Friday, January 15, 2010

2009 in Review

I'm back from a nice long vacation in Hawaii. My wife and I figured that since we've been married a few years and now I finished my PhD, we should take our honeymoon (she finished her PhD just after we got married). I'd be hard-pressed to think of a better geo-holiday-cation than poking around Hawai'i, Maui, and Kaua'i for two weeks.

So I have many geology-themed Hawai'i posts in the works, plus lots of warm, tropical photos to regale you with. I took about 2,500 photos over 14 days. That's nearly 179 per day. It's no small task to sort through 14 gigabytes of holiday snaps, but I'll be sure to share some of my favorites. Here's one:

It's a 5-photo stitched panoramic view of Haleakala "crater." The crater is actually two wide erosional canyons that have joined together near the summit. There are numerous cinder and spatter cones along the crater floor, which makes for an other-worldly hike through this landscape.

I figure before I get too far involved in a self-indulgent Hawai'i geology fest, I'd wrap-up the biggest geology places/events that I experienced this year. I expect that I'll post the list now, and then spend a few posts going into detail.

So here's the list, ranked somewhat by personal importance:

10. San Raphael Swell: Coyote Gulch
9. Panther Tongue
8. Western Wisconsin Trilobites
7. Porcupine Mountains, MI
6. San Raphael Swell: The Wedge
5. San Raphel Swell: Wild Horse Canyon
4. Airplane Flights over the US
3. Grand Teton NP
2. Mt. Saint Helens/GSA
1. Hawai'i

And of course, I give pride of place to the fact that I finished my PhD this year. It's such a relief to be done. I do feel some measure of pride. However, when I see the work being done by people like Dr. Steve Austin (backstory), I realize that - in the end - it's just a piece of paper. Any schmuck can get one if they stick with things long enough. It doesn't convey me some magical power, or make my ideas any better than the next person's. But it does show that I am stubborn enough to see something through to the end, and outlast my peers. So I guess that's something.


  1. We are about to do the same ... my wife and I have been married over a year, never had a honeymoon, and are going to Hawaii in February. Three days on Big Island to look at volcano stuff (she's also a geologist) and then 5 days on Kauai to mostly relax.

    Any tips of geo-attractions greatly appreciated!

  2. Send me an email - I'll be happy to point you to a few spots. If you have the "Roadside geology guide to HI," I can provide a few suggestions and clarifications.

    Kaua'i was interesting. Some great views, provided the clouds are away, plus the beaches there are perfect for relaxing - I still have scrapes and sore muscles from boogie boarding.

  3. Hope you took some snail pics too & will write about them.

  4. I came to the same PhD is mostly persistence conclusion round about 2007.Someone recently asked me about graduate school (a senior in college who is applying) and I wasn't sure what to say -- it certainly changed my life. Was it for the better? Maybe. But am I the person I thought I would be when I jumped in? Nope. Perhaps that's a good thing.

  5. Hi Brian -
    Too late for Pascal, but perhaps you can make some use of it: Tuff Cookie posted a Hawaii geologic tour recommendations list once upon a time.

    And here's where you can find my reports of visiting most of these recommendations.

  6. Callan ... thanks for the links, awesome!