Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Earth Science Hike Notifications


Small Normal faults may be noticed in beach cliffs on Whidbey Island (and hardly anywhere else) by tracing the sedimentary layers which sometimes appear to be displaced upwardly or downwardly. Try your hand at following a particular stratum IN SUCEEDING PHOTOS or during beach walks, to find a discontinuity (or faulting) in sedimentary layers' vertical positioning.

Double Bluff, WI is a remnant of dunes and wetlands which have rebounded since glacial times.
This Fracturing zone, which is causing sinking of the back side of a householder's LOT (Utah- look at the cliffline farthest above Laverkin Creek), is the type of Crustal Action of interest to our Hiking Group (wherever it may transpire).

The Keystone Ferry crosses the
Admiralty Passage, on the west side of Whidbey Island), and incidentally the NW-SE fault system which created it- after glaciation ceased.
Mt. Erie on Fidalgo I. allows a grand view of the metasediments found north of Deception Pass, Whidbey Island (WI). This is in the Mesozoic, compared to Pleistocene PreStone found on islands to the south.

Weekly Hike Information:
A 2008 hike will be described and posted on this Blog, for either Whidbey Island, WA or for Hurricane, UT, and will be changed weekly. Those who have some training in Earth Science- geochemical, geographical, geological, geomorphological, petrophysics, or well logging- may accompany.
Hike for Wed, Aug, 9am, to be announced (salmon season has deferred all hikes, until further notice); make requests to the E-mail shown below. All hikes will start 9:30- 10am. Wait for a tan Prius, at the announced location. We will study the north American plate which moved westward in Tertiary and present time- shoving metamorphic Mesozoic rocks on top of each other and onto the eastward-diving Juan de Fuca Plate (similarly creating the San Juan Islands).
Requests for particular hikes to geological features within Island or Skagit Counties will be honored- please use the comments section at the bottom of this Blog or other missives below. You must leave your name and E-mail address for me to contact you about your interest.
Previous descriptions of this hike and other places of geological interest may be found in the Hike reports from previous years. Scroll down or read the titles shown on the right of the Blog

Hikes completed during 2008, on Whidbey Island:
1. Maxwelton Town, south to Maple Point- Pleistocene Esperance formation slumping (May 9);
2. Washington Park Metamorphic rocks, in Anacortes, WA (May 15);
3. The Oak Harbor hikes were cancelled because of rain; requests for taking these later (Rocky Point metasediments and Jurassic-Pleistocene contact) will be honored, by clicking on comments location noted at the bottom of this rendition.
4. Admiralty point hike near the Seattle Pacific University beach was investigated for the swale and hardened sediments found along the Ledgewood- Baby Island fault.
Photos of interesting features are included, so that hikers may pursue beach walks on their own.
5. Hancock Lake to Ledgewood faulting zone: 6/12/08, the group hiked through private lands bordering the Naval preserve northward along the beach. The Dec/07 storm left fresh cliffs, eroding another foot to eh east. A small normal fault immediately north of the fenced Navy enclosure, in the 1st cliff was partially hidden by a slump (not seen in prior hikes). Till eroded prior was taken away by tides, and cliffs remained sheer (see below photos).
6. Greenbank cliffs and springs to north were visited, for a view of the NW-SE Ledgewood- Baby Island fault. The seeps feeding this spring have been ponded by a levee, allowing a small pond to form, and these drain SE-ward to the Holmes Harbor-Saratoga Passage beach (see photo). This is all overgrown by vegetation, so that only a faint swale to NW can be seen as evidence of faulting.
7. Rocky Point Hike (Jun 25/08): Detached metasediments were photoed- see below- for your analysis. Make your appraisal of the past movements and those occurring since glacial times, some 14 kyears ago.
8. Most northerly part of W.I. known as Deception Pass was hiked from Cranberry Lake to Deception Pass Bridge- allowing a view of the great Darrington- Devil's Mountain Fault. This active fault has several splays, one of which has eroded the Metasediments to allow tides to create a passageway.
9. Orcas Island, particularly Moran State Park and Mt. Constitution, were investigated for fracture patterns and contacts of the Mesozoic Mzm (metasediments) and Paleozoic Pzi. Fractures were random, but a contact of Tertiary with Pleistocene till was found at the East sound beach NE corner. This sandstone was in angular unconformable contact with the overlying till, dipping down to the south by 20-30 degrees- showing that glaciation had sheared off the Tertiary before depositing till. On the north side of Orcas is a Mesozoic sandstone used for building stone at Mt. Constitution, but the Tertiary deposit is much softer and thin bedded compared to it.

Contact: aardvark@whidbey.com for immediate notifications or for requests.
Pluck Marks on Metamorphic Rocks on Fidalgo Island show immediately-previous glacier movements (250 degrees from N)

Alexander Beach on Fidalgo is a rare entity- one having a cove protecting the sand trickling between your toes (in otherwise metamorphic Rock).

Creek Drainages on Whidbey Island mostly trace N-S (the last major glaciation direction), but paths along younger fault traces orient NW to SE- due to left-lateral shear movements (since the time of Glaciers).

A strong compressinal quake may distort the overlying sediments- in this case termed a Cauliflower Structure.
Earthquake indications are noticed in freshly eroded cliffs along the beaches. In this case, 100 kyr. blowouts with earth liquefaction leaves distorted sedimentary beds.

North of Lake Hancock there are blowout indications, probably about the same age, which are near the Ledgewood-Baby Island fault. Fort Casey from WWI days has a gun emplacement which can be used to measure the retreat of the cliffs over time. This concrete structure overlies Admiralty Head, which has been elevated and hardened by the movement along the Baby Island fault (which is an undulating left lateral fault causing such damage as house collapse and road breakage in Ledgewood Village)
North of Keystone Ferry, in cliffs east of Admiralty Passage, hardened Pleistocene PreStone resists erosion by the strong SW storms, even though it retreats some 20-30 cm/year.

Cliffs north of Hancock Lake are spalling off at the rate of about 1 foot/year, paricularly for 07- when a strong November storm battered them. These cliffs are composed of Till from Pleistocene Glaciation, with shear strength less than compressive.

A small Normal Fault occurs immediately north of Hancock Lake, probably conected with the Greenbank scarp. Ledgewood Cliffs are influenced by previous quakes from the Left-Lateral fault there (still moving)- which has opened up fissures, allowed angular blocks to enter, and which has later covered the evidence until cliff erosion was significant.

A year-long spring exits along the NW-SE Baby Island (on horizon to east)fault.

The spring emerges along beach sands.
Rocky Point, Whidbey Island is a remnant of Mesozoic metasediments, which have been detached from any connection with those on the N. end of W.I. some 10+ km to the north.

Rocky Pt. metasediments, which have been uplifted and eroded- after having been covered by glacial till- have later been fractured and faulted by NW-SE shear. These have been dragged between parallel 120 degrees from north faults, causing them to detach and rise from their original neighbors.
Deception Pass, at the northern end of Whidbey, has Mesozoic sediments, as contrasted to Pleisocene glacial till on the surface of the remainder of the Island.

Active faulting at Deception Pass has created vertical orientation of metasediments, which align with those at Rocky Point- 120 degrees from north.
Tides and storms have reacted with the gouge zone, to create Sea Caves.

Orientation of individual islands show how terranes have been aligned in Rosario Strait.

Fractures are not a good tool for diagnosing movements on Orcas I. since many uplifts, lateral displacements, and shearings have occurred in the immediate past and presently.

Active Fracturing allows increased erosion and weathering.
Significant information may be found from this angular unconformity at the NW corner of East Sound,where Tertiary contacts younger glacial till.
This sandstone is in angular unconformable contact with the overlying till, dipping down to the south by 20-30 degrees- showing that glaciation had sheared off the Tertiary before depositing till. On the north side of Orcas there is a Mesozoic sandstone used for building stone at Mt. Constitution, but the photoed Tertiary deposit is much softer and thin bedded compared to it.

East and West sounds on Orcas I. trend 160 degrees from north and are roughly parallel, but are not parallel to glacial grooves and scrapings found elsewhere on the island. It appears that the sounds were not scooped by the major glacier movements, since the ice moved at about 190 degrees from north. This scarp shown above is in the stress orientation of the last tectonics and is parallel to the sound. It is likely that extension created the two sounds, not glacial scooping.

For more information E-mail using the address below:

Summary of Geological hikes and observations- 2004

During 2004, the hiking group reviewed the findings made during previous years; this should be reviewed, before reading the later abstracts.

2003 Summary

FAULTING (see attachment on the website):

The Baby Island- Ledgewood- Admiralty Head fault is our most certain fault. It runs NW-SE, and can be seen and sampled just off the coast of Saratoga Road. It protrudes into the air with a set of small hogbacks running 130- 135 degrees from north, and the rocks are obviously hardened in their exposure- appearing to be Pliocene in breaking strength. It is Pleistocene, since it cuts that age of sediments, and this accentuates the fact that compressive stresses may increase the strength and hardness of sediments. Although the fault is of lengthy expression (Admiralty to Baby Island), it is hard to see it in the interior of the island, and it is very faint in the cliffs north of Greenbank- it may be related to the occurrence of springs near Nettle Road, which has a drainage running NW-SE.

