Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hurricane Fault Splays

The Colorado Plateau

Turmoil At Toquerville!

The little town of Toquerville lies in the Midst of Fault upheavals!

Forerunner of Evil Days to come (ca. 30 Mar 05)

Ides of March- Can April be far behind?

The middle of March had just expired, and no longer was there full employment for accountants. I’d have gladly not experienced it if I’d known that I’d be eyed because of all of my investment Ideas. Not only I’d been concerned about ID loss, but I wath hide-bound about these taxing times. Come April, all of this gas about Rendering unto Caesar was behind me, and I could resolve to think in All-true-istic terms again. (This all reminds me of that old song “I'da read, Ida Red, I'd just got crazy about Ida Red!”).
Nevertheless, I expressed a sigh of Relief, as it was springtime, and I felt outgoing. That is, I was going out (springing, downhill) to enjoy the Dixie countryside. All was greening, due to the many springs this time of year, and the word for the Spanish season- Prima Vera- formed on my aerial passageway.
I felt good- as if I were in the prime of Life. “Primo” I repeated heartily to all passersby, elevating them temporarily to Relative status. I had slept well, and the spring in my step was partly due to the season, but also because of the furniture dealer having installed new mattresses and springs in my bedroom. Spring had sprung early because of the moderating effect of spring rains- which were now feeding many springs.
I reflected on another Spanish word Ojo- the eye- which is also a spring (the eye of the Earth, and if hot “Ojo Caliente”). Curiously, the idea and the words behind it are the same in Turkish- Sijak gözü- the “Hot Eye of the earth”. Even though Türk is in a different family of languages (Altaic- Altai Mtns. Sinkiang), the idea is the same- The eye of the earth allows the mirror of its soul to divulge its’ contents (its’ secrets are found in the constituents of the water).
But enough of this “soul food”- it is the first day of April, and there are many chores to perform. Annual rituals must be respected and re-enforced. Since I have now been here more than one year, I can look askance at the many newcomers, who have not yet learned to correctly pronounce Hur-kin. Surprisingly, they build their future nests all about me- ten within one block of my house, in the last year- without asking my approval or forgiveness. Obviously these new “constituents” have not had gall bladder removal operations. At our age, attention must be paid to all of the various bladders, and develop hope that we do not become blotters for bleeders of bladders. I sometimes suspect that even myself has a bit of “Gall” remaining, even though I never considered that I was a “Gaullist”.
But I digress!

Night Dive (After surviving a watery Doom) by Glenn Wasson

This was originally published in a book of underwater poetry,
called "Voices of The Deep" Attribution should credit that book.

NIGHT DIVE (from the Book “Voices of the Deep”

No fiend could ever quite contrive
A more fearful trip than a nighttime dive
When nocturnal eyes come peering out
And frightful shadows dart all about.

My fevered brain needs no stimuli
From morays, sharks and octopi
What I can't see, my mind invents
Which keeps me in a cold suspense.

Beyond the beam of my feeble light
Lurk a thousand terrors of the night.
My buddy just signaled a need for help!
I think she brushed against some kelp.

My flipper's caught! What can it be?
A moment's panic, and then I’m free.
The bravado I had up on the deck
Has left me now and I'm a wreck.

Great clouds of bubbles mark my spot,
My pulse is high, I pray a lot.
I check my gauge--air nearly gone.
You'd think I ran a marathon.

At last we surface and doff our gear.
Non-divers gather, our tales to hear.
"Wha'ja see? How deep d'ja go?
A thousand things they want to know.

My buddy and I exchange a glance
And suddenly find some nonchalance.
"To dive at night, as a general rule,
You must be calm, serene, and cool."

"Conserve your air, don't thrash about.
You'd really like it; we have no doubt."
Condemn if you will, our hypocrisy
But we're part of a night dive conspiracy.

Glenn Wasson

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Kachinas, Koshari, and the Navajo Spirits surrounding them

