National Natural Landmark
The National Natural Landmarks Program recognizes and encourages the conservation of outstanding examples of the natural history of the United States. It is the only national natural areas program that identifies and recognizes the best examples of biological and geological features in both public and private ownership, the program was established on May 18,1962, by United States Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall. The program aims to encourage and support voluntary preservation of sites that illustrate the geological and ecological history of the United States and it hopes to strengthen the publics appreciation of the countrys natural heritage. As of November 2016,599 sites have been added to the National Registry of National Landmarks, the registry includes nationally significant geological and ecological features in 48 states, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. The National Park Service administers the NNL Program and if requested, land acquisition by the federal government is not a goal of this program.
National Natural Landmarks are nationally significant sites owned by a variety of land stewards, the legislative authority for the National Natural Landmarks Program stems from the Historic Sites Act of August 21,1935, the program is governed by federal regulations. The NNL Program does not have the features of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. Thus, designation of a National Natural Landmark presently constitutes only an agreement with the owner to preserve, insofar as possible and preservation of National Natural Landmarks is solely the owners responsibility. Either party may terminate the agreement after they notify the other, the UKs Site of Special Scientific Interest list is a rough equivalent. The NNL designation is made by the Secretary of the Interior after in-depth scientific study of a potential site, all new designations must have owner concurrence. The selection process is rigorous, to be considered for NNL status, since establishment of the NNL program, a multi-step process has been used to designate a site for NNL status.
Since 1970, the steps have constituted the process. A natural area inventory of a region is completed to identify the most promising sites. After landowners are notified that the site is being considered for NNL status, the evaluation report is peer reviewed by other experts to assure its soundness. The report is reviewed further by National Park Service staff, the site is reviewed by the Secretary of the Interiors National Park Advisory Board to determine that the site qualifies as an NNL. The findings are provided to the Secretary of the Interior who approves or declines, landowners are notified a third time informing them that the site has been designated an NNL. Each major natural history theme can be subdivided into various sub-themes. The NNL program does not require designated properties to be owned by public entities, lands under almost all forms of ownership or administration have been designated—federal, local and private
Chalcedony is a cryptocrystalline form of silica, composed of very fine intergrowths of quartz and moganite. These are both silica minerals, but they differ in that quartz has a crystal structure, while moganite is monoclinic. Chalcedonys standard chemical structure is SiO2, Chalcedony has a waxy luster, and may be semitransparent or translucent. It can assume a range of colors, but those most commonly seen are white to gray. The color of chalcedony sold commercially is often enhanced by dyeing or heating, the name chalcedony comes from the Latin chalcedonius. The name appears in Pliny the Elders Naturalis Historia as a term for a kind of Jaspis. The name is derived from the town Chalcedon in Asia Minor. The Greek word khalkedon appears in the Book of Revelation and it is a hapax legomenon so it is hard to tell whether the precious gem mentioned in the Bible is the same mineral known by this name today. Chalcedony occurs in a range of varieties. Many semi-precious gemstones are in forms of chalcedony.
The more notable varieties of chalcedony are as follows, Agate is a variety of chalcedony characterized by either transparency or color patterns, opaque varieties are sometimes referred to as jasper. Fire agate shows iridescent phenomena on a background, iris agate shows exceptional iridescence when light is shone through the stone. Landscape agate is chalcedony with a number of different mineral impurities making the stone resemble landscapes, aventurine is a form of quartz, characterised by its translucency and the presence of platy mineral inclusions that give a shimmering or glistening effect termed aventurescence. Chrome-bearing fuchsite is the inclusion, and gives a silvery green or blue sheen. Oranges and browns are attributed to hematite or goethite, carnelian is a clear-to-translucent reddish-brown variety of chalcedony. Its hue may vary from an orange, to an intense almost-black coloration. Similar to carnelian is sard, which is rather than red. Chrysoprase is a variety of chalcedony, which has been colored by nickel oxide
Backpacking is the outdoor recreation of carrying gear on ones back, while hiking for more than a day. It is often but not always an extended journey, and may or may not involve camping outdoors, in North America tenting is common, where simple shelters and mountain huts found widely in Europe are rare. In New Zealand, tramping is an equivalent term though overnight huts are frequently used, hill walking is the equivalent in Britain, though backpackers make use of all kinds of accommodation, in addition to camping. Backpackers use simple huts in South Africa, similar terms used in other countries are trekking and bushwalking. Backpacking as a method of travel is a different activity, which mainly utilizes public transport during a journey which can last months, backpacking is an outdoor recreation where gear is carried in a backpack. This can include food, bedding, clothing, backpacking trips consist of at least one night and can last for weeks or months, sometimes aided by planned resupply points or drops.