I believe that the fault is still active, based on the road breakage and slumping at Ledgewood; but there is only one concrete slab indication that it is left-lateral, and the main observations support the conclusion that it is compressive and causing uplift at selected locations like Admiralty Head (it could still be left lateral).

Other faulting on the main body of Whidbey Island can be called minor, and some of these are noticed in the cliffs. One of these was predicted based on changes in the water composition of water wells. This is the El Capitan beach fault, and it was noticed first, by the anomalously large amount of K compared to Chloride in the water. Its visual expression is the only set of clean cliffs south of the Borgman Road access. There is a seep, angular block insertion into fractures, and uplift in the sediments in the cliff.

The fault which has been most studied by our group is actually two faults or more, surrounding the Rocky Point exposure. There is a lesser observed fault on the north side of R.P., and the greenstones and metasediments are being dragged between these two movements. The fault runs about 130 degrees from north, and has been exhumed by the USGS in a trench for measurement. It has a displacement of the main fault trace, to the north as shown by LIDAR, of about 330 feet- which would indicate that it is being sheared north-south at about 1 cm/year (since is it is seen in glacial till of less than 15,000 years age). Both of these faults surrounding the Rocky Point continue on to the SE, showing up in asphalt breakage near the Naval Commissary, in the formation of Tombolos or fossil tombolos at Polnell Point and at the seaplane base south of the commissary. The Rocky Point exposure is uplifted in the middle causing fracturing- the greenstones appear to be detached from their original bedrock, since one end protrudes in the air and the other end is parallel to the faulting direction.

There is a general tendency for the faulting to become more eastward in expression as the faults are explored on the north end of the island. The Silver Lake and Creek run about 110 degrees from north, as does the El Capitan fault- compared to the SW-NE faulting at Baby Island and at SW Maxwelton Creek (toward upper Cultus Bay). This hints that the NW-SE fault trend is the result of the interference of the Pacific Plate moving northward relative to the North American plate running westward. The vector resolution of two stresses running perpendicular to each other is a diagonal between them, with exaggerated importance of each stress direction as the main thrust becomes nearer to the fault being observed. This diagonal trend would be the case when each stress is of similar effect (magnitude). However, the Pacific plate main thrust is west of the San Juan de Fuca expression, and there are spreading zones west of the Vancouver Island coast (locating the westward edge of the sjdf plate, by thermal vents), indicating that the de F. plate is still moving east, far west of Whidbey Island. It is still possible that the Pacific plate stresses could lurch into the JdF. zone if the two movements are intermittent. However, the north movement has to be significant, compared to the east movement of the JdF plate, and one would not think that an occasional lurching would produce the strong thrusts noticed on the south end of Hancock Lake. My revised thinking (2003) is that those S. Hancock thrusts are a result of glacial sliding, and that the north thrusting caused by Pacific Plate lurching is overshadowed by the much larger movement during the Pleistocene (due to glaciers).

The only significant evidence of N-S thrusting due to occasional Pac. Plate lurching is that of the displacement of the Rocky Point fault as noticed by LIDAR. There are several N-S fractures which could add weight, including the one on the seaplane base Tombolo, and to the fractures which die out looking upward on the cliffs (as opposed to glacial-induced fractures which die out with depth).

My tentative conclusion about all this is that the N-S fractures are just now being formed, as the JdF plate moves under the continent and dies out (not yet), while the Pacific plate is getting closer to W.I. and beginning to assert itself.

FRACTURING (see 2nd attachment, in website):

Fractures may be seen at many orientations and locations in the cliffs, so that one cannot use them for specifics; however, the pattern which they make when seen for multiple entities is useful for determining the regional stresses causing them. For example, at Deception Pass area, they are mainly down to the north on the south side of the bridge, and otherwise on the north side of the bridge. This indicates a change of stress direction at the Pass.

Fractures may be seen to be related to Alkalinity in the wells which are near significant fractures (see attachment 3). This is the case with South Whidbey, where water wells show that there is a geochemical anomaly around Cultus Bay (see the alkalinity map on the website. I postulate that the connection is with HCO3, which is the most significant part of alkalinity in water wells. When rainfall finds open fractures, it develops a faster path of recharge to the water aquifer, and on the way creates the following reaction:

H2CO3 (carbonic acid in rain) + CaCO3 (calcareous cement in sediments)-> 2HCO3 + dissolved Ca++.

Consequently, when recent fractures are created by stresses in the earth (extensional), rain will increase the HCO3 in nearby water wells, and will give a signal that fractures and loose sediments are building up water pressure. This would be accompanied by a rise in water table, providing there is not excessive usage of well water. A result of this could be slumping, which causes large amounts of earth to spall off cliffs, lubricated by the rapid increase of subsurface water. Since this is the case with hiker Cronk's water well, we will use him as a test case to see how long this signal occurs before a new slump happens. The south coast has a history of 33 years/slump (somewhere, not necessarily in the same place repeatedly), so Don has a respite of up to 33 years before he loses his back lot.

Here is the almost final rendition of our Geological group's fight song- I can visualize it in my mind's eye, all of you skipping along the beach, in single file, doing a pirouette occasionally, belting out this tune with the bravado of a Gilbert & Sullivan chorus line. Go to it, earthy ones, let out your emotions in a vigorous burst of song:


(to the cadence of Sullivan’s “A Modern Major General”)

A Fight Song

We trod the beaches of the land, with footprints so magnificent,

We take good care and prudence, since we’re seemingly significant;

We are geological, with thoughts so ecological-

We solve the island’s many myths, with motives almost nearly always logical.

We step o’er rock and fragile stone, with boundless love resilient,

Our thoughts, forever prime, are always bordering on the brilliant-

We zig and zag, it’s in the bag, the secrets of a stratigraphic crag,

Our yards are always full of Nature’s bounteous anticlinal swag.


We look at cave and cliff, for clues that often are mysterious,

We form our explanations, which then sometimes are delirious;

We’re ever right, with thoughts so bright, the clays we test with subtle bite,

The Mastodons we lately seek, are almost always out of sight.

We sniff the waters of the seeps, which are mostly full of Carbonate,

We draw straight lines on maps, over which we then can fulminate-

We look not for the animal, not vegetable, but mineral,

We seek to find the local sense of Earthy Science-in-General.

We find the island’s many faults are certainly near left-lateral

The moraines make Points, but Heads (Tombolos) are quaintly mostly platter-al,

We are Geological, with thoughts so ecological-

We solve the islands many myths, with motives almost nearly always logical.

Our rare scientific group is most certainly gregarious;

With the exception of a stately few, they are hardly e’er nefarious-

They most certainly show attentiveness, to the total group’s inventiveness

They never forget a single clue, keeping constant retentiveness.

We’re constantly amused almost, by the manly interaction,

Of the way they stand their solid ground, while their stomachs are in traction-

While some will look at cuttle fish, rarely they’re rebuttal-ish,

They follow simply to a man, the leader’s every whim and wish.

They never waste a word or deed, showing ultimate economy;

They incorporate all useful fields, even invertebrate Taxonomy-

They map all Points, align all Joints,

Whenever it is possible, they listen to whomever USGS anoints.

We march out in the sand-filled fields, with ultimate sobriety;

Then we announce our final facts, with tremendous notoriety;

We use all of our abilities, with promising agilities

Before there is a final loss of all of our facilities.

We incorporate every certain fact, remaining ever all aghast;

With completely serious rectitude, we follow an iconoclast!

We are Geological, with thoughts so ecological-

We solve the islands many myths, with motives nearly always almost logical.

Harold L. Overton

2004 findings:

Fracturing, cont’d

1. Fractures should only be used to generalize about earth stresses- whether there are compressive or extensional local earth stresses. A fracture, as I use it, must be confirmed as part of a set of parallel cracks in the rock to be considered more than a random expression of exfoliation, jointing caused by differential thermal expansion, ancient weaknesses in the rock caused by fossil stresses, and gravity effects (incipient slumping, recent earthquake influences, and man-made cracks caused by blasting).

2. Fracturing should be used for stress information, only in conjunction with other stratigraphic or structural findings to confirm a pattern- e.g. compressive as seen about a fold or anticline, or extensional as seen near normal faulting, springs, and drainages.

3. Regional Fracturing, such as found in the surface of rock outcrops, may be used to determine local anomalies; e.g. whenever there is a well-defined regional trend, such as SW-NE over much of the Colorado Plateau, the local departure of parallel fractures from this orientation will indicate a local anomaly.

4. In the cliffs of Whidbey Island, a set of parallel vertical fractures may indicate the local stress state now. At Ebby’s landing, over a course of 5 years (observed by me), as erosion proceeded, small thrusts in the cliffs eroded away, leaving nothing in their place in the sediments previously hidden behind. These likely were caused by the recent glacial compressive forces as the ice moved downhill, causing local disruptions in the soft sediments.

