Friday, October 25, 2013

Inside the Green Dragon

A quick look at the refurbished trolley car known as the "Green Dragon," part of the McKinney Avenue Transit Authority's M-Line in Dallas, TX:

Monday, October 7, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: A Walk in the Park

Before we ended our trip and said goodbye to Minnesota we made one final stop to see some old friends.  The city is the birthplace of cartoonist Charles Schulz, creator of the Peanuts comic strip, and to honor him and his work there are character statues populating Rice Park downtown.  Here are some pictures we took on the was to the airport:

Video coming soon!

Friday, October 4, 2013

GeoRoadTrip: On Location #38 - Mickey's Dining Car

One of our last stops on the trip was for breakfast at the world famous Mickey's Dining Car in St. Paul:

What makes it world famous, you ask?  Well the vintage diner can be seen in The Mighty Ducks:

Jingle All the Way also gives you a good look at The Church of the Assumption across the street:

And to top it all off, the food was great!  Video coming soon!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 21013: Where Every Night is Taconite

Welcome to the town of Silver Bay, MN, home of Rocky Taconite.  The town's mascot is yet another celebration of the mining industry and culture that is so prevalent in the area:

The town also offers a great view of the  north shore of Lake Superior:

Video coming soon!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: Down the Hatch

Our next stop was Minnesota's oldest iron ore mine.  At the Soudan Underground Mine State Park a quick, terrifying ride down a tiny elevator/cage takes you half a mile underground.  It's the same elevator that the miners used to get all the way down there:

Once you get down, you can see the stats:

One the tour, you also get to ride the same mine cars that the miners used and get a lot of info about what it was like to work the mines throughout the years.

Another interesting feature you can see down there are examples of banded, unoxidized iron deposits.  These deposits from the Soudan iron formation are over 1.8 billion years old and make up the chief ore body of the mine:

They are evidence of the lack of oxygen in earth's ancient atmosphere.

Video coming soon!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: Minnesota Museum of Mining

What can be said about the Minnesota Museum of Mining in Chisholm, MN?  It has a HUGE amount of mining equipment and historical artifacts on display and is a must if you are traveling in the area.  Here are some pictures of of just a few of the things you can see there:

Video coming soon!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: I am Iron Man!

If and when you find yourself driving into Chisholm, Minnesota you'll be greeted by the town's ambassador: The Invincible Iron Man!  Here's a look at his impressive stats:

As a monument to the area's iron mining industry and the men who worked the mines, he stands atop  a striking stack of iron girders with his trusty shovel and pickaxe.  Any resemblance to Robert Downy Jr. is purely coincidental (and probably imaginary):

Video coming soon!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Geo-Roadtrip 2013: Pit Stop Pt. 2

The Hull–Rust–Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine continued to offer us a bounty of mining memorabilia with its menagerie of mechanical monsters. (That's some "Stan Lee" style alliteration right there folks!)  A short path leads visitors to where they keep the big boys:

This huge dragline bucket could scoop up 30 cubic yards of of dirt and at least one geologist:

Here's a drill bit on display:

Who hasn't fantasized about driving the big rigs from time to time:

Video coming soon!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Geo-Roadtrip 2013: Pit Stop Pt. 1

Not too far from our last stop was the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine.  It's one of the largest open pit iron mines in the world and is still in operation.

The mine is three miles long, two miles wide and 535 feet deep.  There's a great overlook, a nice little interpretive center and admission is free.  Can't beat that.  It's a definite "must stop" if you are in the area.

While the mine is no longer at it's peak, it still produces iron ore taconite (which, unfortunately, is not pronounced as "Taco Night.")  Although I still sometimes say it that way.

They've got lots of taconite samples on display as well as other displays inside.  You can even buy some souvenir samples in a display jar but be prepared to have a conversation about them with security at the airport.

And there's a ton of mining stuff outside which we will get to in our next blog entry.  Video coming soon too!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: 50 Shades of Greyhound

In between the various geologic wonders and roadside brouhaha that we encountered on Geo-RoadTrip 2013, we occasionally stumbled across things that seem interesting yet difficult to classify.  It was on our way to to some iron mining locales when we happened upon the Greyhound Bus Museum:

It is located in Hibbing, MN, which is known as the birthplace of the bus industry in the U.S.  Unfortunately, even though we arrived during the museum's business hours, it was't open.  So we could only take some pics of the outside:

And off we went to our next location!  Video coming soon! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: Fish Story

There's nothing better than stumbling across a World's Largest something-or-other while on a road trip.  One of our first stops was in Rush City, MN to get an eyeful of the World's Largest Walleye:

A walleye is a fresh water fish that is served at practically every restaurant in Minnesota.  Before our trip was done we had a belly full of them.  This one is on display right off the highway and has a handy sign listing its stats:

It was apparently caught by none other than Paul Bunyan.  His handy work is all over the state as you will see soon as our journey continues...

