Geo-Joint: Underground Fires

A forest fire is a huge spectacle, as towering trees explode in flame, and thick smoke billows away from the roaring inferno. Though they sometimes burn for weeks or months, the hard work of fire crews, retardant-dropping airplanes, or the change of seasons that brings rain and snow eventually wins out over the flames. Not so with peat fires. Peat … Read More

Geo-Joint: License Plates

Automobiles as we more or less know them got their start in the late 1800s. As you might imagine, there were any number of transportation contraptions invented before Karl Benz introduced his Benz-Patent Motorwagen in 1886, but his is considered the first basic motor car. By 1900, there were something on the order of 8,000 automobiles in the U.S. of … Read More

Geo-Joint: California Palms in Peril

As an icon, the palm tree finds itself in graphics anywhere an artist wants to say “Southern California.” The spirit and ambiance of the place is grasped in an instant when that long, slender trunk topped with splaying fronds is pictured. And it’s no wonder why—the plant is ubiquitous in the cities of the Southland, and in a lot of … Read More

Geo-Joint: Fearless (and fearful) Footbridges

It’s often a surprise, when out on a hike, to find a footbridge. You might be under the impression that the trail you’re hiking has just always been there or simply maintains itself (both erroneous notions), however, seeing a bridge makes it clear that some serious effort and design skill has been employed by persons unknown to you, in order … Read More

Geo-Joint: The Monasteries of Meteora

Nothing beats elevation when you want to get away from the madding crowd (huge deserts and ocean floors are good too, but hard to live in). High mountain peaks also fill the bill, but the Orthodox Christians of mid-15th century Greece, wanting solitude, had some unusual geology close at hand. Near the western edge of the Plains of Thessaly in … Read More

Geo-Joint: Australia’s Rabbit Proof Fence

Australia is a huge land, harboring many kinds of animals. But before 1788, rabbits were not among them. The initial group of boats that carried settlers from England to Australia, known as the First Fleet, brought domesticated rabbits along as a source of food. They were confined to the pens where they were raised. Wild rabbits were also brought to … Read More

Geo-Joint: Peering into Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe isn’t the world’s deepest lake, but it’s in the top twenty. 1645 feet deep at its lowest point, it averages 1,000 feet over its 191 square-mile surface. Surrounded by the wooded slopes of the Sierra Nevada, it is a treasure nestled between California and Nevada, right where their shared straight line borders form a roughly 130 degree angle. … Read More

Geo-Joint: The Zanclean Flood

Perhaps you have stood on a beach at a lagoon mouth and watched what happens when a stormy sea breaks through the sand berm that had sealed off the lagoon. It starts as a small stream, but soon turns into a rapid torrent as the sand wears away, and the higher lagoon water heads downhill to the sea. Something like … Read More

Geo-Joint: Plastic Water Bottles

This may be an unbelievable thing to younger readers of the Geo-Joint, but 30 or 40 years ago people only very rarely drank water out of a personal container other than a glass or a cup. Sure, there were army surplus canteens, and bottles you could fill with water to take with you on a hike. But outside of some … Read More

Thailand: Counting in Thai

Almost nothing will help you move through Thailand with ease more than learning how to count. You never realize how often you use numbers in your daily life until you don’t know how to say them. At the markets, buying anything, asking the time, and ordering food are just a few examples of when you are going to thank yourself … Read More