’t think I could go on, I began counting the stairs as we ascended. We were about 3 “flights” from the top and I counted 87 stairs. I figure all together there were probably 500 or so!