We were on the road this weekend, attending the fall meeting of the Far Western Section of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. When geologist-teachers get together, we may talk about teaching, but we make sure our activities revolve around geology. We explore.
The sponsor of our meeting was Copper Mountain College, which serves the towns of Yucca Valley and Twentynine Palms. The towns are right next to Joshua Tree National Park which sits astride the boundary between the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts in Southern California. One group explored the scarps produced by the 1992 Landers Earthquake, a 7.6 temblor that produced a prominent scarp that is still visible today. The other trip was a tour of a park named for an odd tree, but whose other distinction is the bizarro rocks it has. Joshua Tree is a showcase for plutonic processes, with thousands of acres of weirdly weathered granitic boulders.