5. A single fracture should not be used for any specific or generalized information. Further, fractures located vertically above others should be treated differently from those which are parallel horizontally (at roughly the same elevation); e.g., at the suspected location of the Baby Island fault in the cliffs across the Holmes Harbor (NW of the B.I.), there are two fractures parallel to each other in a vertical separation. The lower one has an X fracture, with a small lens of sand along the orthogonal part (down to the north), indicating secondary fracturing. The set of parallel fractures indicates the present stress state, but the down-to-the north has caused some relief to the stress. There is no displacement noticeable, but the parallel down-to-the south fractures are not what would be expected by ice moving south- which is what has transpired here. Rather, ice would be expected to cause the fractures to rise to meet the direction of ice movement (up-to-the-south). The conclusion in this case is that present stress may have caused the fractures, but the absence of displacement indicates that a fault is not present (but may be nearby).


Seismic may indicate that faulting occurs on a straight line trace at the subsurface, but we have not found this always to be the case at the surface.

1. At the NW-SE fault trace proceeding from Maxwelton Village to the “hook” at the north end of Cultus Bay, the trace proceeds SE from the village along the south Maxwelton Creek, but then it jogs to the north in the portion near Swede Hill, indicating that Swede Hill has uplifted since the original faulting. This is valuable information, since it indicates that the uplift can be timed- it is post-faulting.

2. At Cultus Bay, there is an anomaly in the faulting; although the NW trace can be seen on LIDAR and on the geographic TOPO, the perpendicular change in Cultus Bay indicates that there are two orientations- NE-SW as well as the orthogonal Creek orientation.

3. Lateral faulting on W.I. is sinusoidal in expression- that is, it is compressional at times and extensional at others. The fault expression at Baby Island, which is undisputable, is in the nature of small hogbacks just 100 meters distant from a normal dropping on the west side in the concrete barricade. This expression of down drop is disputed by the local inhabitants- who have a pecuniary interest in maintaining property values. They maintain that the down drop in the bulwark was put in the concrete originally, ignoring the fragmentation of the boundary concrete. However, they pointed out that there is a junction of two separately-poured concrete sections, and indeed, when one looks at the base of the bulwark, there is an old wooden separation junction. This uplift on one side of the fault appears to be the case for Admiralty Head also. It is possible that some of the suspected drop at B.I. (19 cm) is artificial, but there are other indications of down drop on the SW side, other than the concrete separation. There are sets of parallel fractures, which are wider at the top, than when they occur lower in the concrete- this indicates extension on the SW side, or settling as one approaches the concrete breakage.

4. The creek orientation seems to be a better method of finding linear faulting than does the LIDAR. Good examples include Silver Creek- running 110 degrees from north, S. Max Creek, running mostly NW-SE, the small drainage north of Loganberry Farm, running NW-SE, and the NW-SE drainage north of Mutiny Bay.

5. Ιgnore creeks or drainages running N-S, since these are expressions created by the scouring and carving made by the dominant glacial movements. Only when drainage crosses the N-S scrapings, can it be considered as happening since the glacier period.


The extensional fracturing can be considered to have opened the earth to faster penetration of rainwater. According to the relation:

H2CO3 (carbonic acid in rainwater) + CaCO3 (limy cement)>2 HCO3 + Ca++ ion.

That is, whenever slightly acidic rainfall (regardless whether man has instigated it or not) falls on the ground, where it is easier to penetrate new fractures, the end product is increased alkalinity of the ground water.

This is shown on a map of the south end of the island (see the alkalinity geochemical map on the website), where Cultus Bay has formed (perpendicular to the normal trend of NW-SE faulting), and where the contours of alkalinity/chloride in ground water show parallel-ness to the orientation of the bay.

Past history has documented slumps occurring in large amounts on the south end of the island, some as large as 10 acres at a whack. This would be expected to have been caused by the SW-erly storms, which exaggerate erosion. However, the fact that the slumping occurs on the SE coast more than on the SW coast at Scatchet Head, and that the faulting is peculiar there indicates something more than storms.

The slumping, which was predicted to occur on one of the hiking member’s lot, was not predicted in terms of time, but in space; this rate is unknown, since the scanty data used to predict the slumping was only 4 occurrences in a century. This suggests a rate of occurrence of something like once every 1/3 century. The hiker’s lot experienced slumping within 6 months of the prediction and now his neighbor has slumping also. The water well chemical analysis used to make this prediction was based on the occurrence of excessive K/Cl and alkalinity/Cl, in a well used only by the lot owner. There was no history of measuring alkalinity/Cl over a time interval, so that the buildup of HCO3 with time is unknown.

The extensive peat layer was used to understand the structure and stratigraphy at Scatchet Head and Cultus Bay, to try to understand the structural and geochemical anomaly there.. This peat increases regularly in elevation going south from the village of Maxwelton, but falls in the tidal zone going east toward Sandy Hook. This creates the Scatchet Head, indicating a compressive- upward feature. There are small grabens at the village of Scatchet Head, indicating a change of compressional to extensional stresses. All of this together yields the following conclusions:

1. Scatchet Head is not only recent, and a faulting compressional anomaly, but has an incipient anomaly running perpendicular to the main faulting.

2. The slumping is being exaggerated by fractures running perpendicular to the main trend, and is preferentially spalling off in a NE-SW direction.

3. Effort should be made to determine the nature of this NE-SW extensional anomaly, since this is seen nowhere else on the island. However, Polnell Point, Bush Point, and Maylor Point- Seaplane base are compressional anomalies (bulges) running NE-SW also.

Geochemical Mapping and Seawater Intrusion

There is a valuable store of water well and chemical analyses available in the Island County Health Department files; this has been accumulated and organized by a hydro-geologist, and is reflected in the previous maps and analyses for faulting and anomalies. Since the wells are mostly drilled to similar depths, and reflect meteoric water which has been influenced by glacial sediments mainly (before the advent of man), this is an invaluable source of data for geochemical analyses.

Geologists are likely to ignore anomalies which are vertically oriented, particularly when they are trained in conventional stratigraphy- which states that fluid paths for water and oil are dominantly lateral. It is my experience that fluid paths are mainly vertical for the long term- that is for times longer than a man’s life.

The fact that oil has been found around vertical salt domes, vertical flexures in the earth, near vertical paths such as large normal and thrust faults, and even in vertically-oriented dikes and protrusions gives strong hinting that vertical paths are the preferred locations for vertical fluid movement for these anomalous areas.

Water may be moving laterally in normal areas, but for anomalous areas it can be suspected to move otherwise. This is the case for geochemically abnormal zones. It has already been shown for W.I. that faulting can be located by using abnormal fluoride and potassium concentrations. These ions are normally measured in well water, and found to be < .2 ppm for F and < .2 for K/Cl, whenever conditions are normal. Both of these ions are very mobile, because of their small hydrated ion size and valence of +or- 1. In the earth, ions tend to move in the direction of decreasing concentration, opposite to water, which moves not only vertically downward due its heavier weight than vapors in the soil, but toward increasing salinity due to the osmotic effect.

The saltwater intrusion problem may be better understood, if it is admitted in advance that it is better treated as a geochemical entity. If one is determined to make a classification, rather than an analysis, then the use of stiff diagrams and Pacific Island Ghyben-Hertzberg portrayal (hand-waving in the case of Whidbey, due to the many separate cells created by the 9 or more significant faults crossing the island) is as far as one can go. However, the use of mathematical treatment of the variation of ionic concentrations will admit much more.

To use geochemical mapping, one must look at the assumptions, which are inherent in the use of ionic concentrations:

1. For a particular region, such as Whidbey Island, there is geologic history which will determine the average or normal background of the chemical concentration and type, dissolved in water. In the case of W.I., there are volcanoes to the east, which released fluoride and acidic waters which reacted with rock already present. The sea itself was present over the stratigraphic column at times and at other times the area was covered by fresh water. Both of these types of water would have left their contents in the sediments (now Pre-stone).

2. Volcanoes belch acidic waters, which may be hydrochloric, sulfuric, or hydrofluoric (among others). Consequently, one may use anomalous F, K, or SO4 as reaction products from the acids. The presence of NaCl, CaSO4, & F is derived from the acids reacting with host rock, in these cases, e.g.

HCl + sodium, oxides in rock > H2O + NaCl

This shows how ocean water increased in both salinity and volume, through geologic time, by vulcanism. However, if one uses molal balances to determine the sea water salinity, one finds that the water would be much more saline than now exists, if vulcanism were the only method for dissolving salts in the ocean.

Only F from vulcanism is valuable for anomaly location, since Na and Ca are common in ground water, with wide variations. However, K from igneous rocks (orthoclase, later illite, and K-clays) is a good indicator, due to its small hydrated ionic size, large solubility, and simple valence.

3. The upward movement of components dissolved in water, due partly to their increased solubility in thermal waters, is in no way an indication of the movement of the water host. Ions will move in the direction of decreasing concentration, even the reverse to the direction of the liquid phase. However, the mechanical movement of water (hydraulic-pressure induced) will overwhelm the tendency of ions to move against the stream. Only if the water is stationary will the ionic movement be noticeable. Diffusion is extremely slow, but osmotic changes are relatively rapid. I have witnessed the changes in groundwater around a well bore as oil is produced in a short (less than a year) time, when there were strong pressure changes A way of estimating the mobility of ions is to measure the ionic potential- Z/r (atomic charge/un-hydrated size); this is a measure of the hydrating ability of an ion (attraction to water- which is attracted to the ion, but is restricted to being incorporated about the available surface area).

