I Should’ve Gone to Mars!

   Let’s face it. I am a ‘closet geographer’! Can you say Geomorphology? That is my passion when not looking skyward. I am fascinated by landforms and how they came to looking the way they do now. What were the weathering and erosional process that were involved and how did the patterns of those process do what it did? And that leads into this blog, sort of a repeat of a previous blog about taking a road trip on Mars, and two more recent blogs about this trip. This time a road trip, or actually an air trip to my brother’s home in Sun City Arizona, a northwest suburb of Phoenix.
   So imagine the diverse landforms you could see along the way either from the ground in a car or by plane as I did traveling across the United States from my home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri to my brother’s place near Phoenix Arizona. From the wooded and hilly and green western Missouri southwest across the Great Plains of Kansas and Oklahoma to the Texas Panhandle where the terrain takes on a more brownish and rugged look. From the Panhandle the route takes you across New Mexico through Albuquerque then into eastern Arizona to Flagstaff and then south to Phoenix.

   So imagine using the same latitudes and longitudes on Earth, but this time put them on the surface of Mars. Assuming that something like this will become a reality in the future what types of terrain would you see along the way?
(Mars Geologic Map – source: USGS)


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Rock On

Landsat Image of Mt. St. Helens - September 1980

Landsat Image of Mt. St. Helens – Sep. 1980

   Whether you are a teacher of Earth Sciences, a ‘closet’ Geomorphologist like me, or one who is interested in the Earth, then you will probably agree that the following web sites have a lot to offer for teaching or learning more about our active planet.
   NASA’s web site, Earth Observatory is the home of images of the Earth from the many orbiting satellites dedicated to monitoring changes in the Earth – in this case the surface features. Look for a link on the web site for the ‘World of Changes’ where you may see the many pictures of the Earth’s surface and changes in forests and oceans, for example, that have taken place over the past several decades. This picture was taken by a Landsat satellite four months after the May 1980 eruption of the volcano Mt. St. Helens. At the World of Changes web site you can view a series of images of the volcano that span thirteen years and show how the area that was devastated has slowly recovered. Click here to see the images of Mt. St. Helens.

   Here are links to three short videos on YouTube produced by the USGS, United States Geological Service, that explain in basic terms some interesting information about the ways scientists measure volcanic activity.

    Volcanic Deformation
    Gas Monitoring
    Volcanic Earthquakes

   Our National Park Service, NPS, has enhanced their web site with some useful resources for teachers on part of their web site called, Come and experience your America in a new way.

   Here is a link to a WordPress science writer I follow. Stephanie Sykora is a Geologist living in Australia. However from her writings she never seems to be at home! Instead she is somewhere in the world exploring and writing about many of the Earth’s geological features and processes. Since my blog today is about volcanoes I thought it appropriate to include a link to her recent blog, The Real Mount Doom… and The Real Mount Doom – Volcanoes in Taupo, New Zealand.

   Click here to go to the Qué tal in the Current Skies web site for more observing information for this month.