Chiricahua Mountains

2-4 May 2003

This spring our Plantery Sciences Department's fieldtrip was relatively local. It was a short three-day trip in southeastern Arizona.

Day 1

We spent the lion's share of the day on Wilcox Playa in a meteorite finding excercise. There were talks about finding meteorites in general, and how some were even found here at Wilcox Playa. We dispersed with metal detectors and eyeballs to search for funny looking rocks. We didn't find any meteorites, but we did learn a fair amount.
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Ralph wanted me to get some good pictures of the desication cracks at different scales in the surface of the playa. These shots show the self-similar patterns at different scales with Ralph's pocketknife for scale.
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The mirages on the playa were pretty cool, and they didn't photograph as well as I might have liked, but you can see how some of the distant hills seem to float behind people.
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We had a brief stop at what was thought was a dike where magnetometer measurements were made, but upon closer inspection, the "dike" looked an awful lot like a conglomerate. Go figure.

After Wilcox Playa we headed towards the Chiricahua National Monument. The ranger station was closed but we stopped to visit the bathrooms, and take another measurement with the gravimeter. That's what Curtis is doing in that first shot. I didn't realize until looking at this image back at home that the gravimeter case is almost perfectly eclipsing the gravimeter itself, not that the gravimeter is much to look at.
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Day 2

That next morning, we headed back into the park from our lovely campsite, and headed up to Echo Canyon. There John talked about lichens, and we had all the fun talks about volcanism in the area. We talked about calderas, ignimbrites, and cooling joints in the tuff. I didn't get pictures of everyone that talked, but we had a nice long discussion overlooking the spectacular views of the park.
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After lunch and some talks, some folks hiked up the trail to Sugarloaf peak. These are some random shots from that hike. That trail really afforded some beautiful views of the formations in the monument and the vast plain beyond it to the west.
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Our last stop of the day was at the Animas dry lake where Rachel talked about shore lines.

Day 3

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from the last day of the trip because Rachel woke up feeling quite ill. It turned out to be a stomach virus (we think). As a result, Rachel and I took a vehicle and returned to Tucson. Rachel was finally able to keep food down and napped most of the afternoon, so everything turned out fine. As I was unloading the truck at home, I was noticing our purple prickly pear cactus with its yellow blooms, so I took some pictures of that and some other pretty plants in our yard. Sometimes you just gotta stop and take pictures of the flowers.
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-Ross Beyer

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