Table I: Ionic Potential of Ions, Z/r (valence/non-hydrated radius)




(23)*= 7.8

11/3 =3.7



Table ΙΙ. Μesasured ionic radius, Angstroms

Correlate this with the surface area of un-hydrated ions: proportional to (cube root of molecular weight) squared.

r,10-10 m

V(reciprocal of radius,A)
R,10-10 m






This is from Mason: Principles of Geochemistry, where I have correlated atomic weight and separately the surface area of the ion with radius (Ca has about twice the number of protons as Na). The hydration of ions, which is partly determined by the ionic potential, is high whenever the ratio is high, so that Ca and Mg move with difficulty through the fractures in rock, whereas Cs, K, and Na move easily (hydration or incorporation of water about the ion makes the overall size of the ion larger). Notice that K has a larger atomic number (19), compared to Na (11), and this is primarily the reason why its ionic size before hydration is larger. The charge density of Na is larger however, since the charges are spread over a smaller area, hence the hydrated size is larger (charge density is larger), and it hydrates with dipolar water more than with K. One may reflect how KCl is prescribed for heart patients, rather than ordinary salt, because Na hydrates more than K, and causes an incorporation of water in the human body. A map on Cs would be the best map for tracing anomalous water contents, but this is rarely measured. Lithium and arsenic are good indicators of warm water movements, whereas fluoride and potassium are mobile at any temperature. K & F ions are more available, similarly to Li & As, whenever thermal waters introduce them from depth either from the weathering or dissolution of granites.

Analysis of the Seawater Intrusion Problem

1. Before man begins to pump water from a well bore, the water and its contents are in a state of near-equilibrium with surrounding rock. The original water should be measured for its contents, to find whether there has been movement of ocean water into the zone which is to be produced.

2. Since both Na and Cl are dominant in seawater, and they are very mobile, the ratio should be calculated for the original water (chloride is essentially non-reactive with whatever the rock has to offer, hence is an excellent reference- to offset dilution, concentration or other errors of measurement). This ratio is .55 for ocean water, and widely varying for rivers, since the dominant ions are Ca and Mg in fresh water, reflecting the rock over which the streams drain.

3. The likely circumstance for well water is that water will be hard- that is the cement holding the rock together is being dissolved under the influence of downwardly-moving meteoric waters (acidic). Volcanic areas will yield softer waters, as will dominantly silicate rocks. Man prefers to drink water which has some mineralization- about 200 ppm, but not over 1000.

4. If the anomalous water is found to be soft with a ratio near .55 for Na/Cl, then the sea is already exerting its influence. However, if it is found that K/Cl is > .2, or F is greater than .2 (using consistent weight units), abnormal salinity can be suspected as being fault-influenced. Abnormal K or F would be treated differently than the case for simple seawater intrusion.

5. Faults connected with the ocean will allow ocean water to move toward the well, whenever the pressure is reduced by pumping- if the well is near the shoreline and contents are marginal, the well should be abandoned.

6. Whenever a well near the shoreline produces water which has anomalous contents (> 500 ppm), the ratio of Ca/Cl should be calculated. Seawater contains only about 1/10 of the tds (total dissolved solids) as Ca+Mg/Cl, so for those compounds in excess of about 50ppm Ca+Mg with Na and Cl low, the water is not seawater. River water has influenced groundwater, in this case, containing dominantly hard components. Glacial sediments, such as those in old streams from melting ice, will have excessive Ca+Mg compared to Na.

7. Anomalous water, or that having tds> 500 ppm, is likely vertically-moved water, if it has an excess of K, SO4, HCO3, F, or other strange ions. The presence of SO4, since this ion does not move across formation boundaries, is an indicator of large fractures, faulting or chemical reactions occurring locally. Peat beds, iron compounds, and evaporative sediments would be sources of this compound.

8. When the well is more than 2 km from the coastline, excessive K or F (faulting) will not indicate seawater intrusion- the bitter or iron-flavored water may be tolerated, and expected not to become much worse.

9. When the well is excessively alkaline (bicarbonated), this produces a bubbly taste, and 1000 ppm could be tolerated. This case is not ominous, even though the salinity is large, but it may portend slumping if the well is near the beach.

The next worse case, compared to excessive salinity, is that of sulfate and iron. These will stink and stain, and create unsightly water. Although seawater is high in SO4 (>.14 for SO4/Cl), this ion does not travel easily through fractures or faulting. It has a large charge and size, and is filtered by clays and shales. But it is attacked by bacteria to produce the stink, particularly in water heaters, and it has an unpleasant taste. This can be treated by filtration or membrane (osmotic) separation. Excessive Fe or SO4 may occur around peat bogs or mineral deposits, but is not likely an indication of seawater intrusion..

In summation, the ratios of Na, K, Mg, Ca- all cations, (c/Cl)- should be tabulated for both the water well and compared to that for the average of 100 wells in the vicinity. Whenever any of these cations are excessive compared to the regional average, this indicates an anomaly. Only excessive Na or Cl, & Na/Cl, compared to the regional average, will indicate sea water intrusion. Anomalous K, Ca, and Mg (in addition to boron, iron, and HCO3) will indicate other aberrations, indicating problems of a different nature. Before producing the well significantly, the water composition can predict behavior- such as faulting, stinking, and other anomalies.


Whidbey Island geography, in general, suggests that these three entities are closely related in incipience. Probably, the post-glacier sedimentary beds were connected across the land where NW-SE water passages now exist. This includes Admiralty and Saratoga Passages. As the NW-SE faulting proceeded, creating lateral fractures and later slippage along new breaks in the earth, erosion occurred faster in a NW-SE direction. This created loose sediments at openings where the sea could enter. Twice daily tides could remove these sediments, accelerating the erosion when the Sound became a body with daily movements of oscillating currents. The evidence of erosion would be removed by this moving sea water- which now creates velocities of as much as 8 knots. Of course, some of this was sand-sized particles, which were picked up by the wind to produce the dunal deposits noted in many of the cliff walls.

Admiralty Bay & Ledgewood faulting, Useless Bay & Maxwelton faulting, Saratoga Passage & Baby Island faulting, Crescent Harbor & Rocky Point faulting, and Cultus Bay-Maple Point all appear to be similar in incipience. The exception to the regional trend of NW-SE is that of Cultus Bay, which seems to be orthogonal to the usual left lateral expression. Cultus Bay is discussed under the geochemical analyses.

These sets of faults are dominantly moving laterally and cause sinusoidal expression- alternate compression and extension- in their traces along the surface, as they encounter soft or harder obstacles in their paths. The compressive cases result in Heads- such as Admiralty, Scatchet, Maylor Point, and Polnell Point.

An interesting case is that of Scatchet Head, where the NW-SE fault trace can be seen on the LIDAR map. The trace runs along lower Maxwelton Creek, and can be seen to align with the hook in Cultus Bay- which points NW. The intervening terrain has been shoved upward to cause the trace to move northeastward in the higher ground; this suggests that Scatchet Head is younger than the fault (which has probably been exerting itself for periods older than the glaciers). This is the best presented fault trace on the whole island, using LIDAR mapping. Rocky Point fault shows on LIDAR for a short distance, but disappears inland, while the Max. trace crosses the whole island. Scatchet Head has been analyzed, by walking the surrounding beaches, and it has been observed that it rises to the south and falls to the east, as measured by a thick peat bed occurring in the cliffs and in the tidal zone. Scatchet head is the largest of the uplifts, and seems to be caused by compression, as is Admiralty Head, which is much smaller. A.H. can be seen to be dome- shaped, as noted by the stratigraphy, while S.H. is of such large extent, that it can only be observed as rising or falling in the elevation of the peats and the Esperance sands. In some cases, such as the Baby Island fault expression, the beds can be seen to be hardened by the compressive stresses, and this is substantiation for uplift and compression, but for S.H this is not observed. Small grabens occur on the east side of S.H., compared to uplift on the west side.

The two tombolos- Polnell and Maylor Point- represent uplifts on the southwest side of faulting, which may be compressive in nature. In the case of Maylor, the spit connection to the main island has been filled in so that the tombolo is hard to recognize; conversely, Polnell has a very tenuous connection along its spit, and is probably washed over with some storms. It has a well-developed uplift which is contrasted with the sediments on the north side of the spit. A good rule to use to recognize faulting is that every well-developed saddle in the ground surface can be suspected as harboring a fault trace. This has worked excellently in the desert, where a topographical map can be used to find faulting by connecting the saddles with straight lines (saddles, separating closed contours, with high ground on either side).

