Climbing Geologists

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BASE104

Social climber
An Oil Field
Mar 13, 2019 - 12:14pm PT
That anticline above....are you sure that it is in the Powder River Basin? Looks more like the Bighorn Basin, which is heavily folded. I always thought that the Powder River basin looked flatter at the surface. A blind man can see where to drill in those structures. I mainly work stratigraphic traps. You don't have to pay for all of that seismic.

I still dabbled in wellsite geology, so I get to look at real rocks, albeit drill cuttings seen through a microscope. Whoever mentioned getting to look right at the Permian extinction is lucky. That one was much larger than the K-T extinction. Cores are a real luxury in the oil field. There is a huge core library a few miles from my house, so if I want to look at a core of a zone to figure out the depositional environment, I can usually find a nearby core up there.

It is mainly Permian and older in Oklahoma and Kansas, so I get to see a lot of extinct microfossils. There is a helical looking bryozon that I always see in the Marmaton section:Archimedes . The Gulf of Mexico geologists know a lot of paleontology to date the rocks. There aren't well correlated beds to use. Those guys know their forams.

Kansas is like a layer cake. You can trace a ten foot thick bed from its outcrop near Kansas City all the way to the Colorado state line, so you know where you are to within a few feet. I can drillstem test a five foot thick bioherm. In Kansas, the geologist runs the rig. In Oklahoma it is the Engineer.

Kansas has super cool carbonate sequence stratigraphy. The oil and gas reservoirs can be really thin oolitic or skeletal, but with great porosity and permeability. There is no gas after you go a hundred miles or so north of the southern state line, so the rigs don't even have blowout preventers. The rig floors are 4 or 5 feet above ground level and drilling is cheap. Oklahoma is much more expensive.

Anyway, everyone in Kansas uses a real geologist to run the rig. So it pays very well. I'll do it if I get five in a row or so. The drilling only stops if you need a new bit or if you are running a test, so you have to sleep strategically. I did it a lot when I was younger.

It is a lot of fun to see the rocks instead of just getting a mudlog in your email every morning, and of course downhole logs. I've looked at logs for decades, all day long, well after well. I can read them in my sleep. I rarely need to pull out a calculator anymore. I can just see it.

Steering horizontal wells is fun until you get stuck.....and you do get stuck. Scary, with that million dollar tool down the hole.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 13, 2019 - 01:13pm PT
Everything is a lot more subtle with unconventional reservoirs.
Logs from conventional reservoirs are (usually) straightforward.
Now that we are playing nanodarcy and microdarcy reservoirs things are trickier and we need more data (MICP, RockEval, Qemscan) to calibrate the logs.


I am the lucky one who gets to look at lower Triassic core, some of which crosses the Permian boundary.

Unfortunately the oil industry is in a real bad way in Calgary now. Calgary now has the highest unemployment rate of any urban area in Canada. Even ahead of St Johns
Splater

climber
Grey Matter
Mar 13, 2019 - 05:30pm PT
more on the martinez mtn slide

page 157-168
https://www.google.com/books/edition/Landslides/-Dr5YqsAeNIC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=Martinez+Slide+coachella+valley&pg=PA155&printsec=frontcover

https://hyspiri.jpl.nasa.gov/downloads/2015_Workshop/day3/13_hubbard-hyspiri-2015-talk-postable-redacted-version.pdf

general
http://www.abdnha.org/anza-borrego-desert-geology.htm

another slide area near borrego
http://mhart-geoservices.com/Coyote_Mtn_slide_paper.pdf

Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 13, 2019 - 08:23pm PT
Great links.

As I
Learned how to observe signs of landslides I was shocked again and again but the vast numbers of them in the coast ranges of California. Lots and lots of slide on slide action too. I read somewhere that landslides are the primary mover of downslope debris. ( as opposed to water born debris)

My god Jim, they’re everywhere!

DMT
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Mar 14, 2019 - 12:18pm PT
Rowland Tabor (geologist) wrote laymans-type book on geology of north cascades relatively recently. Great book.

Also, late 1960s, Tabor with DF Crowder, "Routes and Rocks". Two volumes? About cascades. I think USGS as publisher, It's now free and on line.
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
Mar 14, 2019 - 01:52pm PT
Base,
You pretty much nailed the well site gig pretty good there. I also like your take on the differences between drilling in Kansas and drilling in OK. I have done a bit of well site work over the years, some in southern
and western Kansas, western Nebraska, and various intermontane basins in Colorado and Wyoming. All good stuff. Also got to drill a bunch of volcanic stratigraphy in Nevada for the DOE, as well as some granite batholiths for same. As interesting as drilling is, what I have enjoyed the most are my field mapping projects for the USGS, the DOE, and the USAF. Lord, but I love field geology. Did a bit of mineral exploration back in the day in California, Nevada, and Oregon. This has just been the best career of all for me. I think only fighter pilots and astronomers love their work as much as I have loved mine.
bobinc

Trad climber
Portland, Or
Mar 14, 2019 - 02:00pm PT
Routes and Rocks is tremendous. I have the 1965 edition in original hardcover. From the Preface: 'WE speak to those who wish to savor the many byways of this varied region. The guide is written and designed to be carried in the rucksack...Our tendency to rush the hiker out of canyon forest up to timber-line alp and crag is not necessarily because more rocks are to be found up there, or because we mean to belittle the impressive jungles, but because we so often meet people who think of the North Cascades only in terms of trees. Though we know that evaluation of view or campsite is subjective, we have tried to inspire as well as to direct, to give the flavor of a route as well as useful details. We are alpine pedestrians by hobby as well as by profession, and hopefully we hear the same music as our readers.'

