Where did the Grand Canyon go?

OK, so I’m watching quakes and things, and this tiny little issue comes up. There are a bunch of them down in Baja. The energy from them tends to wander up my way after a while, so I like to keep tabs on them. Then we got a couple of small ones up by Mammoth “Lakes” a bit north of Death Valley… that’s actually a volcanic Caldera and can get really nasty if it blows it’s top. Think “small super volcano” (if there can be such a thing as a ‘small one’ of them…)

The geology of Southern California can be a bit, er, complex… There is a subducted spreading zone (that starts as a Pacific floor spreading area) and then some of it gets sucked under the North American plate. This “has issues” like spreading out the Basin and Range area a bit and making Utah and Nevada larger… as they sink a little. But a lot of it goes into “other places”. For example, Death Valley. It is below sea level as it is being slowly pulled open into a rift in the continent.

How much of a rift?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geology_of_the_Death_Valley_area

The passive margin switched to active margin in the early-to-mid Mesozoic when the Farallon Plate under the Pacific Ocean started to dive below the North American Plate, creating a subduction zone; volcanoes and uplifting mountains were created as a result. Erosion over many millions of years created a relatively featureless plain. Stretching of the crust under western North America started around 16 Ma and is thought to be caused by upwelling from the subducted spreading-zone of the Farallon Plate. This process continues into the present and is thought to be responsible for creating the Basin and Range province. By 2 to 3 million years ago this province had spread to the Death Valley area, ripping it apart and creating Death Valley, Panamint Valley and surrounding ranges. These valleys partially filled with sediment and, during colder periods during the current ice age, with lakes. Lake Manly was the largest of these lakes; it filled Death Valley during each glacial period from 240,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. By 10,500 years ago these lakes were increasingly cut off from glacial melt from the Sierra Nevada, starving them of water and concentrating salts and minerals. The desert environment seen today developed after these lakes dried up.

So, during the Ice Age Glacials, it’s a lake. Now, not so much… but one can reasonably expect that if we start seeing it fill with water, we’ve got a problem on the way…

And that stretching?

Starting around 16 Ma in Miocene time and continuing into the present, a large part of the North American Plate in the region has been under extension by literally being pulled apart. Debate still surrounds the cause of this crustal stretching, but an increasingly popular idea among geologists called the slab gap hypothesis states that the spreading zone of the subducted Farallon Plate is pushing the continent apart. Whatever the cause, the result has been the creation of a large and still-growing region of relatively thin crust; the region grew an average of 1 inch (2.5 cm) per year initially and then slowed to 0.3 inches (0.76 cm) per year in the last 5 million years. Geologists call this region the Basin and Range Province.

Extensional forces causes rock at depth to stretch like silly putty and rock closer to the surface to break along normal faults into downfallen basins called grabens; small mountain ranges known as horsts run parallel to each other on either side of the graben. Normally the number of horsts and grabens is limited, but in the Basin and Range region there are dozens of horst/graben structures, each roughly north-south trending. A succession of these extend from immediately east of the Sierra Nevada, through almost all of Nevada, and into western Utah and southern Idaho. The crust in the Death Valley region between Lake Mead and the southern Sierra Nevada has been extended by as much as 150 miles (240 km).

Hmmmm…. 150 miles. That’s kind of, er, a lot…

But about those sediments:

These two systems are also offset from each other; the area between the offset is thus put under enormous oblique tension, which intensifies subsidence there; Furnace Creek Basin opened in this area and the rest of Death Valley followed in stages. One of the last stages was the formation of Badwater Basin, which occurred by about 4 Ma. Data from gravimeters show that Death Valley’s bedrock floor tilts down toward the east and is deepest under Badwater Basin; there is 9,000 feet (2,700 m) of fill under Badwater.

Yikes! It’s 9000 feet of “down” from below sea level at the surface. The only reason we don’t have a 9000 foot deep canyon is because the mountains are eroding into it as “fill”… but not quite keeping up as the floor of Death Valley IS below sea level…

So, does this not mean there ought to be some kind of “magma” issue from time to time?

Igneous activity associated with the extension occurred from 12 to 4 Ma. Both intrusive (plutonic/solidified underground) and extrusive (volcanic/solidified above ground) igneous rocks were created. Basaltic magma followed fault lines to the surface and erupted as cinder cones and lava flows. Some volcanic rocks were re-worked by hydrothermal systems to form colorful rocks and concentrated mineral formations, such as boron-rich minerals like borax; a Pliocene-aged example is the 4,000-foot (1,200 m)-thick Artist Drive Formation. Gold and silver ores were also concentrated by mineralizing fluids from igneous intrusions. Other times, heat from magma migrating close to the surface would superheat overlaying groundwater until it exploded, not unlike an exploding pressure-cooker, creating blowout craters and tuff rings. One example of such a feature is the roughly 2000 year old and 800 feet (240 m) deep Ubehebe Crater (photo) in the northern part of the park; nearby smaller craters may be less than 200 to 300 years old.

OK, so we had active volcanic activity 4 Million years ago, and some smaller hydrothermal blowouts as recently as a few hundred years ago.

This is starting to sound a fair amount like Iceland, except the thing is filled with sand and gravel from the mountains eroding into it…

Sediment filled the subsiding Furnace Creek Basin as the area was pulled apart by Basin and Range extension. The resulting 7,000-foot (2,100 m)-thick Furnace Creek Formation is made of lakebed sediments that consist of saline muds, gravels from nearby mountains and ash from the then-active Black Mountain volcanic field.
[...]
Additional subsidence of the Furnace Creek Basin was filled by the four-million-year-old Funeral Formation, which consists of 2,000 feet (610 m) of conglomerates, sand, mud and volcanic material. Another smaller basin to the south was filled by the Copper Canyon Formation around the same time.

So we stacked up 7000 feet of “stuff” early on, then up to about 4 My have added 2000 feet more as the place continues to subside. This is starting to sound like an ongoing issue… But during the glacials, it even has a lake on top, for even more “coverage”.

Lake Manly was the lake that filled Death Valley during each glacial period from at least 240,000 years ago to as late as 10,500 years ago; the lake typically dried up during each inter-glacial period, such as the current one. Lake Manly was the last in a chain of lakes that were fed by the Amargosa and Mojave Rivers, and possibly also the Owens River; it was also the lowest point in the Great Basin drainage system. At its height during the Last glacial period some 22,000 years ago, water filled Lake Manly to form a body of water that may have been 585 feet (178 m) deep and 90 miles (140 km) long

So, when the next glacial starts, watch for a new lake and more fishing… Most of Nevada gets lakes, so there will be many from which to choose ;-)

OK, so we’ve got 9000 foot of sediments, 100 of it accumulating during the Holocene, the valley floor is still below sea level, and it used to have an additional 585 feet of water on top. That’s a big, deep area that is spreading and opening in the continent. At the bottom, Badwater Basin is 282 feet below sea level.