A skilled backpacker minimizes their impact on the environment, including staying on established trails, not disturbing vegetation, the Leave No Trace movement ethos is direct, Leave nothing but footprints. Backpackers must always be prepared for difficulties, whether mishaps are experienced or not, the remoteness of backpacking locations can exacerbate any mishap. Survival gear and the skills to use it are paramount, backpacking camps are usually more spartan than campsites where gear is transported by car or boat. In areas with heavy traffic, a hike-in campsite might have a fire ring, an outhouse. Many hike-in camps are no more than level patches of free of underbrush. In remote wilderness areas hikers must choose their own site, established camps are rare and the ethos is to leave no trace when gone. In some regions, varying forms of accommodation exist, from simple log lean-tos to staffed facilities offering escalating degrees of service, beds and even drinks may be had at Alpine huts scattered among well-traveled European mountains.
In the more parts of Great Britain, especially Scotland. On the French system of long distance trails, Grande Randonnées, backpackers can stay in gîtes detapes, there are some simple shelters and occasional mountain hut provided in North America, including on the Appalachian trail. Another example is the High Sierra Camps in the Yosemite National Park, long distance backpacking trails with huts exist in South Africa, including the 100 km plus Amatola Trail, in the Eastern Cape Province. Backpacking is popular in the Himalayas, where porters and pack animals are often used, backpacking gear begins with a suitable backpack, proper both in size and fit. Next is clothing and footwear appropriate for expected conditions, third is an adequate amount and type of food
Needles is a city in San Bernardino County, United States. It lies on the banks of the Colorado River in the Mohave Valley subregion of the Mojave Desert, near the borders of Arizona and Nevada. It is the easternmost city of the Greater Los Angeles area, the city is accessible via Interstate 40 and U. S. Route 95. The population was 4,844 at the 2010 census, up from 4,830 at the 2000 census. Needles was named after The Needles, a group of pinnacles, the large Mohave Native American community shares the nearby Fort Mojave Indian Reservation and the town. Needles is a gateway to the Mojave National Preserve, in the Mohave language, they call themselves the ʼAha Makhav. Their name comes from two words, ʼaha, meaning river, and makhav, meaning along or beside, the historic Mojave Road now goes through the Mojave National Preserve. Along it, in 1859, Fort Mojave was built to protect new pioneer immigrants to California, the city was founded in May 1883 as a result of the construction of the Atchison and Santa Fe Railway which originally crossed the Colorado River at this point.
The name was derived from the Needles, pointed mountain peaks where the holes in them. This point on the Colorado River was a site for such a bridge, lacking firm banks. Additionally, the bridge was not of the best quality, which led to criticism that it was a flimsy looking structure, the flooding and meandering of the Colorado River destroyed the bridge in 1884,1886 and 1888. Finally the railroad surrendered to nature and built a high cantilever bridge at a much narrower point with solid rock footings, ten miles downstream near modern Topock, completing it in May 1890. Originally a tent town for construction crews, the railroad company built a hotel, car sheds, shops. Within a month the town boasted a Chinese washhouse, a newsstand, a restaurant, a couple of general stores. The town became the largest port on the river above Yuma, the landmark building is on the National Register of Historic Places and is being restored. Needles was a stop on the historic U. S. Route 66 highway from the 1920s through the 1960s.
