Sunday Science Photos, May 15 – 21

It’s now late spring and the sun has presented itself in Portland on several occasions. For this I am happy because it means more time spent outside and more time with my camera. For the last few weeks I’ve been posting photos that I’ve gathered over the last few years, but soon I’ll be able to provide some fresh material from my travels around the region. My DSLR and I have missed each other’s company.

For this week, however, I continue posting photos from my vast archive. I hope you enjoy them.


This is the Alma Rose rhodochrosite from the Sweet Home Mine in Alma, Colorado. The entire block of minerals weighs more than 70 pounds. You can see this beauty at the Rice Northwest Museum of Rocks and Minerals. It has  rhombohedral crystals. Stick that in your vocabulary!

Mount Hood and… A Zebra?!

Yep. That’s a zebra and that’s Mount Hood in the background. Schreiner Farms is a wildlife sanctuary on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge across form The Dalles. You can drive through their property to see the many exotic animals they house there.

Coyote Wall

This is, hands down, my favorite hike in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. You can expect to see a trail guide for it by the end of the summer. The wall is part of a fault block, and the plateau to the right is part of a syncline that descends to the river.


You ask me, this guy’s got a meaner look than the T-rex. As you might expect, Carnotaurus was a Late Cretaceous dinosaur contemporary with T-rex, Gallimimus, and most of your other favorite Jurassic Park dinos. This cast is on display at the Natural history Museum in LA.

Balsamorhiza sagittata

Eastern Washington and Oregon are dominated by balsam flowers at this time of year. This particular specimen is an Arrowleaf Balsam which I photographed in The Dalles, Oregon. It grows voraciously in the rain shadow of the Cascades, often filling whole meadows with brilliant yellow.

Parkdale, OR Debris Flow

@highlyanne did me a huge favor on this photo. Everything you could want to know about these debris flow deposits near Parkdale, Oregon has been documented in her fabulous blog post from a year ago. When it rains a lot and the mountains fall down. Enjoy!

Dire Wolf Skulls

The Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in LA has a really neat wall of dire wolf skulls which have been recovered from the tar pits. Dire Wolves went extinct about 10,000 years ago, but are preserved in great number thanks to the sticky tar at La Brea. Here’s a video of one of the bubbling tar pits. You can imagine how difficult it’d be for an animal to escape.

Urocyon littoralis

This is the Island Fox, a critically endangered species of fox which resides in the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara, California. Each of the Channel Islands hosts a separate subspecies of this fox: a beautiful example of allopatric speciation. This guy is Urocyon littoralis santacruzae because he resides on the island of Santa Cruz.

The White River

Sourced by melt from Emmons Glacier on the northeast flank of Mount Rainier, the White River is a highly competent stream, moving massive boulders and downing trees during the height of melt season. Shown here at a quieter time in late summer, the evidence of its awesome power lay scattered across the stream channel.

Pico Blanco

The Big Sur coast of California is remarkable for the rapid change in elevation from sea-level to mountain peak. Pico Blanco, shown here as viewed from Andrew Molera State Park rises to 3,694 feet less than five miles from the coast. Its peak consists of limestone, but the underlying rock is mostly a granite gneiss which can be found all over the region. 


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