Is It A Sign?

This tid bit from the Wiki was intriguing:

In 2005, Death Valley received four times its average annual rainfall of 1.5 inches (38 mm). As it has done before for hundreds of years, the lowest spot in the valley filled with a wide, shallow lake, but the extreme heat and aridity immediately began sucking the ephemeral lake dry.

This pair of images from NASA’s Landsat 5 satellite documents the short history of Death Valley’s Lake Badwater: formed in February 2005 (top) and long gone by February 2007 (bottom). In 2005, a big pool of greenish water stretched most of the way across the valley floor. By May 2005 the valley floor had resumed its more familiar role as Badwater Basin, a salt-coated salt flats. In time, this freshly dissolved and recrystallized salt will darken.

Lake Badwater:

Lake Badwater

Lake Badwater

Original Image

So keep an eye on that lake. If it starts being around more than once every few dozen years, well, we’ve got a problem… and the problem isn’t “warming”…

I’d also suggest that since the lake formed in 2005, we were not all that warm then, either…

But back at what this means for The Grand Canyon.

We know that the Grand Canyon formed when that plateau was uplifted.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in the United States in the state of Arizona.
[...]
The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (1.83 km) (6000 feet). Nearly two billion years of the Earth’s geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While the specific geologic processes and timing that formed the Grand Canyon are the subject of debate by geologists, recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River continued to erode and form the canyon to the point we see it at today.

So we’ve got this giant hole in the ground that is hundreds of miles long and over a mile deep.

Grand Canyon, USA

Grand Canyon, USA

Original Image

Where did it go?

Yes, the Colorado River washed it all away, but that’s a lot of washing. And while 17 million years is a very long time for a person, it’s not nearly so long for a geologic process. (And some earlier dating put it at more like 6 to 8 million years). But it all went down the river. So we’d expect to see a giant mountain of sand somewhere. Hundreds of cubic miles of the stuff.

Down The Colorado

Where the Colorado River meets the sea is in the Gulf of California in Mexico. Now, by the time it gets there, it is essentially all used up. We have diverted substantially all of it to agriculture and domestic uses in all the various states along the path and even a little in Mexico. In prior times, great floods would wash sediments down the Colorado. Now they get dumped in Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam. But that lake did not exist in prior times. So where did the sand go?

Looking at the end point of the Colorado, we find a broad alluvial deposit. But it is only about 10 meters high for many many miles. 30 feet is just not enough! but a look from overhead gives a better idea what happened:

Colorado River dumping into the Gulf of California in Baja California, Mex

Colorado River dumping into the Gulf of California in Baja California, Mex

I picked up this image here:

http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=505

that credits these folks:

http://www.ssec.wisc.edu/gallery/modis/

that says: “Credit for these images should be attributed to:
Liam Gumley, Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison.” So, credit given.

Now run your eye from the Gulf of California in the lower right up toward the upper left, notice all that greenish fan area? (Not the one in the water, the one on land…) That’s the farm land being watered where the Colorado River runs into Baja. Off to the upper right is where the Colorado runs back into the rest of the country. If you continue up toward the middle of the picture, above the fan, you find a lake. That is the Salton Sea. It, too, is below sea level. 69 meters or 226 feet below sea level.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_sea

The Salton Sea is a saline, endorheic rift lake located directly on the San Andreas Fault predominantly in California’s Imperial Valley. The lake occupies the lowest elevations of the Salton Sink in the Colorado Desert of Imperial and Riverside Counties in Southern California. Like Death Valley, it is below sea level; currently, its surface is 226 ft (69 m) below sea level. The deepest area of the sea is 5 ft (1.5 m) higher than the lowest point of Death Valley. The sea is fed by the New, Whitewater, and Alamo rivers, as well as agricultural runoff drainage systems and creeks.

It was formed by accident in 1905 when some folk trying to divert some of the Colorado River to agricultural use were a bit too cheap on the safety measures and discovered that rivers can erode new channels (or re-open old ones…)

The creation of the Salton Sea of today started in 1905, when heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused the Colorado River to swell, overrunning a set of headgates for the Alamo Canal. The resulting flood poured down the canal and breached an Imperial Valley dike, eroding two watercourses, the New River in the west, and the Alamo River in the east, each about 60 miles (97 km) long. Over a period of approximately two years these two newly created rivers sporadically carried the entire volume of the Colorado River into the Salton Sink.

One hopes that we don’t have too much more “heavy rainfall” again…

The Southern Pacific Railroad attempted to stop the flooding by dumping earth into the canal’s headgates area, but the effort was not fast enough, and as the river eroded deeper and deeper into the dry desert sand of the Imperial Valley, a massive waterfall was created that started to cut rapidly upstream along the path of the Alamo Canal that now was occupied by the Colorado. This waterfall was initially 15 feet (4.6 m) high but grew to a height of 80 feet (24 m) before the flow through the breach was finally stopped. It was originally feared that the waterfall would recede upstream to the true main path of the Colorado, attaining a height of up to 100 to 300 feet (30 to 91 m), from where it would be practically impossible to fix the problem. As the basin filled, the town of Salton, a Southern Pacific Railroad siding and Torres-Martinez Indian land were submerged. The sudden influx of water and the lack of any drainage from the basin resulted in the formation of the Salton Sea.

Now, can you imagine being the guy who has to call up the boss and tell him you have managed to make a little break in a river bank and, well, you are now flooding Southern California and that the Colorado River no longer flows to Mexico? Oh, and you’ve made this tiny little waterfall of 80 feet high that might grow to 300 feet is something isn’t done; but don’t worry, over 226 feet of it is due to being below sea level… Oh, and you’ve submerged a town and an Indian tribal homeland… Other than that, no problem… 8-0 !!

The continuing intermittent flooding of the Imperial Valley from the Colorado River led to the idea of the need for a dam on the Colorado River for flood control. Eventually, the federal government sponsored survey parties in 1922 that explored the Colorado River for a dam site, ultimately leading to the construction of Hoover Dam in Black Canyon, which was constructed beginning in 1929 and completed in 1935. The dam effectively put an end to the flooding episodes in the Imperial Valley.

So now you know why Hoover Dam was built… To save Southern California from becoming an inland sea any larger than it already was…

OK, look at the photo, we’ve got a nice batch of sand on each side of the green triangle. Nice, but not Grand Canyon Gigantic… Where did the Grand Canyon Go?

