These are not the [rocks] you’re looking for…

Whitney and I parted ways from John and Jason a few days ago to finish off our field work in the Sierra Nevada. I’m writing this post from Torremolinos on the Costa del Sol, after a day spent packing up and shipping the 60 kilograms of rocks that we collected on our journey through southern Spain. Wish them a safe journey…

We have been searching for eclogites: rocks that formed under high pressure and temperature conditions during the collision of the Eurasian and African tectonic plates. We plan to analyze the Rubidium and Strontium isotopes in these rocks to determine the timing of their formation! However, the Spanish eclogite is an elusive beast. The Sierra Nevada enjoyed a wet winter and spring this past year and so there remains a great deal of snow at the top of the range, giving the eclogite plenty of natural camoflauge.


The snow-covered ridge in the background is the traverse between Pico de Veleta and Mulhacen – where the eclogite is today.

The rocks we are looking for in particular are exposed 3,000 meters above the Mediterranean, now covered in snow. So, we had to improvise of our plan of attack. We would not be able to see the rocks at the ridge between the two peaks, so we decided to take to the many rivers and streams to see what we could find. The many boulders we found in Rio Poqueira and Rio Chico are not the ones we were looking for to begin with, but they still came from the right place and tell an interesting story. It is amazing that rocks that were once 50 km beneath the surface are now exposed at the highest peaks in Spain.


Juan (John Platt) and Whitney discuss the geology of the boulders in Rio Chico.


What is going on here? Science, obviously.


The Doblo encounters yet another impassable obstacle en route to potential outcrop…


Erosion at it’s finest.


The Doblo retreats in fear.


Geology on the dash.


Rad clouds.


The mountain town of Trevelez.


Spanish chimneys.


Doblo caravan!


Another obstacle, which the Doblo successfully passed!


Hydroelectric power plant on Rio Poqueira


Rio Poqueira


This guy got wrapped up in a box and shipped back to the US of A, taken from his home in Rio Poqueira.


For some reason, Spain thinks that anyone who camps is a damn dirty hippie bum, so they just don’t allow it. More reasons to appreciate my home country. This also makes field work inefficient.


Early morning sun and clouds in the Sierra Nevada.


Rio Poqueira


Eclogite boudin?


It deformed like taffy! Eclogite and marble layers.


A stream cobble in its natural habitat!




Nature is neat.

That concludes the field work in the Sierra Nevada – more on my next set of adventures later…



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