Tag Archives: fun facts

Photography In The National Parks: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2

It’s #TriviaTuesday folks! If you visit Lassen Volcanic National Park in California, you’ll have the opportunity to see all four types of volcano: plug dome (aka lava dome), cinder cone, shield, and strato (aka composite). And you can hike up to each of these, too. Lassen Peak is one of the world’s largest plug domes, Prospect Peak is a shield volcano, Brokeoff Mountain is an eroded part of stratovolcano Mount Tehama, and, well, Cinder Cone is a cinder cone. You can even hike up to and then down into Cinder Cone, pictured here.

This shot was captured with my iPhone. And speaking of iPhones, and smartphones in general, my latest photo column has been published in the National Parks Traveler: Getting Great Smartphone Shots – Part 2.

To read the article, click on the image above

I’m an SLR gal, but I readily admit the smartphone camera is an amazing piece of technology and smartphone cameras can get some pretty cool shots. I used mine when I neglected to bring along a particular wide-angle lens for my other camera during my own hike up to Cinder Cone. And I wanted to prove, not only to myself, but to you also, that you can get some very nice images with your smartphone.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #55

It’s time to check out this month’s quiz and trivia piece I wrote for the National Parks Traveler. How much *do* you know about the units of the National Park System?

One of the questions in the quiz – actually, the very first question – deals with the images (one of them, anyway) you see above of the large dacite boulder seen in the Devastated Area of Lassen Volcanic National Park. What are those round-ish things you see within the dacite bouler? Btw, dacite is an igneous rock that forms from viscous (thick, slow-flowing) lava. Those small white inclusions you see are bits of quartz.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on either image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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National Parks Quiz And Trivia #54

It’s time for another National Parks Quiz and Trivia piece, courtesy of yours truly and published in today’s edition of the National Parks Traveler. Just how much do you really know about the national parks and other protected lands of the National Park System? Find out with the multiple choice questions, followed by a bit of park trivia, followed by the answers. You might learn something new with which to dazzle your friends, family, and coworkers.

To take the quiz and read the trivia, click on the image above.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Fun Fact Friday, August 5, 2022: Exfoliation

It’s #FunFactFriday

Ok, be honest. What comes to mind when I write the word “exfoliation?” To me, a picture of dry, flaky skin first comes to mind. However, exfoliation has a geological context to it, too. It’s a weathering process and one of the best places to see this process is along Tioga Road in Yosemite National Park.

As you drive that road, take a look at the granite hills and domes all around you. Notice that interesting sort of “onion peel” effect on the rock layers? That’s exfoliation! It’s a type of weathering and is common in granites.

You see, granite formed beneath the earth’s surface, under immense pressure. So, when the surface sediments and rocks – collectively termed as overburden – covering that granite are eroded or removed and that granite is exposed, the pressure beneath which the granite lay is gone and the granite begins to expand, forming all sorts of fractures (joints). Weathering (like frost heaving) causes plates, or flakes of rock to strip away the surface rock much like onion skin peels away from the onion.

And now you know.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under Fun Fact Friday, Geology, National Parks, Photography, Yosemite National Park

It’s Trivia Tuesday 3-29-2022!

Old Faithful erupting at Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park
Heart Spring in the foreground and the Lion Group of geysers in the background at Upper Geyser Basin
The scalloped edges of Doublet Pool at Upper Geyser Basin
A bright bacterial mat leading toward a hot spring at Biscuit Basin.
Geyser Beads

It’s #TriviaTuesday Folks! So, how many of you have ever visited one of the geyser basins in Yellowstone National Park, marveling at the colorful hot springs and the energetic geysers? Do you know how to tell if what you are looking at is a geyser or hot spring (if there is no sign to identify it)? Especially if a geyser, when not erupting, looks like a hot spring?

According to a cool little video on the NPS site for Yellowstone, you should look at the edges of a thermal feature. “Hot springs often have ledges or walls of sinter (silica deposits) around them, because as the water level fluctuates, it leaves behind silica deposits. The edges may even be scalloped or lacy, such as what you see when looking at Doublet Pool in Upper Geyser Basin.

“Beadwork,” or pebbly-looking sinter indicates a geyser. “As the water splashes with each eruption, it deposits silica, creating a bumpy appearance.” At some geysers that look like hot springs, you’ll notice rounded, riverstone-like pebbles beneath the water. These rounded stones are called “geyser eggs” and are formed by silica deposition and water movement.

Colorful orange and yellow bacterial mats are also good indicators of hot springs, since that means the water is warm enough for thermophilic (heat-loving) bacteria to thrive, but not hot enough to be a geyser.

The thing is, the landscape beneath and above Yellowstone is always changing. Excelsior Crater Geyser used to be a geyser, and is now a hot spring – well, it’s a hot spring right now that hasn’t erupted in several decades, but it could become a geyser again if the conditions change.

And now, you are that much smarter for the day. 🙂

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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