Back at that http://www.semp.us/publications/biot_reader.php?BiotID=505 page from the Suburban Emergency Management Project (which has a great write up on the actual “oopsy” that made the Salton Sea. Or, rather, re-made it, as it has sometimes existed on its own… something for So.Cal. residents to look forward to ;-)

A similar interpretation of the formation of the Gulf of California by Elders, et al., is:

“The northeast Pacific plate appears to be a flank of the East Pacific Rise modified by the westward boundary of the North American plate. Marine geophysical studies both in the Gulf of California and in the adjacent ocean strongly support the interpretation that the gulf originated in the spreading apart of the continental crust. It appears that the Gulf of California is part of the active boundary between the North American and Pacific plates”.

Hydrothermal vents jetting water at 380 degrees plus or minus 30 degrees Celsius exist on the axis of the East Pacific rise. Indeed, “the axis of the East Pacific Rise is marked by a zone of recent volcanism approximately 1000 meters wide. Near the center of the volcanic zone, there is a very narrow band of active hydrothermal vents at least 25 vents along a strip 7 km long and only 200 to 300 meters wide”, according to one group of researchers.

OK, so the East Pacific Rise where it runs up the Gulf of Mexico is your typical spreading zone with hot water jets and spreading and volcanism. But that’s not enough to hold The Grand Canyon.

III. Salton Trough

The Mexicali-Imperial Valley is the northern extension of the Gulf of California. “It is a broad structural trough partly filled with lacustrine [lake] and deltaic [Colorado River delta] silts, sands, and gravels of late Tertiary age, and by great thicknesses of Quaternary alluvium and lake sediments”, notes Elders, et al. They continue:

“The trough has “steep, step-faulted margins and a broad, relatively flat basement floor This trough is comparable in shape and size with the deeper submarine basins of the southern part of the Gulf of California, but it is partly filled [in the Imperial Valley] by the vast accumulation of sediments of the Colorado River Delta”.

Elders, et al., believe that “the Salton trough formed by a combination of tensional and right-lateral strike-slip movements associated with the opening of the gulf as Baja California was transferred from the North American to the Pacific lithospheric plates The details of how Baja California was transformed from the American to the Pacific plate remain enigmatic”, they opined.

http://www.azcentral.com/12news/news/articles/2011/03/27/20110327san-andreas-fault-mapping-0327.html

Scientists mapping San Andreas Fault
Seismic detonations echo through the rifts to chart possible peril

by Thomas Curwen – Mar. 27, 2011 12:00 AM
Los Angeles Times
SALTON SEA, Calif. – Three days after the earthquake and tsunami devastated northeastern Japan, Gary Fuis walked across the San Andreas Fault under a moonlit sky. The desert was quiet. A breeze fanned through the creosote. To the west, he could see the Salton Sea, and to the east, the headlamps of the night crew taking up positions.

In a little more than an hour, they would start detonating their explosives, generating seismic waves that would be recorded by seismometers buried throughout these sandy hills and positioned on the floor of the Salton Sea.

Fuis, 67, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey, is overseeing an ambitious project to create an underground image of one of the most seismically active and geologically complex regions of the country, a triangle of land extending from Palm Springs to the Mexican border.
[...]
Penetrated by volcanoes and cut by the San Andreas and Imperial faults, the region is part of the Salton Trough, one of the few rift valleys in the world not covered by an ocean, a place where geologists can see the continent coming apart and a new crust of the Earth being formed.

[...]
“The San Andreas Fault actually appears to be propeller shaped,” he said, drawing a pirouette in the air and describing how the fault tilts to the northeast in this basin, then tilts in the opposite direction father north, past the Mojave Desert.

Many seismologists, he said, assume the fault in this region is largely vertical, a configuration that places the Pacific plate squarely up against the North American plate.

Fuis and a few colleagues, however, believe that the Pacific plate here is wedged beneath the North American plate.
[...]
But a greater threat, according to Fuis, is the sedimentary structure of the Salton Trough itself. Excavate this basin of rocks and soil swept down over the millennia from the Rocky Mountains and you’d have a canyon larger than the Grand Canyon.

This formation, sediment nearly 9 miles deep, can trap earthquake energy and amplify seismic waves, resulting in longer, more intense shaking. No one has measured wave speeds in the basin until now.

And there is your answer. The Grand Canyon is in another spreading zone trench. The one splitting off Baja California from Mexico. The one that would have the Gulf of California extending up past the Salton Sea. Were it not for a “Grand Canyon Sized” load of sediments over 9 miles deep.

Now I wonder where that could have come from ;-)

Misc. Notes

Is there evidence for volcanism near the Salton Sea?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salton_sea

“. The evidence of geothermal activity is also visible. There are mud pots and mud volcanoes on the eastern side of the Salton Sea.”

Yup…

And is there any natural risk that the Imperial Valley might become a full fledged lake again, all on its own?

There is evidence that the basin was occupied periodically by multiple lakes. Wave-cut shorelines at various elevations are still preserved on the hillsides of the east and west margins of the present lake, the Salton Sea, showing that the basin was occupied intermittently as recently as a few hundred years ago. The last of the Pleistocene lakes to occupy the basin was Lake Cahuilla, also periodically identified on older maps as Lake LeConte, and the Blake Sea, after American professor and geologist William Phipps Blake.

Yup….

Welcome to life in California. Where it’s normal to not worry that you live a couple of hundred feet below sea level with a 30 foot high pile of sand between you and the ocean, and where it periodically is a lake, on top of one of the world’s most famous earthquake faults, where the continent is being torn apart by one of the few on land spreading zones. But don’t worry, there haven’t been any volcanoes in, oh, years ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanoes_of_east-central_Baja_California

The Tres Virgenes, a line of three connected volcanoes, collectively known by that name, are west of La Reforma Caldera. La Vírgen, in the southwest, El Azufre in the center, and El Viejo in the northeast. The volcanoes get larger and younger from northeast to southwest. As recently as 6,500 years ago, La Vírgen experienced a Plinian eruption — a huge, explosive event that produces an enormous column of volcanic rock fragments and gas that reaches into the stratosphere. The eruption produced a column that reached at least 18 kilometers into the air and deposited ash and rock fragments over 500 square kilometers. In later stages of the eruption, pyroclastic flows (pinkish rocks) and lahars (mudflows, grayish rocks) from El Azufre Volcano paved the plain to the north all the way to the Gulf of California.

http://www.volcanolive.com/prieto.html

Cerro Prieto Volcano – John Seach

Baja California, Mexico

32.418 N, 115.305 W
summit elevation 223 m
Lava dome

Cerro Prieto volcano is located at the northern end of the gulf of California, 177 km SE of San Diego, and 30 km from the US border. The volcano consists of a low lava dome.

It’s 30 km away. That’s like, almost a long ways…

The volcano is located in a transition between the East Pacific Rise and the strike-slip San Andreas fault system. It is one of the few areas where on-land spreading is observed.

The heat source for the volcano is thought to be a magma body at a depth of 5–6 km. There is a significant correlation between increases of sustained fluid extraction at the field and earthquakes, with delays of about 1 yr.

