Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Colorado mudslide.

The massive three to four mile mudslide occurred in Mesa County, Colorado killing three people, a rancher, his son and another unidentified man. Their truck is also missing presumed buried. The men were checking an interruption to drainage caused by an earlier mudslide. The sheriff said,
"The slide came down with so much force and velocity that it came to a hill and went up and over a hill and then came back down -- a significant hill. So the power behind it was remarkable."

Mesa County is the part that captures my imagination. The mesas in Colorado visible from great distance due to the dryness are quite striking. The city of Golden is nestled beneath such a mesa and the hill is impressively high. Farther south you can see mesa upon mesa upon mesa fading in the distance for miles exactly as a painted background. The landscape is exactly as depicted in Western films (why wouldn't it?) but it is still mind blowing when seen first hand. This is how these mesas are formed after all but one imagines all that occurring a geologic age in the past. The formations really do capture the imagination, they do for me and always have. I imagine myself atop one at the edge, being a native, sending off smoke signals using a wet blanket over a fire. You can actually drive up there and find that people own property on top, own houses, and ranches, Arabian horse breeders are up there and the whole time you're (I'm) driving around on the top one single thought recurs through my mind in apparent endless loop, "I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa... look, a horse! I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa, I'm on a mesa. One imagines, okay I imagine, myself at the edge jumping off in a glider. One also imagines the mesas being stable because nothing has moved for so long.

To see it happen is awesome in the truest sense of the word.

Driving the highways I see rockslide abatement and I think, come on, isn't that being a bit overly cautious? Then rockslides do occur sending down giant boulders that smash whole vehicles with families inside them as if their SUV were a bug.

And all it takes is an unusually wet season, like this season, to cause a mountain to move.

I find it oddly exciting. I found earthquakes oddly exciting too. I have no real sense of physics, nor of geology, all my ideas come from cartoons. I imagine it possible to make quick decisions as crevasses open up underfoot. I imagine it possible to ski an avalanche with no real understanding of what actually happens in seconds. And when these things are explained as they are in science class at school I imagine them all happening in achingly slow motion, barely noticeably to mere humans, hardly applicable to me. Then these things happen in real time and I realize, "Dude, you've always been a real dope."

[Another dopy thing is I would like to watch the videos that come with these news stories on the news sites but I'm put off by the ads placed in front of them. Plus the videos show nothing beyond what the words already describe, half of the video is some random reporter blathering away setting up the situation that you already know. There is never anything new in the video. The ads tacked on actually anger me, and so does the reporter, even though I know that is how the content is financed. So I end up not bothering with videos on news sites.]

Traveling by train from Concord California to Denver the train stopped annoyingly off and on several times for way, way, way too long. The continuous stopping makes the whole trip by train hardly worth the experience. The tracks are shared between interests and passenger trains give way to cargo trains moving the opposite direction. But when they do pass, within inches it seems, that part is a bit fun. It rained the whole time the entire trip and while sitting on the tracks in Nevada and in Utah looking out the window in silence gazing over the landscape you can actually see the hills washing down and realize you are seeing geology in motion. It is impressively beautiful. The colors of massive mud slicks washing through and under the tracks we are riding, clogging the ballast down there with mud when eventually dry. One's imagination opens, the scene utterly Western, and you sense new minerals exposed to the surface and realize how it is possible to walk along and find gold and silver and gems right there for the plucking. I wanted off that train so badly it ached to explore for awhile, just let me walk around in the rain. I would certainly find something worth having, some keepsake of my incredible experience of geology happening around me. I became sure that is how the state's riches were discovered just sitting there on top of the ground.


Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'm going to add "mudslide" to the already long list of ways I don't want to go.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you really want to blow your mind....think about the fact that you are walking on what was once the bottom of a huge ocean or inland sea. Imagine the prehistoric water denizens swimming over your head. Or the strange creatures that seem like failed experiments or something that you made in the game Spore, crawling around your feet. PreCambrian, Permian, older than the dinosaurs....millions and millions of years all under your feet and under the feet of the horses too.

Then think about how the people who want us to change lightbulbs believe that this will stop the Earth from changing and want stop evolution. How they think that people are the apex of the chain of life and that WE are so important that we can influence the world.

Imagine the vast expanses of time in the past that didn't contain US, humans, and immense spans of time in the future in which we will be gone, history, nothing remains other than some fossils and possibly merely an interesting curiosity to another species of beings.

Unknown said...

geology in motion, indeed.

or as the political left like to insist-- the earth never changes and if any changes do occur it's all driven by our release of C02.
Stop thinking.

Lem said...

Boots on the ground ChipA.

Trooper York said...

Wow. I didn't know that had happened in Colorado. That is pretty sick stuff.

Trooper York said...

But this is why you can't trust dirty hippies.

The Dude said...

North Carolina was the subject of a much better song.

JT went from being a wife beating junkie to a clear voiced full throated commie, but when he worked with a good lyricist the results were magical. The late Reynolds Price was brilliant.

The James Taylor bridge crosses Morgan Creek. My son says that's because Mr. Taylor used to live under it. I have my doubts about that theory. Some say it is named for Dr. Taylor. All I know is that now it's all spec homes, plywood, tore up, tore up good.

deborah said...

DBQ, going along with what you said, I get the feeling that some people don't realize that we are part of the web of life, and we naturally create an impact on the environment. Yes, we can't go overboard, but we are not called upon to make to have zero impact, as if we're above it all.

When my daughter was about six she was worried about recycling, etc., having been indoctrinated at school. I explained to her that people need to live, too, and they naturally make an impact. I told her not to let people at school make her feel guilty, and that set her mind at ease.

XRay said...

Slides happen.

William said...

The upside of mud slides is that survivors are not burdened with burial costs for the departed.

chickelit said...

Oh, so this is where Sixty was putting comments about my post...