For immigrants from the Midwest Dust Bowl in the 1930s it was the first town that marked their arrival in California, the city is lined with motels and other shops from that era. The Cartys Camp which appears briefly in The Grapes of Wrath as the Joad family enters California from Arizona is now a ghost tourist court, Needles is a tourism and recreation center, a tradition going back for decades
A summit is a point on a surface that is higher in elevation than all points immediately adjacent to it. Mathematically, a summit is a maximum in elevation. The topographic terms acme, apex and zenith are synonymous, the UIAA definition is that a summit is independent if it has a prominence of 30 metres or more, it is a mountain if it has a prominence of at least 300 metres. This can be summarised as follows, A pyramidal peak is an exaggerated form produced by ice erosion of a mountain top, Summit may refer to the highest point along a line, trail, or route. In many parts of the western United States, the term refers to the highest point along a road, highway. For example, the highest point along Interstate 80 in California is referred to as Donner Summit while the highest point on Interstate 5 is Siskiyou Mountain Summit, geoid Hill List of highest mountains Maxima and minima Nadir Summit accordance Peak finder
Camping is an outdoor recreational activity involving overnight stays away from home in a shelter such as a tent, a caravan, or even a motorhome. Generally participants leave developed areas to spend time outdoors in more natural ones in pursuit of activities providing them enjoyment, to be regarded as camping a minimum of one night is spent outdoors, distinguishing it from day-tripping and other similarly short-term recreational activities. Camping can be enjoyed through all four seasons, Camping as a recreational activity became popular among elites in the early 20th century. With time, it more democratic, and varied. Modern campers frequent publicly owned natural resources such as national and state parks, wilderness areas, Camping is a key part of many youth organizations around the world, such as Scouting, which use it to teach both self-reliance and teamwork. Camping describes a range of activities and approaches to outdoor accommodation, survivalist campers set off with as little as possible to get by, whereas recreational vehicle travelers arrive equipped with their own electricity and patio furniture.
Camping may be combined with hiking, as in backpacking, and is enjoyed in conjunction with other outdoor activities such as canoeing, fishing. There is no universally held definition of what is and what is not camping, fundamentally, it reflects a combination of intent and the nature of activities involved. A childrens summer camp with dining hall meals and bunkhouse accommodations may have camp in its name but fails to reflect the spirit, cultures with itinerant lifestyles or lack of permanent dwellings cannot be said to be camping, it is just their way of life. The history of camping is often traced back to Thomas Hiram Holding, a British travelling tailor. By the 1880s large numbers of visitors took part in the pastime, the early camping equipment was very heavy, so it was convenient to transport it by boat or to use craft that converted into tents. Although Thomas Hiram Holding is often seen as the father of modern camping in the UK and he experienced the activity in the wild from his youth, when he had spent much time with his parents traveling across the American prairies.
Later he embarked on a cycling and camping tour with friends across Ireland. He wrote The Campers Handbook in 1908, so that he could share his enthusiasm for the outdoors with the world. Possibly the first commercial camping ground in the world was Cunningham’s camp, near Douglas, Isle of Man, in 1906 the Association of Cycle Campers opened its first own camping site, in Weybridge. By that time the organization had several hundred members, in 1910 the Association was merged into the National Camping Club. Although WW1 was responsible for a hiatus in camping activity. The International Federation of Camping Clubs was founded in 1932 with national clubs from all over the world affiliating with it, by the 1960s camping had become an established family holiday standard and today camp sites are ubiqitous across Europe and North America
The golden eagle is one of the best-known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. It is the most widely distributed species of eagle, like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. These birds are brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their napes. Immature eagles of this typically have white on the tail. Golden eagles use their agility and speed combined with powerful feet and massive, Golden eagles maintain home ranges or territories that may be as large as 200 km2. They build large nests in high places to which they may return for several breeding years, most breeding activities take place in the spring, they are monogamous and may remain together for several years or possibly for life. Females lay up to four eggs, and incubate them for six weeks, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months. These juvenile golden eagles usually attain full independence in the fall, once widespread across the Holarctic, it has disappeared from many areas which are now more heavily populated by humans.
It is the largest and least populous of the five species of true accipitrid to occur as a species in both the Palearctic and the Nearctic. Due to its prowess, the golden eagle is regarded with great mystic reverence in some ancient. The golden eagle is one of the most extensively studied species of raptor in the world in some parts of its range, such as the Western United States and the Western Palearctic. The golden eagle is a large, dark brown raptor with broad wings, ranging from 66 to 102 cm in length. This species wingspan is the fifth largest amongst extant eagle species, in the largest race males and females weigh typically 4.05 kg and 6.35 kg. In the smallest subspecies, A. c. japonica, males weigh 2.5 kg, in the species overall, males may average around 3.6 kg and females around 5.1 kg. The maximum size of species is a matter of some debate. Large races are the heaviest representatives of the Aquila genus and this species is on average the seventh-heaviest living eagle species, the golden eagle ranks as the second heaviest breeding eagle in North America and Africa but the fourth heaviest in Asia.