An earthquake swarm occurred under Cerro Prieto volcano in Mexico between 8-11 February 2008. The seismic swarm began on 8 February 2008 at 11:12 pm (Pacific Time) with a magnitude 5.1 earthquake. A second magnitude 5.1 earthquake occurred on 11 February 2008 at 10:29 am (Pacific Time) about 4 miles further south. Both events, were shallow, at a depth of less than 3 miles. Sixteen earthquakes greater than magnitude 3 were recorded over 2.5 days. The two magnitude 5 earthquakes were tectonic, consistent with activity on the Cerro Prieto fault.
[...]
Cerro Prieto Volcano Eruptions

The last eruption at the volcano is unknown, but may be within the past 10,000 years.

And that’s like, ya’know, almost for-ev-er…

and it’s not like you get really Great Quake sized events in the area:

Shakemap of 7.2 Quake in Baja 4 April 2010

Shakemap of 7.2 Quake in Baja 4 April 2010

Original Image

Well, ok, we get them, but not that often…

So welcome to the world of Sunny Southern California. Palm Springs. Golf Courses. 9 mile deep rift zones with volcanic features, great quakes, imminent inundation, and even the Grand Canyon, in an odd sort of way …

UPDATE: 2 Apr 2011

There was an interesting “chain of pearls” set of tiny quakes just this hour in The Salton Sea, so I though I’d add this image of the moment. I think they pretty much mark the point where the “seas are parting”…

Quakes on the  Salton Sea 2 Apr 2011 32.34.-117.-115

Quakes on the Salton Sea 2 Apr 2011 32.34.-117.-115

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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44 Responses to Where did the Grand Canyon go?

  1. vukcevic says:

    This one could be serious:
    MAP 5.9 2011/04/01 13:29:12 35.729 26.455 77.9 CRETE, GREECE

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsww/Quakes/usc0002gtc.php

  2. @E.M.Smith:
    Your source of ideas for posts is unending. Remarkable!
    Well. It seems that this “zipper”:
    Colorado River dumping into the Gulf of California in Baja California,…
    it´s being opened…northwards: The same case in Ethiopia
    BTW: Look at these two earthquakes:
    M 4.8, near the coast of Yemen

    Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 01:42:50 UTC
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 04:42:50 AM at epicenter
    Depth: 10.90 km (6.77 mi)

    M 4.4, Gulf of Aden

    Date: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 01:27:52 UTC
    Wednesday, March 30, 2011 04:27:52 AM at epicenter
    Depth: 10.00 km (6.21 mi)
    At both sides of the same fault.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v298/n5870/abs/298149a0.html

    Call Vuk, inmediately!

  3. Malaga View says:

    Takes be back… great memories… driving an open jaw from San Diego to Portland… great days on the road through a spectacular country.

    Now Rifts are interesting to me… they indicate [to me] that Plate Tectonics and Subduction are not the whole story… Continental Plates are/have Rifted apart… and the Ocean Plates are thinner…

    East African Rift
    Red Sea Rift
    Baikal Rift Zone,
    Gulf of Suez Rift
    Lake Timiskaming in Temiskaming Shores, Ontario
    Basin and Range Province in North America
    Rio Grande Rift in the southwestern US
    Gulf of Corinth in Greece
    Reelfoot Rift, failed rift – New Madrid Seismic Zone
    Rhine Rift, in south western Germany
    Taupo Volcanic Zone in the North Island of New Zealand
    Oslo Graben in Norway
    Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben in Ontario and Quebec
    Northern Cordilleran Volcanic Province in British Columbia, Yukon and Alaska
    West Antarctic Rift in Antarctica
    Midcontinent Rift System, in central North America
    Fundy Basin, rift basin in southeastern Canada

    David Platt argues there are Problems with Plate Tectonics and has an interesting paper on Sunken Continents versus Continental Drift at http://www.davidpratt.info/sunken.htm

  4. PhilJourdan says:

    I really like your narrative style. it does keep you interested! Being very familiar with the Salton Sea and the surrounding county (Wife’s family have lived there for generations), I read this one with greater interest than others. Still, you did telegraph your ending (silt in the valley). ;)

    As for the earthquakes, if I remember correctly, the worst part of the SF quake of 06 was in the areas that were built on silt and sand. That does not bode well for the valley for as you correctly point out, it is all that way.

    But like you said, you can’t worry about what is not. Life is too short.

  5. George says:

    One thing, while Salton Sea is now filled due to an accident, it has regularly filled and evaporated over geological time as the Colorado would often break through its banks and drain into that area. It is estimated that a previous such filling had only just dried up when European explorers came to the area.

    Every several hundred years it would fill back up again.

  6. Jason Calley says:

    @ Malaga View Baikal is a rift zone? really? Oh, wait…let me Wiki that up.

    Yeah! That makes sense now! I remember that Lake Baikal is home to a unique freshwater seal and a bunch of other odd species. (Quotes from Wiki) It “is the world’s oldest and deepest lake at 30 million years old.” “Baikal is home to more than 1,700 species of plants and animals, two thirds of which can be found nowhere else in the world” Yes, it must have been an arm of the ocean some 30MYA, and has a bunch of unique species that made the salt water to fresh evolution. “The bottom of the lake is 1,186.5 metres (3,893 ft) below sea level, but below this lies some 7 km (4.3 mi) of sediment, placing the rift floor some 8–11 kilometres (5.0–6.8 mi) below the surface: the deepest continental rift on Earth.” Hmmmm… that sounds like what E.M. was talking about with the Colorado debris. And lastly “Lake Baikal is furthermore the only confined fresh water lake in which direct and indirect evidence of gas hydrates exists.” OK…sounds like abiotic methane production seeping up from a deep rift.

    I somehow had never seen that Baikal was a rift zone. All that info clicks into place now. Thanks!

  7. Ralph B says:

    My apologies for sloughing this off topic…what makes a seal fresh water vice salt water? I mean it is a mammal and I would think be OK in what ever kind of water just like us.

    Seems like a good place to get some sediment cores and look at the past climate…beats downstream of some bridge.

    Lastly…I wonder if there any thermal vents in Baikal. I would think thermal vents would be able to tunnel through the sediment or maybe the sediment absorbs the energy as the layer is quite thick. I will Bing it…

  8. Ralph B says:

    A quick skim of the web shows there are some thermal vents in Baikal but first glance seems like they haven’t been studied. Here is a link from WUWT that has a couple cool pictures of rings in the ice from the vents

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/30/geothermal-ice-circles-in-russia%E2%80%99s-lake-baikal/

  9. Jason Calley says:

    @ Ralph B “Seems like a good place to get some sediment cores and look at the past climate…beats downstream of some bridge.”

