Sunday, February 28, 2010

Face to Face with a tsunami...



but it wasn't that big (though it was my first tsunami that I've actually observed). Yesterday I roped Christine and my mom, with mchenry in tow, into heading down to the beach where I had the idea that I could collect a bunch of video of the chilean tsunami impacting the local beaches - and then speed it up (so one could actually see something). Sadly, the battery in my video camera died after only 14 minutes. But I've taken what I did collect and compressed it into about a minute of video. And, in the end, I am really not sure that you can make anything out, though the tsunami WAS evident on the beach as we stood there and watched. The harbor entrance in particular would turn into a river each time the trough of the wave impacted the shore (we watched for perhaps an hour, in which time maybe two wavelengths hit). As usual, I was curious to see the tsunami signature in the P.A. tidal gauge - and there it is. Surprisingly, the amplitude of the wave was about 25, same as was recorded in San Francisco, though the period of the wave appears to be different in the two locations... video
and while the tsunami hitting our coast was more of a novelty, I think it is important to recognize that this one, like so many before (and the earthquake that generated it), took lives. My heart goes out to those that are still suffering as a result...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I may be starting to enjoy posters...


A few posts back I took the opportunity to poke some fun at one of the three legs of the scientists communication "stool". The poster is a much used tool - sort of like the first step in communicating progress or results of a study. Yesterday I presented my second poster at a conference in Washington...but I wasn't there. My co-author, a student from Peninsula College (also a boat-driver for the US Coast Guard) stood at the poster and reported that people were interested in the work. Always good to hear. Though to be honest he thought the interest was more in the method (putting RFID tags into rocks) than in the sedimentological ramifications of our research. Oh well - I totally get it.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Elwha Dam Removal - Getting Closer

This article appeared five days ago in the Seattle P.I. I've been tracking this story since moving to the peninsula in 1997, and I feel I've gone old and crusty with it, even though I am a relatively newbie to the scene. I can't even imagine how those that have really put their careers into this must feel at this point. I sort of think that it must be some profound sense of exhaustion, with almost equal parts suspicion (can it really happen, after all of this time?) and elation. I imagine that when the first chunk comes out they might all just get together and have a big weeping session somewhere.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A tale of two lighthouses




It somehow gives me comfort whenever i find tangible connections between Santa Cruz and Port Angeles. Santa Cruz is an incredibly nice place, and continues to grow on me, but I really do miss the Olympic Peninsula. Today we went for a Sunday drive (a relatively new diversion that is a function of both having a new baby, and having grandma in tow. Kind of limits the options) along the coast north of Santa Cruz. We stopped at the Pigeon Point lighthouse, where I happened upon and bought a book by local historian Frank Perry about Lighthouse Point in Santa Cruz. Now that I am a westsider, I spend a considerable amount of time starting up at the light house while surfing along the bluffs of steamer lane. The lighthouse that currently occupies the point is not the original, but it does mark the area where the original lighthouse once stood (Well, almost. Where the original lighthouse once stood is now over water. cliff erosion is a killer that way). When the Santa Cruz lighthouse was built in 1868, every effort was made to save money in its construction - including recycling the design from another, recently built lighthouse. And the design picked? You guessed - the lighthouse on Ediz Hook, built in 1865.

Both lighthouse are now gone. The one in Santa Cruz was dismantled by some local contractors, I think in the 60's, and parts were used in their various projects. The Ediz Hook lighthouse was moved - to 3rd and Albert in Port Angeles. According to Frank Perry, they were the only two of their design built...one in Santa Cruz, and one in Port Angeles.

So the photos - the first photo is the one in Santa Cruz, the bottom two the Ediz Hook lighthouse back in the day, and its current manifestation as a residence...