For some time, the largest known mass authenticated for a female was the specimen from the nominate race which weighed around 6.7 kg. No comprehensive range of weights are known for the largest subspecies, captive birds have been measured up to a wingspan of 2.81 m and a mass of 12.1 kg, respectively
Washingtonia filifera, known as desert fan palm, California fan palm or California palm, is a flowering plant in the palm family, and native to the southwestern U. S. and Baja California. Growing to 15–20 m tall by 3–6 m broad, it is a monocot with a tree-like growth habit. It has a columnar trunk and waxy fan-shaped leaves. Other common names include California fan palm and petticoat palm, the specific epithet filifera means thread-bearing. Washingtonia filifera is the only native to the Western United States. Primary populations are found in riparian habitats at spring-fed and stream-fed oases in the Colorado Desert. It is a species in the warm springs near Death Valley. It is naturalized in the Southeast, Hawaii, the U. S. Virgin Islands. Washingtonia filifera grows to 18 metres in height in ideal conditions, the California Fan Palm Tree is known as the Desert Fan Palm, American Cotton Palm and Arizona Fan Palm. The fronds are up to 3. 5–4 metres long, made up of a petiole up to 2 metres long, bearing a fan of leaflets 1. 5–2 metres long.
They have long white fibers and the petioles are pure green with yellow edges and filifera-filaments. The trunk is gray and tan and the leaves are gray green, when the fronds die they remain attached and drop down to cloak the trunk in a wide skirt. The shelter that the skirt creates provides a microhabitat for many small birds, if there is any red color present on petioles or trunk it is not a pure filifera but a fila-busta hybrid. Washingtonia filifera can live from 80 to 250 years or more, Desert fan palms provide habitat for the giant palm boring beetle, western yellow bat, hooded oriole and many other bird species. Hooded orioles rely on the trees for food and places to build nests, numerous insect species visit the hanging inflorescences that appear in late spring. The palm boring beetle Dinapate wrightii can chew through the trunks of this as well as other palms, eventually a continued infestation of beetles can kill various genera and species of palms. The recent discovery of the red palm weevil in Southern California may pose a threat to many palms, however, it seems that this species is resistant to the red palm weevil through a mechanism based on antibiosis.
Currently the desert fan palm is experiencing a population and range expansion, natural oases are mainly restricted to areas downstream from the source of hot springs, though water is not always visible at the surface
In Sonora, it is more commonly called hediondilla. It is a plant in the family Zygophyllaceae. The specific name refers to its three-toothed leaves. The species grows as far east as Zapata County, Texas, L. tridentata is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 m tall, rarely 4 m. The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 mm long and 4 to 8.5 mm broad. The flowers are up to 25 mm in diameter, with five yellow petals, galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the name derives. In the regions where it grows, its smell is associated with the smell of rain. As the creosote bush grows older, its oldest branches eventually die and this normally happens when the plant is 30 to 90 years old. Eventually, the old crown dies and the new one becomes a clonal colony from the previous plant, the King Clone creosote ring is one of the oldest living organisms on Earth.
It has been alive an estimated 11,700 years, in the central Mojave Desert near present-day Lucerne Valley, California. Measurements of the plant, as well as radiocarbon dating of fragments, were used to determine the plants mean annual growth rate outward from the center of the ring. By measuring the diameter of the ring, its age could be estimated. It is within the Creosote Rings Preserve of the Lucerne Valley, Creosote bush is most common on the well-drained soils of alluvial fans and flats. In parts of its range, it may cover areas in practically pure stands. Chemicals found in creosote bush roots have shown to inhibit the growth of burro bush roots. Creosote bush stands tend to display an evenly spaced distribution of plants, originally, it was assumed that the plant produced a water-soluble inhibitor that prevented the growth of other bushes near mature, healthy bushes. Owing to the harshness of the germination environment above mature root systems, germination is actually quite active during wet periods, but most of the young plants die very quickly unless water conditions are optimal
Geology of the Grand Canyon area
The geology of the Grand Canyon area includes one of the most complete and studied sequences of rock on Earth. The nearly 40 major sedimentary rock exposed in the Grand Canyon. Most were deposited in warm, shallow seas and near ancient, both marine and terrestrial sediments are represented, including fossilized sand dunes from an extinct desert. There are at least 14 known unconformities in the record found in the Grand Canyon. Uplift of the region started about 75 million years ago during the Laramide orogeny, in total, the Colorado Plateau was uplifted an estimated 2 miles. The adjacent Basin and Range Province to the west started to form about 18 million years ago as the result of crustal stretching, a drainage system that flowed through what is today the eastern Grand Canyon emptied into the now lower Basin and Range province. Opening of the Gulf of California around 6 million years ago enabled a large river to cut its way northeast from the gulf, the new river captured the older drainage to form the ancestral Colorado River, which in turn started to form the Grand Canyon.