And, a sad note about the wife of one of the book's authors (as well as the author himself):

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/A-Sorrowful-Coincidence-in-Activist-s-Death-2735922.php
BJ

climber
Mar 14, 2019 - 02:23pm PT
Roland Tabor’and Ralph Haugerud’s “Geology of the North Cascades, a Mountain Mosaic”

The dedication to the book

Credit: BJ
Credit: BJ

I also recommend that people by this book, it gives the descriptions of the terranes of the Cascades, two huge maps and a CD full of photographs

Credit: BJ
Lorenzo

Trad climber
Portland Oregon
Mar 14, 2019 - 03:25pm PT
I had one partner who was a geologist employed in finding oil. Lots of money, time off, and retired early (40-ish)

Another partner was an academic working on earthquakes at the Vancouver (WA) center and on ice dams in the arctic.

A third partner with a geo degree ran a climbing school and died from rockfall.
AP

Trad climber
Calgary
Mar 14, 2019 - 03:27pm PT
The glory days of field geology in the Alberta and BC oilpatch was back in the 50s and 60s when structural geologists spent entire summers in the Rockies mapping structure/faults and correlating. They had lots of pack horses.
Grippa

Trad climber
Salt Lake City, UT
Mar 14, 2019 - 03:48pm PT
A full career of oil well drilling...I bet you've logged miles and miles of cuttings-I'm no where near a mile yet. The geology of Utah is an interesting study in structure, and it's influence on groundwater. The Sevier thrusts overprinted by the Laramide thrusts cross cut by Basin and Range extension make for some fun cross section creation. I'm just the new guy on the team, but am enjoying my time learning from the veterans.
another nickname

Social climber
Yazoo Ms
Mar 14, 2019 - 09:54pm PT
I'm obviously not a geologist but that book on north cascades is a very cool read, especially for those who know the local geography.

Wish there were more books like it for other ranges.

But it's not, in most ways, as good as Annals of the Former World, by John McPhee. Astonishing as both a general primer on plate tectonics for idiots, as well as a history of science.

On the other hand, the McPhee book is way heavy on throw-away "human interest" stuff. (as in "Sally, the 25-year-old geologist, eats cornflakes for breakfast, and loves her dog, Butch"...etc.)

I tried to read it a second time and realized it wasn't particularly worth it.

One could benefit from multiple readings of the Tabor NC book, although it's less of a "big picture" project.
Dingus Milktoast

Trad climber
Minister of Moderation, Fatcrackistan
Mar 14, 2019 - 10:21pm PT
Roadside geology series is very good, particularly here in CA.

And if you've interest in the geology of the Sierra Nevada, this one is outstanding

https://www.amazon.com/Exploring-Highest-Sierra-James-Gregory/dp/0804736472



DMT
tuolumne_tradster

Trad climber
Leading Edge of North American Plate
Mar 15, 2019 - 07:40am PT
BASE104: ^^^ that anticline photo is from a scanned slide taken in
mid-1980s during a structural geology field trip. I thought it was the PRB but you are probably correct that it is Big Horn.

I think we flew out of Casper Wy

EDIT: looked at my notes & the photos are indeed Big Horn basin. Here's another photo from the same flyover...

This is geoporn at its finest ;-)
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Mar 15, 2019 - 09:03am PT
Thanks folks for the "geologists-speak" posts. It's good for me. An "old" climbing partner of mine has spent his career as a "hard-rock" geologist, mostly based out of Fairbanks.

Rumor has it, he is retiring to about 80 miles away from me this spring. He is not a loquacious fellow, but is an avid hiker. Hopefully I can lure him to some old mountain mining areas of interest to me.

Credit: Fritz
Oplopanax

Mountain climber
The Deep Woods
Mar 15, 2019 - 12:21pm PT
rocks are nice but geomorphology is nicer.





Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Mar 15, 2019 - 01:44pm PT
Again, I'm geologically illiterate so some knowledgeable feedback would be great.

The back country of the Peninsular Ranges have become my vacation home- specifically the Eastern most sections of the ranges from North to South. The abundance of Marble, Quartzite, Schist and other sedimentary rock that has beed baked into the Granite makes for great juggy boulders and some very interesting lines on the bigger faces. It seems the further East you go the more variable the granite becomes. I'd assume this is because of the inland seas that once existed there.
Credit: Contractor
Credit: Contractor
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Mar 15, 2019 - 02:33pm PT
Credit: Contractor
One more.
Minerals

Social climber
The Deli
Mar 17, 2019 - 06:10pm PT

It seems the further East you go the more variable the granite becomes.

Variable in what way? The surface texture and size/shape of the climbing holds, or the actual granitic rock type, mineral composition, and rock texture? Or do you mean the amount of older metamorphic rock (xenoliths) that are hosted within the granite/granitic rock?

I am not familiar with western SoKal geography. I found your landslide deposit on Google Earth, but am curious as to the location of your most recent photos.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Mar 17, 2019 - 06:56pm PT
Hot Springs Mountain, Sants Rosa Mountain and the Eastern boundaries of San Jacinto. This is where I've encountered layers quartzsite within the granite as well as other rock that I can't accurately Identify. These areas are very close to ancient inland sea beds; Palm Desert, Borrego, La Quinta are all just a few feet above sea level.

I mostly climb Mt. Woodson and other areas around San Diego. The granite here seems to have almost no layering of other rock. Disclaimer- I build houses better than I do geology. I also like to find good rocks!
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