    Yes. This from Wiki. “It is unique among large, high-latitude lakes, in that its sediments have not been scoured by overriding continental ice sheets. U.S. and Russian studies of core sediment in the 1990s provide a detailed record of climatic variation over the past 250,000 years. Longer and deeper sediment cores are expected in the near future. ” Good idea. If they can do that at Baikal, then maybe something similar has been done in the Badwater Basin or in the Salton Sea basin. E.M. has already pointed out the geothermal features around the Salton Sea area. “There are mud pots and mud volcanoes on the eastern side of the Salton Sea.”

    Also, hydrothermal vents in the Sea of Cortez? Check. http://www.bbc.co.uk/oceans/locations/cortez/

    All we need now is a deposit of methane clathrates buried under the Salton Sea sediment fill. Hmmm… those geologist are pretty clever. Maybe they already checked. http://www.sci.sdsu.edu/salton/SaltonSeaPushforEnergy.HTML

    “In 1982 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) leased approximately 350 km2 (220 mi2) or approximately 38% of the Salton Sea for oil and natural gas development. This was done after the BLM completed an environmental assessment (EA) that addressed only the impacts from natural gas development and not oil (U.S. Bureau of Land Management 1982). The reason given by BLM for this omission was that there was only a 1% chance of finding oil thus there was no need to address the impacts should it be found and subsequently developed.”

  10. Larry Geiger says:

    Who would have thought to ask “where did the Grand Canyon go”? Amazing. It seems obvious, once asked, because I have heard all my life how the Colorado eroded the canyon. It always seemed obvious to me that a portion of the Rockies and the Applachians are filling up the Gulf of Mexico, but I never thought about the Colorado.

  11. George says:

    I believe the sediments in Lake Lahontan are about 5000 feet thick in the Black Rock Desert. There is significant local geothermal activity. The Soldier Medow tuff just a little North of there was one of earliest or possibly the earliest manifestation of the Yellowstone hotspot. You can still see many tufa along route 447 from hot springs erupting in the lake. Many of these hot springs could reactivate if the ground were to re-saturate with water. That location is currently very dry.

    Many have struck hot water in the area from digging farm wells. Fly Ranch Hot Springs is one example:

    http://atlasobscura.com/place/fly-ranch-geyser

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @Ralph B:

    The first thing is just that salt water cures a lot of infections. You need better defences to survive in fresh water. (The common cure for a lot of fish skin diseases it to add some salt to the water…)

    Seals also have “interesting eyes” in that they work both above and below salt water. Don’t know if that makes them work better in fresh water too, or if they would need some subtile changes… but the fresh water index of refraction will be different.

    Finally, food sources will be different. Both in type and in things like their salt content. Differences in excretion will likely be needed (less need to deal with dumping salt, more need to hang onto it… hyponatremia is a bitch… and being more “sticky” to trace minerals like Iodine…)

    So I’d expect to see changes. Just not dramaticaly visible ones.

    @all:

    Glad you liked the journey… It’s just what I do. I look at something, and this “yes but!” happens. Yes, the Grand Canyon is big; but where did all that stuff go? Or “Death Valley is below sea leveal” gets a “Yes, but, why?” then a “and does it say anything about where stuff goes?”

    So there is this whole ‘rifting and sinking’ bit that seems to get glossed over with all the ‘drifting and subducting’ of plates… That then forms a “dig here” longer term…

    So, shortly after noon tea, I’m going to be reading all those links folks have provided so as to make sure the lawn doesn’t get mowed or the car washed… my deepest thanks ;-)

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @PhilJourdan:

    That it ended up at the end of the Colorado was sort of already a given. The surprise to me was that it went 9 MILES below sea level… and to some extent that the entire top end of the Gulf of California was a sand plug of it. I’d just sort of assumed it had to some large extent kept washing out the lower end of the gulf on down into the abyss… Little did I know that the abyss WAS the Gulf of California…

    But there are 9 miles of core samples just waiting to be taken… as long as you don’t hit a magma bubble… ;-0

    FWIW, my “working thesis” right now is that the top layer of the North American Plate was scraped over onto the Pacific Plate. Where it’s firmly “stuck” to it, you get Baja and on up to Santa Cruze headed north at a good clip. Where it has NOT yet crossed the subducted spreading zone, you get The Rockies and such. Just sitting there drifting very slowly south with the N.A. Plate. The spreading zone itself is stretching out Nevada (it’s a fairly wide feature once burried under a continent…) and runs under Mammoth “Lakes” and Death Valley, then turns back out to sea off the N.Cal coast (having popped up The Sutter Buttes 1.5 Mya in a moment of enthusiasm..) and along the way gives us “The Geysers” and the hot springs and “Calistoga Water”… THIS all means that the chunk of rocks and “stuff” between Death Valley / Mono Lake and over to the San Andreas are a “buffer wedge”. Being dragged a BIT north (relative to the N.A. plate core) with the Pacific Plate, but only a bit; yet NOT stuck to the N.A. plate. It’s on the wrong side of the rift for that…

    So we have quakes along the San Andreas where the ‘hard rocks’ slip some, but far less quakes down deep in the ‘fudge like’ part that’s sliding over the subducted Pacific Plate margin up to that spreading zone. As that part gets “stuck”, we rip open a bit more. Death Valley and the Salton Sea sink a bit more; and things get more “stuck” to the Pacific Plate. (That “propeller shaped” bit in the quoted article). When it’s not stuck, more San Andreas quakes. When it does stick a bit, rifting and volcanism along the southern Sierra Nevada… And when something sticks a bit “oddly”, we pop a volcano in the Central Valley of California…. But don’t worry, it only happens every few million years ;-) For Now… (Baja every few thousands…)

    As right now we see the San Andreas sliding, we call that “the edge” of the N.A. Plate. But would we if there were a volcano popping up in Merced and Death Valley were quaking and spouting lava fountains?…

    Or would we recognize this “stuck bit” that is most of middle / southern California that WAS part of the N.A. plate, but is getting scrapped off onto the Pacific Plate to the West of that subducted spreading zone?

    We are ‘in transition’ as a surface lump of slag/scum from one lower level basalt layer ‘plate’ to another. IMHO, we need to think in terms of a two layer plate system. The “light stuff” floating on top (like granite mountains) and the “heavy stuff” doing the convecting and making the spreading zones. The “scum” is not tied to any particular heavy stuff plate, but like all froth can get shoved over bounaries between one moving conveyor and another. There are no ‘hard edges’ between ‘plates’ at the surface. Only at the spreading / subducting lines of the lower plates.