Video coming soon!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Geo-RoadTrip 2013: Chasing Agate

Let's get started with the breakdown of Geo-RoadTrip 2013!  Minnesota's official gemstone is Lake Superior Agate.  One of the best places to get a look at some is at Moose Lake, MN which dubs itself the "Agate Capital of the World"!

And if you ever find yourself in Moose Lake, like we did during our trip, you will want to stop by the Moose Lake Agate and Geological Center at Moose Lake State Park.  Here's a look at a few of the many specimens they have on display:

And not too far from the Center you can see a specimen that is world's largest specimen on record at the First National Bank of Moose Lake:

Video coming soon!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Geo-Walk: Enchanted Rock

Devin takes a walk around Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredericksburg, TX and talks about some of the local geology:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kneel Before Sod!

When most people think of geology and architecture they think of sculpted stones and the like.  But we can't forget the wonders of dirt!  Here's a great Sod House we found at the Dallas Arboretum:

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Marking Time #30 - Harrison County

If you are traveling eastbound on I-20, Marshall, TX is the last of the "biggish" cities you're going to see before you hit Louisiana.  I think of it as the third entry of the "I-20 Trinity" that includes Tyler and Lonview (sorry Kilgore).  They've put a lot of work into their historic downtown area but their pride and joy is the Old Harrison County Courthouse.

And with good reason.   Even if you're not a "courthouse groupie" you can't help but give it a good long stare if and when you find yourself in downtown Marshall.  It no longer holds court but serves as a museum and town centerpiece as well as being the building that pops up in most East Texas travel literature.

Outside stands a Confederate soldier as a monument to the large amount Confederate history the town has:

Also outside are the Historical Markers.  Instead of being posted on a pole or to the building itself, they are both mounted to stone tablets.  I can't decide if this puts more or less emphasis on them:

The marker for Marshall reads:

     Two years after Harrison County was created by the Republic of Texas Congress in 1839, landowner Peter Whetstone offered property for a courthouse, a church, and a school in an effort to persuade county officials to locate the seat of government in the new town formed on his land. Isaac Van Zandt, the local representative to the Republic Congress, named the new community Marshall in honor of U. S. Chief Justice John Marshall. By 1850 it had become one of the wealthiest towns in East Texas, with a population of about 2,000 and a number of cultural, religious, and civic organizations. 
     An important Confederate stronghold during the Civil War, Marshall was home to the wartime capital of Missouri and the postal headquarters of the South's Trans-Mississippi Department. Following the war, it was the site of an office of the Freedmen's Bureau. 
     After the Texas and Pacific Railway located its division point, shops, and offices here in the 1870s, Marshall became a major regional marketing and educational center. Colleges located here included Marshall University, Marshall Masonic Female Institute, Wiley College, Bishop College, and East Texas Baptist College (later East Texas Baptist University).

The marker for Harrison County reads:

     The original inhabitants of this area were the Caddo Indians. Anglo settlers, mostly from the southern U. S., began arriving in the 1830s. Many obtained Mexican land grants in 1835, and population increased following Texas independence in 1836. The Republic of Texas Congress created Harrison County in 1839 and named it for Texas revolutionary leader Jonas Harrison (1777-1836). Marshall became the county seat in 1842. 
     Harrison County was predominantly rural and agricultural, with cotton as the main crop. By 1850, it was the most populous, as well as one of the richest counties in antebellum Texas. A strong heritage of slavery prior to the Civil War and the influx of many former slaves after the war resulted in a large black population, as well. 
      The Southern Pacific Railroad, which built a line into Marshall before the Civil War, became part of the Texas and Pacific Railway system in the 1870s, connecting Harrison County with communities to the east, west, and north. The railroad located its main shops and offices in Marshall, which soon became a major transportation center. The economic base of the county diversified by the 1940s and was no longer primarily agricultural.

The Courthouse is right next to Telegraph Park which has this sweet statue:

The park is the site of the first telegraph office in Texas and these two stand vigilant tapping out welcome greetings to visitors.