Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Geology, Wildflowers, And A Root Canal

Life happens, there’s no doubt about it. WATCH FOR ROCKS has taken a quiet back seat for the past week due to circumstances beyond its control. Life, though, has a way of working through those happenings. It’s a new day!

Southwest Utah

BeaverDamMts Amphibolite OutcropSpring 2006
I had no idea that my molar nerve had been deteriorating beyond hope. It was just supposed to be a filling, or at most a crown to repair a cracked tooth… In the meanwhile, work progresses on a paper I am co-authoring on the geology of my study area in the Beaver Dam Mountains of southwestern Utah. I spent the better part of three undergraduate years traipsing across these schists, gneisses, amphibolites, and granitic intrusions, and even though I am no longer a student I am still deeply and foreverly involved in these metamorphic rocks.
We are deliriously ready to complete the last section of the paper this weekend. After some editing and tweaking, the plan is to submit it this summer to a professional geologic journal.  Meanwhile, the roadside wildflowers of southern Utah are bursting in their springtime splendor.
Desert marigold

What with working on the paper and preparing to leave next week for my summer at Yellowstone, I’ve not had much opportunity to venture into the backcountry these past few weeks. Even so, the southern Utah roadsides offer their own loveliness.

Although stunning, I do not believe these poppies are native to the area. It looks like someone sowed some invasive seeds along a patch of highway 18. We do have the endangered bearclaw poppy, though, but these aren’t that.

I believe that desert marigold, on the other hand, is native. It starts blooming in spring in the lower elevations and blooms all summer.
Desert marigold


I do not know what these gorgeous blue flowers are, but there are just a few growing among the poppies and so I suspect they are not native, either. Nevertheless, if I need another trip to the dentist or anywhere else, I will surely enjoy these flowers along the way.
IMG_6341SouthernUtahRoadside Flower
IMG_6347SouthernUtahRoadside Flower


  1. Hope you've now solved the tooth problem and can start enjoying Yellowstone soon. So look forward to seeing it again, thru your eyes and lens.

  2. Have I won anything yet?

  3. The deep blue flowers look like Deset Canterberry Bells, Phacelia campanulara, to me. I've been enjoying your blog the last month or so. Keep up the good work.