Hopi Kachinas, and the Navajo Spirits surrounding them

Photos by Karen Hughes. Comments by H. Overton

The Hopi got there first, such Time being lost to Antiquity, but the Navajo were quick to incorporate some of their Mythology after arriving from Athapascan (previously Athabaskan) Canada about 1300 a.c.e. The Navajo culture and language have no connection with that of the Hopi (Navajo being part of a common tongue with Apache and Athapascan), which is one of the Aztec-Uto-an family, such as Tewa and Towa. The Hopi have many Kachinas, or minor deities, and some of these are shown below. The Koshari(a type of Kachina) are still active- being the clowns who perform at their ceremonies; I have seen these doing their “tricks” from which the ordinary villagers are not immune (such as committing suggestive blunders on the women). Usually these can be identified by their “prisoner stripes”, and the clowns may operate on the tourists which are allowed to view the ceremonies. There are many Kachinas, and the Zuni which reside SE of the Hopi (in AZ) have elevated these to man-sized statues, exhibiting them in the local Church.
Those who have read Hillerman’s books on the mysteries of the two Reservations may recognize the Navajo Ye’ii Bechei’ and other Chindii (Chiidii). Dine' Navajo surround Hopi in both culture and reservation space. This devil name Chindii sounds similar to the geological formation Chinle, but the natives assure me that it is not. Chinle is a place name (village) north of Canyon de Chelly, meaning “place where the water flows out”, whereas Chindii connotes a Hex or Evil Spirit which must be avoided. The colors blue, red, green, and white (sometimes black and yellow) are found in their costumes, possibly relating to the four colors of the sacred mountains in the four directions. I have thought that the colors related to the dominant views found in the four cardinal directions (red for hot western sun, blue for the glacial ice of the north, green for the morning vegetation, and black for the darkness of Hell, but the colors change between the two cultures- black being north for Navajo).

Hopi Mudhead: Koyemsi

Navajo Yeii Bechei' Spirit (Mountain god)

Hopi Mudhead Clown: Koyemsi

Kachina Earth God

Kachina, Koshari, and Navajo Spirits surrounding them

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

A Bird in the Hand

Death Valley Fowl Play

Out in the West, where two birds in the Bush are worth one in the Hand,
If Now that Ol’ Bush is foisted, Eastward, and given Command
Our resulting Fowl Policy is soon sunk in the Sand.

Not infrequently unobserved is the drama played out by members of the Corvus family, which are rarely unwatched (this may have largely escaped your inattention).
Yes, yes, speaking more positively, it is that trickster of the West (that nattering nabob of the National Park Natural creatures)- the lusty Raven- which conspires to relieve us our victuals and other Stock and Store, that is the object of my timely attention. And he is quick to appear, whenever there is the faintest notice of crumbs and more substantial portions of our daily fare, upon which our fortunes rely. So, rather than waste time describing the various humdrum movements of the earth in Death Valley, I will devote my entire daily effort to regaling you regarding the interactions of this lusty bird with our resolute Geological Team, which just terminated travels in this Jewel of the West.
Our team of several Utah geologists and their consorts had just made a determined three-day effort to organize the various slicing, upheavals, faulting, sinkings, impingements, and volcanic bombardments of this portion of the dynamic Western USA. My own personal effort was to find that point on the ground surface, which indicated the change from the older NW-SE shearing and stressing of the Pliocene and older rocks to the more modern N-S faulting in Death Valley, so as to relate this locus to the changes occurring on the edge of the Basin and Range province (which is the same as the Western edge of the Colorado Plateau CP). However things kept getting in my way, namely Ravens.
NOTE: The Photos for this epic may occur below the text, or in the links at right.

This is all "For the Birds"

Upon arising the first morning, it was quickly found that some raucous fowl had bombarded the hood of one of the team members automobiles. This was not a subtle endeavor either, since there were large globs of yesterdays digestion left unattended on the bare metal. I gave thanks that my auto had escaped detection, and laid this fact off onto the thought that I had made homage to the ebony bird, by focusing a previous BLOG (see Archives on the Blogspot) on the karma created by Edgar Allen Poe’s creation of the same name.
The eyes which have all the seeming of a demon that is dreaming were, nevertheless, focused on my campsite- evidently being kept under surveillance for greater things by the Fowl which was perched upon a limb of Tamarisk just above my camera door.

As long as I remained in the National Park, I was kept under watch by the attentive birds, not only by the various Corvus members, but also by the Beady-Eyed Brewer’s Blackbird. This compassion was evidently a result of the previous tourists’ disdain for the warnings of the Park Service to avoid feeding the various animals (to keep them from becoming slothful and reliant upon the largess of the visitors). The fowl were fed sufficiently to insure that later arrivals would be enamored by the antics of the birds (due to the habits of dispensers of leftovers and even to the mainstay of the meals of others).

