Sunday Science Photos, July 3 – 9

It seems that this photo series is the only thing I’ve made time for recently. That should change this coming week as I have several posts planned, including a new geology hiking guide. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s selection, and feel free to peruse my full gallery of Instagram science photos available on my Google+ page.

Lava Butte862cc0388154408bb857cf94cbe119a7_7

This cinder cone in central Oregon just south of Bend formed about 7,000 years ago along with several other cones along fissures extending from the flank of Newberry Volcano. The cone rises 500 feet from it’s base, but the summit elevation is 5,000 feet.

Cornus kousa
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You probably expect that you’re looking at a flower. …Well, you are, but not in the way you’re imagining. The flowers of this Japanese Dogwood are actually the yellow-green speckles in the center of the image. The white “petals” are really a specialized leaf called a bract.

Mount Hood from Silver Star
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This image was my 4th of July photo contribution, meant mostly as an ‘ooo, pretty’ but I should point out some features here. The vantage point is Silver Star Mountain looking south. The Columbia River lies between the camera and Mt. Hood. Can you tell where?

Jackstraw Epidote
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This jackstraw crystal habit is a rare find in epidote, but this sample is a beautiful example of it. Epidote is a calcium aluminum iron sorosilicate mineral (like you care… or maybe you do) that forms in metamorphic processes. This entire specimen is about fist sized.

Ancient Lahar Deposits
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The Palisades of the Clarno Unit at the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument were formed by lahars 44 million years ago. See the full sized image and examine the unsorted sediments that make up the stone wall. Now imagine that debris flow smothering the then tropical landscape.

Callospermophilus lateralis
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Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels are a very common sight east of the Cascades. People often mistake them for chipmunks. Wanna know for sure what you’re looking at? Check for facial striping. No stripes; no chipmunk.

Wahclella Falls
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A beautiful example of a tiered waterfall. This 350-foot, two part cascade of water is in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, and can be accessed by a very short hike. More detail on that hike is forthcoming on this blog.

Sugar Bowl Dome
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Sugar Bowl Dome is a dacite dome formed in an eruptive period of Mount St. Helens some 1,180 years ago. From parts of the pumice plain near Windy Ridge it obscures the view to the most recently active central dome.

Doppler On Wheels
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Storm chasing season is pretty much over, so the Doppler on Wheels vehicles have been stopping by schools and museums to show off their stuff. These are the dishes that professional storm trackers use to study tornadoes in the field.

Tree Cast in Lava Flow
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When a relatively low viscosity basalt flow hits a forest, evidence of the vaporized trees is left behind in the form of these tree casts. This one is from the Lava Cast Forest in central Oregon, part of the Newberry National Volcanic Monument.

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