  14. David says:

    Geology is fascinating. Living in Washington State I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Eastern WA and become exposed to the remains of the Missoula Floods through the Channeled Scablands.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

    Considering that these floods (scientists think they occurred multiple times) would drain a volume of water close to half of Lake Michigan in a matter of days, immense amounts of soil and rock were stripped away and washed into the Willamette Valley and out the mouth of the Columbia River. I have read some estimates that sea level during this time was up to 100m lower than it was now and sure enough within that region there is a canyon that points straight to the Columbia.

    Would have been quite a sight to see all of that water and muck shoot out of the river mouth. The estimated volumes and natural forces are difficult to imagine.

    When you stand at the top of a hill and look down on Grand Coulee dam and realize that a 300′ wall of water once came through there, you begin to appreciate the scale.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Coulee_Dam

    Dry Falls is another great place to view the remnants of the events.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Falls

    PS While doing some research on this post I found that if you consider historical evidence, Sea Levels are actually quite low and have been up to 400m higher (according to one study) than they are currently, so someday perhaps the Salton Sea will join the Pacific once again.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_level#Local_and_eustatic_sea_level

    PPS why is there what looks to be a river canon below 1500′ of water off the Coast of California??? Are undersea currents able to carve features like that, or perhaps the result of some type of mass wasting? Actually it looks like most of the Pacific Coast was a giant waterfall at one time if you look at it from Google Earth. Asteroid caused mega-tsunami perhaps?

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    @Adolfo:

    So, what did that link mean? Was it saying that there is a higher frequency of reversals than typically reported as there is some kind of shallower high frequency flutter?

    @Melaga View:

    That link is very interesting, but it’s going to take me a while to get through it… maybe after lunch… ;-)

    I’ve long thought there was not enough attention paid to the notion that the ocean basins can change profile, with bottoms buckling or with continents ‘bobbing’ up and down some…

    People think of the world as a static place while it has more in common with a pot of boiling porrage and foam on top…

    @George:

    I’m pondering a posting on the Salton Sea itself… There’s a company that wants to make a little canal to bring in some more water to run the re-injection for the geothermal and freshen the lake. Mexicali is about 50 feet below sea level (on the Mexican side of the border) and at some point about half way from it to the Gulf you get all the way up to 30 foot ASL then drop back down to zero at the shore. Easy “lift” of 30 feet, then about 250 foot of “downhill” so they intend to make some hydro power out of this too.

    Gee, what could go wrong with putting a siphon from the sea into the below sea level area?…

    It also would be fun to calculate how many earth mover / scrapers it would take to make a -50 foot to zero foot path about one lane wide through that small ‘hump’ in the middle…. Could one cranky guy do it in a weekend? Would one dedicated terrorist with a set of artillery shells be able to excavate the first channel? (After that, it self dredges until California is full of water… )

    But I’m resisting that urge… Honest I am… Not thinking about it at all…. (Or maybe TWO guys, one with the earth mover and the other with the ‘road grader’… I bet folks wouldn’t even notice much if you had department of road works markings and did it along an established roadway… leaving that “last bit” for the dynamite to clear in a ‘flourish’…. Making a “straighter and flatter” road toward the coastal area of “FOO”… would be seen as a feature…. You could knock the middle down and nobody would really know what was up, and “downhill” to Mexicali is, well, downhill, so you don’t need to do anything… it’s really just that “last bit” where folks would wonder… and sand is SOO easy to move percussively… )

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    The Grand Canyon has had volcanic activity, some of it not long ago…

    http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Arizona/description_arizona_volcanoes.html

    Remember Sunset crater is not very far from the Grand Canyon and near Flagstaff there are others.

    http://www.grandcanyonassociation.org/page/GCA/PROD/FEATURED/M10184

  17. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    http://www.mccullagh.org/image/10d-11/ubehebe-crater-1.html

    And the crater in Death Valley is not that old, it’s within the Holocene, and surrounding craters are even younger.

    It’s definitely a rift valley, sleeping at the moment.

    Its the same for Victoria in Australia, one of the largest rift zones which is sleeping at the moment, the last eruption was around 6000 years ago as well.

    http://home.iprimus.com.au/foo7/volcmap.html

    http://www.theage.com.au/national/volcanoes-in-victoria-20080809-3sme.html

    http://museumvictoria.com.au/mineralogy/volcan.html

    erupting at approx 25,000 year intervals.

    http://books.google.com.au/books?id=4NBOn7ecZeAC&pg=PA325&lpg=PA325&dq=victoria+rift+zone+australia&source=bl&ots=dyjymO3dfg&sig=GFNb6Bk_K1KeWhtQtv3UgNLa-8U&hl=en&ei=jWmWTZLqH5GivQP5o9CCDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CEUQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=victoria%20rift%20zone%20australia&f=false

    There are thoughts that the hot spot may have moved into the bass strait between Victoria and Tasmania. It’s interesting that a lot of these eruptions also happened around 6000 years ago, and that was the last great warming, soon after that we went into a cooling phase.

    6000 years ago was much much warmer then today, maybe 4 degrees warming, the Holocene Climatic Optimum. Maybe a solar connection ended it, waking of all these volcanoes and rift systems? Because it became colder again till the Minoan Warm period, which also was much warmer then today, see the Greenland Ice core data. I mean almost everything was warmer then today in the Holocene LOL!!! Only Hansen’s computer is overheating from stretching the numbers

  18. George says:

    San Francisco peak is near Grand Canyon.

    Re: sea levels, yes, they have been much higher in the past. Before about 12-14 million years ago there was no ice at either pole. Things began to ice up at the South pole 12-14 million years ago but the North pole stayed ice-free until about 2 or 3 million years ago.

    The interesting thing has been how the arctic behaves when sea levels begin to drop. Once you expose the floor of the Bearing Strait, the Arctic Ocean changes dramatically. I think it takes only about a 30 meter drop to expose that land bridge and cut off the flow of warmer Pacific water into the Arctic. At that point the sea levels can drop pretty quickly. And as it drops, more floating ice in the Arctic becomes land-fast.

  19. George says:

    Actually there is a lot of fairly recent volcanic activity not far from the course of the Colorado. The area around Panguitch Lake in Utah erupted around AD 900, I think it is estimated. There are a lot of cinder cones around Washington and Iron counties, too. The one in Veyo is probably the most obvious but there are others, too. One time many years ago, some pranksters hauled a tire up to the top of the Veyo cone and set it alight in the early morning hours.

  20. George says:

    Here’s a picture of the Veyo cone, just off state route 18 Northwest of St. George.

    This and the surrounding volcanoes have been active during the Holocene.

  21. P.G. Sharrow says:

    The largest and most recent major volcanic outburst in the U.S, is the area north of Lassen at Medicine Lake, The Devils Garden, along the California, Oregon border. The other bookend to Mammoth. pg

  22. R. de Haan says:

    Great story.
    Interesting how interests develop and a curious mind is the basis for new found knowledge, read progress and… skepticism.