The sequence of events leading up to a bay development is as follows:

1. A lateral fault causes slippage and fracturing along its trace;

2. Water enters the fractures and openings and creates a creek as it flows downhill;

3. Eventually the creek is connected with the sea, and tidal wash enters the creek which is at sea level and deeper;

4. The daily oscillations of sea water remove the loosened sediment, creating a strait or canal;

5. Erosion is more rapid in the banks of these straits, and a passage is created, which may be entirely at sea level crossing the peninsula;

6. A tombolo is created on one side and a bay is created on the other side of this passage- eventually making an island of the peninsula;

7. When the island is removed by erosion, a larger bay is created. This bay is somewhat protected from the storms, and it may form spits where it connects with the larger sea. These spits may grow sea-ward, as long as the bay is protected, in contrast to the normal coastline on W.I.- which is retreating with an advancing sea.

Model based on entities observed now:

Assuming that occurrences seen on W.I. can be used through time, although they are seen only through two-dimensional space (cliffs), the following sequence is conjectured for a coastline development:

a. Meltwater flowed west from the last two lobes of ice occurring above the island (observed on LIDAR west of Freeland and Penn Cove); these two lobes, although having moved almost at right angles to each other, can be seen to have moved over W.I. from scratchings and scoopings in the sediments. Penn Cove is younger- having overprinted the older Holmes Harbor scooping, which moved almost due south and stopped at Freeland. Rocky Point, Goose Rock scratches, and LIDAR portrays the latest lobe as having moved 250 degrees from north. The Meltwater streams can be seen as subtle canyons remaining on LIDAR, and point toward the present Admiralty Passage.

b. NW-SE faulting continues (probably having been initiated in the Tertiary), and creates openings toward the NW (Seattle Pacific U. swale and Maxwelton Village swale). These were just fractures in the ground surface at first, but had preferentially faster erosion rates than surrounding areas;

c. Rebound occurs as soon as the ice melts (losing its weight, as a surface-depressing agent), and Admiralty Head, Maylor Point, Scatchet head, and Polnell Point rise- uplifting the surrounding terrain. This uplift later begins to choke off the entrances to the sea (Pacific U. swale and the lowlands at the commissary at the Oak Harbor yacht basin) which had allowed the tides to create bays along the tidal paths;

d. The bays are now large enough to have connected with the salt water proper in other directions, and they continue to enlarge with tidal wash from the west (Admiralty and Useless Bays). However, they silt up more than washes which are connected with dominant tidal paths. Further, they develop spits with the heavy load of sand which they offer;

e. The heads continue to uplift, not just by rebound, since faulting creates compression at some of them (Admiralty and Scatchet Heads);

f. This bay creation can now be seen at Cultus Bay, where the NE-SW oriented bay has now encountered the Maxwelton fault, causing the bay to make a left turn into the hook pointing to the NW-SE fault running through the Maxwelton Village (LIDAR and topographical maps). That the fault is older than the Scatchet Head can be seen by noticing that the uplift has distorted the linear fault trace- moving it to the north or NE; and

g. This compression at some parts of the lateral faulting can be seen at the low tide swale at Baby Island, where the Esperance? Sands have been hardened (Pliocene-like in strength) and pushed upward- creating a set of small hogbacks pointing up to the NE by about 20 degrees, and making a trace toward the NW for about 100-200 meters.

Dr. Harvey Kelsey has investigated this part of W.I. and determined that the Loganberry Hill swale (across Holmes Harbor from B.I.) is part of a NW-SE fault system, where a significant uplift occurred about 3200 years ago, leaving the swale on the SW side of the fault. He noticed by core sample measurements that rebound terminated about 4000 years ago or more, and that the sea has been rising since then by about 1 mm/year. The fault he investigated has caused one house in the village of Ledgewood to collapse into a slump zone at the ravine created by this same faulting. Reference: Land Level Changes from a late Holocene earthquake, GSA publication, GEOLOGY June 2004.


The Sound

My psyche, being tightly wound

Rose so sharply, without bound

When I transported it to new ground,

To Nirvana- dubbed “The Sound”.

How is this, Old Reprobate-

Have you found the long lost gate?

Did your spirit soon deflate,

In the desert- just of late?

Aren’t you most the individual- same-

Who just into the blue horizon came?

Were you afflicted, blue, or lame

Giving all the desert blame?

Now you are in the soul of it,

Not in peat beds or the pit,

But at the apex of your wit-

Ignoring “The Moving Finger having writ”.

Perchance you hear a different “Sound”

From the laughter, lately clowned,

Of the Verbalizer, who was downed

By his listeners- those who frowned.

Or perhaps the sound is music spilled

On Whales or Salmon, lately gilled;

Or with Pileated ‘peckers never stilled,

And with Ebby’s Prairie, rarely tilled.

Some say the sounds are phantom made,

As with neurotic psyches played-

Some from Taos, perhaps the “Blade”

Inserted into bovine flesh (by spade?).

It “sounds like” it is my spirit dear

Which came to life since I was here,

Which wove a spell upon my fear

And cast it out, in instants mere.

But no! It is the depth by sound,

Which was made, when fear most sound,

Made the boats proceed just cautious round

The shoreline, else the boats’d run aground.

To me, the Sound is water clear

With skies of blue in seasons near,

And currents swift and ships with gear-

That keep the Skipper’s wits so dear.

It is the place where eagles soar,

Where kayaks compete with tidal bore,

Where I can see the rocky “door”

Into the earth’s interior Floor-

Where massive movements cast their spell

On mere mans movements most pell-mell,

Where his Spirits likely gel

On Truth, and Wit- which lately fell;

But which brings a smile into my heart,

And pricks my center with a dart-

So penetrating that it makes me smart-

By hearing, seeing, smelling The Sound- Her Art.

Harold L. Overton

Monday, May 5, 2008

PorOgle- weekly News about the Earth

Sullivan's Knoll is a young (at least 10k at the top and 100k years at the base) somewhat-spewing type Volcanic Crater and Dome (similar to Kilauea- which means spewing) in Hawaii, in that it flowed basalt and then clouds of ash. The basaltic composition is different from oceanic basaltic eruptions, in that more olivine as opposed to Pyroxene is present (as is generally true for continental eruptions vs. Oceanic).

EARTH LORE Magazine- True Stories of the Earth

Weekly Renditions are made by the following Contributors:

Penny Scholten, geologist and outdoorswoman;
Dr. Chris Oravec, English at heart;
Harold L. Overton- earth critic and scientist; and
Col. Glenn Wasson, a Robert Service devotee.

Webmasters: Bob Pielage www.geocities.com/bccazrockclub/ and Joe Brame; Digital Photographer: Karen Hughes.
Entries are chronologically made (latest submission is at top of Blog). Offerings are protected by Copyright rules, but may be duplicated, provided the authorship is clearly shown, as originally displayed in writings in this magazine (usually at the bottom of the entry).
GEOLOGY OF THE WEST, which pertains to the basis for the stimulation which prompted the writings, for Arizona, Utah and Washington states, may be found at: www.geocities.com/overtonharold/ (See link on right side of Blog)

Geology Student’s Lament (Glenn Wasson- ca. 1990)

To master Geology and endless chronology,
A student must persevere and be stoic;
For the epochs and periods are all counted in myriads,
And that’s just for the era- Cenozoic.

My knowledge of Tertiary is really quite cursory,
Although it formed auriferous local gravels-
Which are known to abound, in the hills all around-
And the object of much of our travels.

I’ve found Rhyolitic Tuff, which is cream-colored stuff
Produced by eruptions gigantic
During Miocene time, when the average day’s clime
Was tumultuous, earth-shaking, and frantic.

One mustn’t be less heroic, to contemplate Mesozoic-
Going back to the period Triassic,
And the fossils vexatious, in the early Cretaceous
(Not to mention the intervening Jurassic).

To be really antique, one must quick take a peak
At the quite ancient Paleozoic-
When oceans of oil, formed in Permian soil,
And were folded in domes prehistoric.

The late Carboniferous, still not known as vociferous,
Enfolded the flora dendritic
In deposits voluminous- chuck full of bituminous-
Along with the hard Anthracitic.

Devonian I curse, but Silurian’s worse,
Ordovician I could never discern.
But Cambrian’s fine, it’s the end of the line
(going backwards)- no older ages to learn.

Now I’d be quite endorph-ic, if I could tell Metamorphic
From the Igneous and late Sedimentary;
So I make no apology, for avoiding Geology-
To me it is not elementary.

For every rock that is found, strewn about on the ground,
There’s a name just for it, listed way out there on the planet;
But just because it contains, both the light and dark grains
Doesn’t mean that it can be taken for granite.

I can scarcely resist the glitter of pale schist,
And in porphyries I’ve been known to exalt
But I’d rather dig warts, than sample more quartz,
Or carry home one more piece of basalt.

When prospectors find rich lodes to be mined,
Geologists are quick to explain
That mineral formations favor exotic locations
(If you understand the under-lying terrain).

But explanations are hollow, that usually follow,
Miner and donkey’s stumbling on a rich tract;
Why can’t Geologists tell where the big Nuggets dwell
Before and not AFTER the fact!

Glenn Wasson

Above is a Photo of Whidbey Island, a True island in Puget Sound, WA

(to the cadence of Sullivan’s “A Modern Major General”)
A Fight Song, for Whidbey Island, WA Hikers

We trod the beaches of the land, with footprints so magnificent,
We take good care and prudence, since we’re seemingly significant;
We are geological, with thoughts so ecological-
We solve the island’s many myths, with motives almost nearly always logical.

