Where am I and what am I doing?

Good questions. Life has been moving pretty quick lately. Fun levels are at an all-time high, and that is when life seem to move the fastest. These are probably the “good old days” reminisced about by the groups of old men sitting in the town center of every little pueblo like Velez-Blanco. I am here in Velez Blanco with my advisor from UT Austin on a geological reconnaissance mission! We are planning for a future field trip much like the one we took to Greece earlier this month. We have been cruising around Andalucia, looking at a variety of geological phenomena that will be of interest to future students. Once we are done with the recon portion of the trip, we will go to the Sierra Nevada to work on my field work for my masters thesis.

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Castillo de Velez and the town of Velez-Blanco

We have seen some pretty amazing rocks thus far. We began our trip in the coastal town of Carboneras and toured the Andalucian countryside in our trusty steed, the Fiat Doblo, a diesel monstrosity that is quite cumbersome in the narrow streets that wind through the pueblos of southern Spain. We would have preferred a smaller rig, but the rental company was fresh out of Pandas.

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The colorful Carboneras Fault!

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The copilot’s view from the Doblo as we navigate the tiny streets of El Chive. The dogs are not accustomed to much traffic here…

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The sand surrounding the garnet volcano in the Cabo de Gata volcanic field. I filled my pockets with garnets.

We checked out the surrounding basins to investigate the geologic wonders that “Texas-Hollywood” holds. This is where Clint Eastwood spent many days gunslinging and being an all-around badass western movie star.

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God bless Texas. And Clint Eastwood. Unfortunately I missed getting a shot of the Hollywood-esque, Texas-Hollywood sign in large, white, sans-serif characters.

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An abandoned cortijo, buttressed by prickly pears and century plants. The goat herders who lived in the cortijos left for the lowlands to become farmers.

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The rocks in Spain are purple. Purple phyllite of the Alpujarride tectonic complex.

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Field rations.

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A thrust fault in Borranco Salada in the Sierra Maria.

After a successful two-week journey around the Cycladic islands of Greece, and nearly a week in Spain, I’ve finally made the time to sit down and write something. I apologize for not taking a break from gallavanting around Europe to write about my adventures sooner.

Fortunately, I did upload my photos from Greece to Facebook, by location. So far, I have been having a fantastic time. I had the pleasure of spending my 22nd birthday on the island of Syros in the Cyclades of Greece. What an awesome birthday gift. The day was spent exploring and climbing the giant boulders of eclogite and blueschist in the Kampos melange, swimming in the Aegean Sea at Lia Beach, eating Greek food, and drinking ouzo (an anise-flavored alcoholic beverage). We met a man who treated us to beers on the veranda of his restaurant on the northern coast of Syros as the sun set on the Aegean. He even informed us of Greece’s 5 gifts to the world, which are: skeptikos, philosophy, the olympics, astronomy/astrology, and…. because I can’t remember the last one, let’s just say the fifth gift was ouzo.

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The Kampos melange.

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A nice place to watch the sun set on the Aegean and receive the five gifts of Greece…

I’ll save the rest of the Greek story for another post, for now, I need to get some sleep for some Sierra Nevada exploration tomorrow en route to the Costa del Sol, where we will meet up with our colleagues from USC in Almuñecar. Hasta Luego!

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