Posted by Chris M Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Global ground water

A few months ago, there was some discussion of the global geology map, one geology. UNESCO has released a global map of ground water. It shows estimates of the recharge rates, locations of natural discharge, and ground water mining.

It has the entire globe and continents available as pdfs. It also has a web based mapping interface, that isn't currently working for me.

Posted by Chris M Saturday, October 25, 2008

Favorite trees

Starting with Geotripper, others have been posting some of their favorite trees .

I could do an entire blog of my favorite trees, but two particular species stand out for me. First, is Aesculus flava (Yellow Buckeye). Although I had seen the species many times before, it wasn't until going to the headwaters of Dunn Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains during my thesis field work that I became awestruck by it. By wood volume, the tree may be in the top six largest species in the eastern US (Tsuga canadensis, Liriodendron tulipifera, Pinus strobus, Taxodium distichum, Quercus virginiana, Aesculus flava?). When it grows in a forest situation, it develops a powerful straight bole that slowly tapers with height. Below are four +4.5 m CBH trees I found near or at my field sites.

Aesculus flava Aesculus flava Aesculus flava

My other favorite tree has to be Pinus virginiana (Virginia Pine). If you ever climb a rocky ridge in Appalachia, you will find it. Although it can grow on better sites, its classic home is a rock ledge, exposed to the wind and sun, growing in almost no soil. Unlike most pines that have a straight bole until they get old, Virginia pine starts out twisted and gnarly when young. When you combine the tree with its rocky and exposed homes, I imagine a tough individual that takes the worst nature can give, yet still grows and maintains a unique individuality. It is so tough, it is commonly planted on old coal strip mines where little else will grow. Below is one growing out of a sandstone ledge along the Big South Fork River.

Pinus virginiana

Posted by Chris M Thursday, October 23, 2008

Online textbook

I am always happy when I see another journal or textbook going online for free.

The USGS has put the textbook Unsaturated Zone Hydrology for Scientists and Engineers, downloadable for free on their website. However, it is not in the public domain.

I have only had a chance to read a couple chapters, but so far so good (as far as textbooks go...). It is geared for upper level undergraduates and graduates students.

And the cover is excellent (definitely look at a bigger view).

Hat tip to Waterwired.

Posted by Chris M Monday, October 6, 2008

Fun with a camera and a scope

My workplace has a very nice Leica Televid 77mm birding scope, so I decided to try my hand at some photographs using the scope. It was a lot harder than I thought! My best photograph was of a Brewer's blackbird on top of a telephone pool.
Brewer's Blackbird

My shots of a group of American coot didn't turn out so well...
American Coot

Finally, a night shot of a controlled burn on the refuge and an anti-Southern Nevada Water Authority display from near Baker, NV.
Controlled burn Rural views on water

Posted by Chris M Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Wild and Scenic Rivers Act

October 2 is the 40th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. To quote the act (emphasis added)
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the United States that certain selected rivers of the Nation which, with their immediate environments, possess outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreational, geologic, fish and wildlife, historic, cultural, or other similar values, shall be preserved in free-flowing condition, and that they and their immediate environments shall be protected for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.
Today, over 11,000 miles of 165 rivers are protect by the act. I couldn't find a good map showing all the rivers, so I created one.

So if you can, go out and enjoy a river tomorrow.