We step o’er rock and fragile stone, with boundless love resilient,
Our thoughts, forever prime, are always bordering on the brilliant-
We zig and zag, it’s in the bag, the secrets of a stratigraphic crag,
Our yards are always full of Nature’s bounteous anticlinal swag.


We look at cave and cliff, for clues that often are mysterious,
We form our explanations, which then sometimes are delirious;
We’re ever right, with thoughts so bright, the clays we test with subtle bite,
The Mastodons we lately seek, are almost always out of sight.

We sniff the waters of the seeps, which are mostly full of Carbonate,
We draw straight lines on maps, over which we then can fulminate-
We look not for the animal, not vegetable but mineral,
We seek to find the local sense of Earthy Science-in-General.

We find the island’s many faults are certainly near left-lateral
The moraines make Points, but Heads (Tombolos) are quaintly mostly platter-al,
We are Geological, with thoughts so ecological-
We solve the islands many myths, with motives almost nearly always logical.

Our rare scientific group is most certainly gregarious;
With the exception of a stately few, they are hardly e’er nefarious-
They most certainly show attentiveness, to the total group’s inventiveness
They never forget a single clue, keeping constant retentiveness.

We’re constantly amused almost, by the manly interaction,
Of the way they stand their post, while their stomachs are in traction-
While some will look at cuttle fish, rarely they’re rebuttal-ish,
They follow simply to a man, the leader’s every whim and wish.

They never waste a word or deed, showing ultimate economy;
They incorporate all useful fields, even invertebrate Taxonomy-
They map all Points, align all Joints,
Whenever it is possible, they listen to whomever USGS anoints.

We march out in the sand-filled fields, with ultimate sobriety;
Then we announce our final facts, with tremendous notoriety;
We use all of our abilities, with promising agilities
Before there is a final loss of all of our facilities.

We incorporate all our pulchritude, remaining ever all aghast;
With completely serious rectitude, we follow an iconoclast!
We are Geological, with thoughts so ecological-
We solve the islands many myths, with motives nearly always almost logical.

Harold L. Overton

Understanding Mother Earth
“Have you studied anything about Earth Science or Geology?” I enquired of the new hiker. “Are you interested in the movements and changes taking place in the land which is your home?” Mostly, the average retired person enquiring about hiking with our group has a devotion to maintaining his physical ability, but there are a few who realize that with all the talk about Global Warming, Abnormal Weather, and Catastrophes in the daily conversation, there must be a part of their lives which is influenced by Earth Dynamics.
The answer usually follows, that: “Yes, I took a college or High School course in Geology, and it was very interesting. Physical Geology opened my eyes to the outdoors, which I could now understand as I drove in the western USA, where road cuts, mountains in the distance, and eroding streams formed a more entertaining conversation than ‘When are we going to get There?’”
“But when I took the second subject, which was usually about the history of the earth from fossils, or of the categorization of minerals or rocks, I drifted off.”
The prospective student was turned off by the Geologists’ use of an enormous categorization of the earth and its relics, when he realized that this all required a prodigious memory, and that he was to resort to becoming a Bookkeeper for facts about the earth. Furthermore he didn’t see the value of noticing the small changes which occur yearly in the outcrop of rocks or with the geography of his surroundings (which does not require abnormal classification).
My reply to all this is that everyone will eventually purchase some real estate or station himself in a part of the earth which is moving. He then may be able to evaluate his potential holdings by determining what is moving now, or what is about to move in his future site. Vulcanism, erosion, fractures in the earth, soil movement, gases arising from the ground, and chemical changes in the landscape or garden will slowly make themselves known. After his property develops widening cracks or his concrete slab or footer breaks, he will then inquire whether the developer sold him a profitless “Bill of Goods”. Caveat Emptor is the usual answer- Let the buyer beware! Once you have made the purchase, dealing with the Earth is your responsibility. You should have checked out the Reaction of the Earth in advance!
The student who regularly scans the earth for subtle changes can make his own appraisal of the movements which are happening. This will make him aware of his environment, and will also improve his curiosity and his stimulation to learn about Nature. Then the regular hike in his neighborhood will become less of a routine and more of a vital part of his intellect. He becomes his own Scientist! After he discovers something which arouses his curiosity, he will easily find some answers in available literature or on the Internet Search. His own personality will demand answers, and he may find that conventional geology does not have them. Then he will really be involved, since the impetus of original discovery is a powerful part of his Ego. This will drive him to the outdoors regularly! The physical hiking, exercise, and emotional connection to the earth then will be a work benefit- subservient to his quest for Knowledge of the Earth.

The 4 Corners states of AZ, CO, NM, & UT exhibit the Colorado Plateau, CP, which is our area of Investigation.
Usage of PorOgle Blog (web log)
PorOgle is a weekly magazine for those interested in the things happening recently at the Earth’s Surface. The staff hopes that you will be able to enjoy it, without having to resort to a Dictionary of Terms, and we will try to define each new term as it is used. Should something be re-used, you will have to refer to the original Blog which contained the term. Geology is filled with its own nomenclature, which is mainly designed to communicate with professionals who use a contrived language. This is not helpful to the general public, and an attempt will be made to use ordinary language. It appears that the working Geologist uses classification as a means of avoiding the understanding of movements of the Earth, and we will try to illustrate Dynamics via Photos and ideas.
Mainly, this Blog documents events which are happening now, and will not resort to classification being used in place of understanding or analysis. However, there is a limit to this generality, and easy-to-use terms from ordinary English will occur.
The mundane use of definitions is necessary, whenever a rarely used name is incorporated. These will be placed in the Glossary below, should you need to find them from older Blogs.

What is the Importance of PorOgle?
Our Goal is to make available a text of the events occurring about the Earth’s Crust, which are not readily available to the public from geological publications. This concerns not only movements of rock, fluids (such as gas, oil, and water), heat, earthquakes or seismic events, soil, and artificial constructions affected by these events, but also the geophysical entities which may not be obvious with daily observation. Examples are Chemical, Electrical, Magnetic, Mechanical, Radioactive, and Thermal changes in the Earth’s Crust. Some of these may be noticeable, when regular hikes are made locally, when otherwise the public would not sense them.
There must be a reference to location, when we hike in a new part of the landscape, and we will use the grid developed by surveyors and mapmakers. It would be better to use the new GPS system, which relies on a world-wide system of Latitude and Longitude, but this will cause our inner navigational system to atrophy; also the maps most readily available use Sections, Townships and Ranges.

Google Map of the Virgin River near Hurricane shows Features which may be delineated by Color, by Reference to known locations or objects, and by Surface Disruption.
Glossary (which will be augmented as terms are used in Blogs)

Anticline-Syncline: The geometric synclinal arrangement of rocks is in the shape of a trough- either at the surface of the ground or in the subsurface. For Layered rocks, the syncline resembles a basin or shallow U for the individual layers. The opposite shape is shown in an anticline, which has the layers arranges similarly to a hill- which may be at the ground surface or in a canyon wall (which is only uncovered in the stream-eroded portion). By mapping, either shape may be inferred in the subsurface- never seen. The mapped contours will be somewhat parallel, but if they are closed it infers a dome or sink (Not the same shape or term)

Basalt: Extrusive rock, which was previously lava which flowed onto the surface (either ground or ocean bottom). It has a similar composition to Gabbro (the intrusive), which contains Iron-Magnesium and plagioclase feldspar primarily. It appears dark- black to Green- due to the varying amounts of hornblende, pyroxene, and olivine minerals. Remember that a rock contains minerals with varying amounts, and can be colored by trace components. Oceanic basalts are primarily theoliite (ferro-magnesian silicates), whereas those on continents are primarily alkali olivine basalts (containing more Ca and Mg).
Basaltic minerals:
Basalt is primarily composed of Plagioclase Feldspar, Pyroxene, and Iron, but is different comparing Oceanic emissions to continental extrusions (there is more olivine, continentally, compared to more pyroxene in the island-building portion of Hawaiian eruptions). This may be a clue to events happening with linear chains of islands (quiet flows) when comparing them with Island Arc eruptions (explosive). When there is more feldspar in continental lavas (which is a source of the silicates), at the expense of pyroxene, the lava will be more sticky, as in the effluent from glass-blowing, hence more explosive. Should the Hawaiian rocks, such as Theoliitic basalts, have accompanying Argon, A, or Leucite containing Potassium, K, this would hint that the magma originated from a region with high radioactivity (from K40). If so, this could explain the long-lasting emission of magma under the Hawaiian Islands. The K40 has a half-life in the billions of years, so could contribute melting longer than the expected 200k year cycle of subduction-seafloor spreading noticed in The Atlantic Ocean basin. This probably is NOT the reason for the continuing placement of the individual islands, since the Pacific Basin is expanding in all directions away the new islands. There likely is an upwelling of diffused magma caused by convergence of heat toward the point of emission.

Kilauea on the Big Island of Hawaii has Basalt in the form of Molten Lava over-running the SE coast now!

