Sunday, October 30, 2011

Scenic Sunday ~ There are days when ...

 There are days when Mother Nature just takes your breath away!
(These were all taken on the same day!)
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Friday, October 28, 2011

SkyWatch Friday ~ Extreme Weather

Last night, this was the weather system sitting over top of us. Winds blowing 70 to 90 km/h with gusts to 130 km/h and I can assure you there were lots of gusts at 130 km/h.  Despite the winds the cabin remained sound.
This mornings sunrise(?) saw the tailend of the overnight hurricane force winds but brought with it an unstable southwest weather system.
We are also experiencing extreme tides.  Yesterday we had a 25' 3" high tide (about 16" over our usual high tides and the low was a "0" tide(usually it is 3 to 4 ft.)
 High tide was at 2:53 PDT today.  If we had been experiencing last nights winds during this tide there would have been a 1 to 3 ft surge and the waves would have breached the dunes. 
 As it turned out the winds calmed before high tide and the waves just scoured the beach of logs.
Still photos do no justice to the power of the ocean.  Tlell is on the east side of Haida Gwaii about 100 km from mainland British Columbia so we don't get monumental surf but watching these waves form and watching what they do to the beach gives one a glimpse of what being on the ocean is like.
By the time the tide started to ebb and I headed back to the cabin there was no time to lose as another weather system was moving in. This is my Friday skywatching!

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our World Tuesday ~ Agates

 One of the many activities that visitors and Haida Gwaiians like to do on island is to search for agates.  "Agate is a microcrystalline variety of silica, chiefly chalcedony, characterised by its fineness of grain and brightness of color. Although agates may be found in various kinds of rock, they are classically associated with volcanic rocks and can be common in certain metamorphic rocks."(from Wikipedia).   Agates are a result of gas bubbles in lava.  As the lava cools the gas escapes leaving a cavity.
 Silica in solution seeps into the cavity and forms layers, gradually filling the cavity.  As erosion by wind and water occurs the agate or nodule is released. Agate is translucent and relatively hard.
 It shows up in various sizes and colours here on Haida Gwaii.  In the photo above the big rock is opaque while the agates are translucent.  The density of agates is considerably lighter than "normal rock".
 Most agates found on Haida Gwaii are the size of the little ones in the forground but occasionally after a good storm some big ones will wash up on shore.  The agate on the left weighs in at 6lb 2 oz and is currently being looked at for possible cutting to see what is inside.  (My orange crock is size 11 for size comparison!)
 This beautiful opal geode(a form of agate and quite possibly what the other big agate is) I found last week after one of our big storms.  
 In this case the nodule did not fill with silica before it was released from it's birthplace so crystals formed in the open space. You can see the layers of silica that formed to make this the agate.
 The is the source of most of agates found on Haida Gwaii, Tow Hill.  Tow Hill is the the lava flow of an ancient volcano.  The left side of the volcano has eroded into the sea exposing the dolomite columns.  As the sea batters and erodes the exposed dolomite nodules or agates are released to be tumbled and washed ashore on the beach.
This beach, within Naikoon Provincial Park is called Agate Beach for a reason!  The two large agates I found come from ancient volcanic activity south of Tlell.
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

SkyWatch Friday ~ Some mornings....

 Some mornings are just too beautiful for words....
 Balance Rock is an erratic deposited by a glacier thousands of years ago.
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Saturday, October 01, 2011

SkyWatch Friday ~ Deceptive Beauty

C. Honisch
 Despite the beautiful sunsets, we continue to be battered by amazing storms. 
C. Honisch
On Haida Gwaii we experience some of the highest tides on the west coast.  Tides are influenced by the phases of the moon. The highest tides occur on the new moon and full moon.  The above sunset shots were taken from the sea bottom on the opposing low tides that accompany the extreme highs.
C. Honisch
This was the first time in 24 hours that the wind had settled enough to get near the beach on a 24' foot tide.  The danger of these high storm driven tides (besides the obvious!) is that they scour the beaches of protective logs that keep shorelines from eroding.
This is the same shoreline as above but before the storm.
This video was shot at high tide after 20 hours of 80 km winds.  This beach was scraped clean of logs.  Not sure why there is no sound which is unfortunate.
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