    As a flatlander being born near the Dutch coast I always have been attracted to mountains.

    At a very young age, during a holiday in Germany somewhere near Koblenz my dad took a an unpaved side road with his Volkswagen Beetle (everybody had a Volkswagen Beetle in those days) which ended in an open lime stone pit.
    Because it was holiday season the pit was unattended and it didn’t take much for us to do a close inspection of the area.

    That’s where I found my first fossils, trilobites.

    Lime stone and basalt was transported to the Dutch coast and canals in huge quantities where it is used to protect the dikes and the channels against the waves from the sea and the passing ships.

    Sometimes we went fishing at one of the side arm of the North Sea Channel that connects IJmuiden with Amsterdam and when most of my friends were focused on catching a fish, I spend my time scavenging through the blocks of lime stone looking for more fossils and I found many.
    Not the trilobites from the pit near Koblenz but beautiful fish, worms and shrimp type of animals.

    Eager to get some expertise I took my bike and went to the Teyler’s Museum near my home town with parts of my fossil collection carefully packed in a box.

    But at the entrance of the museum, the guard wouldn’t let me in. I think I was nine years old at that time and I went there ‘without parental super vision’, so the Museum in fact was a no go zone for me.

    When I told the guard I had found some fossils and wanted to find out more about them he let me in and told me to wait.

    I was introduced to a very old person (in the eyes of a nine year old) in an impressive white coat and distracted by his huge thick glasses I forgot his name the moment he introduced himself. I must have made him crazy with all my questions. He couldn’t tell me much about the fish I brought but he told me a lot about the trilobites and the fact they first showed up in the geological record 526 million years ago and that it was a guide fossil.

    The first part of that statement alone was a great surprise to me because at my school my teacher just had told me that the planet was not older than 5.500 years.

    Anyhow, if you ever get to Amsterdam or have some hours to kill at Schiphol Airport, you must visit this museum. Just grab a cab and go there.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teyler's_Museum

    It’s one of those rare places where they create skeptics.

    I’m still grateful for that experience.

  23. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “Easy “lift” of 30 feet, then about 250 foot of “downhill” so they intend to make some hydro power out of this too. Gee, what could go wrong with putting a siphon from the sea into the below sea level area?… ”

    Think bigger! Move to Egypt! The Qattara Depression in the Sahara of northern Egypt has been the object of such ideas. Imagine a depression with a max depth of 134 meters below sea level on 65 kilometers from the Mediteranean. Surface area of the potential lake (if raised to sea level) of 20,000 km2. Accessible by canal with perhaps one stretch of a couple kilometers needing a tunnel. Projected power generation of 1000 megawatts, 35 years to fill it up. Enough water to change the local climate.

    Of course the ancient Egyptians made a similar sized lake, Lake Moeris, by diverting the Nile during flood to a depression west of Memphis. No electric power plants, but good fishing and flood control. :)

  24. TGSG says:

    wonderful stuff everyone! going to be busy all night I think :)

  25. Rob R says:

    David

    There are deep channels and canyons beneath the sea on many continental shelves. They are typically eroded by submarine debris flows. These are probably more frequent during glacial periods than they are now. In other words when the sea is up to 120 m lower and the coastline is miles further seaward than it is now. The shallow marine sediments are more easily destabilised at such times. Also the rivers run further out onto the continental shelves carrying sand and gravel. So continental shelves contain more coarse sediment than you would ordinarily expect, and this sediment is abraisive when it turns into a debris flow.

  26. George says:

    At minimum depth the coasts went roughly all the way to the continental shelf. The coasts would have been extensive marshes.

  27. Malaga View says:

    @ Scarlet Pumpernickel
    Thanks you for the link to the Arizona Volcanoes… very interesting…

    The Uinkaret volcanic field (1.2 million years ago to 12,500 years ago) at the north rim of the Grand Canyon in the Grand Canyon National Park is especially noteworthy.
    ….
    The most recent eruption, which began about 1065, A.D., produced the Sunset Crater Cinder Cone, three lava flows, and an extensive air-fall tephra sheet.

    @ E.M. Smith
    Wondering whether 12,500 years ago and 1065, A.D. are significant on your Bond timeline…

    Being paranoid I wondered about the recent quakes in Arkansas and two of yesterdays:
    01-APR-2011 13:29:12 Lat: 35.73 Lon: 26.45 Mag: 5.9 Depth Km:77.9 CRETE
    01-APR-2011 12:56:28 Lat: 43.03 Lon: -110.34 Mag: 4.1 Depth Km:5.1 WYOMING

    But being paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t a Bond Event brewing under some sleeping giants :-)

  28. P.G. Sharrow says:

    A most interesting depiction of a world gravity map below:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-12911806

    Brought to you by the BBC. pg

  29. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Also, you have rifting further up as well, at Craters of the Moon National Park. Its a very clear rift zone

    http://www.nps.gov/crmo/index.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Craters_of_the_Moon_National_Monument_and_Preserve

    Yeah Grand Canyon Lava flows are not near the visitor centres or overlooks, so everyone forgets about them.

    http://asterweb.jpl.nasa.gov/gallery-detail.asp?name=gclava

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080205100014.htm

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2008/02/15/2164047.htm

    Yeah Sunset only erupted about 1000 years ago, its worth a visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunset_Crater

    http://geomaps.wr.usgs.gov/parks/sunset/sunvolc.html

  30. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Also, this area of the US and the East Pacific rise, probably controls the whole world’s climate http://www.geostreamconsulting.com/papers/Leybourne_Oceans_Fin.pdf

    Interesting, there was a large eruption in one section anyway in 2006-7, maybe it needs to be compared to the El Nino-La Nina charts?

    http://www.ridge2000.org/seas/for_students/reference/study_site_epr.html

    Nice pic from space from Arizona volcano

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=40076

    Another computer view of Arizona group

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6585

  31. David says:

    Would all this movement of different density magma affect the grace satellite measurements?

  32. Eric Fithian says:

    the author is the justly famous Robert A. Heinlein. The collection is The Menace from Earth. The original date of the story is 1947. The story (last one in the book) is “Water Is for Washing”.
    Some of the best thrillers come from Science fiction writers when they aren’t doing science fiction…!

  33. E.M.Smith says:

    @Melaga View:

    A Bond Event time (based only on the solar 179 years cycle) ought to have happened in 10866 BC (or 12877 BP) with next cycle peak in 10689 BC and the second one in 10510 BC (or 12521 BP) so your 12,500 years ago is off by 2 solar cycles late from a BE per the solar counter. Per the Wiki, the oldest named BE is:

    ≈11,100 BP (Bond event 8) — coincides with the transition from the Younger Dryas to the boreal

    which I make as 9089 BC. On my spread sheet, that is “two cycles late” from 9436 BC (at 9078 BC actual calculated) and with 9257 BC in between).

