Stop 5 – Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

An early start in Hawaii was followed by rather turbulent flight back to the continental US, hitting LAX, before bouncing across Nevada, Utah, and the Rockies, eventually descending into Denver. Check out the photos below; there were some awesome topography-cloud interactions above LA, and lovely, desert-carved geomorphology further eastwards.

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A short drive west back towards the foothills of the Rockies and I arrived at my next and final GSA lecture tour stop; Colorado School of Mines (CSM), Golden, CO. Arriving rather late, I grabbed a late dinner at Woody’s Wood Fired Pizza, with its absolutely choice pizza topping menu:

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I crashed at my homely B&B, the historic Dove Inn, waking early in the morning for a short, pre-breakfast, sun-soaked run along the Clear Creek riverside trail. Golden, which is a small but devastatingly pretty place, nestled right in the foothills of the eastern Rocky Mountains, has a rich history associated with the gold rush. They also seem to like statues.

After breakfast (FYI, @andydoggerbank, fresh greek yogurt, fresh fruit, cheese omelette) and a quick coffee at Café 13, I headed to the CSM campus, where I spent the morning chatting with Lesli Wood (check out her alter-ego here) and Bruce Trudgill about mass-transport complexes (MTCs), teaching approaches, and the importance of sharing data and collaborating. Chatting to Bruce is a little surreal; back in 2002, he examined my PhD. Even his causal questions about subsurface data availability felt slightly ‘probing’…

Lunch came, and I headed back out into the sun with Jessie Thompson (@neotectonics) and Zane Jobe (@zanejobe). Jessie is a post-doctoral researcher here at CSM, working on salt tectonics in everyone’s favourite salt basin, the Paradox Basin, Utah. Zane is head-honcho of the Chevron Centre for Research Excellence (CoRE), working on a range of sedimentological and stratigraphic problems, primarily in deep-water depositional systems. They were great company, putting up with my rambling about journal publishing issues, whilst we ate ridiculously sized sandwiches at D’Deli on the main street.

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With the weather being so good, we somewhat reluctantly headed back to the department where I spent an enjoyable hour with Jessie and colleagues, scratching our heads about some of the complex salt tectonics in the Paradox Basin. It is seriously cool stuff, and I cannot wait to see the new results arising from their analysis of the some of the largely unstudied exposures SW of Moab and the La Sal Mountains. I love structurally and stratigraphically complex field geology. And I love salt.

Realising time was short, we dashed upstairs to get set up for my GSA-supported, ‘Van Tuyllecture. To the fullest room of my tour thus far, I gave a talk on using seismic reflection data to understand igneous geology (the talk can be downloaded here). I think it went well, with the talk followed by a rather lengthy, dynamic, Q&A. Thirsty and brain-drained, I headed out for beers and food with Lesli, Jessie, and Zane, being joined by a Twitter buddy, Rich Briggs (@rangefront). Turns out he’s not a social media killer, which was nice.

Although I had delivered the last lecture of the first leg of this tour, there is no let up; tomorrow I head to the USGS to visit Rich, before heading back to CSM to talk more science. Phew!

Author: Christopher Aiden-Lee Jackson

I am Professor of Basin Analysis @imperialcollege. I ❤️ 🏃🏿, 🚴🏿 and @basinsIC (⛏). I obsess about the tectono-stratigraphic development of sedimentary basins. Why? Because I'm hopeless at everything else.

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