Extrusives-Intrusives (Nouns):
Think of these terms, used in Geological Nomenclature, similarly to your toothpaste tube. When you squeeze the tube (stress it, mechanically), there is an extrusion- it extrudes toothpaste. Likewise when the earth squeezes the crust, molten lava is extruded through pre-existing fractures or cracks. The plural is the most common use of this term- extrusives, since many flows may have contributed to the rock you see. Either term may be used as an adverb or adjective, as intrusive flowing rock
An Intrusion (or Intrusive) is the adverse of extrusion- it infers that the same extrusive magma, which flowed out on the surface of the ground, never reached the surface in this category, but remained in the crust until it was uncovered by erosion for all to see. The mineral composition of both ex- and intrusions may be similar. For example, intrusive granite is a large grained rhyolite, a gabbro is crystallized basalt, and a diorite is a large-grained andesite. You can reason that the difference in grain size is due to the faster rate of cooling (too fast to grow visible crystals) for the extrusive. The most common igneous rock found at the ground surface is granite, while the most common rock from vulcanism is basalt- either of which may have been eroded considerably by the time you find them.

Kilauea Caldera on the big island of Hawaii is the "present" Example of an active Basalt (Tholeiitic) extrusion.

Formation: A Stratigraphic term, which names a particular collection of rocks or minerals- a recognizable and distinct layer or stratum in the Crust. It is formed under a given set of conditions- geographical, geochemical, geothermal, and historical- where it is defined by them. It is not defined for a particular Time, but relates to a given environment producing a type of Life, as shown in its associated Fossils. An example is Jk or Jurassic Kayenta formation, which was first described for a Navajo Reservation village location, and which may be found in Triassic or Jurassic time. It may be moved from one time measurement to another by agreement with Geologists, when fossils are found in it which more precisely fix its chronological position in the Time Record (recently it has been firmly fixed as being Jurassic, until the next unyielding-invariable measurement is made).

These Formations have been contorted from their original flat and level deposition, due to "sliding" off the slope created by the Pine Valley Uplift after it was eroded (since its 21 mybp age of intrusion).

Fractures, as I define them, are a set of parallel cracks in the Surface Rocks, which are within yards of each other, and which yield a consistent orientation.Fractures: Jointing is the overall term, used by geologists, for cracks and linear fractures in rocks. As used in this Blog, fractures refers to a specific type of joint: a set of linear cracks- at least 2- which are parallel to each other, and within a few meters apart, which are distinct enough to be measured in relation to true North by a compass. Other types of joints, which are used by the field geologist include:
1. Temperature-induced cracks, such as those heard and seen in granite, due to daily expansion and contraction. This is similar to those man-induced by campfires, and are called exfoliation cracks;
2. Small displacement faulting, such that the measured movement is uncertain;
3. Cracks induced by Man, caused by blasting or mechanical shock;
4. Random cracks caused by sliding or slumping or other natural event (e.g. earthquakes)- these will have some analyzable orientation, but it will be due to a local movement; and
5. Cracking caused by lightning or other events from the atmosphere, such as meteors, volcanic boulders, or forest fires.
Fractures used in this Blog refer to those caused by large-scale or regional mechanical stress in the Crust. They will have a discernible pattern over a region, and are authenticated by finding several which are parallel to each other, and by elimination of all of the categories listed above. They may accompany recognizable faulting, which orients in the same direction. A region may be the whole western USA, or the Colorado Plateau, or a smaller subdivision on the order of kilometers. Once the orientation is established, an anomalous area may be determined by noticing a set of fractures which deviate by more than 20 degrees from the larger regional pattern. It should be noted that geologists may not recognize this specific type of jointing, and that these fractures are part of a continuum and should be treated analytically and not by classification.

Parallel Fractures, which fit my Definition, help locate the Hurricane Fault, even though they are not at the Primary Scarp. Notice how the Main Fault creates a Saddle in the Distance (Horizon) which aligns with the Parallel

A Fracture which is displaced by another is the older (the younger will maintain its orientation).

Range: A range is measured east or west of some centrally-located starting point in a state (such as Utah), and it is a square subdivision of land- in size similar to a Township. It contains 36 sections, and has 6 x 6 square miles, but since it has a north to south dimension, it may get progressively smaller at the top of the block due to the curvature of the earth. For this case, the divisions to the north may be smaller than a square mile (or section). The conventional use is as follows: S1 T42S R13W, which means that the location is 42 x 6 miles south of Salt Lake City (SLC) and 13 x 6 miles west of SLC in section one.

Google Photo from Space shows the Virgin River near Hurricane, which may be referenced to known objects, to Color Changes, and to Contrasting Geological Features on the surface.

Resisitivity: The electrical resistance of a cubic block of rock or earth, with dimensions one meter in each direction: R = E/I, volts impressed/flowing amperes for a cubic meter block, electrically measured through an area of a square meter: ohm-meters, (Ωm³/m²).
ShalElog is a patented logging process, using cuttings or samples of the earth, to produce a slurry (or mud) made with equal weights of distilled water and fine clay or silt particles. The slurry may be measured for resistivity and other parameters (such as color and texture), and its liquid fraction may be filtered at standard conditions to produce a filtrate for property measurement. The liquid contains ions and colloids, which represent information which is measurable. Examples include ionic concentrations, rate of filtration (minutes per 10 cubic centimeters), resistivity or conductivity, color of liquid, and pH (acidity or alkalinity. The paper Log is made showing the variation of these properties (or parameters) with depth, extending left or right of a baseline, and vertically down the baseline or Log. It is similar to the Electric Log used in the oil industry, in that it represents the measurement of earth properties presented versus depth, and can be interpreted similarly- to obtain zones of rocks (or Formations) and the properties they exhibit, so that conclusions regarding the rock and its fluid contents may be evaluated for Geological Purposes.
Calderas and Craters: The difference between these types is that of size- the division being at the kilometer diameter (large versus small). A Caldera may have an explosive character, or be more benign as is Kilauea in Hawaii- the difference being that of composition of its lava (see the photo below, for the Big Island). An example I have investigated for the explosive caldera is that of Hackberry, near Camp Verde and the Verde River, AZ. Tuffs or airborne ash deposits will accompany this explosion, and form sediment-like layers for many miles distant, whereas Calderas on Pacific Islands have almost no ash, and flow molten basalt over large distances (the island, made of basalt may be 50 km in diameter). The size of a volcanic depression is dependant upon the available molten rock in the magma chamber. Magma is the term for lava which has not reached the surface of the ground and for it to produce a caldera requires large-scale fracturing of the crust. An explosive caldera indicates that the magma originated from silicate-dominated composition (sticky lavas), which would originate in the Crust, whereas Kilauea-like depressions indicate a source in the Mantle, where there is a higher iron content which crates a slag-like flow. The Crater or Caldera walls around the depression are a result of the sinking of the molten rock occurring after the preliminary explosions or flows.
Slickensides: A preserved fault surface, on which is shown the planar path of a block of earth which has been sheared by faulting. The slick surface may show tracks of moving hard particles, such as grooves, which have been carved by the falling block’s grains. Generally, the heat and pressure generated by the grinding of one block by another has dissolved the original material and replaced it with silicates- which are harder or have greater shear strength. An example is that of limestone with hardness of 3 being replaced by silicate (such as agate) in the interface with a hardness of 6 or 7. The silica separated from a carbonate rock is probably from the inclusions of sand in the limestone- which have dissolved and re-precipitated in the fracture between the two oppositely-moving blocks.

Stress in the Earth: Pressure and Stress have similar units, stress referring to the Rock Frame, with pressure an omni-directional force per unit area, in fluid. This is force F over an area a, usually in psi, pounds per square inch, in English units. Whereas pressure refers only to that in the fluid phase- gases, organic fluids, or water- stress connotes the force exerted only on the rock frame. Since fluid may occupy as much as 30% of the total space (80% in the case of pumice), the solids may carry the total force on only 70% of the areal portion presented; but the convention is to refer to the entire rock space (voids included) affected. Note that a fluid is either gas or liquid, or both- called two-phase (3 phase refers to the inclusion of solids in the liquid). Pressure is easily measured by gages or with shrinkage indications.
Stress orientation is directional, whereas pressure in fluid acts in all directions. Stress in the Crust is indicated by fractures or faulting, which exhibits the tendency for shear, but the magnitude is known only by measurement, such as with strain gages or calibrated jacks. Note that stress and strain are not the same, the convention being that a stress applied results in a movement or strain (stress is in pressure units, while strain is in length of extension, shear, or compression).
Township (also see Range): A square subdivision of land, which is 6 statute miles in N-S and E-W directions. Each square mile is called a section, of which there are 36 in the township (6 x 6). These were carved out of the land, sometimes with horse and wagon, so that a cloth could be placed on the wagon wheel for determining a mile distance. For a suitable number of rotations of the wheel, as noted by the cloth, a mile would be marked- hence the township would have been short of long by the amount of the imprecision of the measured wheel diameter. This gave rise to the real estate acreage term still in use: More or Less.
The Mile used is the English mile, 5280 feet, even though the English now use the Kilometer (which is 3280.8 feet). There are other miles used internationally- such as the Nautical mile, which is 6080 feet.Shear- Cutting or Sliding Parallel to Direction of Stress:
Stress or Pressure which is exerted in a given direction results in strain or shear in that same direction, whenever there is a resisting stress, side-by-side, in the opposite direction. This is the case of two Crustal blocks which tend to move in opposite directions, under the impetus of two separate stresses, e.g. the American continent moving west, with the Juan de Fuca block moving eastward. The resultant of this may be diagonal faulting or simple sliding. I have observed both of these types of faulting on Whidbey Island- NW-SE sliding and E-W shear in scarps. This type of fault is labeled a transform, whenever it occurs laterally on the ground surface or on the ocean bottom (from acoustic soundings) - see below:

