May 20, 2005

   (click photo for larger image)


Wind Power.    Monday - Wednesday of this week, I attended the WindPower 2005 conference and trade show in Denver. This is the largest meeting of its kind in the world and draws participants from Europe and Asia. The conference was very comprehensive, following four concurrent tracks: Policy, Business, Technical and Utility. More on this in coming weeks.

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Valles Caldera     Grassland

The Valles Caldera is a "collapsed" volcanic crater located 30 miles west of Los Alamos, NM. It is in a remote high country ranching region shoulder to shoulder with the Los Alamos National Laboratory. A mystique still lingers in the area from when Los Alamos was the incubator of the world's first atomic bomb.

from Valles Caldera Preserve web site

"At an elevation of 8,750 feet and up, the caldera's high mountain grasslands and forests offer rich habitat for wildlife. Today, a large herd of Rocky Mountain Elk make the Valles Caldera National Preserve their calving grounds and summer home. Birds abound, with observers spotting 105 species in an ongoing survey. Among these. surprisingly, is the Eastern Meadowlark, who with their cousins the Western Meadowlark, use the Preserve's grasslands for nesting."

"The Valles Caldera National Preserve was a private ranch from 1860 until 2000, when Congress passed the Valles Caldera Preservation Act. Comprised of almost 89,000 acres, the Preserve was created as a bold new experiment in management of public land...It is managed by the Valles Caldera Trust, a wholly owned government corporation...

To help protect the preserve and its wildlife, plants and water quality, we must understand the diversity and populations living here. This 89,000 acre property is situated inside a collapsed crater. Studded with eruptive domes and featuring Redondo Peak (11,254 feet), this old ranch property is now being developed to explore a new way of managing public lands. We define a working ranch as an operation that places its primary emphasis on the stewardship of resources as the foundation for both ecological and economic sustainability.

Web Link - www.vallescaldera.gov/education/

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Photo November, 2004

"For over 10,000 years, people have used the calderas for hunting, gathering plant foods, and as a source of obsidian, a glass-like volcanic rock used in the production of stone tools. Because obsidian can be fashioned into sharp edged tools it is ideal for dart and arrowheads, knives and scraping tools. Obsidian from this area was widely traded, having been found as far north as Wyoming and south into Mexico, on the Great Plains, and the Northwest coast."

Photo November, 2004

"The Jemez Mountains began to form about 13 million years ago. Molton lava rose to the earth's surface through many vents and small eruptions. The lava spread slugishly, covering the surrounding areas with successive thin sheets and domes. About 1.6 million years ago, the Toldedo Eruption rocked the entire Jemez region. This cataclysmic eruption removed the top of the volcanic field and ejected massive amounts of rock and ash, quickly building up the surrounding palteau. Then, at about 1.2 million years [ago], the Valles Eruption displaced 50 cubic miles of volcanic ash and rock, some of which can be found as far away as Lubbock, Texas."

Photos from Valles Caldera Preserve web site

"By law still a working ranch, the Preserve is a living laboratory for researching sustainability, forest health, geology, biology, archeology and more. The Preserve uses adaptive management techniques to continually learn and apply what it learns to improve the habitat while sustaining its use for recreation and ranching."

Photo November, 2004

"A 12 - to 15 - mile wide caldera (collapsed crater) formed along circular fault lines during the giant explosion of the Valles Eruption. The Caldera filled with roughly 500 feet of welded ash and landslide debris, followed later by lake deposits. Over time, Redondo Peak has risen 3000 feet above the caldera floor, riding the up swelling magna. Other small peaks you see with the basin are the result of small eruptions that occurred later."

photograph - www.solarviews.com/eng/valles.htm

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Resurgent Calderas and the Valles Caldera

Copyright 1995-2003 by Rosanna L. Hamilton

"Valles caldera is a 22-km-diameter resurgent cauldron that formed in the approximate center of the Jemez Mountains volcanic field."

"Valles caldera is a large, Quaternary silicic volcanic complex that contains a hot, but relatively small, liquid- dominated geothermal resource (210 to 300 degrees C; 20 megawatts proven). The portion of the caldera having geothermal significance is now part of the recently created Valles Caldera National Preserve..."

"Geothermal and scientific drilling from 1959 to 1988 produced enormous amounts of information on the internal stratigraphy, structure, geophysical character, hydrothermal alteration, and hydrothermal fluids within the Valles caldera..."

Web Link - link to full article

George Beggs 5/2005 - Feedback is welcome

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