Wetter climates brought upon by ice ages starting 2 million years ago greatly increased excavation of the Grand Canyon, volcanic activity deposited lava over the area 1.8 million to 500,000 years ago. At least 13 lava dams blocked the Colorado River, forming lakes that were up to 2,000 feet deep, the end of the last ice age and subsequent human activity has greatly reduced the ability of the Colorado River to excavate the canyon. Dams in particular have upset patterns of sediment transport and deposition, controlled floods from Glen Canyon Dam upstream have been conducted to see if they have a restorative effect. Earthquakes and mass wasting erosive events still affect the region, at about 2.5 and 1.8 billion years ago in Precambrian time, mud and ash were laid down in a marine basin adjacent to an orogenic belt. From 1.8 to 1.6 billion years ago at least two island arcs collided with the proto-North American continent and this process of plate tectonics compressed and grafted the marine sediments in the basin onto the mainland and uplifted them out of the sea.
Later, these rocks were buried 12 miles under the surface and this is the resistant rock now exposed at the bottom of the canyon in the Inner Gorge. As the volcanic islands collided with the mainland around 1.7 billion years ago, blobs of magma rose from the subduction zone and these plutons slowly cooled to form the Zoroaster Granite, part of which would be metamorphosed into gneiss. This rock unit can be seen as light-colored bands in the darker garnet-studded Vishnu Schist, the intrusion of the granite occurred in three phases, two during the initial Vishnu metamorphism period, and a third around 1.4 billion years ago. The third phase was accompanied by faulting, particularly along north—south faults. The collision expanded the continent from the Wyoming–Colorado border into Mexico, part of this thickening created the 5-to-6-mile high ancestral Mazatzal Mountains. Subsequent erosion lasting 300 million years stripped much of the exposed sediments and this reduced the very high mountains to small hills a few tens to hundreds of feet high
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its resources. The organization has four science disciplines, concerning biology, geology. The USGS is a research organization with no regulatory responsibility. The USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior, the USGS employs approximately 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia. The USGS has major offices near Lakewood, Colorado, at the Denver Federal Center, the current motto of the USGS, in use since August 1997, is science for a changing world. The agencys previous slogan, adopted on the occasion of its anniversary, was Earth Science in the Public Service. Prompted by a report from the National Academy of Sciences, the USGS was created, by a last-minute amendment and it was charged with the classification of the public lands, and examination of the geological structure, mineral resources, and products of the national domain.
This task was driven by the need to inventory the vast lands added to the United States by the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, the legislation provided that the Hayden and Wheeler surveys be discontinued as of June 30,1879. Clarence King, the first director of USGS, assembled the new organization from disparate regional survey agencies, after a short tenure, King was succeeded in the directors chair by John Wesley Powell. Administratively, it is divided into a Headquarters unit and six Regional Units, Other specific programs include, Earthquake Hazards Program monitors earthquake activity worldwide. The National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado on the campus of the Colorado School of Mines detects the location, the USGS runs or supports several regional monitoring networks in the United States under the umbrella of the Advanced National Seismic System. The USGS informs authorities, emergency responders, the media, and it maintains long-term archives of earthquake data for scientific and engineering research.
It conducts and supports research on long-term seismic hazards, USGS has released the UCERF California earthquake forecast. The USGS National Geomagnetism Program monitors the magnetic field at magnetic observatories and distributes magnetometer data in real time, the USGS operates the streamgaging network for the United States, with over 7400 streamgages. Real-time streamflow data are available online, since 1962, the Astrogeology Research Program has been involved in global and planetary exploration and mapping. USGS operates a number of related programs, notably the National Streamflow Information Program. USGS Water data is available from their National Water Information System database