This is "All for the Birds'

• As luck would have it, I finally found the long-sought Locus of the stress changes in Death Valley, by chancing upon the Raven perched above the Artist’s Route just above the lowest point in the valley. The Raven had undoubtedly felt the Karma associated with the vortex created by the intersection of the two dynamic systems, and had attempted to relay this location to me via perching upon the appropriate signpost (this might be supposed to be a Bust of Pallas, just above my Camera Door). I was instantly aware of his epiphany, by feeling the cosmic vibrations which are associated with the great sidereal movements upon which Time is commonly reckoned.
• By looking at the accompanying maps, photos, and 3-dimensional drawings, one can see that indeed the Raven had perched above the location on the scarp below to the west, where there is a major change of orientation of the Death Valley by an amount of at least 30 degrees (from about 165 degrees from north to about 135 degrees for the older further-north fractures and faults) The orientation of the faulting can be directly measured by noting that the fault has sliced through a young volcano- denoting its path and orientation.
• Harold L. Overton

This is all "For the Birds"

Assessment of Death Valley Movements

There are several photos, shown in this Blog, which allow some evaluation of the current fracturing and faulting in the DV Park. The reader should evaluate all of these photos, with a view toward understanding the recent slicing of the Earth. First, since DV has a sink where the elevation is below sea level, this means that erosion from the nearby high mountains is unable to fill in the valley faster than it is being lowered. Normally, hills are rounded with erosion, since they are attacked by weather fairly rapidly. Since this is not the case for DV, the prominence of angular features accentuates that they are currently active, offsetting erosion. Active fracturing and faulting (fractures which exhibit lateral or vertical movement) revive the angularity of rock outcrops seen at the ground surface.
First, there is a young volcano (less than 1 m.y. age as measured independently by radioactivity), which has been cut by an on-going fault- shifting the west side of it to the north, relative to the east side. The erosion is still pronounced, since the extrusive ash and rubble is soft, but even so you can readily see that the volcanic mound has been shifted in a right-lateral manner (that is one can stand on either side of the fault and determine that the opposite side has moved to the right). This fault has a north-south slicing, showing that the current stress system is oriented similarly to that seen in the transition zone in Utah, for the most recent movements (refer to Coal Pits Canyon and the youngest orientation of the Colorado and Rio Grande Rivers- which is N-S in the website this is a link shown o the right side of the Blog, or at the bottom for simpler dial-up connections).
Second Photo shows a map which allows the general orientation of DV to be examined. The south part of the park has an orientation of N-S, while north of Artist Drive it is more NW-SE (closer to 155-335 degrees from north). That is the north portion of the park has been subjected to shearing stresses which are some 30 degrees at variance to that in the south. This is generally observed in AZ and UT also, from field work performed by myself,
The question remains: Is there N-S orientation the younger, or are both of these stresses intermittent? In the Colorado Plateau transition zone CP, my assessment is that the N-S stress is the younger, but it may be that there are pulses of both stresses occurring at different times.
I was interested to find the outcrop of rock which would show the location on the ground surface which showed the transition from one set of stresses to the other, as seen by fractures. This serendipity was found not by me but by the ubiquitous Raven.
Whimsically, he is photoed sitting on the signpost to the entrance to Artist Drive in south Death Valley Park, announcing esoterically that “This is the Place-Evermore”. See the photo which has the ebony Bird, which was sitting, never flitting near the entrance of the park road and to my Serendipitous Camera Door. HLO

Fying with a Hawk

A Day with a Free Spirit

Few of us get to see a wild hawk trained for falconry. On this cold, blustery day in the uplands above the Virgin river a group of photographers got their chance. Bill Mader, raptor keeper and rehabilitator took us along to watch Sable have breakfast.

Sable is twenty-six years old, ancient by bird standards, and this attests to good care all of her life. She is a Harris hawk, rare in these parts since their range is more southwestern, in the Mohave desert. Yet she seemed to do quite well in the blackbrush and sage hills that cover much of the area between Saint George Utah and Zion National Park.

Sable is placed on a nearby volcanic rock and she stays for about twenty seconds until the handler walks away and into the wind.
The falconry glove is put on, and a rare piece of rabbit meat is
tucked into the thumb and forefinger pocket. Sable rides low to travel toward her prize as it is unnecessary to soar high to go such a short distance. Besides, the wind is fierce enough that only a little lift is necessary to fill those big red wings.

Sable glides in to Bill's hand. She does not hit the glove hard, like a peregrine falcon might hit its prey; she has been trained to land lightly by pulling up into the wind and using her wings as a brake while she extends her talons with precision. She lands lightly and without any discernable push in any direction. Carrying her back to her rock perch is like holding a balloon; a very living, well-balanced balloon. (This author got to receive and recover her twice during the trip!)

Sable gets her well-earned reward. She flew about 10 times for the exercise, the training and the photographers. None of these things matter to her. Her life is confined, yes, but she is as wild in spirit as a hawk can be. She gives the gift of her spirit every time she takes a flight, and she asks for nothing in return but a little breakfast. She is Hawk, and Hawk must be Hawk forever. That's why we're here, not only to take pictures but to feel the Hawk in ourselves.

Christine Oravec