    So, it’s quite possible that there is some error in the repetative subtraction of 179 that “accumulates” to 2 x 179 by the time you are that many generations back. (Or that something caused it to ‘slip 2 counts’ between then and now… or that we don’t actually hit BE-0 for 2 x 179 more years…) My money would be on “it’s not exactly 179 and the error is accumulating). It’s 68 repeated subtractions at that point. If it’s off by 5 years on the actual cycle time that accounts for the whole thing…

    This article:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/01/nasa-headline-deep-solar-minimum/

    Says in it here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/04/01/nasa-headline-deep-solar-minimum/#comment-108932

    Geoff Sharp shows with Landscheidt’s hypothesis and a calculation of the angular momentum the solar system places on the Sun that the Jose cycle is actually 172 years and can explain pretty well all the medium term variation including the warming in the late 20th century and the Little Ice Age during the Renaissance … and the Dalton Minimum in between. You can find his work at …

    http://landscheidt.auditblogs.com/2009/01/21/11000-year-c14-graph-lines-up-perfectly-with-angular-momentum-graph/

    So 179-172 = 7

    Looks to me like a probably BE match, but with the Jose Cycle being closer to 173-4 years… than 179 …

    For 1065 AD the “error bar” will be smaller…

    The actual measured event is listed as:

    “≈1,400 BP (Bond event 1) — roughly correlates with the Migration Period pessimum (450–900 AD)”

    OK, first off, it’s got a wide range of 450 years… But it does end in ‘about’ 900 AD. That leaves 165 years for your date to show up. Oddly, again it’s about 2 cycles late from the peak…

    I compute a BE at 588 ( thought the nominal onset per “news” of the day I usually count as the 535 AD dark days…) so from 588 AD we get 767 AD then 946 AD and 1125 AD. So you are 60 years short of the “3 count” and 129 late from the 3 count.

    Hmmm…. Wonder if the Really Big volcanic events happen on the ‘warm up / climb out” from a BE ?…

    FWIW, I set the “start of BE-0″ arbitrarily at 2020 and then used the arbitrary 179 year counter to count backwards to the other target dates.

    Why? I ‘synced’ more or less with the “4.2 Kilo Year” event that way:

    “≈4,200 BP (Bond event 3) — correlates with the 4.2 kiloyear event (correlates also with the collapse of the Akkadian Empire and the end of the Egyptian Old Kingdom)”

    As I like the Akkadians and Egyptians ;-) (And it was about 1/3 of the way into the known Bond Events as listed here):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bond_event

    And I figured the oldest 1/3 was a bit dodgier on dates, so match the middle of the last 2/3.

    The 4.2 KYevent is about 2200 BC and I get a BE marker at 2276 BC. Close enough for the available error bars on known events.

    For:

    “≈5,900 BP (Bond event 4) — correlates with the 5.9 kiloyear event (correlates with the end of the Pre Pottery Neolithic B, and the arrival of nomadic pastoralists in the Middle East)”

    I have a 3708 BC that is lagging by one the 3887 BC cycle top that is the closer match to 3900 BC / 5900 BP (3889 if you do the whole 2011 in stead of just a 2000 year “BC” adjustment.. which is spooky close ;-)

    Yet the next one is at:

    “≈8,100 BP (Bond event 5) — correlates with the 8.2 kiloyear event”

    Or about 6100 BC while I have 6572 BC, you need to get passed 6398 and 6214 to get close to that…

    So I think:

    1) The “way back dates” look to have “Jose Cycle Creep” from a couple of years error each.

    2) There is about a “one cycle” jitter either way from the calculated BE “node” that may either be nature being a bit random; the planetary movments are not exactly the same each round so has natural computable “jitter”; or their is measurment error in the actual dating of prior BEs…

    Now aren’t you glad I cleared that up ;-)

  34. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    @ Smith Did CO2 rise 800 years later after each warming period?

    CO2 I think just rises with temperature, because biomass on earth increases with warmth. That’s why it lags a bit, it takes time for the biomass to build up. That’s why we crash into an Ice age even at a high CO2, because it’s totally unrelated, and when it gets called, biomass dies, so CO2 starts to drop again…

  35. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    @ Smith you see this article, thinks that long term tidal forces cause the change http://www.jstor.org/pss/122066

    Does it also cause changes in the liquid core of the earth and regulate volcanic periods as well? I mean Io is active due to large orbital resonance factors with Jupiter, maybe the moon plays a small part in this activities, maybe these rifting events all get active in certain periods?

  36. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/31810

    Swarm on the other side of USA as well :P and Steam :)

  37. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    April FOOL LOL

  38. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/23dec_voyager/

    Does the cloud that was not supposed to exist effect the bond cycle?

  39. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Found this cool video on Long Valley

  40. Pingback: Mother Nature takes care of it’s own, planet in no need of saving | Sullivan's Travelers

  41. Malaga View says:

    MAJOR EARTHQUAKE DANGER PERIOD 6-9th April IMMINENT

    Following on the dramatic confirmation by the Myanmar Thailand M6.8 Earthquake 24th March of Piers Corbyn’s (WeatherAction) Long Range warning of HIGH RISK of a major Earthquake 23-27 March WeatherAction is producing further trial forecasts of Severe Earthquake risk.

    For confirmations links & videos see: http://bit.ly/hBHho1

    These monthly trial forecasts are available to Weather Action subscribers as part of USA and Extreme events ‘Rest of World’ Services and are also made fully public just before the periods

    Piers Corbyn (5 APRIL) said:
    “The 6-9th April is our first major (Trial) Earthquake risk period of April and comes with related extreme weather events forecasts. In these trial periods we expect an increase in the serious M6.0 and above quakes in quake vulnerable locations (and related increases in lower level activity) around the world such as the Pacific ‘ring of fire’. This includes the WEST USA which in this time period is probably more vulnerable than for decades.

    http://www.weatheraction.com/displayarticle.asp?a=333&c=5

  42. Malaga View says:

    9/56 year cycle: Californian earthquakes, David McMINN
    This paper examines the prospect of a 9/56 year cycle in the timing of major earthquakes in California – Nevada – Baja California. The 9/56 year seismic cycle was hypothesised to arise from tidal triggering by the Moon and Sun. Most sigfinicant are ecliptical positions of the Sun, lunar ascending node and apogee.

    http://www.ncgt.org/newsletter.php?action=download&id=88

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @Malaga View:

    Interesting stuff on the quakes. So I guess posting them here means I need to start another current quake page ;-)

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/quakes-quieting-post-supermoon/

    has an interesting “followup” quake to that one near Yellowstone, some more in Alaska. Nothing spectacular. Yet…

  44. Pingback: Quakes California and Central America | Musings from the Chiefio

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