Spheroidal Weathering in the Alabama Hills of California

Spheroidal Weathering in the Alabama Hills of California

These potato-shaped prizes in the Alabama Hills are mostly made of biotite monzogranitean, quite a sexy mineral in its own right. But what really makes them stand out from the landscape is their spheroidal weathering pattern.

As the old bedrock approached the surface over millennia of overburden pressure (one of the processes behind Yosemite’s towering monoliths), geometric fractures in the rock allowed water to cyclically penetrate and react with the surface of these hidden blocks. These cycles caused the formation of ‘onion-layers’ of interesting minerals on the blocks’ surface; a chemical weathering process. Once these structures find their way to the surface, the layers erode sequentially, exposing these oddly-spherical solid monuments. These iconic shapes of exposed rock are especially common east of the Sierras, famous in places like Joshua Tree, and make boulderers even happier people.

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Twlight in Joshua Tree

We needed a bugout weekend in a bad way. So, much credit to Frontier Airlines, $140 per ticket round-trip got us safely to Las Vegas. Close enough to the desert we were looking for.

Arriving in Vegas pretty late, we rented a cheap hotel room and completed our obligatory night on the strip. Pretty lights, $20 dollar drinks, and an onslaught of bachelorettes tired us out pretty quickly, but we were able to rise early and head towards the wild. To save on checked bag fees for camping gear, we rented a trusty Kia Sorento and treat it like a camper.

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Yough Rafting and Cumberland Climbing

We’re trying to squeeze every last drop out of summer, and this weekend we found ourselves adventuring around the Youghiogheny River and back to my hometown of Cumberland, MD to do some climbing with our new friend Todd. You can grade a successful RV weekend by getting her uncovered before Friday’s sunset and getting it buttoned back up by Sunday’s sunset. Mission accomplished.

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