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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
    Northwest Geology Field Trips, by Dave Tucker, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial- Share Alike 3.0 United States License. You can use what you find here, repost it with attribution to the author, "remix" it for your own purposes, but may not use it with the intent of making money off of it.

    EDUCATORS: Please feel free to use anything you find here that is useful to your mission educating people about Earth science. E-mail me if it would help to have a larger or higher-resolution version of any of the images. tuckerd at geol dot wwu dot edu

Geology guide to Fragrance Lake Trail (Larrabee State Park)

The Christmas Girls had just finished decorating all the sign posts as I pulled into the parking lot. Very festive! Click to enlarge.

The Christmas Girls had just finished decorating all the sign posts as I pulled into the parking lot. Very festive! Click to enlarge.

I’ve written up a geology guide to the popular Fragrance Lake trail. You’ll find it here. Even if the hike is mostly in glacial till, there are interesting stones in it, and the Chuckanut cliffs are always worth a peak. I do some armwaving about the origin of the big cliffs above the lake, too.

Geologic hike on Sumas Mountain, Whatcom County: real geology and a mining hoax

Doug McKeever at the rusted ore cart and the infamous ‘gold vault’ from perhaps the biggest mining scam in the region. Photo courtesy Eric Rolfs.

Hey, take me straight to the field trip!

No, I haven’t finished my book. Time away from the keyboard is important, so what do I do? Go for a hike up Sumas Mountain, come home and write about the geology! I have had this field trip in my head for a while, and needed to share it. I did the hike back in early April with Doug McKeever and Eric Rolfs, but didn’t have my camera, so returned with Scott Linneman May 28. Click here to read the story of an audacious early 19th Century mining scam, and to learn about the geology on this short hike. You’ll also find a rare bonus- an exposure of the basal contact of the Chuckanut Formation, where it overlies the serpentinized ultramafite of Sumas Mountain.

Coupeville’s Big Rock in the news

Big Rock. Island County Commissioner Angie Homola and her daughter Kira. Angie says she is 5 ft tall, so the erratic is about 22' (6.7 m) tall. 2010 photo by Dave Tucker.

Big Rock in the 1960s. Photo courtesy of Donn Charnley.

The big rounded erratic in Coupeville has recently been the subject of debate. The town council considered a proposal to purchase the land the erratic sits on to protect the rock from possible destruction. Their was concern that the owner of the apartments behind (to the west) of the rock would consider ‘removing’ the boulder to make room for a new and larger apartment complex. Here is the story in the Whidbey News Times. An earlier article in the paper, including information from UW glacial geologist Terry Swanson, describes the rock and the property ownership issue. The second article also reveals that at least as late as the 1930s, a stairway allowed access to the rock’s summit. Note that the newspaper refers to the big hunk o’ greenstone as ‘granite’, though a much earlier story in a rival newspaper (South Whidbey Record), identified the rock correctly in an article about erratics featuring Terry Swanson.

The Wedgwood erratic is on a lot cared for by the neighborhood.

Thanks to Valarie Bunn of Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood for supplying these links. She wrote about the similar Wedgwood erratic in her Wedgwood history blog.

Jackass erratic emerges from the bushes in Blaine, Washington

 

The H St erratic is about 2 m high. K. King photo. Click any photo to enlarge.

Northwest Geology Field Trips subscriber Kitty King of Blaine alerted me to a 2-meter-tall glacial erratic in Blaine, which recently emerged when brush were cleared along H Street Road. See the field trip description here. The 2-meter-high rounded stone is one of those wonderful conglomerate boulders from the euphonious Jackass Mountain Formation in southern British Columbia.

Beach walk geology trip at Marrowstone Island, Jefferson County.

A field trip written by Dan McShane is now posted. Originally appearing on Dan’s Reading the Washington Landscapes blog, I got his permission to post it on Northwest Geology Field Trips, and you’ll find it here. This looks like a fine low tide beach walk, south of Port Townsend. A unique feature on the trip is an Eocene dike of basalt that intrudes marine sandstone. That alone is worth the trip, but there is a lot more to see. Plus, Dan tells me, solitude is to be expected.

The dark rock at left is a basalt dike, in contact with lighter sandstone at right.

Blowers Bluff geologic field trip added

A geological field trip to the fabulous glacial and interglacial deposits at Blowers Bluff on Whidbey Island is now up. You can find it at

https://nwgeology.wordpress.com/the-fieldtrips/whidbey-island-glacial-deposits/blowers-bluff-whidbey-island/

The field trip will be found by going to “The Field Trips”, then “Pleistocene Glacial Stratigraphy on Whidbey Island”, then the trip. YOu can also find the earlier trip to Useless Bay and Double Bluff there.