Transform (lateral shear) Fault: These fault traces are lengthy in distance, thousands of kilometers shown for the Pacific Basin. The movement is lateral, or sideways, with both vertical upward and downward components. On land, they are observed as traces along the ground surface, which accompany relative movement of objects (such as fences shifted into two straight separate segments). Standing on one side of the trace, the ground and its artifacts are observed to move to the left on the opposite side (and vice versa) with a left lateral fault or transform. Many of these fault traces align on a NW-SE or NE-SW orientation on land, while in the Pacific Basin they orient along latitude lines. It is believed that those on land are due to sliding of Crustal Blocks alongside each other. In the Pacific, where there are no opposing blocks, the movement may be due to shear of separate segments of a crustal block into masses with two separate velocities. This will occur as distance from the equator (with attending reduction of surface velocity as distance from the zero Latitude) increases. This is due partly to the shear accompanying reduction of the global spin rate with time (about 1000 seconds for a million years).

The Pine Valley Mountains, PVM, are a SW-NE trending Feature, which are of 21 mybp age, and are an Igneous Intrusion called a Laccolith (a Granite-like Rock called Monzonite). They are a Reference for timing our other Active Features.

Below is a True Missive, concocted after Col. Wasson and I undertook to hike into the Little Colorado River. This is laughable enough to re-print!

The Blue Springs Files (Halloween, 03)
It was an ominous and threatening day, when the notorious Black Bart and his sidekick Fang set out on their mission into the bowels of the Little Colorado Canyon, in quest of the fabulous Blue Springs. I use the word bowels lightly, since they had been forewarned of the hex that the Geology God had placed upon them- when a spread-eagled pack rat had been discovered just inches below the limp extremities of Fang, as he lowered himself over the usually commodious seat for his early morning toilet.
“No normal-sized white-throated rat could penetrate this air-tight hovel, especially to inspect the water of your flushing tank” ejaculated Bart, as he poked the rib cage of the giant rodent. “He must have been blown off course by the almost gale-force winds which threatened to cancel our carefully crafted plans,” he whined. Indeed, they had had an abundance of “signs” warning them that they were trying to violate not only the Navajo Hozho, but the sacred emissions of the very base of the Colorado Plateau. It looked grim at the very outset of the descent into the almost one kilometer depths of the initial Waterhole canyon, but the two wily navigators had decided to ignore all premonitions.

Just a day before this fateful decision, the two explorers had had an encounter with One-Eyed Eloise- whose very presence had signaled that the demons of discord were nipping at their ankles. They had made a wrong turn to the medieval castle, called Arcosanti, and had been diverted into an inner sanctum of the most dire circumstances; they had been eerily inducted into the cult of the stilted students of the sterilized studios of stone steps and stained stables- which had slyly drawn them into ancient cultic rites. It just coincidentally had been the very night of the expression of Hallow-of-the-evening ceremonies, when all sort of evil ghouls and spirits were exuding their influences, and the two naïve natives were caught off guard. The stupefacient students had subtly regaled them with ribald tales, and had appointed one of their own- One-Eyed-Eloise- to carefully and slyly involve Black Bart (the credulous) into her bosom of ancient arts.
But I digress!
The two stalwart hikers gazed awkwardly into the inner recesses of the 1500 foot deep slot canyon, which would take them over a tortuous trail of miniscule proportions into the depths of the Kaibab, Coconino, and Supai red beds, when Black Bart the credulous made his prophetic remark: “It looks like something happened here!” Fang grunted at this emission of philosophic revelation, and grimaced as he realized that this would be a day of unrivalled pain and foreboding forbearance.
The niggardly navigators had just wandered some 50 kilometers from the Indian headquarters, where they were supposed to arrange the final details of the trek with a certain Ms. Yazzie, only to find that she was closed on Fridays. Peering through the locked door glass, they could see a terse message hung on the cork bulletin board to the effect that the hikers into the Blue Springs area had to obtain recent warnings (which were on the reverse side of the message). But there was no sign that Ms. Yazzie or anyone else had been at the hut for several days. It was out-to-lunch, dinner, and breakfast as well!
Not to be outdone by such maneuverings, Fang muttered “No Indian bureaucracy is going to frustrate me- I can do that any day of the week all by myself! And so off they went, into the interstices of the reservation, where no road is marked, and only the insouciant native possesses a sense of location. Various trails and two track striations departed the main road, and not a Hogan or other dwelling could be seen for some 20 km- it was unlike any other Arizona location! A place had been picked to relegate the ancient Athapascan, where only he had the time and inclination to determine where in space he would pursue his fortunes. Others, such as the diffident duo, would have to be content with pursuing Fortune’s daughter (misfortune), to locate the incipient canyons of the famed Little Colorado.
The hallucinating hikers launched out on their trek, after carefully strapping on their 40 pound loads- not realizing that it would be an excruciatingly long time before they would see any sign of the comforts of Man again. But manfully, they strode off into the bowels, not fully appreciating that they would soon appear like the flagging packrat –haggard and wan, just before final expiration. Down into the depths they strode, each level becoming more precipitous. It had seemed innocuous at first, with only 20-30 degree slopes- along which there were the inevitable horse apple piles, but now they were face-to-face with a sheer cliff of almost 100 meters drop. A slight indentation in the vertical walls showed that there was a transition from the vertical Kaibab limestone, just above the underlying Toroweep sandstone. “This was a horse trail?” I whimpered with incredulity. The thing was only two foot wide, and tortuously followed a ledge down into the box canyon. There was no other way into the chasm! Facing the almost gale force wind blowing up canyon, the hikers were pinned against the cliff face- if they had tripped and fallen into the gorge, the wind would have levitated them upward. However, the 40 pound loads they bore acted to stanchion them onto the narrow trail, and they persevered.
Once into the box canyon, they were to encounter house-sized boulders, around which they would have to wend their way, or surmount. This was exasperating- they would require 5 hours just to negotiate the chasm, just to reach the Little Colorado, which was only three miles distant! But with dogged determination, they placed one foot in front of the other, and amazingly they confronted only three of the accursed sheer cliffs over which they had to de-levitate. Almost ten pounds of water had been carried for drinking, and it was maddening to see pools of crystal-clear water along the creek bed from an evident recent rain.
Finally, they were almost to the Little Colorado, but no- there was another 30 meter drop into the main creek, without any visual path which could be followed to the sluggishly flowing river below. The only sign that anyone could negotiate the final cliff was the occurrence of an ancient ruin, with smoked walls- indicating that ancient man had found a way. Feverishly the duo combed every inch of the ruin, only to discover that a house-sized slab of Supai rock had slid over the ancient path to the river. But wait- there was a crack under the rubble pile below the 100 ton boulder. Crawling like a reptile, Fang was able to emerge, as from a Sipapu, into a breathless path down to the river. He had made the first hurdle, on the way to the Blue Springs- but without his pack, which carried his camping gear for a subsequent night. Deterred by all of this additional mole-like activity, Bart hung back, exclaiming “You may think that you are a donkey, but for me this is a pain in the ass!” And with that he capitulated, withdrawing to the sanctuary of the ancient petroglyphs, where the faint flute-like sounds of the wind conjured visions of the ones who came before- the Anasazi.

Upon reaching the Little Colorado, which flowed in two channels around numerous islands, Fang found that the conductivity of the water indicated highly mineralized water- that of 4 ohm-meters, or greater than 1000 ppm of dissolved material. This was barely drinkable water, and had flowed somehow from the Supai and Coconino formations along the 15 miles, since it was seen at the town of Cameron, where there was a dry creek bed. The canyon had morphed from a small wide arroyo of about 20 meters depth to a greater than 500 meters deep major canyon in that short distance of 15 miles, and all of the water had to be augmented by springs. There must have been saturated CaSO4 (gypsum) in the water in the springs to get this large mineralization. These would not have been the coveted Blue Springs, but brown, iron-bearing, unpalatable, and muddy water!
Retracing his tracks to the Anasazi ruin, the intrepid hydrologist found that Bart was intractable- he would not proceed on his belly like a reptile to attain the long-sought elixir from the notorious springs. He would ever remain unenlightened, just as he was, unwashed and de-spiritualized. He would not go on! Fang would have to act alone, to acquire whatever of value could be gleaned from this remote corner of the Colorado Plateau.
With a note of sadness, and since Fang could not carry his pack and other gear past the unyielding red stone, the mission was abandoned. The de-commissioned mission was left to the mysterious winds which forever haunt the lonely canyons, and the disillusioned duo returned to the comforts of the white man.

Harold L. Overton